Potatoes in Phyllo

No weight loss, this week. What’s surprising is there wasn’t a weight gain. We’ve been hitting the biscotti – and I think portion sizes have started creeping up, again.

But… it’s the holiday season. We’re not pigging out as we have in the past, and I am definitely not going to fret and stress over a few calories. We’ll find our balance and double down after the first, if need be.

It’s the Winter Solstice, a few days before Christmas, the rains have almost stopped, and the basement only flooded a bit. Those are the good things. The bad thing was I had to go inside of a Bank of America, today. Nonna needed her Christmas Money.

I walked in to the otherwise empty bank and was immediately accosted by a kid in a suit who had appeared from a glass-fronted office off to the side.

“What can I do for you, today?” he asked, as I walked up towards the lone cashier behind the new counter-to-ceiling two-inch thick bullet-proof glass.

I need to make a withdrawal,” said I.

“Oh. You can do that at the ATM in the front,” said the probably minimum-waged employee.

“”Ah… but I need different denominations,” I replied.

He stated “You can get the money there and just come up here and change it for what you need.”

I looked at him incredulously and said “That would be rather inconvenient for me, wouldn’t it?!?”

He looked taken aback, stammered, and said “Well, since you’re here, you can just go up to the cashier.”

My reply was “Thank you. I think.” and walked up to the cashier as he slunk back to his little office.

The cashier was equally inept. She seriously had a difficult time trying to figure out the three denominations I needed – fives, tens, and twenty’s. It wasn’t a lot of money – and it wasn’t weird amounts. I smiled so much my face almost broke. I left, hoping I would never have to venture in there, again.

My grandfather worked for Bank of America in San Francisco when A.P. Giannini was still at the helm. It was a grand institution back in the day and I am certain they’re both spinning in their graves.

With banking done and an envelope-filling session with Nonna completed, I started thinking about dinner. I knew a chicken breast was involved, and I kinda sorta thought brussels sprouts would be, as well… That left another side – and a La Cucina Italiana email sent me on the right track.

The emails from them are all in Italian and the website is all in Italian. While I can pick out a word here or there, I have to rely on Google Translate to figure out what’s what. And Google translate really sucks when it comes to food and cooking terms. One of these days I’m sure it will be better as it learns more and more. But right now, it’s fortunate I know how to cook and/or figure it out.

This is what I saw…

Rose di patate e pasta fillo


  • 600 g patate piccole
  • 14 fogli di pasta fillo
  • burro
  • sale
  • fiocchi di sale
  • timo

Lavate le patate e tagliatele, senza sbucciarle, a fettine molto sottili; se è possibile usate l’affettatrice oppure la mandolina. Sciacquate le fettine sotto l’acqua e raccoglietele in una ciotola.

Disponete sul piano di lavoro i fogli di pasta fillo, uno per volta, ripiegandoli in un doppio strato, e tagliandoli a strisce. Spennellate le strisce di burro, disponetevi le fettine di patata, come mostrato nella sequenza qui a fianco, salatele e formate delle piccole rose.

Imburrate 2 teglie rotonde (ø 16 cm) e accomodatevi le rose, serrandole bene tra loro, in modo che non si aprano. Infornate le teglie a 190 °C per 30’ circa. Servite le rose con fiocchi di sale e timo.

Google Translate gave me:


  • 600 g small potatoes
  • 14 sheets of phyllo dough
  • butter
  • salt
  • salt flakes
  • thyme

Duration: 1 h 15 min

Level: Medium
Doses: 4 people

Wash the potatoes and cut them, without peeling them, into very thin slices; if you can use the slicer or the mandoline. Rinse the slices under the water and collect them in a bowl.

Place the sheets of filo pastry on the worktop, one at a time, folding them in a double layer, and cutting them into strips. Brush the strips of butter, arrange the slices of potato, as shown in the sequence on the side, salt them and form small roses.

Grease 2 round baking sheets (ø 16 cm) and arrange the roses, tightening them well, so that they do not open. Bake the trays at 190 ° C for about 30 ‘. Serve the roses with salt and thyme flakes.

It’s rather fun reading recipes in Googlese – it’s like computer pidgin.

Anyway… I made them larger than the pictured ones, but they really came out good. Perfectly tender, a nice little crunch with the phyllo… they totally worked. I used ramekins, but I think a muffin tin would work better if making more than two.

The chicken was baked with Penzy’s Mural of Flavor spice blend. The brussels sprouts went into the same oven with olive oil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar.

Not bad, at all…

I have to hit the fish monger on Sunday for clams and Sunday night we’re heading next door to visit the neighbors – and then it’s sit back and enjoy the holiday.

Retirement is good.