I cook. Like, I’m the type of person who tries not to order too much takeout, I’ll meal plan with my kids and in the days, grocery shopping was basically my sanctuary. But you know how when the option to do something is taken away and that just makes you want to do it even more. Enter me and my current obsession with greasy, sweet or downright indulgent fast food. So I decided to pull off a weekend of copycat recipes, in which I replicated some favourite famous recipes.
When I first heard that had released their recipes for sausage and hash browns I did a freaking happy dance — my kids are obsessed with those golden fried potato parcels. And honestly even though I typically pass on them. I’ve been imagining biting into those warm oily things myself. It was a no-brainer to make hash browns my first order of business on a sleepy Saturday morning when everyone was up and I had one too many glasses of mom juice the night before to celebrate the weekend. (While catching up on Real Housewives, naturally).
Ease of Recipe: This seemed suspiciously easy. The recipe I found called for one grated potato, one egg, oil and salt and pepper to taste. It didn’t say which type of oil to use or how much salt is ideal. Heck, I didn’t even know how many hash browns one potato would actually make. So I decided that for our family of four I’d go with three potatoes two eggs and vegetable oil.
The Curve ball: You know how hash browns come in those perfect little oval shapes so that they can fit into those grease-catching sleeves? Yeah, mine did not pour out like that. Instead I was spooning bits of potato and trying to shape them into log-like blobs while dancing around, listening to whining kids and trying to avoid all of that splattering hot oil. I’m kind of pumped that my hands are still intact and so that I can tell this tale today.
“Chef” Notes: In my head, hash browns look like they’re made of little potato squares, not grated spuds. So I tried to replicate that by using the slice function on my food processor and then putting the slices a second time through using the grate function. I still didn’t have chunks, but at least the shavings were small. Then, because I’m well aware water and oil don’t mix when you’re looking for a crispy texture, I rung out the grated taters with a cloth towel to try and remove as much water as possible before mixing them with the eggs.
Results: Misshapen and under-salted final product aside these went over quite well with the whole family. I put out a plate of them for breakfast and even though the responsible in me wondered if I should all that grease with some fruit or something, I got lazy. Kids have had worse than just a plate of hash browns for breakfast before, Anyhow my eldest ate four (FOUR!) of them and asked if we could eat them again the next day while my picky youngest who had been clamouring for pancakes had two. (Probably because I told him they were potato pancakes which technically isn’t a lie.) Needless to say I’ll be making these again, 100 per cent.
Canada’s Wonderland Funnel Cake
If you’ve ever been to Canada’s Wonderland then you know that everywhere you look someone is devouring a funnel cake. Like you almost feel the pressure to eat one as soon as you enter the park because everyone else is walking around with one. Yeah you came for the rides and atmosphere, but let’s be honest: you also came for that perfectly crispy pastry topped with fruity sauce and a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream. So Wonderland was doing the world at large a favour when it released its iconic funnel cake recipe for everyone in quarantine to make at home. Naturally that was next up on my weekend of indulgences.
Ease of Recipe: If you looked at the expansive ingredient list and walked away. I don’t think you’d be alone. You definitely have to plan out making these because the sauce calls for things like strawberry extract, modified corn starch and strawberry glaze, three things I didn’t have, couldn’t find and ultimately decided to omit. The recipe does state that you can use regular old corn starch, although the instructions aren’t very clear on how to make that substitution. I definitely had a moment where I was scooping out gross white chunks of the thickening agent where I thought I may have to start again because my guesswork was off. But I’m happy to report that I eventually figured it out and made a decent, if not a touch starchy, sauce.
The Curve ball: Not only do you need a specific list of ingredients to pull off these at-home funnel cakes, but you actually need some sort of a funnel with which to pour out and fry the batter. I didn’t have a squeeze bottle handy so I used a clean watering can with a long spout which kind of worked. At least the spout was long enough that I wasn’t scared I was going to myself around all of that hot oil. And speaking of the hot oil. once those cakes were fried on one side flipping them over was akin to a stunt. Even with my creative use of spatula flipper and tongs that I had going on. I definitely broke more than one cake while shooing the kids back outside for fear.