RSS Feed

Tag Archives: potatoes

Fishcake Friday

Posted on

During this time of year, when many people choose to abstain from meat on Fridays, pizzerias and fish fry shops revel in the boost in business. You can often tell it’s Lent simply by counting the number of billboards advertising the best fish fry special in town. Suddenly, every restaurant’s specialty is fried haddock.

For my family, Fridays during Lent usually meant one of four things; pizza, fish sticks, my Daddo’s tuna burgers, or fishcakes. Fish sticks have never been a favorite of mine and I didn’t really learn to appreciate pizza until my college days, when my upstate New York classmates taught me to dip it in bleu cheese dressing. For me, my Friday favorite was always a toss up between the tuna burgers and the fishcakes.

The fishcakes, which my dad prepared for us, came from a recipe passed down from my grandmother. As my dad explains it, this is a meal which was designed to stretch the food budget for a family of eight. One pound of salt-preserved cod is combined with mashed potatoes and a few simple seasonings to form a dozen delicious fish cakes! Served over a heaping pile of spaghetti, this budget-friendly recipe makes a hearty meal for a big family!

Salt cod, or baccalà, can usually be found near the seafood section of your grocery store. Try asking at the seafood counter if you don’t spot it!

Codfish Cakes


  • 1 pound salt cod (baccalà)
  • 4-5 potatoes, chopped*
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tablespoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Additional salt, if desired
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Shortening or Vegetable Oil

*You can adjust the quantity of potatoes based on how fishy you prefer your cakes.


Soak the salt cod in cold water (refrigerated) for 6 -24 hours. Change the water once, about halfway through. (The longer the fish soaks, the less salty it will be.) Gently simmer the fish for 10-15 minutes. Remove the fish from the water and set aside to cool. Save the water. Add the potatoes to the hot fish water. Boil until fork tender. Strain and mash the potatoes with the butter. Flake the fish, while carefully checking for bones, and add to the mashed potatoes. Add the onion, parsley, black pepper, paprika, and additional salt (if desired). Knead the mixture until well combined. Form the mixture in large 2-3″ balls, then flatten into thick patties. Coat both sides with flour. Heat shortening or vegetable oil* over medium heat. Cook the patties in the oil for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Serve over spaghetti with tomato sauce or stewed tomatoes.

*My grandma says it should be shortening, but I admit to using vegetable oil. Shhh…don’t tell my grandma!

Makes 10-12 Fish Cakes


In Like a Lamb Shepherd’s Pie

Posted on

They say that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. This year, March came in like a lamb…a very chilly lamb, but a lamb all the same. The thermometer may have registered a cool 23 degrees and the ground is still covered in white, but the sun was shining and the air was calm; a rare occurrence ’round here during the winter. I sense that spring is just around the corner. But that might just be wishful thinking!

In honor of our lamb of a first day of March, it seemed appropriate to make a nice shepherd’s pie for dinner; a perfect comfort meal for a sunny, late winter day. Traditionally, shepherd’s pie is made by layering ground lamb, in a seasoned sauce, with vegetables and a layer of mashed potatoes; a well-balanced meal in a baking dish! This Irish-inspired dish makes a perfect one-dish meal any night of the week or would make a fantastic substitute for corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day!

Many variations of shepherd’s pie call for ground beef as a substitute for lamb. Technically, that wouldn’t be a shepherd’s pie at all, but rather a cottage pie. Shepherd’s herd sheep; not cattle. And shepherd’s pie is made with lamb; not beef. If your grocery store does not regularly carry ground lamb, you have a few options. First, try asking at the butcher counter to see if they would grind a lamb shoulder for you. Many accommodating butchers would be happy to do this for you. If you’ve got a KitchenAid mixer with a food grinder attachment, another alternative is to grind your own lamb. Finally, I’ve read that you can grind meat by pulsing it in a standard food processor, though I’ve never actually tried this particular strategy. If all else fails, substitute ground beef and call it cottage pie instead! It will still be delicious!

