Vanilla Bean Mashed Potatoes: Vanilla adds a lot of flavor to this classic mashed potatoes recipe.
Is the title of the recipe making you cringe?! I seriously HOPE NOT! I can’t describe just how amazing these mashed potatoes ARE!
What I CAN tell you is how and why this dish came to life in my own kitchen.
Few weeks ago I was one of the very lucky bloggers that was chosen to go to spend an extraordinary weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona, with some of the most outstanding people.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by an amazing staff at the beautiful Fire Sky Resort, and was given a key to my fabulous lagoon facing room. As soon as I saw that I had a private balcony, Fire Sky Resort had my heart. The gorgeous pools, giant fire bowls, tikki torches, quiet water streams, and fountains were a huge bonus!!
Moments later, I finally got to meet our super talented and hard working hosts, Donna and Chad from The Slow Roasted Italian! To say I was excited to meet them is an understatement.
You guys, they put this whole Blogger Retreat together!! I can’t tell you just how impressed I was and still am. Our schedules were packed with gourmet dinners, spa days, poolside cocktails, learning, and did I mention fantastic food?! Oh.my.GOSH! The food was beeee.yond.
Also? I met, IN PERSON, a group of talented bloggers whom I miss so very much!! They were all so lovely, so awesome, so beautiful, inside and out.
I met Mary from Barefeet in The Kitchen, Christie from Love from the Oven, Anetta (MY ROOMMIE!!) from The Wanderlust Kitchen, Ashlee from I’m Topsy Turvy, Kristen from Six Sisters Stuff, Erica from Favorite Family Recipes, Tessa from Handle the Heat, Alejandra from Always Order Dessert, and Sara from Mom Endeavors.
Once we all got together, Entwine Wines joined us, and we had a chance to talk a little about wine tasting and food pairing. Honestly? I went to town with a glass(es) of their crisp and cool Chardonnay! I also attacked the cheese platter. I could probably live on their Chardonnay. And cheese, of course.
Later that night I was introduced to Uber! Have you ever used Uber?! This is the coolest taxi-type service on the planet. Seriously. It’s a phone app that requires a couple of clicks and boom! Your car is there to pick you up within minutes, literally.
My Uber car dropped me off at the incredible Rusconi’s American Kitchen.
Sincerely, Chef Rusconi creates the best of the best OF THE BEST American cuisine I have ever had. Truly. It was amazing. This is where I first learned about Vanilla Mashed Potatoes. I can still taste them. Or how about his Truffle Mac & Cheese! That was SO GOOD! I also had one of the most decadent chocolate desserts with a Brownie Brittle Crust!! Incredible. AND? Chef Rusconi is from CHICAGO! We’re practically neighbors.
The next day I didn’t even leave the resort. I had a massage at the resort’s Jurlique Spa and my masseuse was hands down awesome! I haven’t had a back ache ever since!! He healed me!
Afterwards, we had lunch at Taggia Restaurant & Lounge. Their Food + Decor + Atmosphere + Staff = REMARKABLE.
As luck would have it, we also had one of the most incredible dinners at Taggia. That night we were introduced to Chef Massimo de Francesca (the best name, ever, right?!), the mastermind behind Taggia and one of the most impressive Coastal Italian Cuisine menus. He also introduced me to Chocolate Covered Tiramisu… ummm… wow! This dessert was exceptional. In fact, his food, all of it, is first-rate. Smoked Duck with Rosemary Flatbread, Fig Jam and Piave, Smoked Bacon Carbonara Egg Yolk Parmesan Sauce, Salt Cod Fritters with Chipotle Aioli… need I go on? Told ya! Remarkable.
Lastly, before we said our goodbyes (:(), we were all given a whole lotta swag to take back home! EEEEK!
Everything from Le Creuset is awesome, including my spanking new Palm Green Spatula! Then, our awesome friends from OXO gave us their beaker-style set of Measuring Cups and a Powdered Sugar Dusting Wand – I’m in LOVE with IT! Casabella sent me home with these awesome Silicone Cutting Boards, and KitchenIQ gave me this very impressive Better Zester – it catches the zest in its own, built-in tray! I also got Food Network magazine subscriptions from Entwine, a bag of the most delicious brownies from Fairytale Brownies, Brownie Brittle from Brownie Brittle, and gorgeous cookies from The Baked Equation! One cookie even had my name on it!
AND, as if all this wasn’t enough, I WON a beautiful Boos Cutting Board! YAY ME! The Walnut Cutting Board is absolutely gorgeous. It’s large, it’s super sturdy, and best of all, functional. I love it and it looks so pretty on my kitchen counter!
As you can see, I had a wonderful time and I want to go baaaaack! SOON! Who can resist great friends, amazing food, beautiful space, and wine?!? Right. I’m one very, very lucky girl. Thanks to everyone who made my weekend memorable, and exciting, and one of the best weekend-getaways ever!
Last, but not least, we can’t have a post without a delicious recipe, right?! This Vanilla Bean Mashed Potatoes recipe was inspired by Chef Rusconi from Rusconi’s American Kitchen. If you have never tried vanilla in mashed potatoes, you really need to. This is the time! I bet you will love it just as much as I did. It’s like Thanksgiving-worthy! Yes, it’s THAT good!
- 2-pounds small red potatoes
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ vanilla bean OR you can use 2 to 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, for garnish (optional)
- Place potatoes in a large pot in a single layer, cover with water and bring to a boil; cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender.
- Drain and run under cold water for 2 to 3 minutes; drain again, let cool slightly and peel.
- Transfer to a food processor and puree.
- In the meantime, combine milk, butter and vanilla in a saucepan; bring to a simmer.
- Remove from heat and remove vanilla bean.
- Pour the milk-mixture over the potatoes in the food processor; process until well combined and smooth. (I like my mashed potatoes chunky so I don't puree them for very long.)
- Season the mashed potatoes with salt and fresh ground pepper.
- Transfer to a plate, garnish with thyme leaves and serve.