Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Mummy Potatoes or The Epic Pinterest Fail and Other Misadventures

October 31st - Halloween.  The theme for tonight's Monday night dinner was - fittingly - Halloween.

Initially, I was a little concerned that I would not be able to find a Halloween-themed potato dish, but I quickly discovered that this would not be a problem.  There were lots of possibilities!  After surfing the net for a bit, I settled on Mummy Potatoes - a Pinterest-worthy Halloween-themed take on the twice baked potato.

Source: onceuponacuttingboard

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Thai Potato and Vegetable Yellow Curry (vegan)

The theme for our Monday night dinner on 7/11/16 was Thai.  I love Thai food.  The first time I ate Thai was in Chicago, at a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant that I wished I could remember either the name or the location of....  I remember reading the menu and wondering what coconut milk would taste like in soup since I only knew coconut as an ingredient in sweet dishes like cookies and cakes,

To my surprise, it tasted absolutely wonderful - and to this day Tom Kah soup is one of my favorite dishes ever. Unfortunately, I can't make Tom Kah soup for Monday night dinner since it does not contain potatoes - and the potato challenge is still in full swing.

My daughter was not going to be able to make it to Monday night dinner since she would be out of town for a conference. That meant that I would not have to consider her food sensitivities when cooking.  Peppers were going to be added to this one!

As usually, my dish started with an evening of googling "Thai potatoes".  Of course I also had to make sure that I didn't repeat the Thai potato recipe I made last time.  When I came across a Thai yellow curry potato recipe that called for a homemade Thai yellow curry paste, I knew I had found a winner: Thai potato and vegetable yellow curry it was.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Imperfect Whole Grain Bread

My whole grain bread is definitely still a work in progress.  The end-goal is to create a loaf that is dense with grains, but that's not sunken in the middle - and not soaking wet.

I'm writing it down here because I don't want to forget what I did so far - and because a friend, who tasted the bread, actually asked for the recipe.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Lost - and found picture

I love pictures -not so much pictures of myself, but pictures of loved ones, friends and family.

If my house were on fire, I'd save the kids, the pets and then the pictures. Everything else can be replaced.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Potato Challenge: Super Easy Cajun Roasted Potatoes

This week's recipe was so easy, it almost does not deserve to be called a recipe.  My source was a recipe called "Way too easy Cajun potatoes" that I fancied up a bit by adding garlic to it.

These are the kind of potatoes that you can make instead of going out - they're that quick.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Potato challenge - Kroketten (croquettes)

On November 16th 2015 I made Croquettes.

I don't think I have ever had croquettes in the US.

In the area of Germany where I come from, croquettes are a (sit-down) restaurant side dish that has equal status to french fries.  As the images below show, Germans eat croquettes with a gravy sauce.  (Note that we do the same thing with french fries.  Also note that the German gravy is not as thick as the gravy I am used to in the American south.)

Picture from

The Potato Challenge - Overview

Since it's going to take a little while to turn the previous potato dishes I made as part of the potato challenge into blog posts, I'll put an overview here until I get around to writing them.

Once they're written, this can serve as a table of contents of sorts.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Potato Challenge: Moroccan Potato Cakes (Maakouda Batata)

Yesterday was another Monday - and another potato dish is in the books.

I was living dangerously this week.  I actually didn't do a trial run for the potato dish on the weekend - and that almost spelled disaster because of one little error I made in the calculation of my ingredients...

As usually, I looked at several recipes, but essentially, I ended up following this Moroccan potato cake recipe.   The dish seemed pretty simple: Cook and mash potatoes, mix them with sauteed onions and garlic, add spices and egg, then shape the mass into patties and fry those in hot oil. I had already pondered making the potato mass in advance on Sunday when I can across this recipe that suggested that the potatoes should be boiled a day in advance so that they could firm up in the fridge over night, Shredding the the next day was supposed to give the mash a bit more consistency.

That sounded like a plan.  I cooked the potatoes in my trusted steamer on Sunday night.  Before I stuck them in the fridge I weighed how much I had there so I would know how much spice to add to the final mass.  The primary recipe I was going to use called for 2 lb of potatoes.  That's about 1 kg, give or take.  The potatoes from my steamer weighed about 1500 g.  (The only scale I own that can weigh items that are larger than 2 lb is a German scale.  Because of that it only weighs in grams). I was not sure that this would be enough potatoes for the group, so I set up another steamer basket full of potatoes and called it a night.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Lost love

Do we all have memories of "the one who got away"?  I certainly do.

The video of Ulay meeting Mariana Abramović at her MOMA exhibit "The artist is present" makes me think of that person.

Potato Challenge: Spanish Potatoes (Patatas Bravas)

Our local Kroger is having a "Taste of Spain" promotion this week. What better week than to select "Spanish Foods" for Monday night dinner?

