Monday, April 28, 2014

It's time to Hash it out.

      I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about this post! My spicy sweet potato hash isn't just breakfast. It isn't just lunch. Oh no. It's a way of life! I know I know, you're probably saying "Megan, it's a potato. Calm down", but I can't! This dish came to my mind when I was scrounging around my boyfriend's kitchen looking for some breakfast to make on the quick. He doesn't have much, but the basics and a well stocked spice cabinet are perfect. To be honest, he was asleep, and that diiiidd help with the "is it done yet?" question hanging over my head. Regardless, this is so easy to pull out of your pocket and satisfy whoever you feed it to, mainly yourself, in a matter of 25 minutes. 
     It's spicy, sweet, smokey, and surprisingly healthy. Here's perhaps my favorite part of this potato-y goodness though: you can change this recipe a billion ways to fit whatever you have in your house, whatever style of cuisine you like, any special occasion you're cooking for, and any time of day!  Don't like spice? Add in savory herbs like thyme, basil, and garlic. Making a quick dinner? Throw in that leftover chicken or beef, add carrots and brussels sprouts for a filling meal. Fancy Valentine's day breakfast (like the one I made in the last picture)? Serve it with some light crepes and fruit! 
Have I convinced you yet? Well, I hope I did. You need to try this. 

Spicy Sweet Potato Hash
Serves 2 

2 sweet potatoes
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp spicy smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 handful baby spinach
2-3 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 fried eggs

I get that none of these things sound particularly astonishing or life changing, but trust me, how they're cooked and how the flavors meld together is in my opinion, the perfect breakfast. Let's get to it!
Start by peeling and dicing the sweet potatoes. The smaller and more uniform the pieces, the quicker they'll cook! Don't go too small though or you might turn out with what looks like baby food. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with baby food breakfasts...for babies. I'm guessing you aren't a baby.
Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a wide skillet and add in your 1-inch pieces of sweet potato. Keep the heat at medium and stir pretty often, or you might burn the potato before they're cooked. Once you feel that the potato is starting to soften (but isn't cooked completely) after about 10 minutes, add in the onion. 
We passed the hard part! See what I mean? You're going to love this. 
Stop you're constant stirring, which I'm sure is just great, and now let the potato and onion begin to caramelize. You should see the edges of the sweet potato start to brown, and the onions getting soft and dark in color. Once the potatoes are cooked and the onions sweet, throw in the garlic, red pepper, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir this for a couple of minutes, watching so the garlic and spices don't burn. If your pan is becoming very dry, add 1 tsp more oil. Your hash is now pretty much done. Yes. Seriously!
Turn off the heat, and add the baby spinach just so that it gently wilts. Splash in the vinegar and stir to combine. Divide the hash between two shallow bowls and top with a fried egg! 
Quick lesson on fried eggs and other nonsense: 
Put your non-stick pan over medium heat. Add 1 pat of butter and allow to begin foaming, swirling to coat the bottom. Crack your egg into the pan, lower the heat a touch, and let the white become opaque. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired, and slide onto hash once the white is no longer loose. 

*If you don't have sweet potatoes, or don't like them, you can substitute this with regular potatoes, baby potatoes, or another root vegetable entirely. Carrots and parsnips sound delicious...

      25 minutes to breakfast (lunch, or dinner), heaven. Excuse me, I need to go make this right now. Sorry if this is too much information, but I'm actually salivating. 


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Because we're happy!

Some people go to work and sit in a cubicle. Others set out to the job site and work day in and out on construction, or engineering. Me? I work in a bakery, and while that may not sound like anything special to a lot of people, it's everything to me. I have 2 best friends as co-workers (and my boss), a fantastic FOH crew, and I make sweet treats all day.
As all my fellow NY-ers know, we have had one brutal winter! By the way, thanks for the forecast yesterday guys... 3-8 inches. Let's try 12-15! Woohoo! I've been watching the regulars at the bake shop come in, grumble, and gripe about the weather. They shuffle out to their cars and scrape the ice that locks them out of the comfort of their heated seat warmers, only to skid on the sludge in the parking spaces before finally getting on their ways. They smile briefly while holding their perfect coffee and soft pastries, or while chit chatting with myself or coworkers, but if there's anything I've learned while working in the restaurant hospitality business, it's that if your customers aren't happy. You CERTAINLY are not either. So...what is a bake shop filled with charismatic people to do during the off time of snowy days? Try and make their customers, and the world, be happy! So here, I present you with the first official music video of Blondie's Bake Shop! Remember, smile!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

We can resolve these resolution problems.

It's January! Ah yes.  A new start, a new year, and another reason to jump back into that gym or high intensity workout routine that leaves your muscles twitching and your hands filled with tootsie rolls, trying to get that blood sugar back up.  I can't keep resolutions. I try, I really do, but by the time I've juiced the last bunch of kale I'm pretty much over the whole ordeal.
Instead, I've adapted a new way of eating that has taken months and months to hold on to. Less sweets (HA, well I try my best with that one...), no red meat, tons of fresh fruits and veggies, and NO soda. Is it a huge ground breaking ideology? Nope! Which is why I think it would work for absolutely everyone. You can substitute your own rules, maybe you don't want any sugar at all but absolutely love your steak and pork loin. Hey, that's cool! Just keep it healthy my friends.
I've also learned that when you start your day healthy, you're much more likely to keep it that way. So on that note:

I grew up with oatmeal and cream of wheat. Every. Single. Weekend.
 It was great and warm and I really appreciate that my parents allowed me to grow up in a household of minimal takeout and a plentiful amount of healthy meals, but now I'm at the stove, and we're about to switch things up.
Quinoa is new on the health food scene, new in popularity, and has taken center stage with big brand veggie burgers and salad enthusiasts everywhere. Why? It's gluten free, packed with protein, dietary fiber, magnesium, iron, and dreams.
Why then are we stopping at salads and burgers? Let's get this "superfood" into the most important meal of the day! I'm talking about hot quinoa breakfast cereal, and it's awesome.
This cereal will help you relax the cravings that may attack you throughout your day, and satisfy the sweet breakfast desire that so many of us have. We can't all be bacon and egg people! Gosh.
On with it then.

Quinoa! The new breakfast of champions.
You'll need for 2 servings

2 cups of vanilla almond milk
1 cup of rinsed quinoa
2 tbs of brown sugar
1 tbs of real maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla
Fresh berries for serving. I used raspberries.

In a medium saucepan, heat the almond milk to a simmer. Stir in the quinoa, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I say stir, because I used a whisk the first time around and it was a nightmare. I test so you don't have to deal with the issues. You're welcome.
Bring this to a boil and then down to a simmer, cover for 15 minutes. You'll notice at this point that most of the milk has been absorbed, and that's exactly what you want to see. Stir in the vanilla and cook, stirring occasionally for another 10 minutes. Your breakfast is ready! Woohoo! Serve with extra almond milk splashed on top and fresh berries.

Resolutions are doable! I think I can, I think I can...