Thursday, September 27, 2012

Carb Crazy

I should totally still be low-carbin' my way through life, but that just isn't working out for me right now and I think I can get back on the ball and disciplined before the carb-season Holiday Season is in full swing, but in the meantime I indulge occasionally.  When I initially made the mashed potatoes for the first recipe below, I did totally avoid them...but then I came up with this concoction for the leftover mashed taters and looking at them two days in a row just wasn't an option. So I had a couple dozen and the little peeps devoured the remainder. Such a delish side dish that I find myself making extra mashed potatoes on purpose so that we can stretch the effort into a second dinner.  I hope you enjoy them.
Potato Pancakes
4 cups mashed potatoes
1 egg
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup thin sliced scallion
Keep in mind that I always use leftover mashed potatoes that have already been seasoned with butter, garlic, salt, pepper and maybe some parsley too. When ready to make the potato pancakes, add the egg, flour, and scallions. Stir well to combine. Cook on a hot, lightly oiled (or buttered) skillet or pancake griddle until brown on both sides, about 5-6 minutes.
Next up - buttermilk biscuits....
I love buttermilk biscuits and there is nothing quite like from-scratch biscuits. Not only are they better for you (have you read the label on frozen/canned biscuits? Chalk full of all the things that give a body heart disease, cholesterol, obesity, the list goes on...), but homemade biscuits simply taste better!  There are rarely any left over and that isn't just because there are a lot of mouths to feed around here. Once, most likely in a sleep deprived stupor, I made these and forgot the salt. Totally. I always cook with unsalted butter, so no saving grace there either. Saltless biscuits. Totally reminded me of Matthew 5:13, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?". That really hit home as I was tasting a completely saltless biscuit and being reminded at the same time what it must mean to be the salt of the earth. Because the absence of salt did not make my mouth happy quite like it should have and I began wondering how many times I forgot my salt when I was out and about and how many missed opportunities passed right by because I wasn't being His salt when I should have been. How bland that biscuit was reminded me how bland so many lives are without the one true Salt and I couldn't help but wonder...of all the things Christianity could be compared to...why salt? Why not sugar? A sweet spirit, disposition, and merciful character could be just as effective as a salt comparison right? I mean the expression "salt in the wound" exists because salt can be painful, not just flavorful. Oh, but that's it, isn't it? Sugar is rarely painful and always feel-good! Sugar can cover up the sour, put on a mask and pretend. Sugar must be the charismatic movement...oh shut the front door, this is a food blog! I didn't just go there did I?!
However, think with me for just a moment about all of the things salt can do...aside from the obvious cooking references - brining, tenderizing, seasoning - salt is also used in the northern U.S. to clean the roads, remove ice from the windshield and front porch step. Mix salt with warm water and gargle for sore throat relief. Epsom salt in a warm bath does wonders for detoxing. Canning salt is a saving grace during harvest time. Oh the list could go on! Yes, it may sting a little in a fresh wound, but boy is salt worth it for all the depth of flavor it brings out and oh can you feel it if you forget it. So don't leave home without your salt and puh-lease don't forget to stir it into the dry ingredients when throwing together these biscuits.
Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. cold butter chopped
1 cup buttermilk
Combine dry ingredients. Add cold, cut up butter and combine with a pastry blender until butter is incorporated and creates a meal-like quality with the flour. Stir buttermilk into flour mixture and combine well. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 8-10 times until dough has a light elasticity. Roll 1/2 inch thick and cut with a 2-inch round cutter. Bake on a non-greased sheet pan at 450 degrees until tops are lightly brown.