Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"I Vant to Suck Your Ketchup" Vampire Potato Smileys!

I was inspired to make purple mashed potatoes from @FunLunchChallenge on Instagram, and then use them to make "Smileys." Smileys are frozen mashed potato patties with faces cut out. The store-bought ones aren't gluten-free, so we can't have them, not that I've ever seen them in a store near me. Once I discovered I could make my own though...

Big Sister Vampire
Organic apples and raspberries, home-made organic ketchup, GF PBJ, purple potato Smileys
Monday, 10/28/13 - I didn't want to just copy last year's vampire lunch, but I couldn't think of anything else, until I was making these Smileys and got the grand idea to cut fangs and widows peaks into some of them too! (Recipe at the bottom of this post.)

Z would need some grains in her lunch, and vampires need a coffin. So...
I made the sandwich using a coffin cutter on some gluten-free bread (saved the scraps for another project!) and used a butter knife to "paint" on some chocolate syrup to make the cross on the top slice.

I had started out hand-forming the Smileys, but they were lumpy and all kinds of sizes, and somewhat bigger than I'd hoped. So I went and got a small circle cutter and started making them assembly-line style. Much cuter!

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Little Sister Vampire
GF PBJ, purple potato smileys; organic sugar snap peas, apples, and raspberries
E didn't end up eating much. She licked the filling out of the sandwich (I had spread it on extra thick, since that's usually all she eats,) and maybe nibbled the potato smileys. They were all torn up. She ate her peas, a few raspberries, and nibbled the apples. In her defense though, she was sick. She'd had a sore throat and Croup with a fever all weekend and still hadn't recovered. So I was impressed that she ate at all!

Tools of the Trade (See below for Smileys recipe!)

DIY Potato (Vampire) Smileys

Cooked mashed potatoes* (fun way to use leftovers!)
Flour, corn starch, or gluten-free flour
Oil for frying

Straw, dowel, or clean pencil or small pen
Small knife/steak knife

1. Add flour to the mashed potatoes. Roughly 4 Tbsp per 3 large potatoes, mashed. So you'll probably have to eyeball it. You want the potatoes to no longer be sticky, but not all dry and crumbly. If the potatoes are still warm, stick in the fridge until cool.

2. Shape the patties: 
Quick and Sloppy: Roll potatoes into balls the size of a golf ball or smaller. Flatten to 1/4"-1/2" thick and try to tidy up the edges. (Optional: you can hand-mold into other simple shapes, like hearts.)
Neat and Tidy: Flatten out a largish chunk of potatoes until around 1/4"-1/2" thick. Use mini circle cutter (or other shape - I had a special request for hearts and butterflies...) and try and remove the scraps in between as you go. You can add them back into the collective and smoosh them out later. 

3. Use a straw to poke eye holes and blow them back out into your pile of unshaped potatoes (or the garbage, if you think breath on your food is icky) or use a dowel or clean pencil or pen to imprint holes.

4. Use knife to make smiles. You can either make a slice and kind of smoosh it more open, or actually cut out a whole smile, which is more labor intensive. Use the same idea to make fangs and widow's peaks (if desired) for vampires, or pirate eye patches and head scarves, or mummy bandages, or whatever. The possibilities are endless! (I made a few fun experiments. Hopefully you'll be seeing them soon!)

Note: I found it easier to sort of go assembly-line style. Flatten out a bunch of potatoes, cut circles and clear scraps, make eyes, make smiles, then transfer to baking sheet to wait. Then repeat.

You can freeze them for several months (lay on a baking sheet and freeze for 30-60 minutes, then move to a freezer bag.) Do not thaw before cooking, just plan to fry a little longer.

5. Heat oil on med-low in a frying pan (or deep fryer.) Fry as many Smileys as you can fit, without any touching. Should cook for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain and absorb excess oil.

Should last a week in the fridge, or freeze using the same method as the un-cooked ones, and re-heat in the oven at around 430 degrees for 12-15 minutes (that's based on directions for the brand-name pre-cooked frozen ones.)

*My mashed purple potatoes were made with a colander full of purple potatoes, cut; a medium white onion, cut; and 8 or so cloves of garlic, peeled and smooshed. (All organic, from the farm we go to get our weekly produce share.) Plus some salt. I cooked them with 2 cups of water, covered, on med-high heat until they were soft. Since I hate wasting vitamins by draining water, I use less and make sure to stir more often, so they don't burn at the bottom of the pan (and I fail about half the time...) Then instead of adding water or milk or broth, I just mash them with the water they already have, and whizz around with an immersion blender, if the peels aren't breaking up well. (I don't peel my potatoes unless I have to!)

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