Silly gadgets and Russian hash browns (kugelis)

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.

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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

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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)

Ingredients:

  • 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

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Instructions:

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.

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3. Peel potatoes, coarsely grate.

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This is where the food processor is your friend!

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

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Nice and dry! Smile Watery potatoes are no good.

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

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

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

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Crusty on the inside…

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…soft and buttery on the inside:

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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:

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Then a 2 minute sautee with some EVOO and garlic.

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Perfect Smile

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What are your favorite kitchen gadgets?

Healthy and Sane flashback: sweet and spicy glazed salmon

Healthy and Sane has come a long way over the past three plus years. I’d like to think I’ve become a better and more adventurous cook. I’ve changed the blog format from journal-style to random-style (heh). I’ve stopped counting calories and continue to explore what diet-free living means to me. And while I still have a lot to learn about food photography, I know the picture quality on this little blog has improved. The very first post (and many to closely follow) definitely required some imagination!  I’m happy you took the leap and tried a lot of the recipes I shared here with you regardless!

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So here is the deal. I want to bring some old favorites back. I want to share them with you again. I want you to SEE, not just imagine, how delicious they are. And then hopefully even more of you will be inspired to make them. I’m definitely having a lot of fun making them again!

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Let’s start with a little flashback going back to December 2009… when I had my parents and aunt from Russia over for dinner.  When I told you that this Cooking Light recipe for sweet-spicy glazed salmon was a recent favorite. It comes together in less than 15 minutes and is certainly impressive and delicious enough to serve to company. The salmon gets a quick sprinkling of salt and pepper and then bakes for 10-12 minutes. In the mean time, you can work on the sweet and spicy glaze made of brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar and mustard (I now use 100% dijon in place of Chinese mustard). The salmon is finished with a good slathering of the sauce. It’s shiny and sticky and finger-licking good.

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Drooooool.

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Of course you’ll need a side dish for the salmon. May I recommend this Food & Wine recipe for roasted brussels sprouts with capers, walnuts and anchovies? [Originally found through The Sweets Life] These babies are roasted at the same temperature and the dressing also contains mustard, which makes these two just meant for each other! I cut the oil in the dressing quite a bit and used a little less anchovies (PS – I hope you’re not scared of them, they are salty and just melt into the dressing. Don’t skip them!). This meal was so good that Adam broke the “no fish in the office” rule and took the leftovers (which were originally meant for me) to work for lunch the next day. He said it was worth the looks he got Winking smile

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I’m very seriously considering making these brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving this year. I loved how the sweet caramelized brussels sprouts were balanced by the salty/acidic dressing. Delicious!

PS – The photos were taken in my new “photo studio” with a custom white balance and dimmed overhead lights. I like how much more vivid the colors are. The gorgeous orange hue of salmon helped of course! Smile

Do you have any old favorites you’d like to bring back? Also…

Are you making any veggie sides for Thanksgiving? Share some recipes with me, I’m still trying to finalize my contribution to the table!

Healthy and Sane in the kitchen: summer feast

It’s been a while since I’ve actually cooked anything substantial. Sure I’ve grilled up some chicken and drenched it in buffalo sauce, stuffed it in tortillas with veggies and called it tacos for dinner. I’ve made burgers (actually I showed Adam how to) and salads. I’ve utilized leftovers from numerous nights out (is it just me, or do you also eat out more in the summer months?). And then there was of course the DC vacation. In short, I missed some real cooking. And yesterday’s trip to the farmers market during lunch, gave me just the kick in the butt I needed to get back into the kitchen and whip up something good!

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This corn was picked that morning!! Look at these juicy kernels!!

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Dinner is served!

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We ate out on the patio. I love summer nights!!!

On the menu (see links to recipes):

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This salad was spectacular! I loved the spicy arugula paired with the lemon drizzled zucchini disks and shaved Asiago! Going on my favorite recipes list Smile

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We had a hard time making the bacon bits stick to the corn (I think I didn’t use enough butter to that much bacon and didn’t cut it up finely enough) and then the cheese didn’t really want to stay on the corn because it wasn’t wet enough… but we made it work. One delicious smoky, cheesy, corn-y (lol) bite at a time. [Edited to add: Jessica let me know that if you chop the bacon into teeny tiny pieces, it works great... so go ahead, make it! :) ]

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Fresh, tangy, cheesy, buttery… so many textures and flavors. This was the perfect summer feast!

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My kitchen is full of dirty dishes, which is a sure sign I’m finally back to what I love Smile

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