Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A big hoping of potatoes

For several years I have been experimenting with leftover mashed potatoes to make pancakes.  (I will come clean right off the bat by saying, "Yes, these are often instant mashed potatoes.)  I have made homemade mashers but when in a mad scramble to get something on the table, the taters may result from a shortcut, which these days happens to be Paradise Valley All Natural Creamy Mashed Potatoes from Costco.)

Because the packets are from Costco, they are on the larger size (8 servings per container), which is way more than the three of us can eat.  Not to say that I mind the leftovers, not at all, the scientist in me comes alive as I get the opportunity to continue my grand experiments.

The first attempts were bland, mushy blobs of starch.  These were the days before I realized eggs are an important structural element in many baked, as in this case, pan baked, goods.  My culinary training has been haphazard at best and mostly on the fly.

I was quite pleased with the last batch I made.  No recipe is available because I have no idea what quantity of potatoes I started with.  I can say that I put in one more egg than I thought would be prudent because the batter turned a lovely light yellow from the marigold of the yolks.  Add to that some lightly sauteed diced onion and Canadian bacon and fry dollops on the griddle.

That particular day was lovely and Resident Kid had taken on a backyard chore with surprising gusto.  Considering that Kid had already spent over an hour outside, I called out with what I thought was an irresistible summons, "Come and have some potato pancakes."  Duh, wrong approach.  Of course the answer was an upturned and wrinkled nose, a grunt and a query as to whether there were any mashed potatoes left.

"No, they're in the pancakes."  Silence ... then I sense the whine building.  I attempted the end run around the whine and said with a firm tone, "Come in for some lunch."  A grand show of dramatic foot dragging ensued, which I blithely ignored as I dished up pancakes.  Digging into my own serving, I declared, "Wow, they're pretty good with a bit of syrup on them."

Resident Kid takes a plate, disappears for a while and comes back with one cake (out of two) gone and puts the plate on the counter.  I droop a little, expecting resistance to my urgings to eat a little more.  But, fancy that, maple syrup goes on the second cake (the first having been eaten dry) and the plate drifts back to the living room.  When the plate came back the second time, I ventured, "Do you want a hot one off the griddle?"


"Two?"  Hope springs.

"One."  That's good enough for hope

Then in a totally blatant push of my good luck, I say, "Hey, those cakes are pretty good aren't they?"


"What?  You can't admit that you like them?"  I looked around for the response just in time to see a head duck to barely hide a grin.

"Needs more ham."

Good enough for this cook.  Score.

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