Monday, April 19, 2010

Making time for "me" time.

I'm in the middle of a lot of chaos. Redoing a house, writing a second novel, PR for the first novel. All are things with which I'm not comfortable. In fact, I'm a little scattered and need to make sure I make "me" time or else my brain will fry. I know none of you have ever felt like that, right?

When I need "me" time, I seek out comfort things. A glass of milk. A cup of tea. Meatloaf. Noodles. Rice. Things with butter.

Most of all, I love mashed potatoes. Love them. With garlic. With cheese. Talk about comfort food!!!

Over the recent holidays, I made a huge batch of mashed potatoes, and get this, we didn't finish them because we had so many other goodies.

Well, lucky me, because the next day when I was in desperate need of "me" time and a snack that would satisfy and stick to my ribs, I decided to use the leftover mashed potatoes and make a potato cake wrapped in cheese. I'd never made one. I'd never even heard of one. But I love trying something new. [Note, it doesn't hurt trying something new when every ingredient is something you adore!]

Here's my experiment. It was a perfect mid-afternoon snack, but it would make a lovely appetizer for a meal or even a side dish.

When you're done reading this, take a little "me" time for yourself. Read a good book. Take a walk. Breathe!

Avery's Cheese and Potato Cake


1/2 cup leftover mashed potatoes [recipe for potatoes below]
4 thin slices of your favorite Cheese [I used white cheddar]
dash of paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon of oil


In a skillet, heat the oil on medium. Mold the potatoes into a flat "ball." Lay two slices of the cheese in the skillet. Place the potatoes on top. Lay two more slices on top of the potatoes. As the cheese melts, use a spatula and lift the cheese up the sides of the potatoes. Continue to do this for 2 minutes. Flip the "cake" and do the same with the cheese, scraping it up the sides to form a crust around the potatoes. By the time the cheese is cooked to your liking, the potatoes will have heated through.

Serve warm. If you like, add a dollop of sourcream.

Avery's Mashed Potatoes


4 soft-skinned potatoes, cut in fourths
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
dried parsley


Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender, approximately 15-20 minutes. A fork should be able to slide in and out easily.

Pour off the water. Use a masher to mash them [or if you are between houses and don't have a masher, as it turns out I am, you can use any tool you have in the house--in my case, I used a hammer wrapped in saran wrap and secured with a rubber band.] Mash the potatoes.

Add the spices, milk, and butter. Stir until butter is melted and incorporated.

Serve with a sprinkle of dried parsley.

Serves 4.

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  1. I love experimenting in the kitchen, Avery, and this sounds both delicious and fun. I'm with you on mashed potatoes being a comfort food. I almost made some yesterday to go with my chicken (tomorrow's blog) but I resisted because with the way the family's pulled all week this week, I'd be the one eating them all!
    Thanks... this looks great!

  2. I would love to see you taking a hammer to your potatoes!

    A ricer works well, if you have one. I happen to have one that's been in the family as long as I have, and that has outlasted several new and improved models. They're still available in junk (oops, antique) stores for about $5. The benefit is, they keep the potatoes light and fluffy.

    I will eat anything with butter. I draw the line at eating it straight, but add confectioners sugar (which makes it hard sauce!) and I'm there with a spoon.

  3. Sheila, too funny. I draw the line at eating it straight, but have a great story about my older sister. She loved to scoop the roses off birthday cakes BEFORE the cake was served, so someone fooled her once and made the cake with butter roses. My sister scooped one into her mouth, went pale, and never plucked a rose before the birthday person got a chance at a rose! Too funny.

  4. Nice idea - reminds me a little of Irish boxty but with a lovely cheese twist :-)

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  5. I love this. Midnight snack material -- fo sho!

  6. I loved the part about "me" time including things with butter!! I can dream!

  7. One more time Avery, you give great recipes!

    I did a guest blog today, using this recipe as my basis! You make me look good!