Healthy and Sane

Silly gadgets and Russian hash browns (kugelis)

December 2nd, 2011 · 47 Comments · breakfast, Russian, side dishes

Thank you all for your sweet comments on my previous post on weight fluctuations. It was eye opening for me and I’m happy I shared the pictures here on the blog. Even more inspiration!

So let’s get back to food, shall we? Actually I sort of wanted to talk about kitchen gadgets. Gimmicky kitchen gadgets. Do you own any? I’m talking about silly things like Slap Chops (I own one! It’s collecting dust.), avocado slicersmango splitters and the like. Basically anything that a good ol’ knife would do FASTER. And then there is a whole new level of ridiculousness with the likes of egg poacher + english muffin toaster combo, andmarinade express tabletop unit(it’s $300!!). The good news is that some gadgets are AWESOME… even if you can in fact use something simpler to get the job done.


You are going to laugh at me but I love my strawberry stem remover. Yes, I can use a knife but it’s honestly so much fun using that little guy (and no, I will not be buying the strawberry slicerthat Amazon recommends with it… I do have my limits). And I recently purchased this cupcake corer. It looks gimmicky but I hate doing the job with a pairing knife. I’ll let you know how it goes. Smile

Why am I even talking about kitchen gadgets anyway? Because the shredder attachment to my food processor rocked my world the other day. I sort of want to shred every single food item in the house now just to watch this beast process it into perfect little strips. Three pounds of potatoes processed in less than 1 minute. Box graters are so last year! Winking smile


The recipe I used my favorite new gadget for was for kugelis, which is a Lithuanian potato dish reminiscent of a large hash brown cake. It took a little work (I wish those potatoes peeled themselves!) but the end result was a beautiful potato bake with a golden crust on the outside and tender potato on the inside. Adam and I both enjoyed it for our “restaurant meal in” (our new thing since our going out budget is tighter… there are no tvs, no computers, just the two of us enjoying a more indulgent meal together – catching up on random stories from the week)… but this would be a great dish to serve for brunch as well. I hope you make it and let me know how it goes! Open-mouthed smile

Kugelis – serves 6-8 (recipe is largely based on the Please to the Table cookbook)


  • 3 lbs potatoes
  • 4 oz bacon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup milk (if you want a richer dish, use all cream)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste



1. Preheat oven to 375*.

2. Fry bacon in an oven safe 10” skillet. Pour out most of the bacon grease, leaving enough to coat the pan. Blot bacon on paper towels then crumble.

Russian-hash-browns-kugelis-2 Russian-hash-browns-kugelis-3

3. Peel potatoes, coarsely grate.


This is where the food processor is your friend!


4. Wash grated potatoes in several changes of cold water, then place in a kitchen towel to squeeze water out.


Nice and dry! Smile Watery potatoes are no good.


5. Combine potatoes, bacon, milk, cream, and eggs. Add salt and pepper to taste.




6. Transfer back to the pan and dot with butter.


6. Bake at 375* for about 1 hour, until the top is golden brown.



Crusty on the inside…


…soft and buttery on the inside:


These potatoes were definitely the star of our steak dinner. I also used these Green Giant green beans for a super quick side veg (*Disclaimer: I received a coupon for a free Green Giant product through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program).

Quick steam:


Then a 2 minute sautee with some EVOO and garlic.


Perfect Smile


What are your favorite kitchen gadgets?

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47 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Lena H.

    I LOVE my avocado slicer! And my strawberry de-stemmer — which was actual given a thumbs up from The Feed too :)

    Also, can I please request that kugelis make an appearance at our yet-to-be-scheduled brunch?

    • #2 - Elina

      Oh good – I was totally embarrassed about loving it but it is pretty awesome. Yes to kugelis :)

  • #3 - Amy

    This looks sooo delicious! I already am planning to try it out tomorrow morning! :) My favorite gadget (minus my immersion blender which I could not live without) is pretty silly…it’s a garlic peeler. All it is is a little tube of plastic. You place the pieces of garlic inside then roll it on a flat surface with your hands and the friction takes off the garlic skins seamlessly and you have beautiful, in-tact peeled cloves of garlic!

