It’s Saturday morning and I have a bag full of potatoes that are bound to go bad soon (thanks, Costco). I love me some home fries that are soft inside and crispy outside; but really my favorite thing is the crispy bits that develop in the pan as you cook the potatoes.
Here’s a recipe for home fries that will ensure they are cooked through but also perfectly browned.
Perfect Home Fries
5 thin-skinned potatoes, cubed
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Place potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons of water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Carefully drain and set aside.
Heat the butter and oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add the potatoes and gently stir them in the pan so they are evenly coated with butter and oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook potatoes for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan with the spatula. It’s ok if some of the potatoes stick – that’s where the crispy bits come from!
Add the smoked paprika and onion powder and turn potatoes till thoroughly coated.
Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are a deep brown and are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. If browning is occurring too quickly, turn down the heat slightly.
Serve with sour cream or ketchup alongside fried eggs and breakfast sausage.
I know it’s a superb fall when I close my eyes at night and all I see behind my eyelids are lowbush cranberries.
Blood-red jewels hug the mossy ground in my secret south Anchorage picking spot. It must have been the warm May weather that caused patches of usually dormant cranberry bushes to produce large, pea-sized berries.
What my family calls lowbush cranberries are, in fact, lingonberries. These short plants can be found in most Anchorage forests. They have round, shiny leaves and if there’s enough sunlight during the summer they bear tart, red berries.
I prefer these to highbush cranberries, which are more watery and have a big, oblong seed in each berry. Lowbush cranberries are opaque and have no seeds. They are also firmer than the highbush variety.
Cranberries are my favorite wild berry to pick because they are durable, highly nutritious and they freeze well. They can also be substituted for any recipe that calls for commercial cranberries.
I once again refer to my mama for this segment of “Harvesting Anchorage.” She’s a pro when it comes to cranberry marmalade. The cranberries have so much natural pectin there is no need to add any of the store-bought kind. This simple marmalade is a perfect addition to any breakfast table.
Cranberry Orange Marmalade
3 oranges (or 2 oranges and 1 lemon)
1/4 tsp. baking soda
8 cups wild lowbush cranberries
4 cups sugar
Remove the skins of the oranges in quarters. Cover rinds with water and boil with baking soda for 15 minutes. Shave off as much of the white pith as you can from the rind and slice rind very thin.
An alternative method is to use a vegetable peeler to peel off the rind and slice it. If you choose this method you won’t need to boil the rinds since they are so thin.
Meanwhile remove the membrane from each orange segment and reserve the pulp in a bowl. Take the membranes in your hands and squeeze the remaining pulp and juice into the bowl. Discard the membranes. If you’re really lazy you could probably use a couple of cans of mandarins, drained and rinsed. I’ve never tried it, but it could work.
Combine pulp, rinds with their water, cranberries and sugar in a saucepan. Boil, stirring often, skimming off any foam.
Let the mixture boil down and thicken, about 15-18 minutes. Take a spoonful of the mixture and pour it back into the pot. If there are lots of frequent droplets, the mixture isn’t ready yet. If the drips are slow and turn into one big droplet, then it’s ready (that’s called “sheeting”). Turn off the heat and place a tablespoon of liquid in a bowl and place it in the freezer for about 3 minutes.
Remove sample from freezer and tip it slightly. The sample should stay put. If the jam slides around the bowl it means it’s not ready yet. Bring the jam back to a boil and continue stirring constantly for another 5 minutes.
Ladle jam into sterilized canning jars with brand-new lids. Fill leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top. Add the lids and let cool. When you hear little pops that means the lids have sealed. If you’d like more details about canning I recommend this thorough tutorial from The Alaska Urban Soil Project.
Our son starts preschool this week, which means I’ve got to mom up and start making snacks and lunches. I don’t plan on being some sort of super mom who prepares intricate bento boxes with pandas made out of cheese wheels and olives, but I do hope to serve my son healthy foods. Ok, I admit, we did buy fruit snacks and granola bars during our epic Costco run yesterday. I’m not perfect!
Here’s a recipe I came up with for healthy mini muffins. Apples, dried apricots, wheat bran — who cares what’s in it as long as it’s mini?
Apple Apricot Bran Mini Muffins
Makes about 48 mini muffins or 24 regular muffins
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 cups wheat bran
1.25 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups of milk + 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 cup finely chopped apples, peeled
1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a mini muffin tin.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, bran, baking soda, sugar, salt and cinnamon.
In a one-quart liquid measuring cup combine the milk, vinegar, molasses, honey, egg and coconut oil.
Pour the wet ingredients into the mixing bowl. The mixture should be like thick pancake batter. Stir in the apples and apricots. Spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake for 13 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a drying rack.
