Potato Pancakes

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I think we’re supposed to be gearing up for another cold snap this week.  I don’t know; the thermometer showed 28F today, which isn’t really all that cold compared to what it’s been, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get warm.  I sat snuggled under a blanket on the couch for about a half hour this morning, until I decided it would be better to fire up the oven in the kitchen and get cooking.  Within five minutes, I forgot all about being cold!

I had three sad little apples sitting on the shelf in the fridge that needed some attention, and I thought applesauce sounded quite delicious.   What goes beautifully with applesauce?  Potato pancakes.

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As I was grating the potatoes, I was trying to decide whether I wanted to make them as the meal, or if I wanted to make them as a side.  That’s the beauty of potato pancakes, they can be the star of the show, or the really good back up singers.

I decided that the pancakes would be the meal today, and I’d make some bacon jam too.   I found a really good recipe for bacon jam on Angela Roberts’ blog called Spinach Tiger.  I’ve never had bacon jam before, and I’ve always wanted to try it.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I wasn’t sure if I’d like meat made into a jam.  I’m happy to report that it’s delicious!  It’s sweet bacon. Sweet and oniony bacon. I can totally see what the hype was all about last year.  I will definitely make this again.  Angela’s recipe called for apples, but since I already had the apples simmering on the stove, I omitted them.

Honestly?  I think the bacon jam stole the limelight.

Potato Pancakes

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The Potato Pancakes
4 potatoes, peeled and grated
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of ½ lemon
2 eggs
¼ cup instant polenta
½ cup grated Romano cheese
1 tbsp parsley
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper

1 cup vegetable oil

Grate the peeled potatoes, and mix with the lemon juice.  Drain the potatoes in a colander that has been placed over a bowl.  It takes a good hour for them to drain completely.  Or you can help them along by squeezing the liquid out of them.

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In a large bowl, mix the drained potatoes, onion, garlic, eggs, polenta, Romano cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.

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In a large frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.  Measure ½ cup of the potato mixture into the frying pan, and flatten to about ½” thick.   You should be able to cook two or three pancakes at a time.   Fry for about 5-6 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.  Keep them warm in a 200 degree oven while you cook the rest of the pancakes.

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The Applesauce
3 apples, any kind, peeled and cut into cubes
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon

In a large saucepan, add the apples and water.  Cover and simmer over medium heat until the apples are softened.   Remove from heat.  Add the brown sugar and cinnamon.

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At this point, you can either mash the cooked apples by hand with a potato masher, or  pulse them a few times in a food processor.  It really depends on your “chunk” preference.  My family tends to like their applesauce smooth, so I use my food processor.   Store in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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The Bacon Jam
1 pound bacon, fried crisp
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup strong coffee
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
Pinch of cayenne
¼ cup maple syrup

In a large frying pan, fry the bacon until it’s crisp.  Drain on paper towel until cooled, and then break into pieces.

Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease from the frying pan, and add the onions, garlic, coffee, vinegar, brown sugar, and cayenne.   Cook until the onions are translucent.

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Add the bacon back to the pan along with the maple syrup.  Reduce heat, and let simmer until the bacon mixture cooks down to a jam-like consistency, about an hour.  Angela said that you can add water to the jam if it becomes too dry while it is cooking.

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Remove from heat, and pour the bacon mixture into a food processor.  Pulse a couple of times to break the bacon up, but you still want to be able to see the pieces of bacon. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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Garlic Sour Cream
1 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic
½ tbsp parsley

In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, garlic, and parsley until well combined. Refrigerate.

Serve the pancakes with the bacon jam, applesauce and a dollop of sour cream. Garnish with fresh parsley or chopped chives.

Enjoy!

Cream Cheese Filled Bananas Foster Pancakes

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I had such a craving for bananas last week.  You know, weeks and weeks can go by, and I don’t give them a second thought, but then all of a sudden, one day, I need a banana. Who knows why that is, but it is.  I tend to do that with fruit. Don’t get me wrong…I do manage to get my daily servings of fruit in (or try to). Oranges, apples, bananas, grapes… sometimes I can’t get enough of them, and other times, I forget all about them until the craving strikes.

Except black cherries and nectarines.
They’re my favorites, and I’d eat them everyday if I could get my hands on them.

So, last week I went a bought a bunch of bananas; and I ate a couple of them a day for about three or four days until I had my fill of them.  It seems that the rest of the family did not share my craving, because this morning I noticed that there were still three of them sitting on the counter, and they were in pretty rough shape.  I came really close to just tossing them, when the idea hit me…  Banana pancakes.

