Inside-Out Hash

August 17, 2009 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

 Cherries 001 Finally, a string of hot days here in the Twin Cities, as temperatures averaged in the upper 80’s and lower 90’s last week.  Could this be Mother Nature’s “Ha-ha” to those complaining about the lack of real summer weather?  Whatever the case, I’m simultaneously inspired to avoid using the oven and transported back to those sweltering if carefree days of Brownie Day-Camp.  Ah, the smell of oil cloth as we fashioned water-proof “sit-upons” out of fabric squares laced together over sections of newspaper; the vision of creatively-attired campers dressed in line with the “Backwards Day” theme – one little cutie sprouting pigtails from her forehead rather than the usual spot.  

In a characteristic display of digression, I’ll backtrack to say that I got in the mood for some beef hash the other day, just like Mom used to make.  But these thoughts of summers past must have been floating around in my cranium, too, because after I had whipped up the old ground meat, Worcestershire, cubed potato, white onion, and green pepper concoction, topped with the classic fried egg accompaniment, I got to musing about how I could liven things up by “reversing” this recipe.  Thus developed the quirky but tasty menu of Sweet Potato and Ground Turkey Hash served with individual wedges of Swiss Cheese Omelet, a very basic Tossed Salad, and that perennial summer favorite Corn on the Cob.  For the dessert-eaters at the table, an enormously well-received afterthought I’m calling Fifteen-Minute Bing Cherry Cobbler.

Contrary to tradition, for the hash I pulled together:

2 large sweet potatoes                2 tsp canola oil                       1 large red sweet pepper

2 large green onions                 1-1/2# lean ground turkey      1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 TB soy sauce                           1 TB dried celery leaves

Peel potatoes and cut them in half crosswise.  Cut each half in half lengthwise, then into five wedges then cut each wedge into 1-1/4 – 1-1/2″ pieces.  Heat and spread 1 tsp oil in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat and cook sweet potatoes on all sides until brown around the edges, stirring often, then reduce heat to low and cook an additional 20 minutes, or until fork-tender.  Remove potatoes to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, seed and chop the sweet pepper into 1/2″ cubes.  Heat the remaining 1 tsp oil in the same nonstick skillet over medium low heat and add the peppers; cook, stirring often, about 8 minutes or until they begin to soften.  Cut green onions into 1/4″ slices and add to peppers.  Cook another 2-3 minutes.  Remove veggies to the sweet potato bowl and add the ground turkey to the pan.  Cook meat over medium heat until no pink remains – about 10 minutes – stirring occasionally to crumble it into smaller chunks.  Season with garlic powder, soy sauce, and dried celery leaves.  (Every time I use a stalk of celery, I snip the leaves onto a paper plate and let it air dry or zap it briefly in the microwave and then store the dried leaves in a small sealed container.)

Add the sautéed vegetables and the cooked sweet potato back to the pan and stir gently to combine.  Heat over medium just until warmed through.

To top this, make a simple scrambled omelet by whisking 6 eggs with 2 TB of water then cooking them in 1 tsp of butter over medium heat in a large nonstick pan, gently stirring only the top uncooked portion.  As the bottom cooks, lift the “ruffled”  edges of the omelet to allow the liquid portions to run underneath and cook firm.  When the top is firm but still shiny, lay 4-1 oz slices of baby Swiss cheese on one half of the omelet, then fold the other half over that and let it cook until the cheese is melted.  Cut into four wedges, salt and pepper to taste, and serve one wedge atop each mounded serving of turkey hash.  The mild nip of the cheese is a lovely complement to the mellowness of the hash.

My salad was hearts of romaine lettuce with some slivered red onion, grape tomatoes, and cubed cucumber, topped with oil and vinegar dressing.

A search of the internet brings up some mouth-watering recipes for roasting and slathering corn on the cob, but I almost always return to the foolproof method I learned from my mother:

4 ears bi-color corn                     ice water to cover            1 tsp sugar    1 tsp lemon juice

Husk and clean the corn and place it in a large covered soup kettle filled with ice water.  Add sugar and lemon juice.  Ten to fifteen minutes before serving time, bring the covered pot of water to a rumbling boil, remove the pan from the heat, and let the corn rest in the hot water until it’s ready for the plate.  Serve with softened butter and salt and pepper. 

The quickie cobbler was the surprise of the evening, based on whatever I could lay my hands on at the last minute, but getting raves from partakers:

2-1/2 C halved, pitted bing cherries               1 TB superfine sugar    2 tsp corn starch

4 pre-made baking powder biscuits    2 TB softened butter             vanilla ice cream

Rinse, halve, and pit the cherries and place them in a small saucepan, with just enough water to cover.  Stir in the sugar.  (Superfine can be made by whirring granulated sugar in the blender or regular will work just “fine,” too; just add another teaspoon to the amount.)  Bring the cherries to a simmer and cook them for about 10 minutes.  Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 TB of cold water and stir this into the cherry sauce with a fork using a gentle whisking motion.  Cook another 5 minutes, or until thickened.  Keep sauce warm.

Meanwhile, split biscuits in half crosswise, butter both surfaces, and toast in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes per side.  Place one biscuit half in each of four dessert dishes, spoon half of the cherry sauce over them, and top each serving with a second biscuit half.  Spoon on the remaining sauce and lay a generous slab of ice cream alongside each serving  After dinner, my petite mother-in-law sat staring at her empty bowl, stunned that she had eaten the whole thing.  Who’d of thunk that delectable could be so gol’ darned easy?  Just a bowl of cherries, really.

Entry filed under: Musings of a Midwestern Foodie. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Brian and Ellen’s Story Weaving Moral Fiber – Part II

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