Monday, November 28, 2011

Mashed Potato Cakes

Be honest, who still has Thanksgiving leftovers languishing in the refrigerator?  As much as I love the initial few rounds of turkey sandwiches, stage where there's a little of this and a little that left, but not enough for a meal can be tough to deal with.  Our delicious smoked turkey had been used up (or set aside in the freezer, designated for a future meal), roasted veggies snacked on, and rolls used for breakfast sandwiches, but we still had about two cups of mashed potatoes hanging out.

Looking for something a little different than another pile of mashed potatoes on the plate with dinner, I looked for a mashed potato pancake recipe that I had everything for, and hit gold when I saw a recipe that called for bacon fat on How Sweet It Is.  Every once in a while I save the rendered fat from cooking a package of bacon, and lucky for me, I had done this recently.  Let's be real; nothing makes a potato taste better than bacon fat.  I didn't change much here, just added a little cheese and some scallions for a little extra flavor.

Mashed Potato Pancakes

What's in them:

2 c mashed potatoes
3 Tbsp flour, more if your mashed potatoes are on the loose side
1/2 c shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp bacon grease, butter or olive oil

How to make them:

Sprinkle flour on mashed potatoes, add in cheese and scallions (or any other mix-ins you like) and stir gently to combine.  Form into eight patties that are about 1/2-1" thick.  I like them on the thinner side for a higher crust to mashed potato ratio.

Heat a skillet on medium high heat. Add your fat of choice and let it heat for 30 seconds. Add patties and let them brown on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side.  Don't rush and try to flip them before they're ready, or you'll use that delicious brown crust.

Serve immediately, with more cheese scallion, or even a dab of sour cream.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Alexa!

No recipe today, just a happy birthday to my favorite kitchen helper who is turning THREE today!  Where has all the time gone?

Alexa requested cookies with pink frosting and sprinkles to take to school to share, which Annie provided the perfect recipe for.  These soft sugar cookies with plenty of frosting in bright colors were a hit when we had a couple as a pre-birthday treat- definitely much better-tasting than their grocery store counterparts!

Happy birthday, baby girl!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mushrooms and Cream

How are your Thanksgiving plans going?  Are you prepping for a big meal with family and friends, a cozy dinner for two, or are you kicking back this year and letting someone else do the cooking?  To help us all get ready for the holiday, this week's theme for A Taste of Home Cooking's recipe swap was Thanksgiving sides.  I know I'm looking forward to seeing the results- I'm expecting a great mix of family traditions and new favorites!

I received a recipe for Brussels sprouts from Brianna at Oishii that basically combined a bunch of my favorite things into one indulgent dish.  The sprouts are roasted, then combined with sauteed mushrooms and shallots that have been splashed with wine, and a drizzle of cream.  I use cremini mushrooms since I didn't get around to a trip to the specialty grocery store for chantarelles, and while they were delicious, I'm looking forward to trying these with the chantarelles.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mushrooms and Cream

What's in them:

10 oz Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp butter
3-4 oz mushrooms of your choice, halved or sliced
1 shallot, finely diced
1/4 c dry white wine
1/4 c heavy cream
freshly ground black pepper to taste

How to make them:

Place the halved Brussels sprouts on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Season with kosher salt. Roast in a 450 degree oven until lightly browned and tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

Add the butter to a skillet and heat over high heat. When the butter foams, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown and tender and the mushroom liquid (if any) has evaporated, about 5-8 minutes. Add the shallots, seasoning lightly with salt, cooking until the shallots just start to brown, about another 3 minutes.

Add the wine, scraping up the brown bits in the pan, and cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add the Brussels sprouts and cream.  Toss to coat everything in the cream, then continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the cream thickens enough to really stick to the vegetables. Serve immediately.