    Also- I just had to tell you… I thought of your post on leaving your job recently- as I am now doing the same :) Today is my last day- off to the world of more blogging, some freelancing, and hopefully happiness! :)

    • #4 - Elina

      OMG, Amy – that’s so exciting!!! Congrats :)
      [Also, I sort of want to try out that garlic peel. I hate that job!]

  • #5 - Amy

    Thanks Elina! :)

    We actually recently lost our garlic peeler and I almost cried. My mom is the one who sent it to me and she promised one in my stocking … fingers crossed!

  • #7 - Stephanie (The Dinner Babe)

    This is SOOOOO what you need for peeling those taters. lol! They’re gloves that you wear while washing the taters & they “scrub” the skin off at the same time! [Yes, I’m an infomercial junkie, but I love my Ninja Master Prep!],or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&biw=1440&bih=809&ion=1&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=4284432824379932357&sa=X&ei=ifTYTvaICNPs2AWKnqmoDg&ved=0CH4Q9AIwAQ&os=reviews

  • #9 - Michelle

    During our move this summer, I definitely purged our kitchen of a lot of unnecessary gadgets! That being said, I’ve definitely been hand grating items and have never used the grating blade on my food processor!

  • #11 - Amy

    I used my shredder adapter for the first time last weekend to shred cheese-it was so easy, and the cheese tasted so much better than the pre-shredded-my husband was obsessed!

    • #12 - Elina

      Ooh, I wouldn’t even think of that. Genius! I’m making mac&cheese tonight and bought a few blocks of cheese for it. Perfect timing :)

      • #13 - Elina

        Used it for cheese last night. Worked amazingly well. Like I said, I think I’m just going to start shredding things for the fun of it. Too easy :)

  • #14 - Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    The kugelis sounds delicious! I don’t have a lot of kitchen gadgets – I probably use my blender the most though. But really, my favorite is a really sharp chef’s knife!

  • #16 - Kelly B

    I love my shredder attachment. I have all the ingredients (i’m going to substitute half and half for the heavy cream though – since i have that onhand). I googled it and it didn’t seem like too much of a stretch.

    I wonder how this would be with butternut squash, I have a recipe for bnut squash latkes that are really yummy and a lot healthier than potatoes. Maybe I’ll be adventurous and try it.

    • #17 - Elina

      It should definitely work with half and half… it will just be slightly less indulgent tasting. If you want to try it with butternut sqush, I’d maybe do half potatoes/half butternut? I’ve made these latkes with sweet potatoes once and they were delicious… so this would be the same idea. Here is my post on that, in case you’re interested :)

      • #18 - Kelly B

        Hey I forgot to mention, one of my gadget of choice is my salad spinner. I only remembered while I was making this, when I rinse and dry my potatoes, etc for Latkes and used the same for this, I use my spinner. It really takes a lot of the wetness out and is less mess.

  • #20 - Jennifer

    Love your idea of a “restaurant meal in!” Nice way for you guys to connect without spending a ton of dough.

  • #22 - Megan

    The shredder attachment is amazing… and this recipe looks incredible! Something Jeff would love too!

    I have that stupid Garlic Zoom thing… it really only comes in handy when I need to chop huge quantities of garlic. Otherwise it’s a nuisance.

    I haven’t let myself buy a strawberry huller, though I really want one. Cherry pitters are awesome… as are apple corers and slicers.

    • #23 - Elina

      Heh, I saw that garlic zoom on the list of common useless gadgets 😉 [Although there are a few that I have as well… we all fall for it.] But the strawberry huller next season. It’s like $3 and is seriously fun to use!

  • #24 - Jane

    Those kugelis look so delish!
    Thought of you when I saw these!

    Wineglass-Top Appetizer Plates

    These convenient appetizer plates are the perfect gift for friends who love to host parties. Or you can buy a set for yourself to use at your Christmas party! (, $24.95)

  • #26 - Sacha

    Potatoes, cream and bacon — sign me up! The best part for me would be the crispy outer layer.

    I’m usually pretty good about resisting gadgets, so I can save up money for things I really want/need, but I bought cutesy stencils for decorating cupcakes with cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, etc. for Halloween. I regretted buying them shortly after, but they actually made for some good looking cupcakes. My favorite useful tool is a bench scraper.

