Mother’s Day and Fried Mashed Potatoes

This tasty (and fast) recipe is in honor of MOTHER’S DAY! Mother’s Day is this Sunday kids, so take note. I’m sure everyone can think of a lovely lady in their life, family or not, who has nurtured you/pestered you/made you who you are today.

Fried mashed potatoes are one of those things that Momma makes that make any day a little more delicious. They are also made out of leftovers, and when one lives alone one generally does not make the kind of family-style fare that ends up as leftovers. So I only get them when I go home to Momma. And because I am in the library working on a final that is due in a few hours, I obviously have time to type out the recipe real quick.

You Need:

leftover mashed potatoes

1 egg, beaten (optional)

vegetable oil of some kind, for frying

salt and pepper

optional: grated cheese, preferably cheddar

Grab your bowl of mashed potatoes and check out the consistency. If they’re fresh and/or contain lots of butter, you can probably form them into patties without adding anything. If they are crumbly, stir in a beaten egg. Season with some extra salt/pepper/grated cheese if you’re feeling fancy, and form into patties about 1/2 inch thick.

Thickly coat the bottom of a skillet with vegetable oil. 1/4 inch or less should be plenty. We are not actually deep frying here, just giving those bad boys a crispy coating. I usually test my oil with a drop of water, but I think this is a fire hazard. The proper way is to drop in a little piece of bread and see if it sizzles.

When oil is hot, lay your patties in and fry until the bottom is golden brown. Flip once, and continue cooking until hot and tasty. Serve with ketchup and fried eggs.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mom and I in Scotland

My mom and I in Scotland on the banks of Loch Lomond. I am no doubt dreaming of fried mashed potatoes.

Procrastination is like…

I’d finish that quote but it’s rather scandalous. The point is I’ve been busy with graduating and have let my pride and joy slip by the wayside. Has it really been a whole month (erm, two) since I posted? THE HORROR!!!

After a few slaps on the wrist I’ve made a list of a few tasty posts to come after graduation. Glory be.

So if you’d like to hear my thoughts on knitting for boyfriends, score some free tracks by a new glam rock band, or watch me attempt to make fried avocados without the aid of a deep fryer or burning my kitchen down, by all means stay tuned!

LOVE!

Yuck

I could waste time writing a lengthy intro to this post on my NEW FAVORITE BAND, but I won’t. Except to say that they are really, really, cool. Yuck seems a bit of a contradictory name for a band that I find so delicious, but there ya go. Yuck is a North London import, and their self-titled debut album is the kind of record that can easily get put on repeat and define a season. If you are not yet convinced, I have provided a complementary list of 5 Reasons to Love Yuck.

yuck photo

1. Yuck combines nearly every musical style that’s been hot for the past year to make something totally different. You’ll hear vocals ranging from sweet harmonies to jangling, 90’s style, angst. The melodies layer piercing solos and fuzzed out guitars in a way that seems unrehearsed and fresh.

2. Frontman Daniel Blumberg is a redhead.

3. Their self-titled album is a mix of head shaking beats and slowed down tracks. Perfect for every mood.

4. They landed a spot on the BBC Sound of 2011 list, meaning they’ll probably (hopefully) hit it big soon enough. Be cooler than your friends and get the album now!

5. Their music videos are pretty neat, and perfectly capture the whole 90s-but-better vibe. Here’s one for Holing Out.

Get AwayClick to download my favorite track.

Enjoy!

Happy Squash Soup

On a recent self-righteous trip to the grocery store, I decided to be healthy and came home with a giant butternut squash. Once home, I realized I have no idea what one does with such a thing.

SOUP! Eureka. Soups are a great way to try new ingredients. The slow cooking gives you loads of time to correct seasonings and mellow out weird textures, and you can always throw in something familiar to offset a funky flavor. Soups are so easy peasy that I decided to be extra adventurous and add a parsnip. Parsnips are ugly white veggies with a mild oniony flavor. They look a bit like the grizzled grandpa of the carrot, but are very very tasty in soups or other slow-cooked dishes. The sweetness of the squash and the bite of the parsnip balance out nicely, and make a super healthy winter time meal.

