Salt potatoes are a regional specialty of the North Eastern part of the United States and more specifically, Syracuse, New York, a.k.a. The Salt City. Salt potatoes date to the 1800s, invented by local Irish salt miners who would bring a bag of small, unpeeled, substandard potatoes to work each day. Come lunch time, they boiled the potatoes in the “free-flowing” salt brine.
In essence, they created a simple and inexpensive lunch by boiling small potatoes in brine. As the potatoes cook, the salty water forms a crust on the skin and seals the potatoes so they never taste water-logged like ordinary boiled potatoes often do. The potatoes have a unique texture closer to fluffy baked potatoes, only creamier. Dipped in melted butter, absolute deliciousness. A must try!
I leave you with a Nelson Mandela quote that my yoga teacher shared with us today, “It always seems impossible until its done.”
I am not sure where this recipe originated, in England, New England, or specifically a brand of baked beans that adapted themselves in the southern part of the United States? Nevertheless, I grew up with these beans at every picnic and BBQ of my youth. With the whispers of the weather getting warmer, I decided to make a dish of it to serve alongside some grilled hot dogs the other day. Though I have to admit, my husband and I ended up eating more of the beans.
Well we are at the end of our corned beef and what better way to send it off than to make it into a hash. My husband orders this every time that we go to a diner, so I thought I would give him a little salty, meat and potato heaven here at the house. I start back to yoga today after being on an almost two week hiatus. Got to go nurture my body, get some of the fat and toxins moving about after eating all of this “celebration” food. Wish me luck. I am sure I will have lots of stories for tomorrow about the woes of that. Well, I just heard my hubbie in the other room say, “Oh…My…God!” With which I immediately thought, great what have the pups gotten into (like have they stole all of the hash off the counter kind of thought). Yes, these types of things happen at the Creative Noshing household. I answered back from the other room in a concerned and half already aggravated voice, “What?!….” Walking into the room, Hubbie has a devilish grin while picking at the hash, pups in toe. They all look at me. He laughs and says, “Oh, I don’t know. Just felt like saying oh my God.” Better hurry up and finish this post up, so I can sit with my silly family and eat some good food. Hope everyone has a great day today.
Corned Beef Hash
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch cubes
2 cups of corned beef, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 a bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
Fried eggs (optional)
In a medium sized bowl add the potatoes. Add about 2-3 tablespoons water. Wrap bowl in plastic wrap and microwave for about 4 minutes. Meanwhile add butter and about 1 tablespoon olive oil to a 12 inch skillet. Over medium heat, saute onions, bell peppers, and corned beef for about 5-7 minutes. Add cooked potatoes to skillet, mixing well. Pat evenly across pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes without stirring to start browning potatoes. Flip and repeat about four more times. The potatoes will be noticeably brown. Take off heat. Plate and top with fried egg. Enjoy!
Most of you know that I am of Irish descent and I have been on a quest to find authentic Irish recipes to add to my repertoire. You can read more about that on my Colcannon post.
My husband, who is of Slovak descent, really pushed me to find these roots because his family held on to parts of their cuisine. These traditions really made him and his family feel unique and created strong ties between them. While I do have my Southern roots and am very adept at those flavors, he has helped me find traditional Irish-American recipes to further me on my journey.
What I understand from my research, corned beef is one of those recipes that has been adulterated a little since coming over the pond. Corned Beef and Cabbage is an actual recipe that was served in Ireland a long time ago, but it has waned in popularity and is viewed more as an old person’s meal. However, it flourished here in the states almost as a snapshot of the Irish cuisine at the time that the Irish immigrants started coming over. There is a debate over the cut of meat that was used in traditional Irish corned beef. This Irish-American will use what is available, corned beef brisket.
When picking out a brisket, you have the option of a point cut and a flat cut. I prefer the flat cut, because as suggested, it is an even piece of meat, which in turn means even heat distribution and cooking times. Anyway, this corned beef is delicious as is and will provide me with lots of yummy leftovers to play around with for a few days. Happy St. Patty’s Day, Everyone!
After high school graduation, as with most young, burgeoning adults, my cousin and I went our separate ways. My cousin moved to New England with her Mom and I went off to college. It was to be expected, though we didn’t expect it, “home” would never be the same. We had experienced our whole lives there together. Sometimes I thought, can I ever go “home” again?
