Happy Christmas and a very merry 2014 to you all! I hope your holidays were filled with love and friendship and lots and lots of food. We spent some time with family and some with good friends, and of course had way more food than we should have had. Even though I love Christmas and am always sad when it ends (which was technically yesterday if you celebrated the 12 days of Christmas!), January tends to be a slow month as everyone is recuperating from the travel and hosting and planning and eating and all of that. It’s helpful for me to take time in January to not just think back to the gifts and the “holiday” part of Christmas, but musing on the completion of Advent and how that time of anticipation was only partially satisfied with the coming of Christmas.
So I know this is completely random, but I can’t help but share… We got my mother in law a kitten for Christmas. HOW CUTE IS SHE.
Now on to food. If I had my choice, I would eat hashbrowns at every meal of this new year. There is something about the buttery, crispy, salty, starchy goodness that elevates hashbrowns to a very high spot on the comfort food totem pole. I’ve never been able to exactly duplicate those that you can order at your favorite local diner using fresh potatoes and not the processed/expensive freezer aisle, but after trying a couple different methods, here are a couple tips as to what I’ve found to work the best; better yet, it’s simple with great results.
Side note: I’m not normally an easily queasified person, but something that gets under my skins (and fingernails) is having to clean gross food remnants out of the kitchen sink. It’s just so… blech. I also don’t have the luxury of an in-sink combine grinder thing, so I get to do it multiple times every day. I’ve started to use some sort of colander or strainer when I peel vegetables for an easy cleanup dump straight into the trash.
The first BIG thing you need to do is use golden yukon potatoes. You can use russell pots just fine, but seriously, the yukons make a huge difference.
Secondly, you need to get as much moisture as you can out of the shredded potato before throwing them into the pan. I’ve discovered that a handy kitchen item that you may already have works great: a salad spinner.
Shred or grate the peeled potatoes into the salad spinner. Spin vigorously. Empty starchy potato water. Spin vigorously again. Repeat until the water coming out is minimal.
Scoop out handfuls of the partially dry potatoes and place on paper towels. Place back into salad spinner and spin away again.
Every little bit helps…
Potatoes are best served with bacon. Heck, anything is best served with bacon. If you decide to have said bacon, cook it first and use the remaining lard to fry your hashbrowns in. Yeahhh. Otherwise, use an unconservative amount of butter.
Heat pan to medium-high, and spread shredded potatoes in pan. Make sure that the layer of potatoes is as thin as possible; if you can imagine each little piece as a layer, you wouldn’t want more than three little mini potato pieces on top of each other. You can keep the potatoes in patty-like sections and cook/flip on each side, or just throw a bunch in the pan and stir and flip it every once in a while.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste on each side while cooking. When done, these can easily be kept warm in an oven on low or a toaster oven.
And no, I don’t have a photo of the finished project. Sorry. I’ve even made them multiple times in a week to try and get a photo of what finally gets served, but we seriously eat them so fast and each time I’ve completely forgotten. You’ll just have to take my word for it that it’s totally worth it…
– Yukon Gold potatoes
– Salt and Pepper to taste
– Butter or bacon grease
Peel and grate potatoes into a salad spinner. Spin until moisture coming out is minimal. Place potatoes on paper towels, put back into spinner, and spin again. If you don’t have a salad spinner, you can use paper towels or cheese cloth to manually squeeze out moisture.
Heat pan to medium-high heat and place enough butter or bacon grease in the pan to cover the bottom. Add potatoes, keeping the layer thin. Fry till desired crispness, and flip or stir. Keep warm in an oven on low heat, or a toaster oven or microwave.