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Potato Pancakes

Kartoffelpuffern -- or potato pancakes (so much less fun to say) -- are a guilty pleasure of mine.  Next to scones, they are my favorite breakfast/anytime item to make. Just the thought of crunchy, warm potato patties smothered in tangy sour cream and sweet apple sauce makes me swoon.

Recently (er, not so recently...I've been a wee bit busy lately and have fallen behind on blogging) I attended the "big dig" at Great Country Farms.  It was my first potato digging experience.  Well, actually, the tractor really did all the digging.  It ripped up the fields and I (and dozens of kids) jumped behind the tractor, scooping up the piles of potatoes in its wake.  Ryan and I left with a bag full of the freshest, best potatoes we'd ever tasted!  

Thanks to my always trusty food processor, I can turn a few small potatoes and half an onion into perfectly shredded ribbons in about 3.5 seconds.  From there, gather up all the potato/onion shreds into a cheesecloth or kitchen towel (even some sturdy paper towels would work) and squeeze out most of the liquid.

In a large bowl, combine the potato and onion shreds with salt, pepper, bread crumbs, and a beaten egg.  I love it when the simplest ingredients produce such tasty results!

Meanwhile, heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan or skillet.  When the oil is shiny and hot, add heaping tablespoons of the potato mixture into the pan, flatten with the back of the spoon and then cook for a couple of minutes (until the edges begin to turn golden and crispy).  Heat for another 2 minutes and you're done!

I like to "accessorize" my potato pancakes the German way -- with sour cream and homemade apple sauce.  They're pretty darn tasty, though, on their own.

Ready to make your own?...


Cheese Stuffed Fried Pumpkin Blossoms

I've been dreaming about making this dish for a while -- ever since I saw a version of fried zucchini blossoms featured in a food magazine last year.  Mind you, I'd never actually eaten stuffed blossoms of any kind, but I could immediately tell that it would be one of those "love at first bite" dishes.  The magazine promised me that these various squash blossoms were often sold at farmers' markets.  Once summer arrived, I immediately set out in search of these edible flowers. 

I searched...and I searched...and I searched.  Now with October settled upon us, I had all but given up on finding these elusive treats.  (One day, several weeks back, I did spy a lone squsah blossom in a stranger's yard and almost plucked it for myself...almost.)

There's a small bit of prep involved before you can eat the blossoms.  It feels a bit invasive as you pull out the stamen, but it has to go.  Poor guy.

Today we visited Great Country Farms in search of a few perfect pumpkins.  I was pretty excited.  As I confessed to Ryan on our hayride out to the fields, I had never before actually picked a pumpkin.  My previous pumpkin picking experiences consisted of choosing the best pumpkin from the grocery store.  (I don't think we even had pumpkin patches in Florida.  That's my story, at least, and I'm sticking to it!)

As we tumbled out of the hayride, I immediately saw them! Little children ran to claim their pumpkin prizes and I began plucking the pumpkin blossoms with equal fervor. They were just like the squash blossoms I'd been searching for -- delicate and yellow and just plain beautiful. 

I gathered all the blossoms that I could hold in one hand and then rejoined Ryan to help choose a pumpkin.  We did take home a couple of pumpkins today -- one for decoration and one for eating -- but it was the blossoms that really made the trip a success.


This fall, if your family makes a trip out to the pumpkin patch, make sure to take home some blossoms and try this dish!  Just make sure to use the blossoms on the day you pick them.