Jalapeno Breakfast Hash

I was going through the produce section over at Cherry Valley market the other day, and there were these jalapeno peppers that were simply irresistible. They were plump, lustrous, green and at a dollar twenty nine a pound! Well, I couldn’t pass them up. But now… what to do with these treasures? Hmm.. seems I have some left-overs in the fridge that could use a little pepping up…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • two boiled potatoes
  • about eight ounces of left over corned beef
  • one medium onion
  • two jalapeno peppers

Nothing could be simpler. Dice the onion and toss it into a non-stick fry pan on a low to medium heat. Dice the potatoes, the colder they are the easier to dice, and toss them in a bowl with a splash of olive oil. Then add them to the pan. Dice up the corned beef, mince the jalapenos and toss these into the pan. Heat this through thoroughly. Pat the mixture down and let it brown a bit on the bottom before turning it over and repeating the process. Give the potatoes time to brown and then serve this with a poached egg on top.


Swiss Cheesy Mashed Spuds

Stop me if you’ve heard this one already… I may be repeating myself. These days I’m not so sure, but I did find a good price on Swiss cheese at Best Yet Market, they’re having their crazy 88 sale. So, as I have some potatoes here hat as starting to soften, I figured I would make some Swiss cheesy mash potatoes to accompany the pork chops Best had on sale (three buck for two nicely sized chops).  The chops were simply sprinkled with a little salt and pepper and broiled. The ‘fancy’ part of our dinner was the potatoes, the pickled beets part of the dinner came straight from the jar, but that’s just between us.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Six medium Long Island potatoes
  • ½ stick of butter
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • ½ cup chopped chives

Start by peeling and quartering the potatoes, toss then in a pot with some salt and some water and boil them up. Let them boil about fifteen minutes and then sit for five to really soften them up. In a large mixing bowl add the butter, cubed, and the milk. Add in the drained potatoes and start mashing… working the cheese in a little at a time so it melts into the mixture. Once that’s accomplished, add the chives and mix well… transfer this into a serving bowl and get it to the table.


Spring Potato Salad

For this potato salad I like to use the new potatoes. These are the small potatoes with the thin skin. I use them for salads because they have a high moister to starch content. These low starch potatoes work well with a quick boil because you don’t have a lot of starch to break down. This also means that you need to keep an eye on them as they do boil quickly.


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds small potatoes
  • 5 eggs
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, or to taste
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 stalks celery, minced
  • 1 medium red onion finely diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and cool.

While doing that, place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, and place in a bowl of cold water to cool.

And while doing that, cook bacon slices until crisp.

Peel the eggs, and place 3 of them into a large bowl. Reserve the rest for later. Mash the eggs in the bowl with a fork. Stir in the mustard, mayonnaise, celery, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Crumble 2 of the bacon slices into the mayonnaise mixture. Reserve the rest for garnish.

Peel and chop the potatoes, and stir into the bowl until evenly coated. Slice the 2 remaining eggs, and place on top of the salad. Crumble the remaining bacon over the eggs.


Hmm Hmm Skillet Potatoes

I was out east last Wednesday to take my Mom out to the grocery. She has a Meat Farms market out by her and while we where there I picked up a pound of slab bacon. I don’t often get slab bacon, and since the market had a couple of packages of white and portobello mushrooms on their sale rack, an alarm went off in my head. It should come as no surprise to my more faithful readers that my alarm sounds an awful lot like a dinner bell! Since they always have great prices on potatoes and onions at Meat farms, my next course of action seemed pretty clear. Oh, and I grabbed a couple of jalapenos and the rest is outlined below:

Here’s what you’ll need (f you skipped the narrative above):

  • 1 cup of slab bacon diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 medium portobello mushrooms diced
  • 2 large white mushrooms diced
  • 3 medium long island potatoes diced
  • 2 jalapenos minced
  • paprika, salt, pepper

In a nice seasoned cast iron skillet, start browning up the bacon. Then toss in the onion and jalapeno. Then toss in the mushrooms. As this gets cooking, toss in the diced potatoes. Sprinkle this with paprika for coloring, then fold the potatoes into the mixture. As its cooking up season it with some salt and pepper to taste. Once the potatoes are cooked through and soft, the dish is ready to serve. If you don’t like the heat of the jalapeno, you could substitute a small green bell pepper.

Comfort Food – Pub Style

Whenever you go to a good pub, the menu always features one of my favorite comfort foods. That’s right; we’re talking about a Sheppard’s pie… cooked long and slow. Now, there are quick and easy recipes that will tell you how to make one of these in thirty minutes, or even quicker. But the whole point it seems to these winter comfort foods is to take the long, slow, warm, approach that not only heats the hearth, but warms our memories as well.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb lean lamb, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • enough beef stock to cover
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 3 to 4 tsp corn starch
  • 2 lbs Long Island potatoes
  • 4 oz butter
  • Salt and pepper

Add minced lamb into a casserole dish, add onion, carrot, celery, beef stock, corn starch, salt and pepper, to taste, and stir. Cook in a slow oven, 275°F for about 2 hours. Its important that the flavors meld together. You can do all this on stove top for about 20 minutes BUT the flavor is never the same. When complete, drain off gravy and put that on the side.

