Bacon Fried Mashed Potato Pucks

So for Easter, I made a nasty good bucket of some of the best mashed potatoes that I have made in quite some time and there were plenty of leftovers.  Rather than just eat “plain” mashed potatoes, I thought I would try frying them up.  This batch of spuds was already great, but frying them should turn it up to “eleven!”

I suppose I could have just plopped a pile of the potatoes right into the skillet, but I wanted to do this with them:

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I’m using two cutting boards as rails so I can roll out the potatoes to an even thickness.

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Using the biscuit cutter for the pucks

The ultimate edible playdoh !

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I don’t like to fry in the house, so outside on the side burner of the grill while I cook some burgers.

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Tops and bottoms got a nice buttery crust on them

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Off the grill with some “tasty burgers.”

Now, here’s where I lied (just a little).

I didn’t use my stash of bacon grease.  Quite literally I have not added to the stash or used the stash in about a year.  It sits in a jar in the very back of the fridge, completely hidden.  I opened the jar and it did not smell rancid, but I wasn’t really sure what the time limit was of grease going bad, so I didn’t use it.  Instead I used some Ghee that I had.  Potatoes fried in butter, that’s almost as good as frying in bacon grease.

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

Well, this is at least a more timely holiday post than some of my previous holiday posts.

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone.  I don’t know why, but for some reason, it seemed anti climatic.  (But then what should my expectations be?)

It might be that since I am in the envious position of having a plethora of time off due, that I “had ” to take the entire holiday week off. I finished  my food shopping Tuesday and since I didn’t have to deal with any of the normal holiday clusterflops at work, perhaps that is why it just didn’t feel too “thanksgivingly” to me.

Due to some of the usual issues with my mother, my parents did dinner at their house with a couple of my other brothers and sisters and we had my in-laws over here.  My wife’s family from Washington DC were planning to drive out but they canceled  that due to the hyperbole of the media about the nonexistent UNPRECEDENTED SUPER STORM that never materialized.  (It’s getting so much more difficult to take the media seriously any more.)

But anywho, here’s dinner  !!!!!
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Just wanted a shot of some of the fixin’s before I got working and neglect to get photos.

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Must have mashed potatoes !!

Not going to do all ten pounds, the store had a special for $1.49 for a ten pound bag.

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I culled out most of the smaller ones and will save the larger ones for baked potatoes later in the week.

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This is actually about 1/3 less than I normally do.  My in-laws are not big eaters and my wife and daughter don’t eat too many leftovers so I had to think about how long I wanted to eat leftover mashed potatoes.  (The answer was the Sunday following!)

I goofed up a bit since I made a smaller batch, I still put in three cloves of garlic and it was a bit strong.

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A little appetizer made of chili sauce, shrimp and cream cheese.

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That gets spread on your favorite cracker.

Yum.

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And since we have crackers, we need cheese.  Some nice swiss and colby

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Kinda simple, that’s how it is at Casa del Bacon.

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PORK,PORK,PORK !!!!!!

I did the ham on the grill outside.

The burnt looking parts is just the outer fat and skin layer.

Did I mention PORK???

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Pretty much the whole spread.  Had some homemade bread too.

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OK, On Friday the dinner was fried ham.  That’s about all the ham the wife and daughter can take for the week.  On Saturday, I had ham sandwiches with a little of that good swiss cheese.

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Later on Saturday I turned the rest of the ham into ham salad  (unseen is the split pea and ham soup I made on Thursday after dinner) and this would be the end of the ham..

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Please take note of the extremely unusual use of measuring devices here.  Normally when I make egg, tuna, ham salad, it’s just “some of this, a little of that”, but this time I am using an actual recipe !!!

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All of the “wet” ingredients mixed up and the chopped ham.  I made a special effort to remove as much of the fatty bits form the ham and it made a big difference in texture coming out of the food processor.

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It made a pretty big batch.  I had quite a bit of ham to use up so I had to double the recipe.  What the wife and daughter don’t eat for dinner on Saturday will be my lunch at work until it’s gone.

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I have to say, this turned out really good !!!

Christmas dinner is just around the corner.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken

I had a hankering to use some bacon in my dinner, so Bacon Wrapped Chicken was the choice

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An extremely excellent ratio of two meat to one dairy for the ingredients.

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A very rare action shot for the blog.  Pounding out the meat.

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Pepper and salt, real simple.

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NOTE ! !!  My lawyer is making me tell you to remove the toothpicks before eating !!!

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Now for the mashed potatoes.  No, not all of that garlic will be going in.

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Do you remember “Squashy” from my Thanksgiving dinner???  She’s history !!!

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Melt butter, brown sugar and mix in freshly ground black pepper and toss with the cut up squash.  It bakes at 400 degrees for about 60 minutes

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Cooked potatoes with the butter.

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I found a package of cream cheese in the fridge and tossed that in as well.

