The Case for the Vegetable Patty

fried potatoes

We upgraded our phones today. I’m never sure how I feel about upgrades when I do it. I always feel wasteful; I think I want my phone to shatter into a million pieces before I feel comfortable turning it in. But a not-scratched up phone and better speakers are starting to sway me.

These photos are still going to be dark because there’s nothing a phone’s going to do to make my already dark kitchen brighter after sun down.

I really thought that I had blogged about these before, but if I did, I called them something so archaic I can’t actually find them again.

before frying

I make these a lot in the fall as one of my repeat harvest dishes. This is the time of year where living in WNY is easy-our produce is finally in and it’s not too cold to want to go get it. I go and pick up a little of a lot of things, which is great to feel like I have a full kitchen but sometimes leaving a general sense of ‘now what?’.

I also find that vegetable patties like this are great to use up leftovers or produce that’s about to go. Use premade mashed potatoes and whatever you have lying around-including apples or applesauce. Really, use whatever you have. If you have left over roast squash, use that as a base instead of potatoes. Go wild with it.

Because it’s such a flexible dish there’s really no true recipe with quantities here.

Vegetable Patties

3-4 potatoes’ worth mashed potatoes

shredded cheese

bread crumbs (optional)

1-2 eggs (optional)

shredded or chopped (or frozen even) vegetables, assorted

applesauce (optional)

Mix everything together, and fry over medium heat with a little oil or butter. Give it a minute or two per side to let everything heat up and come to a golden brown.

I top with additional cheese and bbq sauce.

pre mixed potatoes

Chana Dal Tadka


You really can’t get much more frugal than lentils.

They pack a punch for nutrition and are insanely cheap per bag. Put them in soup, eat them as dal, use them like beans.

I have a confession though: as much as I love the humble lentil I haven’t made them in -years-. I have a bag of yellow ones, and every time I cooked them for the recommended length of time, they were still hard. So I put them in a jar and put them in the cupboard. I would glare at them every so often. That would be the full amount of use they would get-move the jar around, glare.

I found this recipe on Pinterest. It’s simple-lentils, onions, garlic, curry spices, a little bit of salt. But the kicker is that it calls for twice the amount of cooking time-which assures me that it’s not me or my lentils, it’s the stuff that I’ve been reading.

So my hack on this recipe, though I do fully encourage you to go read and use the original:

I put 1 cup lentils in a pot with about four cups water. Placed on medium heat.

I added about two tablespoons rogan josh powder because Mid will only eat lentils with a heavy flavor profile. Use whatever curry powder you have in the house, or mix yours fresh. Add a little salt.

Cook for about 40 minutes, and while cooking the lentils fry some garlic and onions. Stir into the lentils.

Holly wants to add chicken when she tries it. I think that adding another protein source would be lovely, but this is crisis cooking in our house-two days before payday and my s.w.agbucks gift cards haven’t come in yet, so no money for meat right now. Lentils are solid enough you probably wouldn’t need meat (or mead, either, since that’s what I wrote first).

Original recipe-Chana Dal Tadka on NY Food Journal

Honey and Nut Wraps

Banana Bunch

I have earned enough from -the apps that shall not be named for fear of angering the WordPress gods- that I decided to do some groceries at Target.

Target doesn’t have the best prices but they have decent sales if you’re patient and hey, with gift cards it’s free, so why not.

While I was there I saw bananas and granola,which triggered a plan in the back of my head when I remembered the wraps at home.

I will admit that this is not an original idea-I used to buy these wraps when I was at UB after shifts at the coffee bar. But they’re surprisingly filling, adjustable (not a nut butter person? Use sun butter. Or even cream cheese), and satisfy a sweet tooth. They make a good sized breakfast, but I actually normally eat them for lunch.

Honey and Nut Wraps

Soft tortillas/wraps

nut/sun butter or cream cheese

honey or jam

fruit-normally berries or bananas (or both)

granola, of choice


Starting with a wrap for a base, spread a layer of peanut butter or cream cheese.

Top with jam or honey.

Cover with a good sized handful of granola.

Top with sliced fruit (fresh, not pie filling or similar).


Fold sides in, and starting from long side wrap tightly. Can be wrapped in plastic or sandwich cloth and refrigerated for later.

Zesty Zucchini Relish

zesty zucchini relish

A lot of the canning recipes that I post on this blog are actually a sort of digital diary for me. I have a notebook that I use-and then lose and then refind and lose again. It’s just easier to post them on here.

I’ve been on a relish kick lately. Summer dinners around here are often hot dogs, burgers, or pasta salads where I just stir tuna and relish into the bowl. It gets a lot hotter and a lot nastier in Buffalo than a lot of people give the city credit for, and I don’t like to spend a lot of time cooking when it’s like that.

