Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Hash Browns

On Sunday, Husband and I were coming home and ravenous for lunch; I knew I wanted something pretty wholesome but I also had two leftover cheddar bratwurst that I wanted to use. I decided it was time for some home-made hash browns.

I prefer the Waffle House variety of hash browns when making them at home – sure, the little nuggets of deep-fried goodness you can get at most fast-food breakfasts are wonderful, but those are quite hard to replicate without special equipment. As it is, I just grated two big potatoes and an onion and set the shavings on paper towels to wick away some moisture. Ideal world, you’d do this a couple hours early, I think, but I wasn’t patient (hence the clumpiness of the pictured hash browns).

In a big frying pan, I placed a tablespoon of butter and the onion and potato shavings. While it heated up and the potatoes started to brown, I alternated between stirring and chopping: I chopped up the bratwurst and then also diced a big green pepper, which I cooked separately to avoid adding even more moisture to the delicate frying hash browns. IMG_4900.JPG

When the onions and potatoes were starting to get some color on them, I moved them to half the pan and added the cheddarwurst. I knew the cheese would eke out of them, but I didn’t mind because crispy fried cheese bits would be flavorful. I seasoned the whole mess while they got browned separately, and then mixed it all together. I cracked pepper and added a twinge of parmesan to the green peppers, which gave them a bit of a crust.

In the end, I just threw everything together and Husband and I wolfed it down on the back porch. I realized, as I ate, that it would make a very nice, very simple freezer meal: if there was time to let all the chopped ingredients evaporate for a few hours, then just bag them up, you would have instant, waffle-house-style hashbrowns, which weren’t even exceptionally oily! Obviously, since this is basically just a stirfry with potatoes in it, you have infinite options for subbing out things you don’t like, which I always enjoy.

Quinoa with sweet tomato, onion, and summer herbs

On Friday, I really traipsed into the thicket of tomatoes in our backyard and emerged with tons – 30 or more cherry and 10 San Marzanos. I want to freeze some to eventually can sauce, but a more pressing need presented itself: my aunt and uncle were coming over for dinner! They are the sweetest folks and one is vegetarian and the other is dairy/gluten free, so quinoa was an obvious option.

I prepared about 1 cup of quinoa according to the directions on the bag, but the long roasting time meant that I did that much later. I started by cutting up the cherry tomatoes and some San Marzanos into the roasting pan pictured. I then sliced and diced one purple onion and 4 cloves of garlic, and added maybe a teaspoon of olive oil to keep it all from sticking. I roasted it at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes.

When they came out, I added cut chives, basil, and oregano – all fresh because I’d gotten packets of fresh herbs from the community garden, and that stuff doesn’t last long! I left the whole roasting pan on the stove to stay toasty while my aunt and uncle got a tour of the house, but then added the hot quinoa to the veggies to mix up together.

We had quite a feast – Husband obviously made a salad, and I whipped up guacamole to make sure that everyone had a hearty enough meal. Afterwards was a gluten-free banana bread that I was pleased with, even though it was drier than I expected; I’ll post about it at some point. But sitting around the table, passing dishes and eating off placemats made me realize how much I missed that. When we’ve had our dinner parties, there have been too many people to sit down to table together, and that makes me think the next dinner “party” will just be, perhaps, 4 other folks. Last night was a less boisterous evening, but I think that the niceness of sharing the bounty of the garden and the chat that we all had about plants and electronic circuits and family history made me miss a regular sit-down dinner with family.