I have long had this idea on my mind of writing a post about the process of writing a post for our blog: “How the sausage is made”, metaphorically speaking. From the outside it may seem like a simple process, but it is not. From concept to publishing it may be a few days, it may be weeks to months.
Sure I can come up with something simple on a short notice (short notice being a few days), but there are posts that I started a year ago and have yet to finish. And it’s not just procrastination.
First I have to hunt the ingredients. This sounds easier said than done, but not for me. I live in a fairly isolated area, so sometimes I have to order things especially for a recipe, or wait until the produce is in season.
Recipes just don’t appear out of nowhere, even when I am writing down traditional ones. And while I can cook many dishes with my eyes closed, when it comes to writing them down it turns into a long process that goes something like this:
Measure ingredient. Add ingredient. Taste. Write down. Measure more ingredient. Add ingredient. Write down. And so on…
Sometimes I can make it right at the first try. Sometimes it takes many tries, many changes of ingredients and the same dragged-out process or measuring, testing, tasting. I keep a notebook close to me, and write down every part of the process, including the mistakes and what possibly went wrong. This will help me warn our readers not to make the same mistake. The process is made even longer if I make pictures or videos to illustrate it.
And let’s not speak about photography. I’ll do so in another post
The crispy baked croquettes are not only much easier to make than the traditional fried ones, they are also lighter and the combination of textures makes it a future favorite at the Christmas buffet. It’s also a great choice for potlucks. And if you have kids, recruit them to help you shape them, kids love helping in the kitchen and they will love “playing” with the dough.
For this dish I used soybean oil, it has a much higher smoke point than olive oil, which will be necessary for the very high temperatures at which this dish will be baked. Another advantage of using soybean oil is that it is pretty neutral in taste, you don’t want the crust to dominate over the tastes inside. Soybean oil is used extensively in traditional Dominican cookery because of its low cost and health benefits.
- 2 lb of potatoes
- 2 tablespoons soybean oil
- 1 medium white onion, cut into thin strips
- 4 oz of deli-sliced serrano ham cut into small squares
- 2 slices of day-old whole-grain bread
- 3 tablespoons of soybean oil
- Peel and rinse the potatoes. Cut into small pieces and boil until soft.
- Mash the potatoes with a potato ricer.
- On a frying pan heat oil over low heat.
- Add the onion and stir.
- Cover and cook until the onions turn very soft and transparent. Stir frequently.
- Mix potato, onion and ham. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cool down to room temperature.
- Put two tablespoons of the mixture on the palm of your hands and shape into corks.
- Using the food processor, pulse the bread until it turns into fine crumbs.
- Mix with the oil, making sure it is absorbed uniformly (work it with your hands), the crumbs will be sticky.
- Cover each croquette with the crumbs, pressing so the crumbs adhere better.
- Place on a baking tray lined with a baking mat, or lightly oiled (oil not listed).
- Leave in the freezer, uncovered, for 2 hours.
- Pre-heat the oven to the maximum temperature yours allow.
- Bake the croquettes until the crust turns golden brown (10-15 minutes).
- Take out of the oven, the croquettes might have flatten a bit. Press both sides with a fork to re-shape them.
- Place on a wire tray to cool down for 5 minutes, the croquettes will now be firmer.
- Serve with one of the sauces listed here
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