Originally Posted by Phreon
This is going to sound like a very stupid question: How might one go about steaming potatoes? Without owning a steamer basket? Unfortunately, my pressure cooker is done for: missing weights and a wonky old seal.
Also, one can make "baked" potatoes in the microwave *very* quickly. I normally eschew my microwave except for the odd bowl of instant oatmeal, but potatoes cooked in one seem to emerge self steamed if cooked properly. I might experiment with this when the food mill arrives (I eBAYed a cheap, clean, original Foley model 101 given the terrible reviews current production units get. Go with what you know...)
No steamer basket? My god man, every house in America has one of those. Next time you are at your mother's, or grandmothers, or mother-in-law's house, check the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen. Odds are there are at least 3 steamer baskets...I'm sure you could have one. I'm also sure your local kitchen supply or grocery store would sell one for less than 10 dollars.
In a pinch, you could try...using a metal colander in a pot big enough to hold it and a couple inches of water. Wadding up some aluminum foil to hold the potatoes above the simmering water. Taking the potatoes in the shower with you. Thats all I got.
This thread takes me back to my days as a young line cook working the sides/starch station at a high end restaurant. EVERY DAY I had to take like 20 lbs of potatoes (or more, depending on how busy we expected to be) and make potato puree out of it. We only used Yukon Gold potatoes, which, by the way, are excellent for making mashed potatoes/potato puree. If all you've ever used are russets give them a try sometime.
It went like this:
Scrub potatoes clean
Cover with cold water...salt the water
Bring to a simmer
Simmer until tender with a paring knife
Drain, but leave about an inch of hot water in the bottom of the pan to keep the remaining potatoes hot while you peel
Peel potatoes with a paring knife (the tip of my right thumb no no longer feels pain, all the nerves are dead lol)
Food mill into a large rondeau
Add hot cream, mix gently to combine, then emulsify in ungodly amounts of cold, cubed, whole butter, keeping puree very hot the entire time
Season, adjust, more cream, more butter if needed, etc.
Pass through a tamis/drum sieve while still piping hot
Hold, hot, above stove in a pan and keep backup covered with buttered parchment or butter wrappers in the steam well
But hey, I make killer potato puree now. When I do everyone loves me. I call them once a year potatoes because you should only eat them once a year...they are so rich.
I've been in kitchens where the cooks dry out the potatoes first as well, after cooking but before they add cream/butter. The might be poached in their jackets until tender, then laid out on a sheet pan, cut open slightly (like if you are going to dress a baked potato) and dried in the oven for 5-10 minutes to get rid of residual water/steam. This allows the potatoes to take on more of the good stuff like butter/cream.