Top Secret Mashed Potatoes

Top Secret Mashed Potatoes

miso butter shallot potatoes, mashed potatoes, thanksgiving menu

You know that untrustworthy friend who drops an entire stick of butter (or two if it’s a large batch) in the mashed potatoes when you are not looking?

It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem. It’s me.

Or I was.

Luckily for my arteries and yours, I found a super secret ingredient that will allow the butter to be cut in half, while keeping all the flavor and adding a brand new flavor that will make people say, “That’s delicious! What is it?”

It’s miso butter shallots.

Yes, it sounds weird. I got the idea from a pizza. (Please don’t stop reading. I wouldn’t expect a story about mashed potatoes to begin with pizza either, but I promise no mozzarella or tomato sauce will be added to your Thanksgiving potatoes.) I made Half Baked Harvest’s Mushroom Pizza with Miso Butter Shallots from this cookbook, and all I wanted to eat was the miso butter shallots, which is saying something given that mushroom pizza is my favorite food group. The savory flavor was perfect, and I kept wondering what other foods could benefit from it. Orzo? Mac & cheese? Mashed potatoes?

Once the idea was in my head, I began Googling to see if other people also use miso and random alliums in their potatoes. I found that miso butter garlic potatoes is not unheard of, and even featured in Bon Appetit’s Thanksgiving menu last year.

So I bring you miso butter shallot mashed potatoes. This recipe is for 2 lbs of potatoes, but if you are feeding a crowd, you’ll need to double or triple this. Since I am a lazy person, I used new potatoes, so no peeling would be needed. All the nutrients are in the peels, right?

Top Secret Mashed Potatoes

Miso can be tricky to find for those in the Midwest and in small towns. As a Michigander, the only store where I am reliably able to find it is Fresh Thyme, where it keeps company with the tofu and the kimchi in the refrigerated section. If your grocery store fails you, try Amazon.


  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • Half a stick (4 tablespoons) butter
  • 2 to 3 shallots sliced thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup white miso paste
  • ¾ cup milk (plus more, if needed)


  1. Bring potatoes to a boil in a pot of salted water.
  2. 2. While the potatoes are cooking, melt butter in a skillet. Once melted, reduce heat to medium low and add the shallots, garlic, and miso. Do not salt at this point. The miso is already salty. These will caramelize while the potatoes are cooking. If needed, reduce heat to low. 3. Once the potatoes are fork tender, drain the potatoes and return to the pot along with the miso butter shallot mixture and milk. Mash with a potato masher or with an electric mixer, adding more milk if needed. Taste to check salt levels. If you salted your potato cooking water well, you likely won’t need to add any salt.
Apple Custard Pie

Apple Custard Pie

apple custard pie

There are many Instagram worthy pies out there. As a beige wonder, this is not one of them. However, the taste makes up for whatever its appearance lacks. This is a pie my mom used to make, and it was a favorite of mine and of my cousins’. However, with time and fewer large family Thanksgiving dinners, it was forgotten. By that, I mean my mom forgot about the pie. I kept reminding her it was a perfect Thanksgiving pie, only to get blank looks from her because my mother has made too many pie recipes in her life to remember all of them.

Last year over either Thanksgiving or Christmas, I started going through my mom’s loose recipes: things cut out of magazines or printed on butter boxes. All of those gems that mock the KonMari organization method with their nonstandard sizes and formats. 

And I found the pie.

And a surprise. It turns out my favorite Thanksgiving pie is a product of the fat-phobic nineties. One of its ingredients is something called Land O’Lakes lean cream, which I am guessing is probably some discontinued fat free sour cream, as I recall my mom using sour cream in this recipe. There has been some tweaking, as my first version did not turn out quite right, but there is a picture of the original at the very bottom of this post if you want to see it.

Apple Custard Pie

You don’t need eagle eyes to see the recipe has an oat crumble trust, while my photo does not. Let’s just say the oat crumble was the best part of my first attempt.


  • Butter pie crust (Recipe below. Or use a store bought pie crust. This blog is a no judgment zone.)
  • 3 cups chopped apples
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ old fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, mix chopped apples with a tablespoon of cornstarch. In a large bowl, combine sugar, sour cream, egg yolks, cinnamon, lemon juice, and vanilla. Fold in apples.
  2. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Tuck the overhang under and crimp the edge with a fork or flute it between your thumb and index finger. Pour the filling into the crust.
  3. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, oats, and brown sugar. Crumble over pie. Add a pie shield to keep the crust from burning.
  4. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until filling is set. Cool completely before serving.

Butter Pie Crust

This is for a single crust pie.


  • ¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water


Mix pastry flour, all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Mix the butter into the flour mixture, using either your hands or a food processor until your butter cubes are butter flakes. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is evenly moist (but not wet) and is just starting to clump together. Do not overmix. Pat the dough into a 5-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Tuck the overhang under and crimp the edge with a fork or flute it between your thumb and index finger. Pour the filling into the crust.



autumn leaf and mums
Image credit: Negative Space

I’m in a season of life where I don’t know quite what I want. In the spring my life turned upside down, and in that upheaval, I was certain of some things I wanted and of some changes I was seeking to make. More recently, there has been a different upheaval, and I do not know what I want. As I write this, I am learning to embrace uncertainty, even though there are fewer things I dislike more than uncertainty.

I may not know what I want, but I do know what I am grateful for. I am grateful to the people in my life and the unconditional grace I have experienced over the last year. I have learned that I have people in my life who show up when I need them and give me their time and their kindness. I am so lucky to have great friends and family.

And to everyone reading this, I hope that your life is full of grace. It’s been a difficult two years for all of us, and we’ve all found we are so much stronger than we ever knew. I wish you joy this holiday season. I hope you find blessings where you least expect them. I hope you experience kindness from others on the days when you are not kind to yourself. You are doing your best, and you are enough.