…We’ll ignore the hours of canning that I do in weather like that.

The summer squash and zucchinis are starting to show up, and show up cheaply. They’re $.99 a tray and less than a dollar a piece at the farmer’s markets. They’ll just get cheaper from here on out.

I used the Zesty Zucchini Relish recipe from Ball (the small batch version from the book that comes with the discovery kit). I made very few changes, so I won’t post the recipe.

I used dried horseradish because I already had it, I skipped the salt soak and added a little to the brine instead, used a zucchini, a yellow squash, a cucumber, and an onion, halved the sugar and used apple cider vinegar. I used dried chilis instead of fresh.

I let it cook down too much (note to self: it takes a lot less time to get a canner up to speed when you start with hot water. Start with hot water.) and the brine cooked down too much. I topped off the jars with plain apple cider vinegar.

Golden Hot Sauce


Hot sauce and I have a running love affair. I am dreaming of all sorts of sauce this summer.


No joke, this recipe hit me in my sleep. I was taking a nap and then bam, I have to go make hot sauce.

I used a bag of pre-shredded carrots, because I had them. I don’t normally buy my carrots pre-sliced or pre-shredded but Tops had them marked down to move them and they were cheaper that way.


You don’t have to throw the mash out. You can stir in a little extra vinegar until it’s as thin as you would like and serve it as a really chunky sauce.

Make sure you wear gloves for the entire process.

Golden Hot Sauce

3 cups apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

10 oz shredded or chopped carrots

6 (or more) superhot peppers


1/2 tablespoon pickling spice

1/2 tablespoon ground tumeric

1/2 tablespoon ground mustard

Bring all to a boil, boil until everything is very soft.

Allow to cool to room temperature. Blend until smooth.

Using a fine mesh sieve or a strainer lined with paper, drain off the fluid. Discard or dehydrate solids; refrigerate the sauce.

Tomato Butter, Version 2

tomato butter version 2

We have one farmer’s market within a ten minute drive that I do enjoy greatly but don’t get to with any frequency (because it requires Mid-or someone- to take me). But going does make me really happy, and it has the best prices for the area outside of Aldis or the discount grocers.

I have to keep reminding myself that while we’re still off of harvest season for much of anything other than garlic scapes, a lot of the growers around here have greenhouses and we’re getting rapidly closer to full growing season. So there’s starting to be stuff in the market that’s labeled with ‘local’ or ‘grown in x y or z’.

I picked up some tomatoes the last trip, and make a batch of rotel style crushed tomatoes that went through my canner. I am, however, interested in getting my tomato butter recipe perfected-I liked the first batch and the aching sweetness cut down a little with some time (or the rest of the flavors melded enough to balance it). After running my first batch of tomatoes in the canner I decided to work on my butter instead of canning more crushed or freezing them.

I used more traditional tomato herbs instead of ketchup herbs, and cut the sugar in half. I also threw in some molasses to get a richer taste with a lower sugar hit. I also used lemon juice for a more assertive acid cut. I used a teaspoon each cayenne, thyme, and rosemary, a little fresh (like, five leaves or so) oregano, and a quarter cup of sugar. I used maybe two tablespoons each lemon juice and molasses-not blackstrap, just normal.

My only concern for this batch is that it never really turned into butter, it just cooked down to what looked like really thick tomato sauce. It did hold its shape, however. And it really, really smelled like tomato sauce. This might be the wrong flavor profile for tomato butter.

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Rotel Type Tomatoes


My sister’s wedding is tomorrow (today? The 19th). I’ve been stress cooking up a storm, to the point where I’ve been getting moody on the days where I need to run errands instead of spending some time in the kitchen. I know I need to get other things done, but I really need my happy bubble of not thinking about anything.

I’ve said it a few times this season that I’ve been trying to get a base of staples built up-Mid eats dilly beans like they’re going extinct and I’m comfort eating applesauce. I do however get bored with canning the same projects over and over. Halfway to salsa and useful in chili, I decided to go with rotel style tomatoes instead of crushed for this batch.

I added a little salt, a little cayenne, and a little garlic just to add some flavor. I don’t necessarily like the flavor of jalapenos, but Target had them and I didn’t want to stop at the grocery store just for another type of pepper. A tablespoon of salt is a fair amount of salt, and I don’t normally salt my food at all, but this recipe is written for a full quart of product and a tablespoon across two pint jars isn’t terrible, plus it’ll help combat the acid a little. I will probably cut back on the next batch, though.

The recipe itself is simple, and I used the version in Food in Jars. I’m not sure if she has a variation on her blog, but I do recommend getting a hold of the book if possible.