Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Whatever's Left" Hash for a Winter's Night

I've been a bit worried lately that I would never write about food again. In the past few weeks I had kind of lost interest in it a bit. I had more to say in the narrative realm, I guess, and a few other things converged to make it less appealing. My toddler started refusing her usual early, wonderful bedtime. The days got shorter and shorter, until it is now completely dark by the time we get home from daycare pickup, making food photography while cooking in the evenings next to impossible. Our CSA was winding down, and is now over, so that nearly every week the foods were root vegetables that are shelf-stable, slowing down a bit my feelings of urgency for using them up.

Then, a few things happened to reignite my interest in writing recipes. First, I listened to almost non-stop podcasts of cooking shows on our trip to Ohio, because we traveled separately and my husband wasn't in the car to ask us to please listen to something else. I caught several episodes of The Splendid Table and KCRW's Good Food, as well as a few episodes of This American Life (which always makes me wish I was interesting enough to be featured on the show - where do they find these people!?). Listening to all of that totally indulgent, almost bawdy talk about cooking was inspiring. Then, I spent nearly a week eating and cooking in other people's kitchens, enjoying the food and fellowship but dearly missing my tiny kitchen, with all of its limitations but all of its charm, as well as a few tools I can't live without.When I returned home to a refrigerator that looked, well, abandoned, I wanted to try to salvage at least some of whatever edible items were still left inside.

Last, but not least, my in-laws gave me an early Christmas present - a 35 mm f1.8 lens for my new D90. Oh my, this lens is amazing. I can turn off the main lights in my kitchen and take some amazing photos in very low light. Now that's delicious!

This recipe is inspired by an episode of "Stump the Cook" on The Splendid Table.

"Whatever's Left" Hash for a Winter's Night

1 cup vegetable broth
2 gloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
one small yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 or 6 fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1 or 2 carrots, scrubbed, cut in half, and thinly sliced
I bunch collards (or kale or swiss chard), rinsed, stemmed, and chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
eggs (1 for each person)
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350. In a small saucepan, bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced slightly. Remove from heat and set aside. In a heavy skillet, saute the olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Saute until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots, and continue sauteing until just tender, about 7 - 10 minutes more. It's ok for the vegetables to get a little brown around the edges. Add the greens and saute until just wilted. Stir everything together well and put into a greased square baking pan. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and cheese and season with salt and pepper. Pour the vegetable broth into the baking pan (use just enough to cover the bottom of the pan), then spread the cream cheese mixture over the top of the vegetables. Crack the eggs over top, cover with foil, and bake until the eggs are set (about 15 - 20 minutes, depending on how well-done you like your eggs).

I have only made this once, but I'm eating it right now and it's great. Next time I'll remove the foil for the last half of the cooking in hopes the top will brown a bit. You can also feel free to substitute any or all of the vegetables with whatever you have on hand - just group the hard and soft vegetables together so they cook evenly.

Happy winter meals!

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