Potato Pancakes…leftover magic!

20141208-101343-36823606.jpg

I had mashed potatoes left over from Thanksgiving. After feeding eleven people and sending leftovers home with the folks, I still had lots of potatoes left. When life gives you mashed potatoes, make potato pancakes!

These are not the crunchy, golden latkes I happen to adore. Those are made with shredded potatoes and sauteed in a skillet until they are crunchy and yummy. These are a soft, truly pancake-like potato pancake.  Kinda like the Midwest cousin of the latke.

I served them with a cheese and ham omelet. A perfect Sunday hot breakfast.

Soft Potato Pancakes

4 cups of mashed potatoes, leftover mashed potatoes are the best

1 large egg

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

2 scallions, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium mixing bowl, using either a hand mixer or a stand mixer, mix all of the ingredients until smooth. If it is too runny to scoop out into a soft mound, then add a little more flour a teaspoon at a time.

20141208-100545-36345270.jpg

Use a scoop to drop mounds onto a well oiled griddle or skillet. I kept a cup with oil in it to brush on the skillet before each round of pancakes.

20141208-100619-36379577.jpg

On medium heat, cook until one side browns, then flip over and give it a little smash to make a pancake shape. Cook until that side is golden brown. You may want to flip again and just cook the first side a little more to brown up the smashed side. It will take about 3-5 minutes on each side. Makes about 6-8 servings.

20141208-100702-36422773.jpg

 

Print Friendly
Posted in Potato Pancakes, Potatoes | 1 Comment

Tomato Soup……it’s not what you think

 20141202-124537-45937216.jpg

I was never a big fan of tomato soup. Was, being the key word. You know, that stuff in the red and white can that our moms made for us. The grilled cheese served along side the soup was totally kick butt. It had to be…..to choke down that pink stuff in the bowl.  Pink because my mom always put milk in it.  Then I grew up and had house made tomato basil soup in a restaurant. I started making my own tomato soup from the abundance of fresh tomatoes in the Summer. I had become a believer in tomato soup.

My food loving sister was telling me about a roasted tomato soup she had at a friend’s house. She got the recipe and passed it on to me. So, I made it last night. I had about six tomatoes and a box of cherry tomatoes that somehow survived the week of Thanksgiving. They were getting “iffy”.  Which means IF we don’t eat these in the the next day, we will have to pitch them. As in: toss them over to the creek for the critters? Not on my watch!

When life gives you “iffy” vegetables…roast them! So I did. I quartered the tomatoes and halved the cherry tomatoes. I smashed and peeled the garlic cloves and sliced and cut the onion. Drizzled some olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. That was it!

I had a quart of homemade chicken stock in the freezer and more than a dash of heavy cream in the fridge. Italian bread for the grilled cheese sandwiches and dinner was born. Plus, my house smelled like somebody’s Italian Nonna lived there.

This soup hardly took any time at all. Please give this a try. You can thank me later for sharing well with others.

Roasted Tomato Soup

1 to 2 pounds of tomatoes, quartered (can mix halved cherry and grape tomatoes)

1 medium onion, sliced and then quarter the round slices

6 cloves of garlic, slightly smashed to remove the peel

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 quart low sodium chicken stock

1 teaspoon of Chicken Better than Bouillon or 1 bouillon cube

1/4 cup heavy cream, or more if you like it creamier (or use half n half or milk or nothing)

Optional  herbs: fresh basil (when in season, of course) or fresh parsley or thyme or tarragon. If you do not want herbs then do not put them in. It is totally up to you. I didn’t have any fresh herbage, so I did not use any. Next Summer, I will have fresh herbs and I will use them.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the vegetables on to a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Lightly sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, the veggies should have gotten a bit of brown color on some of them.

 20141202-124503-45903237.jpg

Turn the oven off and let them stay in the oven for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and scrape the goodness into a large pot. Your house should smell divine about now. Add the chicken stock and bouillon and on medium heat bring the soup up to a simmer and then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender or a Bullet or a blender or a food processor, blend up the contents real well. If tiny bits of seeds and stuff bother you, strain through a sieve. It never bothers me. I love that bit of texture.

Return the blended mixture back into the pot. Taste to see if it needs any more seasonings. You may need to heat the soup up a bit more. After the soup has warmed back up, add the cream…or not. You know I added the cream! Taste again to see if any more seasonings are needed. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches. Makes about 4 one cup servings. Do not boil after adding the dairy, it will curdle. Not bad to eat, but it doesn’t look so good. A pat of butter would finish it off quite nicely.

