Matt’s Yeast Rolls

4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm milk (about 100 F to 110 F)
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, about 19 ounces (plus more for kneading)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 ounces (1/2 cup) butter (melted, cooled to lukewarm)
For the Topping:
1 egg
1 teaspoon water

Butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine the yeast with the warm milk. Let stand for a minute or two.

Add the flour, 1 large egg, 2 teaspoons of salt, sugar, and melted butter. Using a dough hook, mix on low speed until combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue to mix for 15 minutes, adding small amounts (a teaspoon or two at a time) of flour, as needed to encourage dough from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead a few times to form a ball. Place the ball of dough in an oiled bowl. Turn to oil both sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Turn out onto a lightly floured board. Shape the dough into balls, about 1 1/4 ounces each. Place in large baking pan to make about five rows of four (20 rolls). Or, use a large buttered jelly roll pan or half sheet pan and make 1-ounce rolls, leaving a little space between rows to form a more rectangular roll (about 24 rolls).

Cover lightly with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 375 F.

For the egg wash topping, whisk an egg with 1 teaspoon of water and a pinch of salt until well blended. Gently brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash mixture.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and the rolls sound hollow when tapped. The internal temperature should be about 190 F on an instant-read food thermometer.

Serve the yeast rolls warm with butter.

To reheat, wrap the roll(s) in foil and heat in a preheated 325 F oven just until hot.

Mashed Potatoes

5 pounds Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, well-scrubbed
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
2 cups half-and-half
3 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
Finely chopped fresh chives (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
Additional pat of butter (optional)

Boil the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a large pot and add cold water to cover then by about 1 inch. Stir in 2 tablespoons of salt. Cover and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Uncover and reduce the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer. Test for doneness at 30 minutes. A sharp knife should easily go through the potato. Larger potatoes may take longer, up to 45 or 50 minutes total.

Heat the butter and half-and-half and add salt. About 20 minutes into the potato cooking time, melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan. Heat the half-and half and remaining 1 tablespoon salt over low heat in another small saucepan. Keep both warm.

Drain the potatoes. When the potatoes are ready, drain them in a colander. Turn off the heat on the butter and half-and-half.

Mash the potatoes. If using a potato masher or ricer, peel the potatoes — you can pick each one up with a pot holder and peel with a paring knife. If using a food mill, don’t peel the potatoes. In either case, the mash, rice, or process the potatoes back into the pot they were cooked in. This will cut down on extra dishes and help the potatoes stay warm from the pot’s residual heat.

Add the dairy. Add the hot butter to the potatoes, gently stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula to incorporate. When all the butter is absorbed, add the hot half-and-half. It will seem soupy at first, but the potatoes will gradually absorb the liquid and turn into a creamy mixture.

Taste, garnish, and serve. Taste your potatoes and add more salt as needed. This is also a good time to add pepper if using. Spoon into your serving dish and top with optional garnishes, such as a pat of butter or some chopped chives.

Notes

Make ahead: You can make your potatoes in advance of serving. If it’s just an hour or so, leave them in the pot you mashed them in and don’t garnish yet. Place the pot in a large pan of gently simmering water to keep warm. If they’ve been refrigerated, the best way to reheat them is to place them in a low oven, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Reheated mashed potatoes are often drier and may need additional (warmed!) dairy to bring them back to their creaminess. This post has some great tips on reheating mashed potatoes.

Storage: Leftover mashed potatoes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Electric mixers: Some people get away with using a stand mixer or hand-held beaters. Just be very careful and don’t let it rip or you will end up with the unhappiness of gluey potatoes. Stick to low speed.

Additions: Cream cheese, sour cream, and yogurt are a popular additions to mashed potatoes. They all add a nice dairy tang and contribute to a creamy texture. Feel free to substitute some or all of the half-and-half with either of these ingredients if you like a little tanginess in your mashed p

Low Country Hoppin’ John

Peas:

2 quarts Pork Stock or Chicken Stock
1 cup Anson Mills Sea Island Red Peas, soaked in a pot of water in the refrigerator overnight
1 1/2 cups medium dice onions
1 cup medium dice peeled carrots
1 1/2 cups medium dice celery
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 fresh bay leaf
10 thyme sprigs
1/2 jalapeño, chopped
Kosher salt

Rice:

4 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Red Pea Gravy:

Reserved 1 cup cooked red peas
Reserved 2 cups cooking liquid from the peas
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Cider vinegar
Sliced chives or scallions for garnish

For the peas:

Bring the stock to a simmer in a small pot. Drain the peas and add to the stock, along with all of the remaining ingredients except the salt. Cook the peas, partially covered, over low heat until they are soft, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt. (The peas can be cooked ahead and refrigerated in their liquid for up to 3 days; reheat, covered, over low heat before proceeding.)

Drain the peas, reserving their cooking liquid, and measure out 1 cup peas and 2 cups liquid for the gravy; return the rest of the peas and liquid to the pot and keep warm.

Meanwhile, for the rice:

About 45 minutes before the peas are cooked, preheat the oven to 300°F.

Bring the water, salt, and cayenne pepper to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the rice, stir once, and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is al dente, about 15 minutes.

Drain the rice in a sieve and rinse under cold water. Spread the rice out on a rimmed baking sheet. Dry the rice in the oven, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Scatter the butter evenly over the rice and continue to dry it, stirring every few minutes, for about 5 minutes longer. All excess moisture should have evaporated and the grains should be dry and separate.

For the gravy:

Put the 1 cup peas, 2 cups cooking liquid, and the butter in a blender and blend on high until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add cider vinegar to taste.

(The gravy can be made up to 3 days ahead and kept in a covered container in the refrigerator; reheat, covered, over the lowest possible heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.)

To complete:

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peas to a large serving bowl. Add the rice and carefully toss the rice and peas together. Pour the gravy over them, sprinkle with chives or scallions, and serve.