Shepherd’s Pie


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup carrots, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup onions, finely diced
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more, if desired)
  • Pepper
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, warmed
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn, warmed
  • 2 cups creamy mashed potatoes*
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Additional cheddar cheese and parsley, for garnish

*Prepared using your favorite mashed potatoes recipe or boil 4-5 Russet potatoes until fork-tender. Blend with butter and milk until creamy. Season with salt and pepper.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add carrots and onions. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Add the ground lamb. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until fully cooked. Sprinkle the flour over the meat. Stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer. Cook for about 2 minutes, until a sauce thickens around the meat. Season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, combine the mashed potatoes with the cheddar cheese.

To assemble the pie, spread the meat and sauce into a baking dish. Top with a layer of peas and corn. Spread a layer of mashed potatoes on the top. Garnish with a sprinkle of cheddar and fresh parsley. Bake for about 15 minutes, until it bubbles around the edges and the top is lightly browned.

Smoked Salmon Potatoes Au Gratin

Posted on

I’ve got a tasty little twist on potatoes au gratin for you today. Typically, potatoes au gratin is composed of thinly sliced potatoes, baked in seasoned cream until it’s hot, bubbly, and delicious. Sometimes, cheeses such as gruyere or cheddar are added for a super yummy flavor and an extra golden crust. Potatoes au gratin makes a really delicious side dish and works great for large groups and dinner parties.

There’s a passionate love triangle going on in my little twist on potatoes au gratin. You see, I decided to throw in some smoked salmon. Well, smoked salmon and cream cheese are sort of madly in love with other, so I added some cream cheese too. Turns out that cream cheese has also got a little thing for potatoes. And don’t tell the cream cheese, but I swear I saw the potatoes winking at the salmon. The result is a harmonious marriage of flavors; creamy, savory, and thoroughly satisfying.

Smoked Salmon Potatoes Au Gratin


  • 2 1/2 pounds Russet Potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 ounces Smoked Salmon, chopped
  • 1 bar (8 ounces) Cream Cheese, chilled and chopped into small pieces
  • 3 Green Onions, sliced
  • 2 cups Half and Half
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use the side of a knife to smash the garlic clove. Rub the cracked clove of garlic on the sides and bottom of a 13×9 baking dish. Then, rub the inside of the baking dish with butter. Arrange about a third of the sliced potatoes on the bottom of the baking dish. Scatter 1/2 of the cream cheese, salmon, and green onions on top. Arrange another layer of potatoes. Scatter with the remaining cream cheese, green onions, and salmon. Top with the remaining potatoes. In a bowl, whisk together the half and half with the salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the potatoes. Push down gently on the potatoes to ensure that the top layer is lightly covered with the half and half. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Approximately every 15 minutes, use a spatula or spoon to push down on the top layer to moisten it with the cream and prevent it from drying out.

Baked Potato Salad

Posted on

I’ve mentioned my aversion to mayonnaise before. I have no good explanation for it. I think it’s something about the slimy texture. Maybe it’s the smell. It’s hard to say. I don’t avoid it completely, but I use it judiciously and when I do use it, it absolutely has to be Hellman’s. You’re welcome for the free endorsement, Hellman’s. Traditional summer salads pose an issue for me, since so many are laden with mayonnaise. Add that to my paranoia about food safety and refrigeration and my heart starts to race. I panic a bit during summer parties when presented with salad upon gloppy, mayonnaisey salad. Did they use Hellman’s?? How long has it been sitting out?? Is there anything else to eat?? My brother-in-law is as disturbed by mustard as I am by mayonnaise. Strange. I mean, what’s so gross about mustard?? But then again, I’m the one who just wrote a paragraph on my feelings about mayonnaise. So, I suppose that I am clearly the weirdo amongst us.