The short and simple of it is yes, in flashes. Three years after high school graduation, I was in New England sitting in a swivel barber chair. In the background, Madonna singing ”Holiday” from radio speakers. The familiar smell of hairspray heating up under the twist of a hot curling iron hangs in the air like the fond memories of our Grandma’s Beauty Shop. My cousin had followed in my Grandma’s footsteps and become a hair stylist. On this day, I was there as her Maid of Honor. I was a junior in college and I had mustered up just enough money for a plane ticket and a dress. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Though the surroundings were different, I couldn’t help but reminisce back to our childhood, fixing each other’s hair and painting each other’s nails. It was bittersweet. After her ceremony, she was glowing beautifully in her wedding gown and I knew in that moment that it wasn’t her that I should be worried about, but what was going to happen to me now that I felt I needed to step aside and let go.
The following recipe is reminiscent of the croissants and danishes that my cousin served while we getting our hair styled for the wedding.
My maiden name is of Irish origin and I still have some tell tale signs of my Irish ancestors, such as pale, almost blue, skin. During the summer, my motto is “born to burn.” All kidding aside, growing up in the south is interesting, because it seems that you identify with being southern first, then American, then, if there is any lineage left, you may or may not identify with your ancestry.
For me, my family did not celebrate our Irish heritage at all. I learned about my bloodline in a Social Studies class during grammar school. We were all mixed grab bags of ethnicity, because that is what you get here in the melting pot. Our teacher focused more on our last names, to give us a focus.
I was enamored with the thought of being Irish, though all that I knew was the tidbits that came through television, such as their cool accents (at the time, I didn’t realize I was kicking around an accent myself). Potatoes and corned beef seemed to be important food items, all swigged down with pints of beer, while singing celtic songs and river dancing across the clover covered countryside, etc…. I know it is a fantasy world, but that was what I had gleaned from what very little information was available to me growing up.
As I got older, I asked about my ancestry more and more. We still had Irish family members located in the southern part of the U.S., but we didn’t actively participate in their lives or theirs in ours and I have never gotten the full story of why we no longer associated with them. I asked my parents to go to the family reunion and the only thing I was told was that they “drink” at their family reunions, which meant “no.” Ah, got to love growing up in the south, where drive through liquor stores are king. Matters of ettiquette are closely monitored, including and especially consumption. Though I have to admit I was intrigued with the idea of a family reunion including an open bar. My parent’s were onto my mischievous spirit and put the kibosh on those plans. I would just have to wait a few years.
When I went off to school, I lived in a city close to them. Unfortunately by the time this happened, only one great aunt was living in a nursing home. When I met my husband, my last name changed to Slovak origin. His family is very close to their origins, especially the food parts. I loved trying all of their foods and customs, but it left a slight tinge of mystery behind my origins. Sure, I identify with fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits and fish fries and cheese grits. And we have our own thick accents that represents our own agriculture and community ties, but I wanted to go deeper and even further back.
Through starting my own blog, I was able to come in contact with Viveka. She is a chef that lived in Ireland for 10 years, so I asked her for an authentic recipe for Colcannon. She was nice enough to let me live vicariously through her knowledge of the dish. Thank you Viveka. You guys should check out her blog and the recipe for Colcannon @ My Guilty Pleasures. Below is a picture of my Irish meal the other night.
Waking up and coming home to constant hammering and drilling for over a week now, the apartment unit next to ours is being renovated. Living in small quarters doesn’t give you many places to hide from it. Coming into one of our rooms, I noticed that our pictures had vibrated into cock-eyed positions, so I removed all of our art work. Last thing I need is shattered glass. Needless to say, we’ve been finding any way to get away from the madness around here until the workers leave at night; including long walks, movies, eating out, etc.
The other night, in desperation, we went to the market for food. Of course, probably not the best idea to shop for food items under duress, it is no wonder we left with comfort food. That night, I prepared pub fare, bangers and mash. Personally, I have never had the mixture of sausage, gravy, and mashed potatoes, but it sounded so good at the time. Oh and it was a great combination! It is every bit of the food that you want to comfort you on a hard, cold day.
Bangers and Mash
1 Package of Sausage, 5-6 links (I used bratwurst because it was the only non-smoked, non-Italian sausage at the market.)
2 TBSP Olive oil
5-6 large potatoes, peeled and washed
1 stick butter
1/4- 1/2 cup milk
salt to taste
Fill a large pot 2/3 full of water. Bring to a boil. Add salt and potatoes to water. Cook covered until tender about 20-30 minutes. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and sausage. Cook sausage on each side about 5-7 minutes. When potatoes are cooked, drain and mash with a potato masher or fork to desired consistency. Place back into still warm stockpot. Cut butter into pieces and add along with milk. Mash until potato mixture is thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt.
Pan drippings from Sausage
1/4 cup flour
1 small onion chopped
2/3 cup- 1 cup stock, (any flavor but fish will do.)
After the sausage is cooked and removed, heat pan drippings on medium high heat. Add onion and sauté for about 3 minutes. Turn down to medium low heat and add flour. Flour will soak up oil and form a roux consistency. Add salt and pepper. Add stock and bring to boil. Once desired consistency forms pour over sausage and mashed potatoes.
Ah, a scone, like a biscuit, but sweeter. To tell you the truth, I am biased. I am from the southern United States and I can’t think of too many things I cherish more than a homemade buttermilk biscuit.
I have to be honest, my first tasting experience with a scone left much to be desired. I was in a high school home economics class at the time (do they even still have those?) For those of you, who never took one of these classes, you learned various ways to take care of a home and a family in a budget conscious way.
One portion of the class was dedicated to cooking and this dry little hockey puck of a thing emerged from the oven. The small amount of sugar included in the dough was not saving it. I haven’t had a scone since then, thinking that I just was not a fan.
I didn’t think about it again, until the other day when my husband brought home a blue can of Heinz beanz. I know you are thinking, what do beans have to do with it. Believe me, I was too.
Smiling, he said, “I thought you would like these,” as if a can of beans were a prize. Me staring blankly. He said, “it’s for breakfast. You put it on toast…” It crept in, I had remembered watching a documentary on the Heinz corporation (yes, I am that nerdy) and seeing this English breakfast item.
I have to admit, beans in the morning does not seem that appealing and in an attempt to stall for “research” time, it quickly jogged my memory of the neglected little scone that I gave up on so many years ago. However, in my research of the scone, I found that scones seemed to be eaten more as a snack than a breakfast item, but to me the scone seems more breakfast-y, so this morning, I am trying again at scones (and saving the beans for another day.)
I had some dried cranberries left over from holiday baking and of course, with it being citrus season around here, I have plenty of oranges laying around, so I added these components to the dough. They came out light and airy, having a beautiful crumb to them. Of course, I smeared them with lemon curd. Yum!
Orange Cranberry Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1 tsp orange zest, heaping
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2- 3/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
extra sugar to sprinkle on top
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut butter into flour using a fork or pastry blender (mixture should resemble coarse meal), then stir in zest and cranberries.
In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.
Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.)
Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 6- to 7-inch circle about 1 1/2-inches thick. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature. These can be frozen unbaked individually and would be a great quick snack for when you have pop over guests. Just increase the baking time to 20-25 minutes.
It is citrus season right now. At all of the farmer’s markets, the fruit stands are over flowing with all kinds of varieties of grapefruits, oranges, and lemons.
Picking up a bag of lemons, I was on a mission to make something bright and fresh that could last me for awhile. Yes, I am one of those people who love to keep homemade goods packed away for later use.
Yesterday, I tied my apron strings and made lemon curd. A sweet and tart treat that only takes about 30 minutes of your time. Not hard work, but I’ll be thanking myself later.
Good enough for a spoon alone, but always a welcome addition to a scone, crepe, or tart shell.
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 lemons, zested
1/2 cup butter, melted
***Note: Acidic ingredients, such as citrus juice, will react with certain metals, including aluminum or cast iron. The reaction may turn a mixture gray or leave behind a metallic aftertaste. The same reaction occurs when eggs are cooked in aluminum or cast-iron pans. Therefore, recipes that include these ingredients, such as lemon curd, call for the use of non-aluminum pans. Stainless-steel and enamel-lined pans are preferred choices.***
In the top of a double boiler, beat eggs and sugar. Stir in lemon juice, butter and lemon peel. Cook over simmering water for 15 minutes or until thickened. Pour into a sterile container. Keep in refrigerator for up to three weeks or freeze for up to a year.