  • #30 - Tiffany

    That looks so good! My belly actually growled while I was reading this post; I think it’s telling me I want potatoes for dinner!

  • #31 - Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living

    I need to use the grater attachment on my food processor more often! This is definitely the perfect recipe for it. I wonder how the kugelis would turn out with sweet potatoes?

    • #32 - Elina

      I’d probably try it with half (reg) and half (sweet) like I mentioned to Kelly B. :)

  • #33 - dana

    This looks so wonderfully potatoey good!

    As for gadgets: an apple corer (which is kind of very few uses gimmicky- but we eat a lot of baked apples) is a great stand in for a cupcake corer.

    • #34 - Elina

      Wow, really? I had an apple corer. I want my money back on that cupcake corer now. 😉

  • #35 - Silly gadgets and Russian hash browns (kugelis) | Russian Bites

    […] your comment here Breakfast dishes, side dishes   brunch, potatoes, russian recipe, side dish   […]

  • #36 - Lani …best kitchen gadgets of 2011!

  • #38 - One Healthy Apple (Yelena)

    My Russian mama has never made kugelis- has she been holding out on me? I think so!

    I am really basic with my gadgets. I love our Breville espresso machine and can’t live without my waffle maker.

  • #39 - lynn @ the actor's diet

    i love this idea! i’ve been wanting to make a giant potato pancake lately…

  • #40 - Jennifer@ knackfornutrition

    Your food photography is stunning!

    For some reason your comment was caught in my spam filter so I just now read it but thanks for leaving it. It is always reassuring to hear about someone else’s experience. So far it has been one week since I stopped training and like you said, it is just nice to have my life back!

    • #41 - Elina

      Ugh, you’re not the first one to tell me this. Not sure what’s up. I’m not spam 😉 Glad to hear you’re happy with your decision still… that means it was definitely the right one! :)

  • #42 - Cara

    The shredding attachment is the best! I’ve never made potato latkes without it. I would cry if mine broke. I use it for other stuff too though, so I’m not really sure I consider it a “gadget”! (for some reason, gadget to me implies only one or very limited use.)

    But like you said some gadgets are totally cool and necessary. Like those “poach pods” I bought for my blogger brunch? Yup, totally needed those! (And now that I have them I bet I’ll never bother to learn how to poach an egg perfectly!)

  • #43 - Shannon

    I try to avoid excess kitchen gadgets 😉 but i have picked up a few! if you want a garlic peeler like that mentioned above, let me know. mom gave me one last year and i don’t use it…

  • #44 - Hillary Gras @ GRAS Pizza

    I’m on board with the food processor shredder attachment. It changed my life when i made homemade carrot cake cupcakes.

    I just got a slicer for my stand mixer that I need to try out…

    and then find another use for the potato ricer I bought to try gnocchi hahah

  • #45 - My 30 by 30 list | Healthy and Sane

    […] ponchiki, savory profiteroles, blini, layered jello cake, vareniki, chocolate covered sirki, kugelis, chocolate “potato” truffles, and otbivnii (chicken fried […]

  • #46 - Eric in Minas

    I saw your recipe for Kugelis but it is more reminiscent of the Swiss national dish rosti than the kugelis that was a part of the repetoire of my Polish grandmother from Vilnius, a city that embraces all that is beautiful in Lithuania and Poland. In Polish it is referred to as babka kartoflana. The difficulty in the preparation has always been the grating of the potatoes to get the consisitency of hand grating with the small holes of a box grater. A lot of bloodied knuckles over the years are a testamant to that. Since I moved to Brazil i came across the perfect electric machine that has blades to grate potato and also cabbage for sauerkraut. It is made by Baltic Value in Vilnius and they ship world wide. It will grate 150 lbs an hour. I make a huge batch in muffin tins and freeze it. The results are outstanding and my Brazilian friends adore the result. The ingredients are simple and cheap …yes bacon is cheap in Brazil…I make it different all the time adding sausage, mushrooms, dill, whatever on hand…it also is indispensible to make cepilini…meat filled potato dumplngs that are to die for. I enjoyed your blog. Bom apetite… Obrigado

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