A few months ago, an email popped into my inbox from my lovely friend Sara of Cake Over Steak. We’ve known each other via this digital space for about two years, after I stumbled upon one of her beautiful food illustrations. She is incredibly talented, and as humble and genuine as they come. Seeing her name, I opened the email with excitement, not even taking a moment to glance at the subject line.
And then I giggled out loud as I read the first sentence: “I know you’re the squash girl, but would you like to join my Virtual Pumpkin Party? I’ve decided to spread the pumpkin love to my friends of the blogging world, so on October 21st, we’ll each share a recipe to bombard the internet with all things pumpkin.”
Well that was an invitation I couldn’t say no to.
Although my love for squash runs deep, it was time to put away my snobbery and play around with the other orange hued character of autumn. Since I truly do prefer the likes of kabocha and delicata for baked goods like this Winter Squash pie recipe, I headed in the savory direction where I think pumpkin shines……
My vision was to put a vibrant spin on one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes, mashed potatoes. The pumpkin roasts cut-side down as to encase the garlic and thyme, infusing the earthy flesh with deep flavor. Then it’s pureed, and swirled throughout rustic, buttery mashed potatoes.
And can we take a few minutes to talk about what makes really good mashed potatoes? My grandmother always used russets, but after a few rounds of testing, I am on team Yukon Gold. They’re naturally a little sweet, and lend themselves to a rustic, creamy texture rather than fluffy.
Don’t hesitate buying the best (grassfed) butter you can afford for this dish. And although you might second guess my choice of buttermilk over cream, trust me when I say it’s the secret to the very best potatoes. Even Ina Garten thinks so.
I feel like I’m a step ahead knowing that I’m bringing these swirly potatoes to Thanksgiving, and this gigantic Virtual Pumpkin Party of Sara’s (she made Pumpkin Ginger Cookies with a Vanilla Glaze)! You can find the list of over 50 talented bloggers sharing their delicious pumpkin recipes HERE, including things like Creamy Pumpkin Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Beets, Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Gingersnaps, and Caramelized Apple Pumpkin Muffins. Hope you enjoy the party. :) xo
For the pumpkin (can be made two days ahead of time):