Don’t fret, the recipe is a lot shorter than my soup-lovin’ ramble. This stuff is BURSTING with vitamins, takes very little effort, and is an unbelievable neon orange color. Happy days.

easy squash soup recipe

You Need:

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into one inch pieces

1 small parsnip, peeled and cut into one inch pieces

1 yellow or white onion, peeled and cut into one inch pieces

::Note:: You will be pureeing the soup in a blender. The dice on these vegetables does not need to be perfect at all, just keep the pieces in a somewhat uniform size to ensure an even cooking time.

3 whole garlic cloves, peeled

broth/stock/water (You need enough to cover the veggies in a large pot. I used 4 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups of water because I like thin, sippable soups. If you like it thicker, use just enough to cover. If you use vegetable broth or water this is a completely vegan recipe.)

juice of half an orange

1/4 teaspoon curry powder

red pepper and salt, to taste

Bring the broth, squash, and parsnip to a boil in a large pot. Lower heat to a simmer and set timer for 30 minutes. Halfway through cooking time, add the onion pieces. After 30 minutes, check for doneness. Squash should pierce easily with a fork and the onions should be transparent. Turn off heat.

Throw the peeled, whole garlic in the blender. Scoop all of the vegetables from the pot and add to the blender with a few spoonfuls of cooking liquid. If you’re brave and have a big blender, feel free to pour the whole mixture in. It doesn’t matter if the broth goes into the blender or not, just do what you gotta do to get a smooth mixture.

Pour the mix back in the pot. Add the curry powder, orange juice, and salt and red pepper to taste. Return to a simmer, stir, and serve.

YUM!

Green Bean Fries with Spicy Ranch Dipping Sauce

I have the biggest salt tooth on the planet. These oven-baked green bean “fries” will satisfy any craving for something salty, crunchy, and junk food-y, but they’re secretly healthy. The breading is light, crispy, and browns in the oven without frying. This will save you from fatness and from cleaning up a hot oil explosion. Home frying is dangerous, people. But the real kicker is the dipping sauce. I can’t eat breaded foods without ranch, and thinning it out with some yogurt saves me some guilt. Plus, spicy ranch is one of the south’s Greatest Gifts.

green bean fries recipe with spicy ranch recipe

Enjoy!

for the dipping sauce:

1/4 cup prepared Ranch dressing

1/4 cup plain lowfat yogurt

1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion (about one medium)

dash garlic powder

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. This stuff would also be divine on sandwiches.

Tip: Make the dipping sauce first so the flavors have time to develop. Also, these fries beg to be eaten immediately and you won’t want to bother with mixing up some sauce.

for the fries:

green bean fry ingredients

1 bunch fresh green beans

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup packaged bread crumbs, seasoned or plain

optional but tasty: 1 heaping tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

olive oil

Rinse your green beans and trim off the ends. If they’re fresh, you should be able to snap the ends off easily with your fingers. If you forgot about the delicious green beans lurking in your veggie crisper, use a knife. Cut any extra long beans in half. You want them to be fairly uniform in size.

In a small bowl, beat the egg and water. Spread the bread crumbs on a plate. If you are using plain bread crumbs, season generously with salt and pepper. Seasoned/Italian style bread crumbs will already be quite salty. Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil, the spread generously with olive oil.

 

Dip the green beans first in the beaten egg, then dredge in bread crumbs. Arrange breaded green beans on the oiled cookie sheet. Make sure none of the green beans touch; they need space for the coating to get crispy. If they don’t fit in one layer, bake them in batches.

green bean fry recipe

Bake in a preheated 450° oven for 10 minutes. Shuffle the fries around with tongs and bake 10 minutes more, or until golden brown.

Serve hot with the spicy ranch.

FYI, these are sooo good. I just ate half a pound of green beans. Enough said.