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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Gluten-Frei Kartofelnpuffer.


I had leftover whipped potatoes in the fridge, from our Thanksgiving feast last weekend.

To be honest, they looked a little gross.  Cold potatoes have never really been my jam on a good day, but these were grey and congealed from having milk in them.  Yet somehow, despite taking on an outward appearance that smacked of shiny beige rubber, they managed to still be quite dry and crumbly.


Oh well...

I had a good idea for how to use them up.


That's potato pancakes by the by.

Now, I'm no stranger to making potato pancakes.  I've tried them many different ways, and my favourite is still the traditional German fashion with sauteed onion and garlic, and a generous dash of nutmeg.

But, you know me... I always think there is room for improvement.  Today's improvement attempt?  I want to try and eliminate the grey gummy-ness that often arises when you mix these with flour.  I've tried everything (including making a roux out of it first), but today I'm going to try just completely eliminating it.

No flour.

So I guess you could call these bitches GLUTEN-FREE.  If you were a wierdo.  Or one of the very few (but still very unfortunate) people out there with Celiac disease.  If you have Celiac disease [less than one percent (~0.75%) of Canadians], I truly am sorry... that really sucks.  But for everyone else... if you've jumped on the Gluten-Free bandwagon anyway... you just haven't quite grasped the concept.


<Sigh>... I suppose I will label this post as being GF, but only because it will attract more people.

Anyway, back to the Kartofelnpuffer!

First, I let the gross leftovers reach room temperature, and then I broke up the rubber ball of whipped potatoes into something a little more manageable.

Already, they began to look a lot more appetizing.

But, this is just the base for the 'batter'.

I'm still planning on making these out of fresh potatoes (and fresh thyme!)


But, the batter needs to be a little stickier, so I mixed in an egg first.

Much better.

Next comes the second-worst part of making potato pancakes.  The messy grating/squishing/juicing of the potatoes.

I won't go into a ton of detail, but for those who've never made potato pancakes (or any potato-based crepe or such), you generally need to separate the juice from the flesh.  Which is messy (and can really sting if you have any open cuts on your hands or fingers) but necessary because potatoes can be surprisingly wet.

The trick, though, is to let the juice sit for a few minutes (or cool in the fridge) and wait for the potato starch to drop at the bottom.

When that happens, just discard the top liquid.

And what you're left with is like glue.

Well, it's like magic mud.  You ever play with magic mud when you were a kid?  Ahhh fun with non-Newtonian fluids.


Anyway, this stuff is great for adding some stickiness back into the batter, so add that back into the mix!

In fact - if you wanted to make this Vegan as well, I'd suggest just adding a spoonful or so more potato starch in there.  I always keep starches on hand in my dry goods cupboard.  Most bulk stores, and health-food stores with decent dry goods sections carry several types of starch.  Including potato starch which is awesome stuff.  

So yah, this recipe has milk and butter in it from the leftover whipped potatoes I made for Thanksgiving, and an egg in there as well, but I have made vegan potato pancakes before, and more than once.

Just remember my mantra when it comes to vegan recipes:  OMIT first rather than SUBSTITUTE first.  Find out what you need after you've tried it without the animal-based ingredient.  You might be surprised, and discover that you mightn't need anything at all!

In this case, omitting all animal products just makes it a littler harder to bind together.  Nothing some starch and a very small dash of vegetable oil can't fix though.

Anyway... these are GF, not V... so back to it...

A dash of salt and pepper (and don't forget my fresh thyme) and that's ready to be cooked.  Fried/Baked/Grilled whatevs.

I chose grilling.  With a small amount of canola oil. On my awesome cast iron grill.

In case you were wondering earlier, when I mentioned grating potatoes as being the second-worst part of making potato pancakes, what was the first-worst thing?

Cooking all these pancakes takes a LOT of time.  A surprising amount of time.  Like 15 - 20 minutes for each batch.  For this reason, I HIGHLY recommend you bring out your largest grill or pan (or multiple pans) and use them all.

One piece of advice I will give, for those of you new to this, is don't try to flip them too soon.  You'll be worried it's burning under there, but wait, then you're certain it's burning under there, but still wait.  The best way to know when it's ready to be flipped over is when it is actually capable of being flipped over.  Try too soon and the whole thing will just completely fall apart.  Trust me, I know from experience.  Even when you use flour as a binding agent, this is still true.

Anyway, with tremendous patience and a modicum of attention paid, you will achieve fruitful results!

Personally, I'm a fan of ketchup.  Ketchup often gets a bad rep.  And I do too, for using it to the extent that I do.  My friends have made it somewhat of a joke... at times.  But to them, I simply reply with this:  'If you truly think I am such a ketchup-fiend, don't you think it stands to reason that I would be a very discriminate connoisseur of ketchup, and would ONLY consent to consuming the best ketchup?"  

And from that, I would point out that 'the best' ketchups are the simplest and often just made of organic tomatoes, cane sugar, and vinegar.  In fact my favourite ketchup IS just those three things.  That makes this stuff actually kinda good for you and I challenge (actually I believe I just DID just challenge someone... or no-one...) anyone to say otherwise!

Phew <wipes forehead>.

That was quite the rant.

Anyway, I like ketchup on my P.P.

The wife, however, is a sour cream fan.  Well, 0% Greek Yogurt anyway, which is a far healthier alternative to sour cream at any rate.

You can sprinkle some more fresh seasoning on top as well, if you like.  But the best flavours are all going to be inside that magical puffer.


My experiment, you ask?  I think that flour really does not need to be in these.  In fact, it so drastically changed the colour and consistency of them (for the better) that I think all my future iterations will be variations on flour-less potato pancakes!