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I was just about to make breakfast anyway… which was going to be breakfast sandwiches, but now I had a change in menu. I started to gather all of the ingredients, and knew that I had half of a bag of pecans leftover from Christmas cookies. I thought that they would be really good in the pancakes too.  I opened the fridge to grab some eggs, and noticed a container of leftover whipped cream. With the pecans on my brain, and the whipped cream… another idea hit me… Bananas Foster pancakes.

Ok, so the plan was to make plain pancakes, and serve them with Bananas Foster drizzled on top with a dollop of whipped cream.  Sounds really good, doesn’t it?

Well…as I was digging through the fridge, I found a block of cream cheese. And of course, yet another idea hit me.  Stuff the pancakes with a cream cheese filling, Bananas Foster on top, and a dollop of whipped cream.

Perfect.
And they were.
And Delicious.

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Since I wanted to stuff the pancakes, I wanted them to be on the thinner side.  But not so much a crepe, because I still wanted the fluffy cake of the pancake, so I used my regular pancake recipe..and reduced the flour to two cups. I didn’t want the cream cheese filling too sweet, so that the pancake, along with the filling, helped to balance the sweetness of the bananas.  It all worked perfectly.

I just know you’ll love these pancakes, not only for their wonderful taste, but for the ease of preparation!

Cream Cheese Filled Bananas Foster Pancakes

The Pancakes
Makes 8 pancakes

Just a quick note…  Since these pancakes spread out in the pan, I used a larger frying pan, and cooked one pancake at a time.

There were four of us this morning, and I figured two pancakes per person.  Wrong.  One pancake per person is more than enough.  Well, for the normal eater, that is.  For a big eater, then I’d figure on two pancakes.

2 cups cake flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
Vegetable oil for greasing pan

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk and vegetable oil just until the ingredients are moistened and blended.

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Grease the frying pan with a little bit of vegetable oil, and heat over medium-low heat. It’s ready when a drop of water dances when splashed onto the pan. For each pancake, add 1/3 cup pancake batter to the pan. When the top of the pancake begins to bubble, it’s ready to flip. Cook for about another minute and a half. Remove from the frying pan to a dish. Repeat until the batter is gone.

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The Cream Cheese Filling
1 8 oz block cream cheese
1 cup whipped cream
½ cup powdered sugar

In a small mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese, whipped cream, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  Set aside.

Bananas Foster
I kind of winged it with the Bananas Foster, so I’m not even certain this can be called authentic. I know that whipped cream in the mixture sounds unusual, but I had so much leftover, I wanted to use it up.  Honestly?  It made the sauce on the creamy caramel side, and it really worked.  If you don’t have whipped cream, then use heavy cream.  I think it would work just was well.  It’s a pretty basic recipe, and you really can’t go wrong with the butter and brown sugar measurements. If you want a little more butter, go for it.  If you want it a little more caramelly, then add more brown sugar. The measurements in this recipe made the sauce a little on the thick side.

3 bananas, your preferred slice
½ stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup whipped cream, or heavy cream
3/4 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or even hazelnuts
1 tsp vanilla paste (extract will be just fine too)
½ tsp salt
¼ cup dark rum

Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the brown sugar and cook on low heat until the sugar melts into a caramel sauce.  Add the pecans, vanilla, salt, and whipped cream.  Simmer on low for about three minutes. Add the bananas and cook for about a minute.  Stir in the rum, and then CAREFULLY with a kitchen torch, ignite the sauce.  It will flame for about 45 seconds or so, and then will go out on it’s own.  I couldn’t get my camera to capture the flame, and that’s so sad, because it’s so pretty when it’s flaming.  Remove from heat.  Serve immediately on the pancakes (or ice cream, or French toast, or waffles, or on a spoon directly to the mouth… )

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Assembling the Pancakes
Fill each pancake with about 1/3 cup cream cheese filling, and fold in half.  Top with Bananas Foster. Add a dollop of whipped cream to the top, and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Enjoy!

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Cranberry Pancakes

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your day is relaxing and delicious…

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My daughter Katie and her boyfriend Ryan inspired me to make the recipe that I’m about to share with you…. Cranberry pancakes…. And they gave me their blessing to post about them.

