About two years ago, I developed an illness that required not only my early retirement, but also made even everyday tasks like cooking difficult. And I enjoy cooking for my family and friends.
Well, I sat down with a thud and asked myself what I was going to do now. Fortunately, I'd had a long career as both a hotel professional and as a special-event designer.
Over my cooling cup of coffee, I thought back to all the special shortcuts, little-known techniques and secret ingredients I'd seen top chefs use to save time and effort and still create an elegant meal.
I suddenly realized I could transfer those little-known cooking secrets to my kitchen, saving strength and money while getting more free time. So I did, and this column, at the suggestion of friends, is the result: a place where each month I'll share fun, easy, different (and inexpensive) recipes with you.
Whether you are a busy professional, a stay-at-home parent with more than enough to do or someone just looking for something new and creative to share with family and friends, I hope you will enjoy these innovative recipe ideas. And, yes, every recipe has been tested and works just fine.
Ana Kinkaid, a Green Lake resident, would love to hear your comments at email@example.com
Try something different this year when you think Irish. Surprise your friends with potato candy. This candy is actually made with potatoes and even looks like miniature taters, but tastes like an expensive sweet from an exclusive store.
This treat also recalls the courage that brought so many seeking a better life to America. Later, during the settling of the West, pioneer mothers made this candy for their children as a special treat when their flour was gone and any store was miles away.
Have fun letting others guess the mystery ingredient! Enjoy!
IRISH POTATO CANDY
2 cups dry instant potatoes
1 box powdered sugar
4 cups flaked coconut (my own modern addition)
water to moisten
flavoring (vanilla, almond or a drop of whiskey)
1 bag chocolate chips
1 cup granulated regular sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
Blend the instant potatoes, powdered sugar and coconut together in a bowl.
Add water slowly, just enough to moisten, until you have a moldable dough.
Add a little touch of flavor if you like.
Chill in fridge until firm enough to work with, about an hour or so.
Mold into little, bite-size, potato-shaped candies. Set them on a cookie sheet and return to cool in the refrigerator.
Mix the cinnamon and regular sugar together in a small bowl and set aside.
Melt the chocolate chips in a double-boiler.
Get the candies out. Take a teaspoon and scoop up some chocolate.
Spread it on the top of your little "potato." and use the back of the spoon to "ice" the sides, etc. Cover the top and sides (not the bottom) to look like a small, brown potato. Repeat this with each candy.
Roll each iced "potato" in the sugar-cinnamon mix, and allow the chocolate to firm up in the refrigerator. Store in covered box and share with friends.