Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nick's post birthday breakfast: Rosemary Eggs and Smoked Gouda Hashbrowns

Can you tell by now that 1. Smoked Gouda cheese is probably my favorite thing ever? and 2. It's a miracle Nick and I do not weight 400 pounds a piece?

Nick wakes up at 5am every day, and considering I'm usually up until sometime between 11pm and 1am every night doing homework, there's no way I was about to wake up at 5am to make him breakfast on a day that I had a work conference call in the morning (I work from home doing some consulting/research work). I'm sure Nick didn't really notice or care, but I really wanted to make the whole day special so as a way to make up not making him breakfast, I continued our birthday festivities onto Saturday morning.

Breakfasts in our house (when we sit down to cook and make it nice) are huge. Growing up, my dad would play classical music and we'd wake up to the smells of pancakes and bacon every Saturday morning. So it's no surprise that my brother and I learned to cook breakfast before we learned to cook anything else. This is a tradition that I have carried on to my home with Nick and we love it when people sleep over just so we can make a huge breakfast for them. The night of our going away party, one of my best friends, Jen, and her boyfriend slept over. The only way I managed to convince them to do this was because I told them what I'd make for breakfast (vanilla french toast, rosemary eggs, smoked gouda hashbrowns, and bacon). Needless to say they were not disappointed.

So for Nick's birthday breakfast, I let him his favorites (from our limited supply of food) and he chose rosemary eggs with toast and hashbrowns. I popped in a cd of Handel and got to work.

First order of business was the hashbrowns. I don't really make traditional hashbrowns, but my own method that I completely made up because I had leftover potatoes from one cornbeef and cabbage meal and had to figure out what to do with them.

For hashbrowns:

- 1-1 1/2 potatoes per person
- smoked gouda
- 2-4 tbsp butter (or olive oil)
- salt

1. First we boil the potatoes just like we did the night before for mashed potatoes. Since you'll have about 30-45 minutes, this is a good time to make bacon (if you're going to do that, make your hasbrowns in the same pan bacon fat. Soooo good), set the table, make the coffee, whatever.

2. Once those are done, take out the potatoes, but them into the pan you're going to cook them in, and coarsely mash them (with the skins on). You don't want them mashed like normal mashed potatoes, you want them chunky. And also, you may want someone to stabelize the pan for you since you might start slipping and sliding everywhere.

3. Next add your butter or olive oil to the pan with some salt and cook the potatoes on the highest setting you have for 5 minutes stirring frequently. (This is a good time to crack open your eggs, see step 1. of that part of the recipe.)

4. When the potatoes look like they are starting to get some crispyness to them (this may not happen with a gas stove), start grating in and adding the cheese. Again, you can do this to taste. I usually do at least 1/2 a cup, and normally more because we like cheese. (If you're also making toast, like we did, now is a good time to put it in the toaster.) Stir frequently and watch the potatoes. You want the cheese to help the potatoes get a crispy edge to them, but you don't want anything to burn, and cheese burns quickly.

5. By the time you're done with this, you can put those on a serving plate, turn the heat off, and break out your eggs.

For eggs:
- eggs (haha, yes for eggs I need eggs...this obviously depends on how many people want)
- 2 tbsp butter
- rosemary
- gouda, gruyere, or american cheese

1. The key to soft fluffy eggs is adding air. So when you crack open your eggs, you want to use either a whisk or an egg and really beat them to hell (as my dad would say). Once you have done that, add the rosemary. I'd say 1/2 tbsp for every 2-3 eggs. With dried rosemary, a little goes a long way.

2. I'm a big fan of reusing pans to cook. I like to keep the flavors going (and since I don't really like to cook with salt, this helps with that). So, if you made the hashbrowns in a non-stick pan, your pan will actually be pretty clean minus a few bits of goodness left in there. Turn the heat off on the pan (but don't remove the pan from the same burner), and add your butter as soon as you empty the pan. When you're done whisking, the butter should be melted and then add your eggs to that.

3. This step must happen fast! Add the cheese. YOU DO NOT NEED TO OVERWHELM YOUR EGGS WITH CHEESE. Jeez, who'd-a-thunk cheese's number one fan would say that? But really, you want your eggs to be eggs, not cheese and eggs. So if you are using American cheese, for every 2 eggs, one slice is fine. And if you're grating cheese, 1/4-1/3 cup for every 2 eggs is also fine.

4. Now that the cheese is in there, turn the heat on medium-low, and break out your spatula to turn the eggs. Constantly stirring the eggs (like you're scraping them off the pan) will add more air to them and they'll be fluffy and you can keep an eye on them so you don't make them dry either.

5. Once you're done, take the eggs out of the pan (don't leave any leftovers in there or they'll dry out) and serve!

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