latkes for you – latkes for me

The humble potato. It can be mashed, smashed, boiled, broiled, baked, fried…and even grated into pancakes.   Potato pancakes are something I remember from my childhood…I remember my mom busily grating the potatoes, mixing up the batch and then frying each cake until they were nice and crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside…I still love latkes (potato pancakes), comfort food I’d say… The main ingredient is potatoes. How much more simple can you get? Enjoy them for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or as an appetizer…latkes for you, latkes for me.

Easy, inexpensive and versatile – what’s not to love?

All you’ll need is;

(makes about 10-12 latkes)

4 cups grated potatoes ( I don’t peel my potatoes –  peel if you prefer – but do wash well)
1 tablespoon grated onion
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
peanut or canola oil for frying

* other options add freshly chopped chives, parsley, grated zucchini, green onions, black pepper.

What to do;

grated potatoes

Grate potatoes.

Rinse the potatoes under water. Strain potatoes as much as you can – press against sides of strainer or wrap in cheesecloth and squeeze…

Place strained potatoes in large mixing bowl. Add grated onion, flour and salt. Mix well. Add egg and mix well.

mixed potatoes

Scoop a small amount and place on heated (and oiled) heavy bottomed (cast iron is great!) fry pan and press down to form a ‘cake’. Once bottom and edges begins to brown, flip and brown other side.

bottom browning

flipped

Keep warm in oven on rack or cookie sheet.

Ideas on how to eat latkes

Breakfast – perfect use for leftovers – reheat latke in oven and serve with brown butter scrambled eggs and toast – great way to start the day…

Brunch – top with sauteed spinach, a poached egg and hollandaise sauce – deliciousness to say the least.

Lunch – serve with applesauce, sour cream, creme fraiche or tzatziki;  add a side side salad.

Appetizer – (make bite sized cakes) serve with dipping sauces (think ketchup, apple sauce, sour cream or tzatziki). Top with freshly chopped chives or parsley.

Dinner – serve alongside any dish where potatoes are welcome…serve with above mentioned sauces or plain, garnish with fresh herbs.

How do you like your latkes?

Here’s another version from Scarletrosita

enjoy!

bodacious black beans

Yes, black beans…dried black beans…they are simple and easy to prepare and can be used in a plethora of ways…

To be honest, I haven’t always prepared beans from scratch…for years I bought the canned varieties…until I finally realized how easy (and better) they are to make at home. Added bonus – the cost. Dried beans are a fraction of the cost of canned and there’s nothing ‘hidden’ (excess salt and other additives)… plus, you end up with SO much more when you prepare them yourself. No special equipment is needed – just a little time and forethought.

One cup raw beans yields about 3 cups cooked – yes, they triple in quantity! A little sure does go a long way with these black beauties…and they are so versatile! Eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks or appetizers. Make extra and freeze. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and taste – what’s not to love?

raw turtle beans

Soaking not as much trouble as you may think – really;

Quick soaking method;

First pick out all the odd looking, cracked or wrinkled beans.

bad bits

Rinse well with water.

rinsing raw beans

Place beans in pot.

pouring into pot

Cover with three times the amount of water (1 cup beans = 3 cups water).

Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat, keep covered and then let sit for one hour.

simmer on stovetop

Then drain water, rinse and cook as directed below.

OR

Traditional soaking method  – place ‘picked-over’ beans in a pot in the AM, let sit overnight, cook the following morning, afternoon or evening.

How to;

Instead of bringing to a boil, simply soak overnight for 12-24 hours.

Drain soaking water and then throughly rinse.

Cook as directed below.

That’s it to soaking – a little planning and a little time are all that is needed.

How to cook soaked beans;

Rinse soaked beans (this helps aid in digestion) in a colander, under running water (filtered if possible).

rinsing raw beans

Return beans to pot (a pot large enough to handle the tripling of the beans) and cover with three times the amount of water (1 cup beans = 3 cups water).

Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then simmer, covered, for 1-2 hours, or until tender.

simmer on stovetop

Once they are tender, drain in colander, return cooked beans to pot. Cover with fresh water and simmer another 10-15 minutes.

Use in a plethora of ways or freeze for later.

That’s it.

Now wasn’t that easy?

Black beans will keep fresh in the fridge for about 3-4 days and for months in the freezer…

cooked black beans

Here’s a few ideas for what to do with all those beans now that you’ve cooked them!

Basic prep to use in burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos or even soup;

Chop one large onion, saute until browned in olive oil, add one clove garlic (chopped), add cooked black beans, season with a generous pinch or two of salt, freshly ground black pepper, one-two tablespoons cumin, one good handful chopped fresh cilantro and juice from two limes – that’s it. Use right away or freeze for later…

beans cooking

Add more spices such as chipotle, red chili’s, or add freshly chopped spinach, kale or cabbage – beans are so versatile!  Have fun and spice ’em up as you like! Serve over rice topped with salsa – dinner is served!

Throw a handful of black beans into meat chili for some added flavor and fibre, add a large spoonful to your scrambled eggs and top with fresh salsa, puree with stock and black bean soup is ready in minutes – the options go on and on…try dried beans and you’ll never go back to canned!

nachos

tacosquesadialla.enjoy!

eat your greens…

My garden feels like it’s taking a bit longer to ‘get going’ this year as opposed to past years. I attribute it to the fluctuating weather we’ve been having these past few weeks…it’s been pretty extreme around here – cold, then SUPER hot and sticky, now it’s cool, balmy and wet … at least I don’t have to worry about watering for the next few days – I just have to contend with the mosquitos and weeds…two things which just love this kind of weather. Before all this wet and sticky weather arrived, we did enjoy a few absolutely beautiful days – thankfully – so before heading to the beach (have to take advantage of every warm sunny day in  Maine – there not always abundant…) to play in the sand and sun, Finn and I did a little garden work…

We pulled a few weeds, planted three more tomato plants, tended to the existing plants and of course picked greens – super delicate lettuces, firm and curly kale and vibrant swiss chard…

swiss chard – love the contrast of colors…

kale is just bursting

carrot greens are thickening

pumpkins are thriving near the compost pile and the borage (below) is great not only for the protection it gives the tomatoes, but also for the vibrant color it exudes among all the green…

The corn unfortunately has had a few set-backs – heavy rains for the first planting, intruders for the second planting and now, thankfully, this third planting is beginning to show signs of life – no pics yet, didn’t want to jinx anything…oh the risks of gardening…

Though the benefits far out way the risks – most definitely. Knowing where your food comes from, understanding and appreciating the dedication needed to grow your own, and most importantly the taste it delivers – there’s nothing like it! Not to mention the convenience.

Mushrooms, vermont cheddar cheese and freshly picked kale all melted together between fresh crispy corn tortillas and then topped with sour cream and salsa make for a quick and simple meal – mushroom and kale quesadillas, yum. Add a margarita and it’s a perfect meal!

Too bad I wasn’t able to snap a photo of them before we devoured them, they were delicious!  You’ll just have to try and see for yourself! Garden to table – everyone should be so lucky!

until next time – enjoy.