Potatoes, Rings & Things

This time next week, Christmas Day will be over. Evergreen trees will be sitting at the curb with remnants of icicles on them, beat up cardboard boxes (hopefully) will be overflowing from recycle bins, and holiday light displays will have been taken down (at my house we leave everything up until Jan 6. The Wise Men often get the shaft. They deserve some Holiday Decoration Love, too). Refrigerators will be stuffed with cakes, cookies, pies and other confectionery delights from friends and family and personal bests. There might be a leg of lamb, a mangled ham bone or a poultry carcass lurking around as well.

I'm not sure what the state of my refrigerator will be on December 26th, but I do know that it is the first day of Kwanzaa. As Afrocentric and "made-up" as the holiday is, I like it because it reminds me that there are still 7 more days of which I can receive gifts (or give them...after Christmas sales rock. Hard.)

What does all of this have to do with food? I don't know.

But I have a few recipes for you that are tasty and can be made from the leftover cardboard foodstuffs in the fridge.

Potato Latkes

I like this recipe because it uses mayo instead of eggs, making the mixture drier and easier to form patties. Also, mayo is already flavorful, no need to add much more seasoning to get the same results as using a few eggs. Dried lemon peel accentuates the sweet potato and is a wonderful low-sodium flavor additive. It mimics the same round flavor qualities of salt.

That little sucker in the back is a little dark, but there ain't nothin' wrong with that!

1 cup peeled and shredded russet or baking potatoes
1 cup peeled and shredded sweet potatoes
1/2 cup grated onion
1/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dried lemon peel
black pepper to taste
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Place the potatoes in a cheesecloth or clean dishtowel and wring, extracting as much moisture as possible.
In a medium bowl stir the potatoes, onion, mayonnaise, flour and lemon together. If need be, add more flour to mixture so that patties can be formed without falling apart.
In a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hot. Place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them to form 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick patties. Brown on one side, turn and brown on the other. Let drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Serve hot with ketchup or unsweetened applesauce.

Shredded potatoes & onions after the big squeeze. Make sure they're as dry as possible.

No, they're not tribbles. They're the latkes before the first flip. Aren't they cute?

I like frittatas because it's like a stir-fry: you can add the little bits and snippets of items you have in your fridge or pantry and it works out because usually...there's cheese involved. Adding cheese to anything makes it palatable. That, and ketchup.

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup acorn squash, small diced
1 cup sliced baby portobella mushrooms
8 eggs
1 cup diced Gruyere cheese
1/4 tsp truffle salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat broiler. Melt butter in heavy broilerproof 10-inch-diameter nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add squash and sauté 4 minutes. Add mushrooms, sprinkle lightly with salt, and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Whisk eggs, both cheeses and pepper in medium bowl. Add egg mixture to skillet; fold gently to combine. Cook until almost set. Broil until frittata is puffed and cheese begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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  1. I like to keep my lights & tree up as long as possible. Winter is long in MN so they really help to cheer it up!

  2. I love making stuff from left over stuff - great way to clean out the fridge!

  3. I made a fritatta too! For the very reasons you stated.

  4. "This time next week, Christmas Day will be over."

    darn, that's a sad thought! i'm loving your frittata--i'm much more of a frittata person than quiche person for some reason.

  5. Thanks for letting me know there is nothing wrong with a latke that's a little dark. I feel absolved!

  6. I think the dark latkes would be the best ones!

  7. Happy Holidays and wishing you a happy new year. May all your dreams come true.


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