Leftover mashed potato cakes

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If there are two things you can take away from my cooking style by reading this blog, they are: 1. I enjoy recipes that are tweakable/adaptable/otherwise easy to play with; and 2. It hardly bears repeating, but…potatoes.

It should hardly be surprising, then, that I’m sharing these leftover mashed potato cakes with you. In addition to fulfilling the criteria above, they’re tasty, and they put leftovers to use. So, win/win/win/win.

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Beer battered fish and chips.

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To anyone out there who mocks English/Irish fare, I have three words for you: fish. and. chips.

Actually, I have a few more words, such as “oh my god get out you don’t know what you’re even talking about,” and “um, have you HEARD of Sunday roast, you plebe?” It seems like a lazy, uninformed kind of insult, especially since I follow a few British food bloggers on here and easily 98 percent of the time I find myself drooling all over my keyboard at their pictures of amazing-looking food. (Though I have to get this off my chest: Haggis. Admittedly, I’ve never had it, because I can’t wrap my head around it. I just…what. Why. Scottish people, please explain.)

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Fathers Day Dinner 2014, and the root of why I love cooking.

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For Fathers Day, my mom and I made dinner for my dad. It’s a running tradition, as my dad loves food and, although he also loves cooking, probably enjoys having someone else do that (and the dishes!) for him.

There’s an excellent butcher in the next town over from them, so they picked up some beautiful veal chops. Dad wanted something with mushrooms and gorgonzola (which I can never pronounce correctly, because Colin like to call it gorGONZOla, because he is a goober).

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Asian roasted potatoes.

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Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Um, Lauren, you already at least a dozen recipes featuring potatoes on here. You have two different recipes for roasted potatoes on here. If you keep this up, you are going to turn into a potato.”

Well, maybe I am. But guys, please. Hear me out. These potatoes are aaaawesooooome. Like, so good. They’re crisp and salty and so full of flavor. It’s probably safe to say that like them as much as the go-to recipe I can’t get enough of. I’ve made them twice in as many weeks, and I already want them again.

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Mushroom-brussels sprout hash.

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I have a new breakfast-related goal. Okay, two breakfast-related goals, which are actually in diametric opposition to one another. One is to stop eating so much bacon (ugh), and the other is to develop seasonally-appropriate hashes (which, let’s be honest, will probably all feature bacon). I’m a little late on this one, given that it’s technically spring (even though it was 28 degrees this morning and we’re supposed to get snow tomorrow, despaaaaaiiiiiir), but I’ve been loving brussels sprouts lately, and the mushrooms in my fridge were on the verge of going bad, and letting mushrooms go to waste is a sin.

Brussels sprouts have been a much-maligned veggie in popular culture, for some reason I can’t seem to fathom. I never had to eat them as a kid – and perhaps I’d understand if I had been forced to eat them for dinner all the time – but I worked them into my repertoire last year, and Colin and I are both pretty big fans. I mean, when you combine roasted vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper, it’s hard to go wrong. And they’re adorable! They’re like baby cabbages!

That’s right, I’m a grown woman gushing over cruciferous vegetables. Come. at. me.

Really, the only bad experiences I’ve had with brussels sprouts are when they’re eaten raw. This winter, I made two different kinds of brussels sprout salad, and both times they filled me with nothing but abject sadness. Fool me once, Pinterest, shame on you. Fool me twice…

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Baked chili cheese fries.

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I wish my favorite food was something like kale. Or quinoa. Or a green smoothie. Not that I don’t like these things (well, I’ve never actually had a green smoothie. I’ll get there.), but French fries have my heart. This is not a good thing for me – especially with an annual physical coming up (I am certain I’ll be admonished for my mass spud consumption, which will probably show up in my bloodwork because there’s no way that my veins are not full of starch) – but it could be a good thing for you … especially if you’ve been hankering for chili fries but haven’t had a chance to make a pot of chili. And seriously, who’s going to make a pot of chili for the sole purpose of putting them on fries? I mean… you could, but you’d have to make the chili and the fries, and that, my friends, is not going to happen in this girl’s kitchen. Especially not on a Monday night. I’m sure Colin (the superior dish washer of the duo) is grateful for that, too.

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Mashed potatoes with goat cheese and caramelized onions.

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It might surprise you to know that I’m fond of the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Now, to tell you the truth, I’m not the kind of person who really likes fixing things that aren’t food related. A pothole tried to eat my hubcap and it’s just been sitting in my trunk because I can’t be bothered to slap it back on. I’m like, the tire still works? Cool. I’ll let the car dealership handle the hubcap problem when I go in for an oil change. Oh, and ask Colin how long it took me to program the universal remote.

But when it comes to food … I’m always changing things, adding cheese, omitting parsley (because really), tossing in some garlic or bacon or a glug of wine to make a dish my own. But some foods are pretty perfect in their traditional state – like mashed potatoes. Whether you use lots of butter and cream, or sour cream, or cream cheese, traditional mashed potatoes are just tops. But (and isn’t there always a but?) that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment.

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My favorite roasted potatoes.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – one of my favorite things about being a grownup is that I can have roasted potatoes for dinner (or lunch. Or breakfast.) whenever I damn well please. I love their crispy outsides and the feeling of comfort that permeates as soon as you pop one in your mouth. I love the way they smell when they’re cooking. And while I’ve sampled many, many variations, this is the signature, tried-and-true version I make most often. Also, whenever I try making some other kind of roasted potato dish, Colin’s all like, WHY TRY TO IMPROVE PERFECTION*?

*paraphrasing.

I’m going to be honest with you – this recipe is a result of “I’m too lazy to chop garlic” and “Having fresh herbs/a garden is haaaard.” (It’s not. But having even the slightest semblance of a yard is a wistful dream.) I don’t even really measure the ingredients – but this time, I did. Just so I can share it with you fine folks. Unfortunately, most of my pictures came out horrible and sallow-looking, so here’s a picture of Sam looking super concerned. And super cute.

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Twice-baked potatoes with kale.

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Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, please welcome, for the very first time on this humble little blog … kale!

Kale has become an incredibly popular staple for healthy eaters over the past couple of years, and rightly so. It’s chock full of vitamins and minerals, and can be prepared in any number of ways.

For those of you who haven’t managed to incorporate this superfood into your diet, and are perhaps a little wary of this leafy green with its curly, tough texture, here’s a recipe that might help you open your arms (mouth?) to kale. Sure, it’s not the healthiest thing you could eat, but it is delicious, and it’s tangible proof that, as the great Bob Belcher once said, there’s nothing wrong with kale.

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Roasted potatoes with blue cheese

In case you didn’t know, I’m quite fond of spuds.

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In all forms. They’re my favorite carbohydrate, hands down. I spent the past week at my sister’s place near Lake Ontario, and after our dinner Wednesday night, I think I might be in love with poutine. Especially if it’s served with bacon-stout gravy.

One of my favorite dishes (or side dishes, really) is, and has always been, roasted potatoes. And I’m going to be completely honest with you: One of my absolute favorite things about being a grown up is the fact that, since I more or less control what’s for dinner, I can make roasted potatoes whenever the heck I want. I can make them every single day. I’ve been in charge of my own dinner for years and that fact still hasn’t gotten old.

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