Boil and mash potatoes with milk, butter, salt and pepper, however don’t make it into a wet paste. It should be firm and almost chunky, think ‘rustic’, and for gosh sakes don’t use the mash potatoes in a box!

Add back enough gravy to the meat to make it moist. Gently add the mashed potato to the top and build up. Spread with a fork, finally making fork marks both up and down and across to form a basket like pattern.

Put oven temperature at 400°F, then bake until potato is crispy and golden on the peaks (about) 30 minutes. Serve with remaining gravy, and a pint of Guinness or two.

Long Island Comfort Potatoes

What’s better to keep you company during an original Star Trek marathon. When I think of these marathons, I think of hammy acting, cheesy scenes, and scalloped potatoes from right here on Long Island. I like to use a good amount of ham and cheese so as to make this side dish more of a one pot winter comfort food. So ‘beam me up Scotty’ ahead warp factor yum!


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound fully cooked ham slice, 1/2-inch thick
  • Half a dozen thinly sliced Long Island potatoes
  • 1 can (10 1/2 ounces) cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery soup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • dash pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Cut ham in bite-size cubes and mix with the veggies in a large bowl. Place a layer of the potatoes in a greased 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with some shredded cheddar, then a layer of ham and veggies, then a layer of potatoes and cheese, then a layer of ham and veggies, then a layer of… you get the picture.

Combine the soup with milk and pour over potatoes.

Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 1 hour. Remove covering; bake 30 to 45 minutes longer, or until potatoes are done. If desired, sprinkle even more shredded Cheddar cheese over the top of scalloped potatoes the last 15 minutes of baking time.

Sit back and enjoy the warm cheesy goodness of Long Island’s comfort food.

Long Island Thanksgiving – Onion Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving ‘must-have’. Somebody usually brings this dish to the dinner as it saves the cook a good deal of time with one less thing to do. So, if you are going to make a mash potato contribution you have to start with real Long Island potatoes. There really isn’t any other option (IMHO).

  • 6 to 8 nice LI potatoes
  • 1 rasher of bacon
  • 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
  • 4 tbsp butter (the real stuff… no margarine here)
  • 1/3 cup or so of Half and Half (the real stuff… no non-dairy fat free foo foo franken-substitutes)
  • Scallion greens
  • Sea salt

Put the potatoes in a pot of lightly salted water to boil. Dice the bacon and cook over a low heat to render it down. Then, toss in the diced onion. Saute till browned. Transfer this into a large bowl.

When the potatoes are fork-tender, transfer them to this bowl. Add the butter and a little of the half and half ad start mashing. As you mash, add the remaining half and half.

Don’t mash these potatoes too smoothly… think of making a more ‘rustic’ consistency. When you’re happy with the results you’ve achieved, transfer the mashed potatoes to their serving bowl. Using scissors cut some scallion greens over them to garnish.

Now get going… you’ve got a dinner to get to!

Maple Sweet Potoato Hashbrowns

Making skillet sweet potatoes is a nice twist on morning hash browns. I remember making them up in Vermont while visiting with friends. There weren’t any Long Island potatoes (I know, I was completely taken a-back myself!), so I decided to use the sweet potatoes that were on hand, and… nothing goes better with sweet potatoes than maple syrup and a dash of salt.

  •  2 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 rashers of bacon
  • 1 small onion
  • Splash of maple syrup, 3 tbsp or so

Start by dicing the bacon and toss it into a skillet on medium heat. Remember, I like to use the thick cut bacon from Western Beef but, if you can get your hands on it, the maple cured bacon from Harrington’s in Vermont is really quite a treat. Then toss in the onion, minced.

While this is browning in the skillet, grate the sweet potatoes and add them to the pan. While this is browning, add the maple syrup. Give the potatoes a flip… and get them to the plate. This goes well with some fresh scrambled eggs.

Skillet Potatoes – 1

I know, its not seafood, soup, or salad… but Long Island is definitely known for its potatoes. Boiled, baked, scalloped, fried… it’s a meal in its self. Yes, a ten pound bag of Long Island potatoes, a five pound bag of onions, and two pounds of bacon and I’m ready to fight off the world.

One of my favorite ways to make potatoes is in a nice iron skillet.

So.. here’s the specifics

  •  1 large Long Island potato
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 rashers thick cut bacon

Dice the bacon and cook in the skillet, once this is under way, dice the onion and toss it in to brown. Grate the potato using the largest of the wholes on the box grater. Once this is shredded, toss it in the skillet.

Cook all this up until the potatoes brown. Now, I like to mince up about half of a poblano pepper and toss it in when I brown the onion.

Potato, onion, bacon, a perfect trinity…