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Eating down the Fridge: Day 3 (Potato Pancakes!)

Still working on Thanksgiving.  What turkey isn’t eaten yet pretty much is gone into the freezer to later be made into shepherd’s pie or soup or something.  But there were still a few mashed potatoes hanging around…

So I made them into pancakes.  Very good, very easy, give it a try!


Potato Pancakes

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs milk (optional)
  • 1/4 cup bread or cracker crumbs (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • few shakes black pepper (to taste)
  • sprinkle of oregano, cumin, thyme, curry powder, or any other spice you like…I did just oregano and it was great

Heat skillet to medium high heat with a little oil. (Oil can be omitted in a non-stick skillet, but don’t let it get too hot without food in it, or it can release toxic fumes!) Plop spoonfuls of potato mixture into pan in whatever size you like; flatten if necessary.

Let cook about 5-7 minutes on one side (lower heat if necessary and they are getting too brown) till the bottoms are nicely brown and a little crisp.  They’ll get crisper if you use more oil, of course. Flip and cook on other side, flattening pancake with spatula.

Serve with nonfat Greek yogurt (or sour cream, if you must) and chives, or warmed applesauce, or whatever you want.


This entire prep took maybe 10 minutes beginning to end.  Really easy, and if your kids are one iota less picky than mine I’d bet they’d go over famously.  Also, it should be mentioned that how you make your mashed potatoes will have a lot of impact on this recipe–I do fairly dry garlic-smashed potatoes, so I needed a little milk to make my pancakes work okay.  If you already do very smooth and moist mashed potatoes, you may not need any added liquid, and if you salt them liberally in prep you may not need to add any.  Use your judgment.  You could also probably vastly increase the amount of potato per egg, if you want to keep calories down and/or stretch your eggs. Or maybe even skip the egg all together, if you have some other vegan-ish methods of binding it all together…

These are delicious–easy and light and full of flavor; I’d make these as appetizers for a party or a brunch side dish or something like that in a heartbeat.


Happy Birthday to ME!

Okay, to be truthful, since that birthday 8 years ago when I was 3 weeks postpartum, sleep-deprived, and nursing for 45 minutes every two hours, I’ve been fairly content to let the whole thing slide by.  And after making my husband SWEAR that he wouldn’t make a big deal out of my turning 40 a couple of years ago (after bringing belly dancers to his 40th the previous year–no, he actually did want a kinda big-deal party), I’ve tried to downplay the whole thing as much as possible.  And yet people keep remembering…and honestly, I’m sort of digging it.

But what is so cool, especially on the gift front, is how much the people who care about me “get” what I’m about and what I love and need and want and don’t need/want…My coolest gift from husband and kids, and the one I knew about in advance because I helped pick it out and had been harping on it since summer when my mom got one, is a new SodaStream seltzer-maker.  This will get its own blog post later–it’s so cool; I am a huge fizzy-water drinker, and I can’t stand all the seltzer bottles that generates…now I’ll be able to make it at home, which will cut our monthly grocery bills by probably the cost of a babysitter for one evening, and dramatically reduce the amount of recycling I add to the system.

My parents sent me a beautiful glass bead lariat necklace, handmade by an artist on one of the islands near where they live. And a purse/backpack made of repurposed old jeans from, with a vintage Wonder Woman cartoon on the side–beautiful craftsmanship, making my feeble efforts at jeans-purses feel really clumsy. I will totally use this, ALL the time. (The outer zipper pocket just fits my oversize Kindle, too.)  And some goodies from an organic artisan chocolatier from another island near where they live, Black Dinah Chocolatiers, (Ahem…cough cough…yes, as of 9:00 this morning I had already broken into the semisweet bar with ground lavender flowers. Oh. My. God.), which are to die for. Dinah also has a cafe…and a blog…with recipes.

As usual, the best gifts are the intangibles–like my kids and husband making pancakes for me on a school morning, and two handmade cards, one with a picture of my son and me–with HUGE hands–standing together, and another of my daughter and I in a field of flowers at sunset (pictured above).  And more Facebook happy wishes than I ever would have hoped for or expected.

It’s a good day.

Happy Birthday, Bear (Palaczinta!)

Eight years ago today, I became a mom.  Eight years ago today I first got a look at the pointy-headed purple-faced alien-looking creature who’d been kicking my rib cage over most of the summer and early fall. Now he’s this big tall kid who runs and reads Harry Potter and is too cool to hug his mom in front of his friends…It’s my boy’s birthday.

I told him he could have whatever he wanted for breakfast.  He asked for Palaczinta, a kind of Hungarian pancake like crepes, that my mom used to make for me when I was a kid and which we loved. My kids love them too.   The good thing about making them on a school day is that you can make the batter the night before and let it sit overnight in the fridge.

(Okay, remember my post at the Green Phone Booth about organic healthy whole food vs. organic not-even-remotely-healthy food? This is very clearly not on the right side of that line…be warned.)

Hungarian Palaczinta (makes about 16-18 pancakes)

In a large bowl, lightly beat with a whisk: 6 eggs, 1-2 tsp sugar.

Whisk in 2 1/2 cups milk, 1/2 tsp salt, and about 1 tsp sugar

Slowly add 2 cups flour, a little at a time and whisking well after each addition. It should be smooth and a little thick by the time you’re done.  Add a little more milk if it’s too thick.  I’ve heard that some also add a little nutmeg here, but I forgot.

Whisk in 6 tbs melted and slightly cooled butter. (Yes, that’s 3/4 of a stick of butter.  I told you this wasn’t very healthy.)

Let sit half an hour, or overnight in the fridge.  In the morning, if necessary, add a little more milk or up to half a cup seltzer water and whisk well to thin a bit

to cook:

Heat a 10 inch skillet, preferably with a little curve to the sides, to medium high heat. (If it’s nonstick, you can do this without additional butter.) Pour enough batter in the bottom of the skillet so that you can swirl it around to cover the bottom. Let cook about a minute, till the lacy edges are a little brown and it’s bubbling up a little in the middle, and flip over.  Cook another half minute on the second side, and remove to a plate.  Continue until all the batter is used, stacking the pancakes on each other as you go. (The really high amount of butter in here keeps them from sticking together! Sigh…butter…)

to serve:

To do this the proper Magyar way, you’d fill them with various cheese and fruit and nut mixtures and re-bake them. (Think Hungarian blintzes.) If you are my kids, you drizzle a little honey or maple syrup on them, or smear on some applesauce and a little cinnamon sugar, or jam, and roll them up.  Then you eat them with your fingers, drizzling sticky whatever all over the place and getting it on your clothes.


Now okay, I’m sure you could use whole wheat instead of white flour.  And I’m sure you could substitute some neutral oil for some or all of the butter, and probably use a good bit less of it.  But the fact is, these things are so simple ingredient-wise that changing any of the ingredients fairly dramatically changes the taste of the final product; I’ve never tried oil for the butter, but whole wheat for the flour is just not very pleasant in this context. (Maybe you could add some honey or something, or maybe the overnight sit would help remove some of the in-your-face whole-wheatiness of the flour?)

For us this is just one of those special occasion really-not-good-for-you things we do once in a long while.

Happy Birthday, Bear.