Thursday, July 28, 2011

Perfect Hash Browns

OK – how many times have you tried to make hash browns and ended up with a mushy mess? We’re talking wanting CRISPY hash browns. Nothing out of the freezer, please (not that you could even find that here…)

Luiz just finished a week long stint as a volunteer at the World Military Games and is actually home for breakfast these days. I offered to cook whatever he wanted for breakfast, and he requested eggs, bacon and hash browns.
Here’s what I learned trying to get it right.
Wash and grate a potato – one for each eater. You don’t really need to peel them, just wash them well. (Nobody is going to notice you did not peel them.) Also grate about ¼ onion for every potato you use. Salt the mess and let it sit a few minutes.
Take several layers of paper towel… place the grated mixture on the edge of the layered towels and roll them into a burrito. Now squish and squeeze over the sink to extract as much liquid as possible. You want DRY grated potatoes.
It’s good to add some whipped egg to hold everything together, but only about 1/3 egg for every potato. Add some pepper
Now heat oil in a pan; enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan – a little more. Better yet, if you are cooking bacon, save the grease and add a bit of oil to that mess and heat it up. You want to heat the oil to a very high temperature, shy of it smoking and burning. But hot.
Now take a snow ball size of grated potatoes and onions (and salt) and press it into a flat patty, no more than ½ inch thick. Plop it into the hot oil. Stand back. Let it cook. Resist the temptation to play with it. Let it fry. Wait a good five minutes. Then flip it over and fry the other side. Don’t play with it!
At this point I like to remove it from the pan and put it on a few layers of paper towels to drain off the excess oil. That’s just me. But don’t wait too long and let it get soggy on you. Serve it up!
Perfect hash browns!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sweet and Simple Applesauce

This is for Stephanie.

In my post-gastric bypass surgery period I am eating a lot of puréed foods. My favorite is tomato-onion-garlic-pepper salsa. But on the sweet side I’m making a lot of applesauce.
Applesauce is a synch to make.  I can explain it in a brief paragraph.  Here goes.
Buy some beautiful apples that, when you smell them, make your mouth water (at least 5). If you are feeling adventurous, buy a few yummy pears as well. Peel, core and chop the fruit into bits the size of your thumb. Place the fruit, some sugar (or sweetener) and cinnamon to taste plus maybe 1/3 cup of water in a heavy pot and cook slowly for an hour or more (or more), stirring occasionally (add more water, as needed). Some people would add a pinch of salt to boost the flavor (or out of superstition). Cook until mushy.
There you have it. And it makes your house smell good too!