Grandma in the house

15 03 2010

Grandma Slachta was with us for dinner last night.  For those of you who know me and Grandma, no I am not delusional, she wasn’t with us physically, but her spirit was with us as we created and enjoyed some great food inspired by her cooking.

One of the greatest if not the greatest meals Grandma made was potato pancakes with side pork and apple sauce.  I mean holy cow was that some of the yummiest food to cross my palate.  If you are not familiar with side pork, think of bacon only thicker and tastier, I know tastier bacon, its true.  If you are not familiar with potato pancakes they are wonderful little “cakes” of grated potato with a little salt and pepper and an egg to stick them together lightly pan-fried to perfection, to steal one from Rachael Ray…yummo.  Good old-fashioned comfort food on a blustery day.

Books could be written on Grandma’s cooking.  She was like the superhero of the kitchen, I can smell the chicken soup or the dumplings…cookies…whitefish…and so much more.  It is kind of funny that I gravitate to a dish so simple as the potato pancake, perhaps it is because I can make it, not quite as good, but still very good.  I had coaching as a young child from Grandma, she would let me hang out in her kitchen and help. It started with the grater, ouch man you can tear up some fingers with that thing.  But soon I earned the job of cutting up some homemade noodles for the soup and other jobs.  Man am I getting hungry.

I digress.  Grandma’s spirit brought with her a new twist to the potato pancake of my youth.  zucchini.  Yup the green tubular squash.  Kind of a boring veggie that has great taste but lacks the creative ways to cook and serve.  So with Grandma as my guide I pulled out the grater, no skin this time as I grated the zucchini.  It’s a very pretty green color and I left the skin on to give it flecks of dark green as well, fitting being St. Patty’s week and Spartan Basketball season (www.msuspartans.com).  I proceeded to mix up the zucchini as I was taught with potato’s a little salt and pepper, one egg and just enough flour to absorb some of the water, maybe a tablespoon or two.  I grabbed on of my heavy Emeril Wear frying pans and set the heat to medium, these are great pans if you like to cook I urge you to buy quality, you get what you pay for with cookware.   A little olive oil in the pan and  scoops of the mix flattened out like a traditional pancake, crispy brown on both sides and onto our plate.  I was surprised how good they were, although I must admit my guide, Grandma, has never led me wrong.  The crispness of the outside led you to an almost creamy middle, wow good stuff.

Of course they had to pass the applesauce test.  The correct applesauce is key, for me and Grandma it is Mott’s, period.  The procedure for this pass or fail experiment is to take a piece of potato/zucchini pancake and dip it into the applesauce and taste.   A home run I tell you, it was awesome as good as potato and applesauce.  The crispy saltiness of the zucchini pancake and the sweet cool taste of the apple sauce was winner winner chicken dinner in my book.

Many of you(ok some of you?) are wondering…can it get any better than that?  I am here to tell that it can.  Who you may ask shall arrive bearing gifts from desserts past?  Oh and she had Sydney with her too, none other than….Mom!  Yup, Grandma’s daughter.  She not only delivered my princess safe and sound but with her carried a plate of miniature Grandma Slachta cream puffs.  Oh JOY!  Yes Virginia there is a Santa Clause.  Oh man were they good, Jenny did you get one?  They migrated towards me in numbers, I was helpless…I…Must…eat…the cream…puff.   Ironically this morning I downloaded a calorie counter to monitor my intake.  Grandma filled hers with custard, mmm mmm good, mom did too.

I can’t wait for Grandma’s next inspiration.  I wonder what it will be.  Fried chicken maybe?  Those noodles were always a hit and Jenny makes a great chicken soup…lepchucens…yeah.

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4 responses

25 03 2010
marilyn halstead

Hi Matt,
Aunt Jane is here with John and I in Alabama. I just read your blog and am very impressed with your writing.
I’m anxious to try the potato pancakes.
What a wonderful memory you have of your Grandma.
Nice seeing you at Raph’s funeral.
Marilyn

15 05 2010
Mom

Matt – just wanted you to know how nice that was to write about G’ma’s potatoe pancakes. They were the best. Did you know that you wrote about them almost to the date she died. She died on March 12th. You must have had an inner thought going.
Anyway thanks for the remembrance! Those are special.

8 07 2012
Tyler Dwight Goff

u have the exact printer friendly recipe for the potato pancakes

9 07 2012
mdprincing

Tyler, no real recipe it was all in her head. Grate as much potato as needed, spoon as much liquid out as you can, one egg, salt and pepper to taste and enough flour to cover the mix to keep it from browning.

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