Beyoncé and I have so much in common. While she was holding tight to her secret album, waiting until last night to release it, I was holding tight to this post, only wanting to share it at the perfect moment. And now, at last, on this Friday before a snowy New York weekend (a weekend in which I’m supposed to fly back to L.A.) I’m ready to share it with you. It’s probably the prettiest thing I’ve made in a long time and, like most of the best things, it was made completely on the fly, using up all of the items in my fridge before I left for three weeks. Now I’ll have to re-buy those items when I get back because clearly I want to make this again.
Remember that time I told you how to make Sunday Morning Potatoes? The recipe, which isn’t really a recipe at all but a technique I learned from Marion Cunningham’s Breakfast Book, has become so popular here on Sunday mornings, it’s now a regular part of my repertoire. But last weekend I decided to shake things up by applying the same technique to a different sort of potato, a bright orange sweet potato. How would that work? (Drumroll)…
I made a promise here on this blog and the promise went something like this: “I won’t blog more than three recipes from any particular cookbook because, after a certain point, people should just buy it.” Which is why I stopped blogging about one of my favorite new cookbook purchases (though not a new cookbook) because, pretty quickly, I posted three recipes from it. Now I have a 4th recipe which isn’t so much a recipe as it is a technique. So I’ll break my own rule but I sort of feel ok about it because (a) I won’t tell you what book it’s from; and (b) this technique is so straight-forward and simple, it may as well just be something your neighbor told you how to do rather than something from the pages of Marion Cunningham’s Breakfast Book. Oops.
Use what you got. That’s my best advice for cooking on weekend mornings. Make sure, on Friday, you’ve got eggs and coffee and some milk. After that, start your Saturday by raiding your fridge and putting together a breakfast that makes sense using as many disparate things that you can. Anyway, that’s my goal when I start my weekend and usually the breakfast that results is way better than one where I follow a recipe.
Get your pans hot, ladies and gentleman… we’re making hash!
To be honest, I’d never made hash before I made it a few weekends ago. But the idea of it really appealed to me: dump out the contents of your fridge, put a pan on high heat, cook everything together and serve some eggs on top. For this particular hash, I dug up a sweet potato (well, not literally, but it was leftover from this) as was a can of chipotles in Adobo. Plus, I had bacon.
A good argument to be made about the farmer’s market is: if you really believe in it, and go there to support farmers and local, sustainable agriculture, you should patronize it all year, including those rough months of winter.
That is a good argument but, unfortunately, a rather impractical one. I mean when it’s bitter cold out, I can barely get myself out the front door, let alone 14 blocks north and 3 avenues east to the farmer’s market. In my own defense, though, when the weather turns nice? I’m there in a heartbeat.
Last week I started a series called Tuesday Techniques, a series where I cook my way through Jacques Pepin’s Complete Techniques the same way that Top Chef Judge Tom Colicchio did at the start of his career. Already, I’m on shaky ground: (1) my Tuesday techniques posts always show up on Wednesday, but Wednesday Techniques doesn’t have quite the same ring to it; (2) this week I didn’t really use the Pepin book to work my chosen technique, I chose the technique first and picked up the book later.
The technique I chose was “home fries.” I chose home fries because it was Sunday morning and I was going to make scrambled eggs and there were Yukon gold potatoes sitting on the counter. Now my normal Sunday breakfast fare is scrambled eggs with homemade biscuits or buttermilk pancakes. I don’t make home fries, normally, because the truth is I don’t know how to make home fries. They’re a staple on your plate at a brunch restaurant, but I always take them for granted. Often they’re disappointing: limp, greasy, under-seasoned.
So this Sunday I began my research. I did lots of Googling, I did open the Pepin book but his recipes for fried potato balls and soap-shaped potatoes didn’t really fit the bill. He did speak eloquently about my chosen ingredient, though: “The potato is probably the greatest food contribution that the New World made to the Old….The potato is a versatile vegetable; it can be boiled, sauteed, baked, fried, steamed, broiled, stewed and so on.”
The secret to making home fries, I soon discovered (after all my research) is a combination of two of those techniques: boiling and frying. First you boil, then you fry. It’s that easy.