Every year my mom will make a double batch of her cranberry relish a couple of days before Thanksgiving. And then the day before Thanksgiving, she and I will start preparing the stuffing, bake the pies, etc… and we will sneak a spoonful of her cranberry relish here and there while we are cooking. On Thanksgiving, she will put it in a pretty dish for dinner, and then afterward, she will split the cranberry relish for the both of us and put my half in a jar to take home. I love to bring that jar home, it’s readily available for me to just take a spoon and eat right out of the jar when the mood strikes me, which is pretty much all day long!

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But last year…Katie and Ryan came along and announced that they love it too. And then… they took it one step further…

It was a few days after Thanksgiving last year when I received a text from Katie. She and Ryan were making pancakes for breakfast one morning, and they decided to add some cranberry relish to the batter.

Cranberry Pancakes?!
Genius.

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I didn’t get to taste them, but Katie talked about them all year long, and just how delicious they were. I could only imagine, because I love cranberry anything.

And then….

A couple of weeks ago, she informed my mom that she would like to take a jar of the cranberry relish home too, so that they could make the pancakes again.

Ok….What??
I mean, seriously?
You’re treading on my territory, Kathryn.
Yes, you’re my daughter, but I’M supposed to get that jar of cranberry relish….

My mom always comes to the rescue…

My parents made a five gallon bucket (I exaggerate, it was more like four batches..) of the relish to meet the needs of her one and only daughter, and her eldest granddaughter. I do have the recipe, which I’m about to share with you… but you know, nothing tastes as good as your mom’s cooking… and this relish is high up there in the food rankings of one Marcia Bucolo.

For the record…I would have given my jar to Katie without a second thought… but I think you already knew that..

I do believe that this is a common recipe, but this is the one that my mom has been making ever since I can remember, pretty much all of my life…

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The Cranberry Relish
1 – 12 oz package cranberries
1 large orange cut in wedges
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Blend cranberries in food processor till chopped. Add the orange wedges and process till finely chopped. Pour into a bowl and add sugar to your taste.
And then Marcia says: Add nuts and enjoy!

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The Pancakes
This recipe will make about 8 to 10 large pancakes.

When I asked Katie how they made them last year, she told me that they made a basic pancake recipe, and then added a spoonful to the top of the pancakes while they were cooking. I made them with my own pancake recipe for the first time this past Monday night. Of course, my laziness compelled me to stir the cranberry relish into the batter, rather than add it to the pancake while it was cooking. Yeah, it didn’t work. The pancakes were really dense rather than the light and fluffy texture that they usually have.

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So tonight, I tried them again. This time I followed Katie’s advice, and added a spoonful to the raw side of the pancake while they were cooking. They turned out so light and fluffy…absolutely perfect!

If you know me, then you’ll know that I started building on this recipe with a ton of last minute thoughts… While I was cooking the pancakes the other night, I started thinking that it would be really delicious to have cranberry syrup to pour over the pancakes. Better yet, wouldn’t it be really delicious to have cooked cranberries to pour over the pancakes? And…wouldn’t it be really lovely to have some orange butter to melt over the top? While we’re at it, let’s just add a little whipped cream to top it off.

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Honestly? The pancakes are perfect for any holiday breakfast!!

3 cups cake flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups milk
¼ cup vegetable oil

Vegetable oil for greasing pan

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk and vegetable oil just until the ingredients are moistened and blended. If you want really fluffy pancakes, don’t over mix the batter.

Grease the frying pan with a little bit of vegetable oil, and heat over medium-low heat. It’s ready when a drop of water dances when splashed onto the pan. For each pancake, add 1/3 cup pancake batter to the pan. Sprinkle two teaspoons of the cranberry relish on the raw top of each pancake while it is cooking. When the top of the pancake begins to bubble, it’s ready to flip. Cook for about another minute and a half. Remove from the frying pan to a dish. Repeat until the batter is gone.

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The Cooked Cranberries
1 – 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Add the cranberries, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer until thickened into a jam type consistency, about 20 minutes or so. Remove from heat, and pour into a bowl to cool. Serve this cranberry sauce cool, or while it’s still warm with the pancakes.

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The Orange Butter
¼ cup butter, room temperature
½ tsp orange zest

In a small bowl, mix the butter and orange zest until well blended. Serve with the pancakes.

The Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla

In a small bowl, whisk or with a hand mixer beat the heavy cream until peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla, and mix until blended. Serve a dollop with the pancakes!

Enjoy and Stay Safe this Holiday!!

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