Saturday, January 25, 2014

Potatoes, Candy, and Something That Claims To Be Pie

A week or two ago several of my friends on Facebook were sharing and reposting a recipe for something called "Potato Puffs", which were made out of cheese, sour cream, and mashed potatoes and looked fairly simple. My mom thought they resembled the filling of a twice baked potato, but without the potato, and I found myself intrigued enough to go get some mashed potatoes (I had everything else on hand already) and give it a try.

While buying the potatoes, I also bought these:

but we'll talk about them a little later, while the potato puffs are baking.

Also, because I love myself, I spent the extra dollar to get the pre-mashed potatoes that come in a tub rather than mashing my own or getting instant ones. It's all glamour and glitz all the time around here, I tell you.

Anyway, here's the recipe for the potato puffs, which will make you a cute side dish when you want to do something different:

3 cups mashed potatoes
2 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1 heaping cup shredded cheddar
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (I used shredded, because I had that)
2 tablespoons dried chives or parsley
Salt and pepper

It's pretty simple as recipes go. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and grease/butter/spray with Pam the inside of the cups of a muffin pan. Then crack your eggs into a bowl:

I used my Pyrex Autumn Americana 404 mixing bowl, because I wanted to give my yellow Primary Color bowls a little break. That poor Americana bowl is my little Pyrex orphan. I don't have the other three bowls that go with it, and would prefer the Blue Americana set, but I was buying some other Pyrex at a going out of business sale at a junk shop and the lady running it offered to throw that bowl in with the rest for four more dollars. You can't buy a new four-quart mixing bowl for four dollars, and I don't actively dislike the set. I'd buy the other three if I saw them, but I never see them, so that bowl sits in the closet alone.

Back to the baking, after you beat the eggs, mix in the sour cream:

This smells about as good as you imagine raw eggs and sour cream mixed together smell. After that, you mix in the cheese, throw in the chives, and salt and pepper to taste. I would like to take a moment here to point out that the handheld, squeeze pepper grinder my mom gave me for Christmas several years ago:

is one of the best kitchen gadgets that I own. It lets me grind pepper with one hand, directly over the bowl.

Thanks, mom!

After you thank your mom (which you should probably do regularly even if she didn't give you a pepper grinder), add the potatoes and mix it really well:

and then spoon the mix into the muffin cups, filling them right to the top:

Bake them for 35 minutes, then let them cool in the pan for 5 more minutes. When they're done, they'll look like this:

The odd brown liquid is non-stick cooking spray; I'm pretty sloppy with my spraying. To get the puffs out, I just stuck a fork in the middle and hooked one out of the pan, and they came out like little muffins:

but inside they're creamy like mashed potatoes.

The only suggestion I would make is that they could maybe use some bacon, but that's totally optional.

While the potatoes were cooking, I tore into those red velvet M&M's:

They're a little bigger than regular M&M's, like peanut butter ones.

Spoiler: They're not red inside:

If you eat more than one at a time, you can catch a subtle flavor of cream cheese frosting, but for the most part they just taste like M&M's.

Since the potato puffs turned out so well, I thought I would try another recipe that's been haunting me. I mentioned when Bette Davis and I cooked some hash that the recipe I almost made was attributed to Karen Carpenter, but that she lost by a handful of votes. Well, now that I made Bette's hash, the door was wide open for Karen Carpenter's Chewy Pie.

It's certainly a recipe. Of some kind. For a food. Or "food".

It starts with sixteen saltine crackers:

They need to be crushed, so I put them in a ziploc bag, left some air in it, and crushed them to dust with a rolling pin:

Since I already had a handy bag, I added the sugar and baking powder to it and shook it to mix. After that I chopped some walnuts:

and then spent twenty minutes googling to find out what to set the oven to. The missing oven temperature could be a simple oversight in transcribing the recipe for the book, but I choose to interpret it as evidence that no one ever actually cooked this thing. If you happen to buy the cookbook, pencil in 350 degrees F.

Then beat three egg whites until stiff peaks form:

You have no idea what a sense of achievement doing that gave me. I've seen people beat egg whites on television, and it always seems fraught with disaster, so when I casually beat my egg whites and they actually turned into a bowl of stiff peaks, I let out such a yell of triumph in the kitchen that the neighbors probably looked at the wall for a minute as if expecting me to burst through it like the Kool Aid Man.

After gloating over my stiff peaks, I folded in the saltine mixture and the walnuts, which promptly destroyed my stiff peaks:

and spread it evenly in a pie pan:

While the "pie" was baking, I whipped cream until I created a bowl of whipped cream:

which is supposed to be the topping for this thing that looks like a giant cookie:

That's a pie?

It breaks when you cut it:

It turned out that only the top broke, and the inside is still soft, but the damn thing also stuck to the pan even though I sprayed the hell out of that pan, so the first slice out looked like I chopped it out with a hatchet:

If I wanted this kind of abuse I'd make fudge.

I managed to carefully remove a second piece and then use the whipped cream to cover the flaws:

so I finally got a decent photo. In case you're curious, a "pie" made of crackers, egg whites, and walnuts tastes like walnuts.

At this point, you're probably wondering two things, and I can answer both of those questions:

No, I don't know for sure if Karen Carpenter ever actually ate this.

And yes, it actually is chewy. Really chewy. Excessively so.

I bet Greer Garson's creation won't be nearly this strange.

1 comment:

John Currie said...

We had a pepper mill just like the one in your photo - it lasted a good ten or twelve years, til one of the plastic handles became ever-so-slightly brittle and snapped off. We've since replaced it with a very cool-looking Kuhn Rikon pepper mill. Have you noticed, though that your pepper mill actually resembles a bunny's head?