Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Breakfast for Dinner: CSA Hash & Eggs

Each winter I get the most rockin' CSA ever from the Intervale Food Hub. Not only is it chock full of amazing local produce from a long list of local farms, but it is also delivered to my office. Hello, lazy! Eating locally in the spring, summer, and fall is pretty easy - I'm a member of the best co-op of all time, Burlington is full of great farmers' markets, and I have a community garden plot around the corner from my apartment. However, winter is long, cold, dark, and snowy up here in Vermont, and the CSA helps me eat my weight in root vegetables and stay locally-focused when lettuce from California looks extra appealing.

Sometimes I'm not so great at working my way through all the veggies each week and last night I found myself with quite the backlog. I live with two other people who also happen to eat food that needs to be refrigerated, so when my beet stash started to take up most of the fridge, I figured it was time for an intervention. Enter, veggie hash and eggs.

The great thing about hash is that you can throw any variety of veggies, herbs, and cheese you have floundering in the back of your fridge into a skillet and it comes out delicious. It's sort of the "clean out the fridge soup" of breakfast. In my case I had purple potatoes, yukon potatoes, kale, a red onion, carrots, parsnips, beets, brussel sprouts, and a lone turnip. Really, though, you could put anything in there. Same goes for herbs. I have some thyme and rosemary growing in a windowsill, so I threw some of that in there. Dill or basil would be equally lovely.

Gather up your vegetables and herbs, 2-4 eggs, and some cheese. I used a mixture of cheddar and a hard parmesan-like cheese that was un-labeled and thus unidentified. Chop up the veggies into any size you'd like; I shredded the beets and diced up everything else. Then we boil up the starchy vegetables, cook everything in a skillet until they're somehow melty and crispy all at once, crack a few eggs into the mixture, melt some cheese on top, douse the whole thing in hot sauce, pour a beer, turn on an episode of "30 Rock" and call it a night. Mondays are hard and Liz Lemon and breakfast for dinner are here to make it easier.

CSA Hash & Eggs 
a.k.a clean out the dang fridge!
makes 4 servings
adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches

4 potatoes (any potato will do), diced
2 medium carrots, chopped into small coins
2 medium parsnips, chopped into small coins
1 turnip, diced
2 beets, shredded
1 large handful brussel sprouts, chopped in half
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, diced
1 handful kale
1-2 teaspoon herbs, minced (I went with rosemary and thyme)
4 large eggs
grated cheese (any kind that will melt well, like cheddar or mozzarella)

In a medium sized pot, bring water to boil and add in potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and turnips (any of your harder, starchy vegetables). Let simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender. Drain and set aside.

While those vegetables are boiling, in a large skillet, heat oil and add onion and brussel sprouts (any remaining vegetables except shredded ones or greens). Stir around until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add beets, kale, and herbs (any remaining vegetables and herbs) and stir to let everything get a bit toasty, about 2 minutes. Stir in the boiled vegetables, and cook until things get slightly golden. Make shallow wells in the vegetables (you shouldn't see the pan) and crack in the eggs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and let sit until the egg whites are mostly cooked, about 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle with grated cheese, cover, and let sit until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Top with fresh herbs and hot sauce. Serve immediately.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

sitting in

I find myself talking about my need to "sit in" things a lot lately. Sitting in my life in Burlington. Sitting in my job. Sitting in the changes that are out of my control. I'm feeling the need to just be. I rarely just sit. More often, I'm working on eight projects at once, not giving myself enough time for any of them, and planning for the next project. But, increasingly, I want to just slow all of that down and sit with the present. The holidays are an especially difficult time to just sit. There is not much more that I love in the world than Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love the hustle and bustle, the parties, the baking and gift crafting, the glitter, the snow. The whole world is busy, but with celebration instead of work. It's magical. Within the flurry, though, I'm trying to find the space to just sit in this month and soak it all in.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, I visited my brother, Chris, in search of some quiet time in the woods before heading back to the "big" city. With his (extremely bouncy) puppy, Suzie, we set off behind his cabin. All the leaves are down. There's no snow yet. Stick Season. I love this time of year. Everything is so quiet and simple. There aren't any bright colors raising their hands in front of you like an anxious 5th grader vying for your attention. You're allowed to focus on the details and textures of the muted trees, the fallen leaves, the rocks.

The next morning I woke up in Burlington to our first snow.

Baking bread forces you to slow down. Dough needs attention every couple of hours, and it takes all day. You can't let your day fly by unnoticed and realize at dinner that you forgot to eat breakfast.

I'm going to sit down smack in the middle of all this. Take that, holidays.

.... I also gave my brother a quick knitting lesson before hitting the road. He's knitting blankets for shelter dogs... for realz. Get in line, ladies. This boy will plant you a garden, cook you dinner, and knit your pet a snuggie.

wobbly knees

I don't have a fear of heights. In fact, despite the clammy hands and thumping heart, I love the climb up. I love standing at the edge and looking down. It's the jumping I hate. I can climb a tree any day; just don't ask me to jump off it into a lake. But, with a deep breath, scrunched shut eyes, and wobbly knees, I'm jumping into my own little space on the internet. 

I'm not quite sure about all that I'll put here. I can guarantee there will be baked goods, some epic dinners, some equally epic list making with sharpies, popsicle stick style jokes (as in G rated and bad, people), and some photos. It will most certainly be awkward and embarrassing to look back at some day, like finding your middle school diary filled with angsty love and bubble letters.  I'm sure I'll regret all the hazy Instagram filters. I'm probably going to need to re-learn how to use photoshop.

Even still, time to take a deep breath, bend those wobbly knees, and jump on in.