Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Birthdays are great occasions for cooking special meals, and Husband's birthday on Saturday was no exception.  We were fortunate to have my parents visiting for the weekend, which meant more mouths to feed (a good thing in a home where I tend to make too much and then we have too many leftovers!)  The morning started with...

36.  Apple Walnut Pancakes, pg. 74

One benefit of being an employee of Lancaster Farm Fresh is the exposure to new fruits and vegetables.  One particular apple has found its way into my list of favorites -- Gold Rush.  Initially, for those of you who are like me, you may squirm at the word "Gold" when attached to an apple.  I've never been a fan of Golden Delicious apples with their grainy, supposedly sweet flesh.  But Gold Rush?  Would they be different?

After several customers at our farm stand at Lancaster's Central Market asked us to describe the apples, I decided to take a stab at educating myself with some personal experience with one.  One bite in, and I was sold.  Crisp and smooth, sweet but with a definite tang, Gold Rush were determined Tasty!

With a few on hand and a pancake breakfast needing to be made, I didn't hesitate to use them.  I'm pretty sure I've had these pancakes before with sweeter apples, and think that using a sweet-tart apple is actually the way to go.  After toasting a few pecans (subbed for walnut) in the frying pan, the batter was off and running.  Fairly standard as a mix, and as long as you don't overmix these guys turn out great, topped with maple syrup.

Overall:  4.7 out of 5  A hearty pancake that will stick to your ribs until mid-afternoon.  

Dinner inevitably began to approach, and since Husband had requested steak for his meal, I jumped at the chance to make for the accompanying dish...

37.  Mashed Potato Casserole, pg. 230

Most of us have probably had mashed potatoes baked in some fashion.  This recipe is likely very similar to whatever you're familiar with.

Opting for a more traditional approach, I nixed the entire herb and spinach section.  I like my mashed potatoes to taste like potatoes, and with a side salad we were still guaranteed to get greens in the meal.  Once the potatoes were mixed, I did top it off with feta cheese instead of cheddar, which was complimentary but not overpowering.

I would make potatoes like this every night if I could.  And they're not terrible for you if you leave the skins on....right? :)

Again, this is one of those great recipes that can be tweaked to your liking.

Overall: 5 out of 5  It's buttery, simple mashed potatoes.  That should say it all.

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