Store in an airtight container or freeze and defrost as needed.
I had a hankerin’ for a fancy type breakfast this morning. I thought a quiche would be nice, but I didn’t want to make a crust or use a ton of butter. I found this tasty recipe and decided to tweak it slightly. I’ve never made a quiche, but whatever I concocted this morning was cheesy, salty, creamy and darn delicious. It’s also South Beach Diet friendly!
Crustless Breakfast Quiche
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 oz. Neufchâtel cheese, cubed
4 breakfast sausage patties
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
pepper to taste
Grease a small casserole dish liberally with butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fry up the breakfast sausage patties. Once browned, cut into bite-sized pieces.
Mix together the milk, eggs and yogurt. Add in the cheeses, sausage and green onions. Add pepper to taste. Pour into casserole and bake for one hour till browned and bubbly on top. Let cool for five minutes before serving.
The best part was the little pockets of cream cheese with every bite.
I’m sure this isn’t a new idea and that there are hundreds of other blogs out there with similar posts, but it doesn’t mean this isn’t a totally great idea.
What’s that idea? Well, french toast on the waffle iron. It’s faster than cooking it in a pan because both sides cook at the same time and it browns evenly and leaves you with a cool waffle pattern on the bread.
Here’s my waffle iron French toast to contribute to blogland.
Day-old challah or French bread, sliced on the bias 1-inch thick (six slices)
3/4 cups whole milk (I eyeball it)
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. orange zest (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 250. Plug in waffle iron and spray with cooking spray. In a pie pan combine the milk, eggs, honey, zest and vanilla. Place two slices of bread into the pan and let soak for 30 seconds. Flip and soak another 30 seconds. Transfer these slices to a cooling rack so any excess egg mixture will drip away (place a paper towel under the rack). Sprinkle slices with cinnamon. Repeat with remaining bread slices.
Place one to two slices at a time into waffle iron and let cook for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a plate in the oven to keep warm while cooking the other slices.
I despise scrambled eggs. Something about their boogery texture makes me almost sick. Give me fried eggs over medium any day. I can take my toast and dip it into the yolk — oh yeah, that’s the best.
Well, I’m trying to eat fewer carbs lately so I have to rethink my egg preference. I recently saw a recipe in Cooks Country Magazine for muffin tin breakfast souffles. The recipe is for 12 soufflés and I’m cooking just for my lonesome self, so I decided to wing it and make my own recipe.
Sorry the photo is so bad, the only mini muffin tin I have is shamrock shaped, so they looked pretty weird. My breakfast was not only delicious but also carb free (except for that glass of OJ I drank, hehe).
Here’s roughly how I made them. Keep in mind I eyeball nearly everything, so these measurements are approximations. Use your own judgement, and best of all — add the ingredients you like!
Makes 6 mini soufflés.
Ingredients: 4 eggs 1/4 cup whole milk or half and half 1/4 cup chopped onion 2 crimini mushrooms, chopped 1/4 cup chopped, frozen spinach 2 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped olive oil salt and pepper goat cheese
Directions: Preheat your oven (or better yet, toaster oven) to 425 degrees. Spray your 6-muffin tin liberally with cooking spray. Thaw out your spinach and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set aside. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium high. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook till onions are translucent — about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss in the spinach and tomatoes and cook till heated through. Evenly distribute these ingredients in your muffin tin. Crumble in a little goat cheese.
Gently whisk together the eggs and milk and evenly distribute in muffin tin so that egg mixture is not quite reaching the top edge (they will grow in the oven). Sprinkle a little more cheese on top.
Bake for 15 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes. If you have a silicone muffin mold, just pop out the souffles gently onto a serving plate, otherwise use a knife to loosen the edges.
If the egg is still a tad runny, pop in the microwave for 30 seconds.
In an attempt to make less messy breakfasts for my 13-month-old son, I came up with a tasty pancake recipe that’s healthy and delicious. I’ll never understand why my mom always had pancake mix in the cupboard because homemade pancakes still only take minutes to make. And if you have leftover pancakes, bag them and freeze them for another day when you don’t have as much time. Just pop them in the microwave to reheat.
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbs. sugar or agave nectar
1 Tbs. cooking oil or melted butter
1.5 cups milk
1/4 cup canned pumpin purée
Mix together the dry ingredients. Measure the milk in a large liquid measuring cup and add the rest of the wet ingredients. Whisk gently to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir till just combined. It’s ok if there are lumps.
Heat a large skillet over medium flame. Coat with cooking spray. Ladle batter into pan, forming three flapjacks at a time. Turn when edges are cooked and bubbles form in middle. Cook on other other side till brown. Repeat with rest of batter. Serve with butter and syrup or honey.