While he was cooking, my father was an intense maestro, focusing on getting dinner on the table every night after work. “Outta MY kitchen,” he’d say, waving a spatula or a ladle or a chef’s knife at those who dared to offer help or peer over his shoulder as he was peeling and chopping and sautéing.
The kitchen was his domain. Our garden was his market. The milkman (yup, I’m THAT old) supplied milk, butter, cottage cheese and the meat locker supplied a side o’ beef for the double-wide chest freezer in the garage. We kids acted as his crew when it came to planting and harvesting and cleaning and preserving the strawberries, raspberries, peas, sweet peppers, cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, corn and potatoes.
But help in the kitchen fixing meals? Nope. Dad would have none of it. Well, except for the salad that the kids took turns making every night. For the most part, Dad brought home the bacon and cooked it up every afternoon after work. (Mom was the baker in the family.)
And Dad loved cooking. A couple of times a week he would say, “This meal is better than you could get in any restaurant.” Leftovers? “These would be good for breakfast with an egg cracked over it.” Or, “I can turn this into hash tomorrow morning.”
And so, in honor of my dad for Father’s Day, I created a nouveau hash this morning. I used baby new potatoes, something that would appall my dad. He always told us to leave the baby potatoes on the ground when we stooped to pluck them from the ground. “Throw those things away. They’re too small,” he’d say.
What were you thinking, Dad?
New Potato Hash with Mushrooms and an Egg on Top
No recipe here. It’s a make-it-up-as-you-go kinda dish.
1. Cook baby potatoes until just tender. (I simmered them in salted water, altho I sometimes roast or even microwave ’em.) In the meantime, sautee thinly sliced leeks and garlic scapes in olive oil. (or use chopped onion and a clove of chopped garlic. Add sliced shiitake mushrooms and baby ‘bellas. Cook and stir until mushrooms are tender.
2. Drain potatoes, cut the bigger babies in half. Toss ’em in the skillet with the mushroom concoction. Add a tablespoon or two of butter or additional olive oil, if needed. Sprinkle with a good seasoning. Maybe salt and pepper. I use Gray Sea Salt w/ Five Pepper Blend from ile de Re France. Add some chopped fresh rosemary (or whatever herb you have handy). Toss and stir for about 5 minutes to combine flavors.
3. Cook an over-easy egg (or two or three depending on who’s invited for breakfast). Put potato hash on plate(s). Top with the cooked egg(s). Add fork(s).
It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas.
Am doing my civic duty this weekend and dedicating batches of baking to the Milwaukee police precinct in my neighborhood. Still paying back the officers who tended to the emotional havoc I experienced after being held up by a gun-wielding youth a few years ago.
The Milwaukee Police Dept. has been getting a lot of bad press lately. But they have a tough job. And they’ve always been kind to me.
Anyway, I’ve been making these for years. I got my first taste of them while an editor at Better Homes and Gardens. Then again after I became editor at Taste of Home magazine when we sent batches of these to soldiers (slightly different recipe). They pack well and hold their flavor for a looong time. Ginger, cinnamon, cloves. Oh, yeah.
I can’t take credit for this version. It may have originated from BH&G; or come from a Taste of Home reader…and it’s all over Pinterest, so who knows? I always tweak recipes, so maybe it’s mine now!
I sometimes use my 1/4-cup size ice scream scoop and make GIANT ginger cookies. If you want to go that route, increase the baking time by 2 or 3 minutes. And you will only get a couple dozen big ol’ cookies out of the batch, rather than about 5 dozen cookies.
Soft and Spicy Ginger Cookies
Makes 63 cookies (1 tablespoon dough/cookie)
4 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups shortening
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup mild-flavored molasses
3/4 cup sparkling (or course) sugar or sugar