My distaste for mayonnaise is what brings us to today’s recipe; a non-mayonnaise alternative to potato salad which will delight your taste buds. It’s a potato salad inspired by a loaded baked potato. Think fork-tender chunks of red potato, blended together with sour cream, cheddar cheese, bits of bacon, and chopped green onions. Not a glop of mayonnaise in sight!

Baked Potato Salad


  • 3 pounds Red Potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 cup Bacon, crumbled
  • 1 cup Green Onions, chopped
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper


Place chopped potatoes in a pot. Fill the pot with water until it just covers the potatoes. Add a bit of salt to the water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 8-10 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water in order to stop the cooking and slightly cool the potatoes. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes with the sour cream, mustard, cheese, bacon and onions. Season with salt and lots of coarse-ground black pepper. Refrigerate until completely cooled. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Grilled Ribeye Steaks and Grilled Fingerling Potatoes with Gorgonzola

Posted on

I’m not a lawyer or anything, but I’m pretty sure there is a law that mandates grilling on Memorial Day. In accordance with this purported law, we shall be grilling steaks and potatoes tonight.

Grilled Ribeye Steak with Chipotle Butter, Grilled Fingerling Potatoes with Gorgonzola, and Corn on the Cob

I chose a thick, marbled ribeye steak and fingerling potatoes.  Russet potatoes would work well, but will need more cooking time. And, remember that chipotle butter we made last week?  Throw a dollop of that on the steak!  Sprinkle a little gorgonzola on the potatoes and serve with a piece of corn on the cob!

A little guide for grilling steaks:

  • Take the steak out of the fridge about 30-45 minutes prior to grilling to allow it to come up to room temperature. Allowing the steaks to come to room temperature facilitates even cooking.
  • Meanwhile, fire up your grill. Whether using a gas or charcoal grill (my preference), get it good and hot. Charcoal should have a coat of white ash and glow red in the middle. Distribute the coals unevenly, so that one side is stacked with coals and the other side has a lower, single layer of coals.
  • Remove the grill plate and rub it with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
  • Just prior to grilling, season your steak with a little salt and pepper. Avoid doing this until the last minute, as the salt will draw out the juices in the steak.
  • Sear the steak over high heat for a minute or two on each side. (If using a charcoal grill, sear over the stacked coals). Searing the steak over high heat seals in the juices.
  • If using a gas grill, turn the heat down to medium. If using a charcoal grill, move the steak over the lower heat, single layer of coals.
  • Allow the steak to cook for about 3-6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the steak and your desired doneness. Rotate the steak 45 degrees halfway through, to give it a nice quadrillage (diamond pattern).
  • You can check the steak’s doneness by feeling the steak or using a meat thermometer.  My preference is to insert a meat thermometer into the side of the steak.  (Rare: 125 degrees,  Medium Rare: 130-135 degrees, Medium: 140-145 degrees, Medium Well: 150-155 degrees, Well: 160-165 degrees)
  • Remove the steak from the grill about 5 degrees below your desired temperature, as the steak will continue cooking off the heat.
  • Cover the steak and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes before cutting or serving. Resting allows the juices to redistribute within the steak.

Using a chimney starter eliminates the need for smelly lighter fluid.

To Grill Fingerling Potatoes:

Pour a small amount of olive oil onto a large piece of foil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pierce each potato a few times with a fork. Place potatoes onto the oil.  Thoroughly wrap the potatoes in the foil.  Double wrap if necessary to seal in the oil. Grill for about 30-40 minutes, until fork tender. For larger potatoes, allow for longer grilling time.

Corn on the Cob:

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Put the shucked corn into the boiling water.  Boil for about 5-8 minutes.

And for dessert…

Bordeaux Cherry Brownie Ice Cream with Fresh Cherries

Secrets of An Avon Beauty Boss

Achieving Beautiful Dreams with Avon

The Gourmand Mom

Good food, seasoned with a dash of life

%d bloggers like this: