Between Sandy and the election, I’ve been distracted these past few weeks. I got up this morning and checked the calendar. I knew Thanksgiving was getting close, but I was a little surprised that this time two weeks from now I’ll  be brining my turkey and toasting my bread for the big day. And here’s another thing I’ll be doing: making Olive Oil-Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Basil.

Yep, for the first time ever I won’t be mashing cream and butter into my potatoes. There’s just no need when I can flavor them with broth from the cooked potatoes coupled  with olive oil, garlic, and fresh herbs. If you’ve got an excess of turkey gravy, then a little of it drizzled on these potatoes doesn’t hurt, but they’re punchy enough they don’t need it. Save your gravy for the turkey and leftover hot sandwiches.

These mashed potatoes can be flavored with fresh herbs and garlic, but recently Maggy and I have discovered Gourmet Garden’s squeeze tube fresh herbs. Back in August they sent a sampling of their products for us to try, and we thought these potatoes would make a good test. Rather than flavor them with  minced fresh garlic and  basil, we substituted an equal amount of Gourmet Garden’s squeeze-tube garlic and basil into the potatoes. Both Maggy and I not only loved the fresh flavor of the Gourmet Garden herbs and aromatics, we also appreciated the real time savings these products offered.

The real attraction of these tubed herbs is their longevity. We’ve all watched our refrigerated bundles of fresh herbs wilt over time and then eventually turn to slime. Of the few tubes I have left from August, the herbs are still fresh!

We’ll be sharing more Thanksgiving recipes in the next few weeks, but Olive Oil-Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Basil is one that works for the big day… or any day!

Olive Oil-Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Basil
Serves 4

If you’ve got it, a little chopped fresh parsley is a nice addition to the basil.

1 1/2 pounds small new potatoes (8 to 12)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced to a paste
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
Salt and ground black pepper

Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to boil, cover, and then simmer until a wooden or metal skewer inserted into the potato easily slips out, about 20 minutes.

Reserving 1/4 cup of the potato cooking liquid, drain potatoes and slash them in half with a paring knife; add oil, garlic, basil, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roughly crush potatoes with a fork, adding reserved potato cooking liquid if necessary. Adjust seasonings and serve.