June Cleaver from the classic television show "Leave It To Beaver."
I have been blessed in this life to have some truly incredible friendships.
Recently, I've been teasing a friend of mine (who will remain anonymous). She is learning to enjoy being "June Cleaver" for her family. Although she knows how to cook quite well, she is courageously embarking on an "out-of-her-comfort-zone" journey.
The desire probably began when she stopped by my house to help make cakes for mine and Jason's wedding in July.
We pretty much trashed the kitchen while making grilled seafood and cheese sandwiches for dinner that night for eight -- maybe nine people -- and tackled the baking frenzy of making three separate liquor cakes. (I want to take this opportunity to once again thank all the friends of my son and daughter who tackled the job of washing the dirty dishes that night, I love you all.)
"I feel better about making something when I watch how to do it," she said, laughing while hand mixing a bowl of cake batter. "But if you don't mind my asking, why don't you have a stand mixer for this kind of stuff?"
My Grandmother Iva didn't have one for years because she said using a whisk is better because you learn to "feel how light and airy the texture of a cake will be." While obtaining a stand mixer in the future would be terrific, I enjoy the memories my whisk provides me.
My friend dove right in to the chaotic world in my kitchen, grabbing the bowls of cake batter and following my recipe instructions and listening intently to the "cheating tips" I know for when life is too hectic to follow a 12-step instruction list.
It was fun to spend time in the kitchen sharing my family's cooking experiences with someone so they could go home and share the love that comes from home cooking with their family.
A few days ago, all excited, my friend called about her exploits in making bread from scratch. Needless to say, she's attacking bread recipes with all the gusto she faces life with. And what's really terrific, she shares her creations. (Great Pretzel Bread, sweetie. The only complaint at my house, there wasn't enough of it!)
When making the dinner menu for this week, my daughter informed me she was taking over the kitchen this Friday to teach a friend how to cook chicken gizzards.
"Can you pick up a couple of packages, so I can make a batch and she can do one too?"
Of course I will.
It's great to see my daughter sharing what she's learned from me (which is really all the knowledge I have from my family and friends) with others.
"Oh yeah, Mom," she quickly asked while I added chicken gizzards to my grocery list. "How do you make those baked potato balls? I think she would like those too."
I was happy to share the recipe with my daughter, and I'm happy to share this simple little goodie with you too.
Baked Potato Balls
In a large bowl, mix together 2-cups of mashed potato flakes/buds, 1/2--1 cup of flour, two beaten eggs, 1/4 --1/2-cup of sour cream, 1/2-cup of chopped green or red onion, 1-2 cups of your favorite flavor of shredded cheese, 1/2-cup of real bacon pieces and salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic powder to your taste.
Add warm tap water, as needed, to create a moist dough consistency and then roll it into 1-2 inch balls. Dip each of the balls into a bowl of 1/2-cup ranch salad dressing (thinned with 1/4-cup of buttermilk or water) until covered and place on a baking dish.
In a separate bowl, mix together a 1/2-cup flour, 1 cup of flavored breadcrumbs, 1/4-1/2-cup of Panko breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons of fresh black pepper. Roll the ranch dressing covered balls around in the breadcrumb mixture until coated and then drop in a deep fryer (or a cooking pot on the stove top with oil inside, remembering frying safety tips) to cook until a golden brown.
Place on paper towels to drain while cooking all the balls.
Serve with whatever type of dipping sauce that suits your fancy.