"Things won are done,
Joy's Soul lies in the Doing."
- William Shakespeare

Sunday, February 20, 2011

All in a Morning

Sweet Sunday.  Especially sweet when Monday is a day off.  And while we always have it planned that we'll sleep in for a change...6:30 rolls around, and I'm wide awake after hearing the cat try to climb up and visit, chatting away at (not to, he's not ready to be awake yet) my husband.  And so, the day begins.

Not even 10:00 am yet, and already we've had a full morning.  All at our own pace.  Lovely.

There's been a little didgeridoo going on, round these parts.  And I can tell you, this kid's pretty good.  Not that I'm biased or anything.

And a little bit of Didg-as-Microphone from this gal.  Who aims to be a rock star when she grows up.

There's been a bit of knitting, finally beginning a hat, actually a Christmas gift...just a wee bit late.

A cuddle with our new family member, Vincent.  (I do believe Tyler was helping distract him from my knitting here, actually.  Pretty tempting stuff for a kitten.)

Even a post-breakfast dance party, a la Xavier Rudd radio on Pandora, which is the perfect choice for a sunny Sunday morning.  Rock it out, kiddos.

But let us not, friends, forget one of the best parts!  Breakfast, most important meal of the day, some say.  I say they're all important.  Why should one get special treatment over another?  I want it ALL to be good.

Ah, the humble potato.  Sure, it isn't really anything extraordinary, merely a root that we dig out of the ground, right?  Oh, no, there you'd be wrong.  Is there any other vegetable that is such a chameleon, that shifts it's texture and taste, and so readily adapts to any recipe?  It can be fluffy and comforting in a dish of mash potatoes.  Elegant and sinfully delicious as a cheesy gratin.  Or it can be crispy and browned on the outside, while buttery and creamy on the inside, the perfect duo of texture, as a simple dish of hashbrowns.

My husband said, with the first forkful on the way to his mouth, "This may be my favorite breakfast ever."  I hope you agree.

Hashbrowns  - adapted from Williams-Sonoma Complete Outdoor Living Cookbook
serves 4 rather large portions, or 6 modest ones

3 lbs potatoes, shredded (use either a food processor with grating disc, a mandolin, or box grater)*
1 small onion, grated (or half a large one)
4 Tbs butter, divided
salt & pepper to taste (Potatoes really suck up the salt, so do be a bit generous, 2 tsp pleases our family, as does using half celery salt, and half salt)

*Russet or golden potatoes work best, as they form a nicer, crispier crust.  I've used red potatoes, and the result is still good, but doesn't quite have the right texture.*

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onions, and seasoning.

Heat a large, heavy bottomed frying pan over med to med-hi heat, you may need to adjust if your potatoes are browning too rapidly.  Melt 2 Tbs butter in the pan then add the potato mixture, pressing it down firmly with your hands, to form a sort of cake.  Cover with aluminum foil, then top with an upside down plate, to seal in the steam, which will cook the middle of the hashbrown into a lovely, creamy consistency.  Cook for 12 - 15 minutes, until the bottom is nicely browned and crispy.

Carefully remove the plate, then foil, from the pan, using oven mitts, or potholders.  Steam will escape so angle the foil away from you, as you remove it.  Put the plate back over the pan, upside down as before,  and again wearing your mitts, hold tightly to the plate and pan and flip it over, so the plate is now on the bottom and pan on top.  At this point, you may be feeling some serious heat, so set that plate down quickly!  Return the pan to the burner, and melt the other 2 Tbs of butter in it, then slide the hashbrowns back in, browned side up, and re-cover with the foil and plate.  Continue cooking for another 10 minutes, or until nicely browned.

And voila!  Simple, satisfying, and easy to make.  This is perfect served with fried or poached eggs, with the yolks running into the potatoes, making a creamy sauce.  Delicious.

Not bad for a morning's work.  And we're all still in our pajamas.

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