Sunday, October 12, 2008

Potato Pancakes, Apple Compote, and Zucchini Brownies

While summer's bounty is at an end, I completely love the flavors of fall. Here are a couple of recipes to keep you cooking local through October:

Potato Pancakes

This recipe is based on the recipe for potato pancakes in The Joy of Cooking. I've made some slight changes.


5 medium potatoes, peeled, washed, and coarsely grated (about 2.5 cups coarsely grated)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten (may need 3 eggs)
1 tablespoon finely grated onion (I almost always use about 1/2 teaspoon onion powder instead. A cheat, I know.)
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil for frying


Peel, wash, and coarsely grate the potatoes. Then place handfuls into a dish towel and wring out excess water. Place the potatoes into a large bowl. Mix with the remaining ingredients (except the vegetable oil).

The resulting mixture should be kind of liquid-y: mostly potatoes, but definitely some liquid that settles to the bottom of the bowl. If the mixture seems dry, add a third egg. This is a very forgiving recipe. Sometimes I only use 2 cups of potatoes, sometimes I use more like 3 cups. Sometimes it's pretty liquidy, sometimes it's more dry. It always turns out yummy, though!

Cover the bottom of a large skillet with approx 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Heat over medium high heat until hot. (As a tip, you can use a wooden chopstick to test the oil. When the oil is hot enough, bubbles should form around the tip of the wooden chopstick when you dip it in the oil. You can then use the chopstick along with a spatula to help flip the pancakes).

Drop spoonfuls of potato mixture into the hot oil. Use the back of the spoon to spread the mixture out thinly. The thinner your pancakes, the crispier they will become so flatten them according to your preference (very thin if you like crispy pancakes, thicker if you like them less crispy). Stir the potato mixture in the bowl between each spoonful you add to the pan so that the liquid doesn't just settle to the bottom of the bowl.

Fry until browned on the bottom, flip, and fry until the other side is browned. Remove to paper towels to drain.

These are delicious served with sour cream, applesauce, or the apple "compote" I'll include below.


Apple Compote

This isn't really a compote, but I'm not sure what to call it. Maybe a warm, extremely chunky applesauce?


5-8 apples
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons water (or more)


Peel the apples, and then shave chunks off directly into a large saucepan. Add a couple tablespoons of water, and place over medium low heat. Add the cinnamon and sugar and heat until warm and softened, about 15 minutes. This is another forgiving recipe. Cook it longer over a lower heat, though you will probably have to add more water if it starts to dry out. Cook it a really long time, and it'll keep getting more and more like applesauce.

The flavor and consistency of this is dependent on the apples used. I like to use a variety of apples. In the picture above, I used Macs, Jonagolds, and Mutsus, the varieties I picked earlier this week.


Okay, and dessert is really a summer dessert, that I've been meaning to post for a few months. But keep it in mind for next summer when those zucchinis are once again overflowing the crisper drawers!

Chocolate Zucchini Brownie Cake

I follow the linked recipe exactly and it turns out so amazingly. One of my friends has also make it subbing applesauce for the oil, and said it was still very good. My only complaint about the recipe is that they call it brownies. It's really more like a cake in my opinion. Whatever it is, it's delightful!


Last note: I made this meal for my Pass the Plate meal. You can see the part of the plate, which I put the potato pancakes on. KitchenAid is selling platters to raise money for breast cancer research. The idea is that you buy a plate, register it online, then cook something for a friend or family member. Then they cook something and pass it along to someone else, who passes it to someone else, etc. Everyone registers the plate online as they pass it, and every time it gets passed, KitchenAid donates $5.

It was really fun to do, and such an easy way to help raise money for breast cancer research!