Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Flakey, Crisp Hashbrowns

Don't you wish you had had breakfast with me this morning? It was yummy even though my husband, if he were here, would have complained, "Where's the toast?"  

Yes, it was only me for breakfast and since I'm worth it - I fixed sausage, fresh pullet eggs, hash browns, and sliced a peach.

I love a hearty breakfast. Only I want mine between 9:00 and 10:00 in the morning. Not that I'm not up a whole lot earlier but for some reason, I just don't want to eat. My doctor says most people aren't ready for an early breakfast because their cortisol levels are highest in the morning and that supresses hunger. Cortisol peaks around 8:00 am but obviously that isn't true with me since I have Addison's disease and don't produce my own. One of the reasons I'm so grateful for modern medicine.
This morning, the food I was really craving the most was hash browns. You can tell my ancestors are from Idaho. And, I wanted REAL potatoes. Not those imitations things from the store.

 Some of you are saying, "But mine never turn out. They end up this gray blob of glue instead of a nice flaky crunchy delight." Can you call hash browns that aredn't glued together flakey? Anyway, I've been there. So I then started boiling or baking potatoes to make into hash browns. Somehow it wasn't quite the same.

Then I discovered the culprit that caused the gluey, gray mass and pre-cooking went out the window.  

Now I wash my potatoes. No, I'm not talking about the initial washing to remove all the soil from the outside, though I do do that also. I'm talking about washing to remove much of the starches that cause the color change and glue like texture. And now I have to put my potatoes in a pile in the pan pushing them together to get them to form a patty. 

Maybe I had better just start at the beginning.

With a grater, preferably a microplane grater since they are awesome, grate a medium potato per person. Be careful, since
this grater doesn't mind taking a little flesh along with the potato.  
Place the grated potato in a strainer. (I don't peel my potatoes so I make sure the outsides are scrubbed well before grating them.)

And, then head for the sink. Note how quickly the potatoes gain a brownish red cast after grating them. This is the starch. To really notice it, place a bowl beneath the strainer and turn on the cold water. Rinse, and rinse, and rinse until the water no longer has a brownish red cast.
And, your potatoes are a creamy white color.

Then press the potatoes against the side of the wire strainer to press out some of the water. Next, place the potatoes in paper towels or a more eco-friendly cotton dish towel and press the towel against the potatoes to remove as much moisture as you can. I keep a few of these handy towels just for food purposes. They are never used to dry dishes.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet until it is hot, add a little oil, and then the potatoes.

Don't get in a hurry to stir or turn the potatoes. Sprinkle a little ground black pepper and salt on top, then let them cook until the underside is crispy before turning.

Bye, bye gray color and glue. Hello crispy potatoes that don't stick cling together.

Now admit it. Aren't you craving hash browns too?

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