Print Friendly
Posted in Better than Boullion, Roasted Tomato Soup, Soups, Tomato Soup, Tomatoes | Leave a comment

Pheasant…

20141117-084147-31307293.jpg

It’s pheasant season. My neighbor, Mark, of Bloody Mary fame, is a hunter. He asked me earlier this week if I would like a couple of birds to cook up.

Rewind to a balmy Summer night, friends gathered on the patio, sweet cigar smoke scenting the air, drinking a new whiskey, an old favorite beer, or a yummy glass of Pinot Grigio. Lots of talk around the table. Catching up on the latest news of the neighborhood, talk of the past, and talk of the future. The upcoming hunting season was approaching and the talk went to cooking game. This city girl (who would so love to be a country gal) had never cooked edible game. Oh, I tried wild duck breasts a few years ago and they turned out to be inedible. They were tough, bloody, and tasted like bad liver. I was clueless to the whole process. I told Mark I was willing to learn to cook anything he hunted. Game on!

Mark and I had a hard time catching each other this week for a coordinated “bird drop”. Finally, last night we came up with a plan.  He was going hunting very early this morning and would drop off the dressed and frozen birds on my porch. I told him I would leave homemade cinnamon rolls for him. So, I rolled out of a very warm bed at 6:30 this morning, went to the kitchen, put a couple of cinnamon rolls in a baggie, and then taped them to the storm door. I then crawled back into bed and put my frozen feet on Mr. Gravy. I’m guessing it was about 18 degrees outside, too cold and dark for me. So, back to sleep I went.

When I got up, later, there was a bag of frozen birds on the porch and the cinnamon rolls were gone. Heckuva deal! I thawed the birds, cut them up, and cleaned them up a little. Mark did an awesome job cleaning those birds. He even threw in a couple of dressed little quail.

I had watched a cooking show called Farmhouse Rules with Nancy Fuller earlier this Fall. She cooked a wild duck cacciatore. So, I did some reading around the internet and found out that cacciatore means “hunter style” of preparation. Sounded good to me. I ended up using her recipe for the pheasant and it turned out fabulous! I was totally amazed.

I served it with smashed potatoes and green beans with bacon and onion. I had dinner rolls left from yesterday and we also had those. I think a very crusty french bread or sour dough bread would be perfect with this dish. The wine we had was the wine I opened to use in the cacciatore.

20141117-085849-32329767.jpg

 

Old Vine Red Lot Number 60 was a very tasty red blend made up of mostly zinfandel grapes. I found this wine as a result of the wine tasting our neighborhood grocery store has every month. It tasted like a mouth full of jammy, dark berries with just a touch of oak and not a lot of tannins. It paired very well with the pheasant. I picked it up for under $12.

Duck (or chicken or pheasant or duck or rabbit) Cacciatore

by Nancy Fuller, Farmhouse Rules, The Food Network, 2014

Ingredients:

1 duck, cut into 8 pieces (I used two pheasants, cut up and two tiny little quail leg quarters)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Flour, for dusting

Olive oil, for the pan (I used a canola oil blend, which was just fine)

4 cloves of garlic, smashed

2 carrots, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces

2 ribs of celery, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 cup dry red wine

One 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand, include the juice

3/4 pound cremini mushrooms, whole

4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

2 sprigs parsley, whole (I did not use)

Directions:

20141117-102232-37352001.jpg

Sprinkle the duck pieces with salt and pepper, then dust lightly with flour.

20141117-102057-37257313.jpg

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Brown the duck pieces on both sides until golden brown.

Remove the pieces to a plate and pour off most of the fat from the pot. In the same pot, over medium heat, add the garlic, carrots, celery, onions, and red wine. Scrape the pot to dislodge the brown bits stuck to the bottom. Next, add the tomatoes and mushrooms, and stir.

20141117-085212-31932353.jpg

 

Place the duck on top of the vegetables and top with the pieces of butter and parsley. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 1 hour or until the meat is very tender.

Note: I had to cook my pheasant almost two hours on that medium-low heat.

Remove the duck pieces and vegetables to a serving platter. Spoon over the juices and serve warm.

 

 

 

Please forgive the pictures. I had steam everywhere, flour on my hands, and (I know it will come as a shock to you) I am not a professional photographer. I’m a cook and a baker. I just want to show you what it looks like along the way. It is not staged…it is real time cooking. It’s messy.

Print Friendly
Posted in Old Vine Red, Old Vine Red Lot Number 60, Pheasant, Pheasant Cacciatore, Red Wine, Stew | Leave a comment