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Here comes the entree !!!

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The Oxtail Incident

If you are an old movie buff, you would recognize to the play on words with the Henry Fonda Movie, “The Oxbow Incident” but not to be confused with the George Peppard movie, “Operation Crossbow.”

I have for some time wanted to use Oxtails in a dinner.  I told my wife that a time ago and she looked at me like I had three heads and was speaking in tongue. So I will take the opportunity of her being away and being on my own for dinner and make myself an Oxtail dinner.  Most of the recipes that I found involved just making a stew.  Up to the very time that I made this dinner, I was still debating as to whether or not I should just cook the Oxtails on the grill.

The Menu:

Oxtails

Mashed potatoes

Gravy

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Yes carnivores, there will be vegetables involved.

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Broth, wine and the guest of honor, the meat !!!!

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This Dutch Oven belonged to my wife’s aunt that passed away about 15 years ago, and it is an essential tool to have in the kitchen.  A little oil and some garlic with the browned meat.

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All of the ingredients come together.  I brought this to a boil and then put it in the oven at about 200 degrees for 3 hours.

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Meat,meat and meat

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AHA !! Strain the vegetables and toss them !!!!

I used about 2x liquid than I should have, so there was way too much Au Jus.  I used about half of it and thickened it with a bit of rue.

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Meat meets my world famous butter extreme mashed potatoes.

I had extremely high expectations for this dinner.  I was sorely disappointed.  With the first fork full that I pulled off of the bone, I looked at it at thought “pot roast.”  And when I tasted it, I was right, it did taste just like pot roast.  Not that I am not a fan of an occasional Sunday dinner of pot roast, but I really thought that the Oxtail was going to be something else.

I am not afraid to try something in the kitchen and fail, and the list of things that I have tried and would never do again is very short.  But this is on the list.  I will again cook and gladly eat Ox Tail, but not cooked like this.  I will come up with a grilled version.

Christmas Dinner

We had the In-Laws over for Christmas dinner.  We usually go to their house on Christmas Day and then to my family’s house for New Years Eve to do Christmas there.  This works out best considering how difficult it is to try to coordinate multiple families and assorted family members all over the place.

The menu:

Hors D’oeuvres

( In college, a girl I knew pronounced them “Horse Doovers” and I still say that !)

Shrimp Dip

Feta Puffs

Sausage Treats

Various sliced cheeses

Crackers

Colossal Smoked Oysters

Salted/Toffee Peanuts

Dinner:

Standing Rib Roast

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Caramelized Butternut Squash

Green Beans with Almonds and Goat Cheese

Dinner Rolls

THE MEAT !!!!!

Yes, the Notorious Cheap Bastard spent over $34.00 for a piece of meat !!!!

But, I had a $5.00 discount and a $10.00  coupon so that made the price a much more reasonable $19.00

Here she is in her completely naked and raw splendor !!!

I poked a few garlic cloves in, covered her in oil, fresh ground pepper and kosher salt.

I cooked her outside on the gas grill.  Please note the cast iron pan that was used for the cooking.  I bought that sometime ago and if you are a serious cook(er), you must have at least one of these !!!

Sliced and plated up for serving.  You may notice a distinct lack of PINK anywhere on the meat.  I am the only one that would have appreciated  cooking and serving this absolutely gorgeous piece of meat in the only manner fitting for it, so I made the ultimate sacrifice for the family and overcooked it.  I hope no one thinks less of me for over cooking it !!

This was served with a nice sauce made of:

Sour cream

Horseradish

Dijon Mustard

Whole Grain Mustard

My garlic mashed potatoes.

5 pounds of Russets

8 ounces cream cheese

2 sticks of butter

Fresh garlic to taste.

Boil the bejesus out of them and if they get sticky, GOOD !!!!

These are homemade mashed potatoes, they should have some lumps in them and be “stick to your ribs”.

Dessert

French Apple Tart

Appetizers:

Made with tiny shrimp, cream cheese and chili sauce and served on choice of crackers.

Colossal smoked oysters.

I’m the only one that likes oysters so I got to eat all of them.

Only $1.89 a can at the grocery store.

Puff pastries with feta and green onions

Little smoked sausages in filo.

This was one of several plates that I had.  Nice pepper jack cheese and some Genoa salami to go with the oysters.

I was running around like a maniac and wasn’t able to photograph every thing !!!

Plenty of left overs to nibble on for the next couple of days.

Lunch For Week XI

For various reasons, we had a splendid ham for Thanksgiving.  And with that, I will have a couple of days of ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy for two lunches.  The rest of the week I will have to “wing it” with other leftovers.

Many years ago I saw this Kids in the Hall sketch:

WARNING !!! ADULT LANGUAGE !!

To this day, whenever anyone  asks me how the ham is, I have to fight back the urge to say………

Fine Ham Abounds, Mom !!!!