We have a really great program in Whatcom County called Whatcom Farm-to-School, which highlights a different local produce item each month in participating schools. The program is important because it links the foods that children eat to the farmers that grow it, and introduces some local produce into school lunch meals. This was made possible by a grant from another great local organization, the Whatcom Community Foundation.
Potatoes are the January Harvest of the Month item, so I decided to pick a recipe this month where potatoes are the star. I chose to make Karoffelpuffer – German potato pancakes. I thought they would be tasty and great for a cold day (they are typically served at winter street fairs in Germany). Since they are best served warm, I decided to cook them right at the demo table, which was a first for me. It went really well, and made my demo extra fun!
They are very simple to make – simply grate some potatoes (Washington grown!) and finely chop some onion, and then mix them with a little flour, egg, salt, and pepper. Then you smoosh them in a pan with a little oil, let them get golden and crispy, and then gobble them down! I served them with applesauce (which is traditional), as well as with some sour cream (I chose the locally made one from Breckenridge Farms) for a more savory version. I did find a recipe for a vegan version (although I haven’t made them myself) on a great vegan food blog called Seitan is my Motor. There is also an intriguing recipe for vegan sour cream with olives. Guten appetit!
Kartoffelpuffer (German Potato Pancakes)
adapted from allrecipes.com
1/4 c flour (gluten-free blend or unbleached wheat)
1/4 t baking powder
1 t sea salt
1/4 t ground black pepper
6 medium potatoes, peeled
1/2 c finely chopped (or grated) onion
1/4 c canola oil (or olive, sunflower, etc.)
1. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.
2. Finely shred one potato. Press potato in between paper towels, cheesecloth, or a clean dish towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Mix into egg mixture. Repeat with remaining potatoes.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
4. In batches, drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the potato mixture into the skillet and press to flatten with a wooden spoon (try to make them as flat as you can).
5. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side, until browned and crisp. Add more oil as needed between batches.
6. Drain on paper towels.
7. Serve warm (you can keep them warm in a low oven).
You can shred the potatoes into cold water, drain, and then squeeze out the excess water (see step 2) if you want to avoid the oxidation that occurs when you shred potatoes. Note—The oxidation does not affect the taste.
There are many variations you can try:
- Use 1/4 c shallot or garlic instead of onion
- Add a 1/4 t nutmeg
- Can be served savory with sour cream, cottage cheese, or yogurt.
- Can be served sweet with applesauce, cinnamon and sugar (which is traditional at winter street fairs in Germany) or berry jam.
- You can replace the flour with instant grits
- You can also fry them in butter, or a mixture of butter and oil.
- Shred an apple into the mixture (squeeze out excess water as you would with the potatoes).