Kiss Me, I’m NOT Irish – Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes

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Reworks are a lot of fun. Taking something you’re bored of and transforming it to something new, with just a few ingredients.

I love vegetable fritters, my favorite is kolokithokefthedes (Greek zucchini fritters). Regardless of the culture or flavors, they all seem to have the same thing in common – you need the base, seasoning, and something to bind it to keep it all together. The binders are usually pantry and fridge staples –  eggs and flour. Different lifestyles (vegan, gluten-free) may have different binders, but the theory is all the same – you don’t want these falling apart in your skillet or oven.

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I thought some sort of “Irish” breakfast would be fun. I use Irish loosely, as these cakes have potatoes, bacon, and cheese and typically anything served with eggs can be interpreted as breakfast.

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Mashed Potato Cakes served with Scrambled Eggs and Sour Cream

My current series of posts will be all about taking advantage of what you already have on hand – this will save money, allow you to be less wasteful, and explore your creative side in times when it’s encouraged not to leave the house.

Over the weekend I made some mashed potatoes. I probably had 2 cups worth leftover but wasn’t in the mood to eat them in their current state. In my fridge I had all the fixings for “loaded” potatoes, so these came together quite simply.

LEFTOVER MASHED POTATO CAKES – makes 8 cakes/fritters

  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup flour

In a medium mixing bowl, combine mashed potatoes, cheese, scallions, and bacon. Add egg until fully incorporated. Whisk in flour until a thick batter forms.

Heat a skillet with 2-3 tablespoons oil. Using a large spoon, drop a large spoonful into cooking oil, forming an approximately 3-inch disk. Fry on both sides until golden brown, drain excess oil on paper towels. Serve with sour cream.

Substitutions – remember this recipe is about technique, it’s not an exact science

  • Play around with the flavors and seasonings. Use what you have at home. Onions, garlic, cream cheese, ham, chopped peppers/hot peppers etc. all work
  • These do not need to be fried! Form the cakes with a touch more flour, brush with oil, and bake at 375 F until golden brown
  • Play around with binders – a bit more flour and some milk instead of egg for those averse to eggs. Up the cheese and eggs, or use gluten-free all-purpose flour for gluten-free. Eliminate dairy and eggs for a vegan version

Quick Birthday Brunch

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My boyfriend’s birthday celebration weekend went beyond Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake. I also surprised him Saturday morning with a quick brunch for two. The whole meal took less than an hour to prepare, as it utilized a mix of from-scratch and pre-made ingredients. And all this was done as he was still snoozing away.

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On the Menu:
Scrambled Egg Muffins
Bacon Hearts
Banana Berry Smoothie
Sea Salt Caramel Blondies
Fresh Fruit
Coffee

For the Egg Muffins:
I lowered the the oven temperature to 350 degrees (it had been at 400 degrees for the bacon). I beat about four eggs and mixed in 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of nutmeg. I sprayed a few molds in my muffin tin (I did not need all twelve molds), and filled each about halfway with the egg mixture. Because of how much eggs leaven when they bake, it was important not to overfill the tin, even though they eggs collapsed a bit after baking. The eggs baked for about 20 minutes, until they were just starting to turn golden and were firm in the center (use a toothpick or knife to check – if it comes out clean, the eggs are done). What is great about this method is that you have portion control and you can play around with ingredients in your eggs.

For the Bacon Hearts:
Since David’s birthday is just after Valentine’s Day, Pinterest and the blogosphere were full of cute recipes. I found this one at The Paper Mama. I did deviate from her recipe slightly, by brushing the bacon with some maple syrup and brown sugar for a hint of sweetness.

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For the Banana Berry Smoothies:
I love smoothies. I have one almost every day for breakfast. I usually mix in chia seeds and greens powder, such as Green Vibrance, but for this brunch, I kept it simple. I mixed a cup of frozen berries, a cup of frozen bananas, a cup of berry juice, in this case I used Tropicana Farmstand Pomegranate Blueberry, and a cup of unsweetened almond milk. I blended it all in my blender until smooth, about one minute.

For the rest:
The rest of the menu was pretty much ready-made items. The blondies were Dancing Deer brand that I bought on sale at work, and I cut them in to smaller pieces, we also had clementines, and coffee was made in my Keurig.

“Breakfast” Grilled Cheese

chef's journalThis is a pretty simple and quick breakfast that you may make as little or as much of as you like. In this case, I used about 1/2 cup of pancake batter (from an add-water mix), two slices American cheese, and 2 slices bacon. I first cooked the bacon and reserved a little grease. I divided the batter for form three pancakes. Upon flipping over the pancakes, I added cheese to two cakes. Finally, I stacked up the pancakes with a slice of bacon between each stack (cut in half so it would cover the full pancake. A little messy for cooking, but damn tasty!

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