Tuesday, December 7, 2010
And I really, really hoped that at the end of the year I would be just as interested in this crazy idea as I was when I first launched it. Because, you know, it sounded sort of fun when I first picked a name and a color scheme and a tag line. And then I stared at a blank screen and wondered if anyone was out there. Hellooooo? And I wondered how long it would be before the first stranger happened upon my blog and started reading.
Well, the year isn't over, and this is post number 356. A milestone. A lot of words. And over 100 original bread (or bread-like) recipes. Yes, over ONE HUNDRED. In less than a year. And along with those breads, there were soups and dessert and reviews and gadgets. And visitors! I'm not talking to myself!
But the year isn't over. Just because I've reached 365 posts, it doesn't mean I'm going to take the rest of the year off. There are a couple weeks left, and I've got a few more original recipes up my sleeve before I wrap myself up and cart myself over to 2011.
But meanwhile, a topic on Serious Eats got me thinking about the first recipe I ever created completely on my own. It ended up being potato pancakes. I say it "ended up" being potato pancakes, because there wasn't all that much of an endgame planned. It was a food experiment that went amazingly right.
It went like this. My mom worked nights waitressing sometimes, and as a "treat" I was allowed to make snacks for me and my dad. Yeah, back then they bribed me to be good by allowing me to cook. I guess the writing was on the wall that long ago.
Anyway, most of the time that meant mixing cream cheese and chili sauce and spreading it on crackers, or using that as a filling for celery sticks. Or I made other dips with sour cream and herbs. Simple stuff without much real cooking because I was too short to see the top of the stove, much less be able to stir a pot way up there. So the stove was off limits for solo flights, although I was allowed to use sharp knives at a young age. I have the thumb scar to prove it, after an apple peeling incident.
But I digress.
One night, things were different. Instead of me prepping things while mom was home, this time we waited until dad got home. And then he brought out the blender. He thought it would be a great idea if we blended some ingredients. It started with some eggs and then I added onions. I guess this was heading to be an omelet.
Dad kept asking me what I wanted to add, and he'd go along with my suggestions. I don't know if he had a better idea where this was going than I did, but he let me make the final decisions. Is this enough? Do we need more? Then I decided it would be good to add potatoes. Raw potatoes.
I guess I was thinking about hash browns inside my scrambled eggs, so we peeled and chunked a potato and it went into the blender with the eggs and onion, and we gave it a whirl. We probably added salt and pepper, because that's what you do, but to be honest, I don't recall much else besides the eggs, onions and potatoes. Maybe green peppers... or not ... and I think we might have added flour. Just a little.
And then dad took this creation of mine to the stove and cooked it in a frying pan, and it turned out very much like my mom's potato pancakes, but with a completely different texture.
I was totally surprised at how it ended up. I expected weird scrambled eggs, but what I got was smooth potato pancakes. And despite the texture difference, they were good. Or at least I remember them being good. Dad and I ate them all. It was a good night. And my first original recipe.
I always say that I learned my cooking method from my mother, who added things and tasted and adjusted all during the process, like when she made soup or spaghetti sauce. She always turned out winners. But she wasn't much of a rebel. She worked with what he knew.
On the other hand, this is very much like my method of throwing things together that seem right, and then seeing how it all works out. I guess I owe that to my dad and his willingness to let me combine things randomly just to see what happened.
These are nothing like mom's potato pancakes, grated by hand at great peril to knuckles. Nope, not at all. These are for you, dad, recreated as best I could remember.
And hey, they were good. Weird, maybe. But that's okay. A little weird in the kitchen is a good thing.
Blender Potato Pancakes
1/2 medium onion
2 small potatoes (not tiny new potatoes, but smallish red potatoes) peeled and chunked
2 tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Put it all in the blender and blend until smooth.
Heat a small amount of oil in a pan. Pour or spoon dollops of the batter onto the pan. Cook until the first side is browned. Flip, then cook until the second side is done.
Serve with sour cream. Okay, you can also serve with applesauce, if that's what you like. But we always used sour cream.