I’ve rarely met a potato dish I didn’t like. However, I was never very happy with homemade potato cakes. There’s a slight difference between potato patties, latkes, hashbrowns, and pancakes. I’ve tried making them all and never been very happy with any…until America’s Test Kitchen came to the rescue.
Their idea was to NOT use leftover mashed potatoes because the consistency will vary from batch to batch – ranging from dry to mushy. Rather, use a recipe specifically developed for patties. Another brilliant idea was to coat the cakes with panko, which gives them a nice crunch without all the oil.
MASHED POTATO CAKES – makes 8 patties
- 2½ lbs russet potatoes
- 1 T + 3/4 tsp salt, divided
- 1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 whole egg
- about 2 cups panko crumbs
- about 6 T vegetable oil for frying
- optional: toppings such as sour cream, ketchup, aioli sauce
Peel potatoes and cut into 1/4″ slices. Put into pot and add enough water to cover potatoes with 1″ water. Add in the 1 T salt. Bring to boil and cook 10 minutes. Drain, then return potatoes to pot or large bowl. Mash potatoes until smooth and let cool about 10 minutes.
Add the Parmesan, egg yolk, chives, 3/4 tsp salt, and pepper to the pot and mash all together. Let cool 1 hour. Form 8 3″ patties – they’ll each need about 1/2 cup’s worth of potatoes. Make sure to press the patties together firmly so they don’t fall apart. Beat the whole egg with a fork and pour onto a plate. Pour the panko onto another plate. Dip each pattie on both sides into the egg, followed by the panko. Set all the patties aside for 5 minutes before frying.
Preheat oven to 200º Fahrenheit oven.
Heat 3 T oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet and place 4 of the patties. Fry until bottom is golden brown (about 3 minutes), then flip and fry until golden brown. Place on a cookie sheet and keep warm in the 200º F oven. Cook the remaining 4 patties in the same manner. Serve immediately or keep warm in the oven until ready to eat.
Sweet potatoes of some sort have become an integral part of Thanksgiving in the US. Sadly, they’re often dumped out of a can, sprinkled with brown sugar, then topped with marshmallows. Sigh!
I will agree that sweet potatoes can use some flavoring, so I decided to find a better way than covering them with sugar. Stuffing them offers the benefit of utilizing the skin, PLUS being able to assemble them ahead of time – a huge bonus when you’re trying to get a holiday dinner on the table.
STUFFED SWEET POTATOES – makes 2 servings
- 1 sweet potato
- 2 T butter
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed & minced
- 1/3 cup scallions, sliced (use whites and greens)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 oz (1/2 cup) jack cheese, shredded (I like jalapeño jack for an extra kick)
Preheat oven to 375º Fahrenheit.
Wash unpeeled sweet potato and pierce with a sharp knife a few times. Microwave 2 minutes each side until soft in center – (about 6-8 minutes total). (You can bake them in the oven if you’d rather.) Set cooked sweet potato aside to completely cook in center while you prepare the filling.
Melt butter in a saucepan, and sauté jalapeño and scallions over medium flame for about 3-4 minutes – until the butter has browned, but not the scallions. Remove from heat and add in salt and pepper. Slice sweet potato in half lengthwise and scrap out pulp, leaving a 1/4″ border intact. Chop pulp to break up strings, then mash. Stir mashed sweet potato into jalapeño mixture along with all but 2 T of the cheese.Fill each sweet potato shell with the mixture. Sprinkle 1 T cheese on each half. At this point they can be covered and baked just before serving.Bake at 375º F for about 8 minutes, until sweet potatoes are hot and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
The old saying proves true: you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.
I was given the recipe for Eggplant-Tomato Stir-Fry years ago when my husband and I were in a gourmet group. Looking at the ingredients, I was completely unimpressed. However, when I made and tasted it, I was completely IMpressed by how well the flavors blended.
As with most stir-frys, it’s all about the prep. With Eggplant-Tomato Stir-Fry, you wash and chop the veggies, and the cooking goes quickly. Yes, at the end, you do need to cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, but that’s hands-off.
- 2 T vegetable oil
- 1 onion, cut into bite-sized slices
- 1 medium eggplant, unpeeled and 1″ cubed
- 1 red pepper, cut into slices or cubes
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 3½ oz (3½cups) fresh spinach leaves, chopped (or 1 frozen 10 oz package chopped)
- 1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise then cut into half moons
- 2 tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
Heat oil in large skillet – I used a 14″ stainless steel pan. When oil is shimmering, add onions and sauté over medium/high for 2 minutes. One by one, continue to add eggplant, red pepper, garlic & spinach together, zucchini, and finally the tomatoes, cooking each 2 minutes before adding the next. Stir in the salt and pepper.
Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until veggies are tender but not mushy. Taste for seasoning, adjusting as needed.
When asked to attend a potluck, my Spicy Macaroni Salad is often specifically requested. Unlike the usual bland pasta salads, this recipe will wake up your mouth…in a good way!
It’s super easy to make and does well with being made in advance so the flavors have time to blend.
SPICY MACARONI SALAD
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 T lemon juice
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp garlic, pressed or minced
- 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp Tabasco (or other hot sauce)
- 8 oz small elbow macaroni
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped radishes
- 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1/4 cup scallions
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 T dried dill (or 3 T fresh)
In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, Dijon, garlic, pepper, and Tabasco. Stir the carrots, radishes, cucumber, scallions, parsley, and dill into the dressing. Mix well and chill.Cook pasta in salted water until just tender. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking (don’t worry, it will continue to soften when mixed with the dressing) and drain. Mix into the dressing. Chill at least an hour to allow the flavors to penetrate the pasta.
One of my favorite flavor combinations is lemon and garlic, so it’s no surprise that Greek Potatoes are a go-to side dish in our house. Not only is it delicious, but it’s super fast and easy to prepare. (It does take about 40 minutes to bake, but that’s hands-off.)
I highly recommend using a firm potato such as Yukon Gold or a red potato – the pieces will retain their shape. I’ve made this dish with russets, and they tend to kind of mash.
GREEK POTATOES – makes about 5 cups
- 1½ lbs Yukon Gold or red potatoes
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2½ T vegetable oil
- 1/2 T olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1-3 cloves garlic, pressed (I use 2)
- 1½ cups boiling water
- about 2 T chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 475º Fahrenheit.
Chop unpeeled potatoes into chunks that are no smaller than 3/4″. (If they’re too small, you’ll lose the balance of a firm outside and creamy inside of each piece.)
Into a flat bottomed, high sided casserole dish combine the potatoes, lemon juice, vegetable oil, olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, and boiling water. Place in 475º F oven uncovered. Bake, stirring gently every 20 minutes, until almost all the water is evaporated. This will take about 40-60 minutes. There will still be oil remaining on the bottom. Remove from oven and sprinkle on parsley. Serve while hot.
Apple season is upon us. While there are a plethora of pie, tart, and bread recipes made from these red beauties, I decided to try something a little different: APPLE-SWEET POTATO HASH. The combination of apples, sweet potatoes, and onions works surprisingly well.
Besides being tasty, it’s extremely easy and fast to make. Just chop and fry!
Note: Choose an apple variety that’s crisp and tangy such as Gala, Fuji, or Honey Crisp.
APPLE-SWEET POTATO HASH – makes about 4 cups
- 1/2 T vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 large sweet potato, unpeeled and cubed into 1/2″ pieces
- 2 apples (I use Gala), unpeeled and cubed into 1/2″ pieces
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp dried dill
- 1 tsp lemon juice
In a 12″ nonstick skillet (you can probably use cast iron, although I haven’t tried that since my cast iron skillet is only 10″), heat oil over medium/high. Add in onions and sweet potato. Sauté 3 minutes, uncovered, stirring now and then. Cover, decrease heat to low, and cook for 8 minutes. Check to see if sweet potato is easily pierced by a sharp knife. If not, cover and let cook a little longer. When cooked, add in apples, cinnamon, salt, and dill. Increase heat to medium/high and sauté until browned, stirring now and then. Add in lemon juice. Adjust seasoning, if needed.
Mashed potatoes can get a little boring. True, they’re filling, easy, cheap, and everyone likes them. But, maybe it’s time to add in mashed parsnips…you know, to shake things up a bit.
If you’ve never had a parsnip, it’s really time you did. They have a slight sweetness, kind of like a carrot. In fact, the two are related.
And, just to show you what an adventurous gal I am, I use Yukon gold potatoes in this recipe, rather than the standard russet for mashed potatoes.
MASHED POTATOES & PARSNIPS – makes 3½ cups
- 4 T butter
- 8 oz parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/4″ slices (cut fat end into half moons)
- 1½ lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ circles
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup vegetable stock (homemade or purchased)
- 3/4 cup half & half (or half cream & half milk)
- 2 T chives, chopped
Melt butter in pot and add parsnips. Over medium/high heat, sauté until browned – about 10 minutes. Place potato slices in strainer and rinse well to remove excess starch. Let drain. When parsnips have browned, add potatoes to the pot. Cover, decrease heat to low, and cook about 20 minutes – until potatoes are tender. Uncover pot and let set 2 minutes to allow steam to escape. Mash mixture until smooth. Warm the milk and pour 1/2 cup of it into the potatoes. (Use the rest, if needed. Save it for any leftover mash.) Add in chives and fold mixture gently together. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.