marchewkowe płatki

8 Oct

It’s pronounced marts-hevkoveh pwatki. Remember however that I did not grow up speaking Polish like my mother. I just kind of picked it up half heartedly listening to the older generation until I realized it could be used to flirt with East Village, New York City waitresses who all seemed to be Polish back when I lived in New York City. And even then I didn’t put a whole lot more effort into it, since my goals weren’t to actually score any nookie, since I’ve always had too much of that, but to get the girls to like me enough to give me occasional free food, and not bug me for my table if I spent all day sitting there drinking coffee refills and writing on my laptop. This works out both good and bad because you get to write somewhere outside of your apartment, but when they get their breaks, they will want to sit down and spend the time with you.

So I may be pronouncing it slightly off or spelling it wrong or remembering it so wrong that by this point it’s totally made up.

Anyway this is the first installment in Recipes from the Penumbra Subsector. I will valiantly attempt to remember that there should be more.

Marchewkowe Płatki or Carrot Latkas

And the instructions are – make them just the same way you make potato latkas, just use carrots instead of potatoes.

It’s usually 2 or 3 carrots per egg, depending on how big your carrots and eggs are. For example, if you have big carrots, your going to want to shred two carrots, dust them with flour (I didn’t have flour so I used Bisquick, which was fun because it made them all fluffy), add an egg, mix them all up and make like 4 or 5 pancakes out of that.

Well, that’s just the basics, and we Polish folk don’t do things the way they are supposed to be done if there is a better, easier, or generally more ingenious way to do them, so it’s not weird to see carrot pancakes with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in the mix, or whatever spices go with the fact that carrots are already kind of sweet. I’ve had carrot pancakes spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and topped with powdered sugar, and that was pretty awesome. Also, I never peel my carrots. I tell myself that there are important nutrients in the carrot surface, but I’ll be honest with you. I have no idea if that is true at all. I am simply staggeringly lazy. So I scrub them and feed them directly into the shredder.

I sometimes wonder if there are any cultures on the planet that have carrots as their staple crop. They must have almost as much carbs as other roots, like potatoes or yams which I know are staple foods in some places. In my imagination they are a lot healthier, contain more other nutrients. Plus, they are orange, which is awesome. And they are dirt cheap. I have never been in a grocer’s and seen expensive carrots. Sometimes you see expensive jicama, or potatoes, or casava, or yams, but never expensive carrots.  Why is this nobody’s main food?

Well it is the staple food for the people that live in the Xin Guan Da Gas Mines.

But because the name of the place is the Xin Guan Da Gas Mines, I kind of wanted Asian style carrot latkas, so here’s what I tried. I shredded up 3 carrots (only 1 was really big, and they made 4 large-ish latkas), and then I added ginger and garlic. Fortunately I had a jar of Laxmi Ginger Garlic paste, so I haphazardly scooped out a teaspoon which might have been closer to two teaspoons, and threw it in the mix. Then I did the same, twice, with miso paste. Then I found a green onion in the fridge. It was almost a leek, it was so big. So I shredded up like half of that and threw that in. You can’t throw them in the shredder. You have to shred them with a knife, which offended my laziness. I mixed that all a bit, dusted it with Bisquick, added an egg, mixed it some more, then fried them up in olive oil.

And they came out great. I thought they would be plain so I would want to put spicy Chinese mustard on them or wasabi or something, but they were actually really quite awesome plain. The miso added a bit too much salt, maybe. I drank like a liter of water eating those four pancakes, so on further experimentation I will add less miso paste, or at least measure how much I do put in more carefully.

And there you have it. Now you too can make carrot latkas just like the ones that Olivia didn’t want to eat at the Xin Guan Da medical center, because they looked all orange and healthy and whatnot.


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