Before the start of this week I only knew of 2 Spanish foods: Paella (I LOVE, LOVE LOVE paella - Thank you for making it, Leanna.) and tapas.  I knew about paella from having eaten it in Spain and about tapas from David Sedaris' essay "6 to 8 black men" where he asserts that "[Santa] certainly doesn't eat tapas".  By the way, the essay is definitely worth a read - or even better - a listen.  I enjoy David Sedaris' works most when they're read by the master himself, but I digress.

After discovering that there are quite a few Spanish potato recipes, I selected patatas bravas for this week.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Potato Challenge: Cottage Pie (That's Shepherds Pie without the lamb.)

The theme for Monday night's dinner on 4/11/16 was "British Food".  I had suggested the theme, because one of our friends would be in Great Britain at the time (therefore eating lots of British food there) and because I had come across a recipe for Shepherds pie as I was looking for potato recipes that I had not made before.

I was sure that "British Food" would be turned down as a theme by the group.  After all, who thinks of British Food as something you'd seek out to eat?  Apart from their breakfast - and those little pigs in a blanket sausages, what is there that anyone would want to eat?

I remember being in Britain for about 2 weeks as an exchange student when I was around 13 year old, and between the porridge, the cucumber sandwiches, the beans in tomato sauce and the potato chips with vinegar, I almost starved to death.... I did however find an Asterix book in English in a shop by Windsor castle, so that was a bonus....but I digress.

Turns out the group embraced the idea of British foods, especially since several people grew up with British food. Who knew... turns out every food is someone's comfort food.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Potato challenge - Cheesy hashbrowns

This hashbrown casserole that I brought to dinner on 8/31/15 was one of the dishes that started this whole potato adventure, so technically it's not really part of the potato challenge because the challenge didn't exist yet, but I have decided to overlook that little detail in favor of this perennial favorite.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Potato Challenge: Chorizo Potato Tacos

I have to admit that, when I was told last Monday that the theme for this week's Monday night dinner was going to be "tacos", I was a little concerned.  I had never heard of a taco filled with potato.  I mean, a starch inside of a starch - there was no way.

Imagine my surprise when I found several recipes for Chorizo Potato Tacos on the all-knowing Internet.  That's what I would be bringing.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Breakfast Hash Brown Casserole (enhanced with Bacon)

This week's theme for Monday night dinner is "breakfast foods".

I love American breakfast foods.

Growing up in Germany, breakfast was not my favorite meal.  Unlike today, where the German breakfast includes a variety of toppings for rolls (and is really good), back then it was rare to find sausage or cheese on the breakfast table.  A typical breakfast would be either Muesli (a mixture of oats, fruits and nuts in milk) or - more often - bread or rolls with butter and jam, and if you were lucky, a soft boiled egg. Today's German breakfast still differs from the American in that most German breakfast foods don't require cooking - and that it includes the fresh crunchy rolls that really are to die for.

My mother was obviously familiar with my dislike for anything sweet, so she would actually serve sausage (Aufschnitt) or cheese for breakfast at home, but I remember quite a few instances on vacations where my breakfast choices consisted of a hard-boiled egg, a roll or bread, unsalted butter and a few varieties of jam.  I'd often just put some butter on a roll and salt it for some flavor.  Sometimes I'd put egg slices on the roll, but none of it was very satisfying to me.

When I was 6 or 7 years old, my parents took me on a trip to Great Britain.  This is when I discovered the British breakfast for myself:   Bacon, eggs and the wonderful fried tomato. Not a glass of jam to be found anywhere. I was in heaven!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Potato Challenge - Potato Filled Spring Rolls

The theme for this Monday will be "Spring" - as in "light, healthy and/or indicative of a new start" (Brad, 2016).

My dish will be neither, but it will be a potato dish!  Instead of making a healthy dish, I will interpret the theme literally, because - according to Google - there is such a thing as a potato filled spring roll. Who knew?

You don't believe me? Check this out: Grand Lux Cafe Copy Cat Spring Rolls and Loaded Baked Potato Spring Rolls.  The latter was apparently inspired by the same restaurant as the former. Maybe this spring roll is more of an outlier than it is a "thing".

Either way, this sounds like something I need to try, especially because I have never made a spring roll before - also, because it involves potatoes.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Monday night dinner - the potato challenge

On Monday nights I usually join a group of friends for a pot-luck dinner at a friend's house.  In August of last year I happened to bring a potato dish 2 weeks in a row.  The first dish was German potato salad, which I deemed appropriate for an evening where the group was grilling. I didn't keep track of what I was bringing at the time, but the second time was likely a cheesy hashbrown potato for the crock pot recipe that I found on the Internet after enjoying the recipe at a party.

One of my friends, Brad, commented on the fact that people rarely brought potatoes to a potluck any more.  He really enjoyed that I brought potatoes, because he had almost forgotten how much he liked them.  (I am paraphrasing here.  He said something along those lines over 6 months ago... ) 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

'Til it happens to you...

'Til it happens to you, you won't know how I feel.....

That's all I have to say tonight.

Thank you, Lady Gaga.