Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Potato Pancakes

I had a head of broccoli that I needed to use up, so the other day I chopped it up with a couple of onions, a red bell pepper, and a few cloves of garlic and cooked them all in a bit of olive oil. I had some of this on its own, placed some in a container and froze it for a future use, and mixed the rest into mashed potatoes. We ate the potatoes as a side dish once or twice and I had some left, so I made potato pancakes for lunch.

I dumped the potato-broccoli mixture into a bowl, added some diced extra mature cheddar, and a couple of eggs. I snipped some scallions and garlic chives from my windowsill plants. I did a few grinds of the hot chilli mixture I love so much into the bowl and stirred everything together well, before adding enough flour to make the right consistency (kind of like a wet dough).
I spooned some of the mixture into a pan and spread it out to form a pancake. When it was browned on one side, I flipped it and browned the other side.
I always love these--good excuse to make extra mashed potatoes and you can add in whatever you want, so they can be different every time--and they usually are around here!

A few months ago I used the last of a bunch of celery. I could not bring myself to toss the end, even though I had no dirt at the time, so I stuck it in a shallow container with a little water and left it on the windowsill.

I did this many, many times in Maine, usually with little success. I would bring home the ends of the celery we processed at the food bank (we cut the ends off, trimmed the celery if needed and cut the stalks to fit into quart-sized bags for distribution in the food pantry). I'd stick the ends in water and by the next day, there would be little dark green growth appearing in the center. This would grow taller and roots would form. I would eventually stick the root ends in dirt and the celery would grow a bit more before rotting. There were 3 exceptions--all ends from bunches of organic celery donated to the food bank by area farms. Instead of the smooth bottoms seen on store celery, these bottoms were all knobbly--they grew and kept on growing when I planted them in the dirt. I had those 3 plants in the bedroom and they never got huge--the stalks were always really thin--but it was great to go snip a bit of celery for tuna or chicken salad, potato salad, or whatever.

I wasn't sure how things would go with my Irish celery, but I didn't get my hopes up. The center grew and the roots developed. I eventually got some dirt and some more plants and I potted the celery and waited to see what would happen.
This is what it looked like yesterday. It's the most successful celery plant I've managed to grow from scraps. It sits in the bedroom on the windowsill and is quite happy there, along with a couple of small mint plants that I also rooted and am growing from scraps, an avocado plant--I got a pit to root and the leaves are just starting to open up--and a rosemary plant. In the kitchen window I have parsley, coriander, a couple of pots of scallions, some garlic chives and a big mint plant that is getting bigger by the minute. Just as well--makes great tea, either hot or iced!

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