everybody burns the carrots sometimes

Please be certain you’re reading the title of today’s post to the infamous Frank Sinatra tune. After this, I must admit: I really burned the carrots. 

see?

I bought these beautiful carrots after passing up a bag of liquidy pre-cut baby carrots. I thought, oh I’ll just peel and cut these myself—more effort, but worth it, right? 

 P.S. My favorite color combination, left.  

I hear so many people complain about the “trouble” of cooking from scratch. I find it so rewarding, both in flavor and in knowing it offers so much more nutrition than pre-packaged meals. 

And after saying this, after washing and scrubbing the dang carrots, I got so caught up in flipping the potato cakes I completely forgot about the carrots roasting in the oven. One look at them and Andrew accused me of sneaking him burnt sweet potato fries.   

Enough about the carrots, I’m over it. I’m here to also make a case for potatoes. I came from a meat-and-potatoes family, though clearly the meat notion didn’t take. While my husband didn’t grow up eating potatoes, I’m certain we had them in some form every week growing up. That said, even the health nut I am, I’m an absolute sucker for potatoes. And blinis (bah-LEE-nees, Polish potato pancakes) bring me back to all my memorable childhood visits to central PA. 

So I’m coming home from school today and it’s frigid out and carbohydrates just seem so appealing. I resisted the urge to make something with four different kinds of cheese and a stick of butter. Instead, I picked up three huge russet potatoes, along with fresh sage and thyme (cue Paul Simon). Tonight: herby potato roti. 

If you have a food processor, this is the time to whip out the shredding disc, because grating this much potato by hand would have taken way too long (remember, I spent so much time already with the dang carrots).  It took about 40 seconds to grate over 8 cups of potato! 

After this, I dried the potato on paper towels, though I eventually used my salad spinner to finish the job. (Remind me to tell you about the magic of salad spinners at some point, and where I find fun gadgets like these for waaaaaaaay less). I added in a teeny bit of chopped onion to my mixture, and then combined the grated potato with the sage and thyme. I was surprised the recipe off of which I based my little potato cakes did not call for any egg or liquid to hold the mixture together, but sure enough the pieces cooked together nicely in a hot skillet of olive oil.  I did feel all scientific trying this first in a stainless pan and then in my big nonstick skillet (thanks, Mom) for comparison. Well it was much easier to flip these little guys on the nonstick (duh), besides that I didn’t need to use nearly as much fattening olive oil. But, they did not crisp and brown so beautifully as they did in the first skillet–regardless how high I turned the heat in the nonstick.  

Although it seems like the herbs should have burned in these little rotis, they worked out lovely.  And they look so artsy, don’t you agree?

the herby potato roti!

I got chicken sausages for Andrew (who was delighted to see a meal with meat), and served our dozens of little potatoes with herbed sour cream (stirred those fresh herbs into plain yogurt for a delicious, nutritious substitute), spiced applesauce, and…yes, the carrot fries. 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

remember: I love hearing your recipes, cooking ideas, questions, and feedback. and if this photo doesn’t make you want to put on a Simon and Garfunkel album (vinyl or otherwise), I hope you at least have Scarborough Fair in your head the rest of the day. 

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6 Comments

Filed under dinners

6 responses to “everybody burns the carrots sometimes

  1. Ashley Fellers

    Lindsey, I make these too, and love them dearly! I always knew of them as “latkes” (yiddish).

    In the fall, I think they are awesome with a parsnip or two grated in. In late spring, I think they are to DIE for with fresh scapes.

    I am intrigued that you managed them without an egg. Now I’m curious if I could get by without eggs as well (I eat eggs, but prefer to buy fresh ones at the farmer’s market, and I *hate* the fact that I can never use up the entire dozen and end up wasting some — it’s the German in me, I think — so I generally don’t keep them around). I’m curious: do you ever make similar items with an egg substitute of any kind? Just today I stumbled on a really fantastic-looking Southern Living recipe for Black-eyed Pea Cakes w/ Cranberry-Red Pepper Salsa, and I’m curious if I could sub out the egg. Hmmm…

    P.S. Random tip from the kitchen that’s always missing some essential piece of equipment (ha:)): If anyone wants to try these but doesn’t have an empty salad spinner on hand, you can always throw the grated potato in a clean kitchen towel, roll it up and twist to wring out the liquid. Just make sure to throw the towel in the washer right away! 🙂

    • Ashley,

      You must share where you discover/invent all of these exotic recipes!!! I’m still thinking about your tarragon drizzle…

      I don’t love eggs myself (would never eat one in a meal), particularly when I can taste their flavor. However, egg substitute grosses me out even more—primarily from a nutrition standpoint.

      I share your distaste for waste, but I find it easy to use up a dozen eggs when I’m on a crepe kick! Since crepes freeze so well, might as well make a bunch and EAT THEM FOR EVERY MEAL. Too fantastic.

      thanks for reading 🙂

  2. POPS

    Dear Daughter,
    When you come over to the house I’ll show you how to make true Polish Bleenies in lard with a side dish of Kabasa. Love, Pops

  3. Ashley Fellers

    Lindsey,

    I feel you on the carton-style egg “substitute.” I’ve never wanted to try it. Who the heck knows what’s in there?! I just keep thinking there has to be something (something a little more, eh, shall we say “natural” than the carton stuff!) with a gluey consistency that could hold these kind of recipes together and is in my daily cupboard. It’s weird — I’ve actually been thinking about this in passing for a year or two, but nothing has ever come to mind. I will keep (sporadically) thinking about it. I wish I was scientific enough to figure out this sort of stuff, but alas, my poor brain is kinda anti-science. I’ll blame my liberal-arts education. 🙂

    That said… your idea about freezing crepes … genius! I never would have thought of doing that!! This makes me happy now.

    P.S. The new blog post? I am SUPER excited about trying that!!! 🙂 You are awesome and I always anxiously await your next beautiful installment!

    • Applesauce is a substitute for eggs in vegan baking…don’t know how well applesauce holds up on a hot skillet for potatoes though…you could also maybe try cornstarch dissolved in water?

      I’m competely making all these things up. Well exept the applesauce: it’s a yummy substitute in vegan banana bread, for instance!

  4. Ashley Fellers

    Applesauce! You know, it does sound a little strange, but heck, I am always up for an experiment.

    Your cornstarch idea also just made me think: polenta??? (I wouldn’t add this to root-vegetable stuff, but for the recipe w/ the black eyed peas, for instance, or for corn fritters, or even bean burgers, I think it might go). I’m inclined to think it might work if I made the cakes and then put them on a baking sheet in the fridge for an hour or two before pan-frying. Hmmm….

    By the way: Can you tell I’m totally a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants cook? I just pretty much buy whatever makes me happy on Saturday, and then on Tuesday, or Thursday, or Friday, I open the fridge and think, “hey, what can I make with all this stuff I happen to have here??” Geez… One day I SWEAR I will be more organized. In the meantime, though, you are helping me solve some of these pressing issues. 🙂

    Wow, sorry about the long thread. But now I’m very excited to try these ideas!! THANK YOU, expert collaborator! I need to talk to you about this stuff more often. I’ll report back and let you know how it turns out … Yay!:) 🙂

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