Saturday, January 19, 2013

Eggs - They're What's For Dinner

Last night the girls were out with friends and it was just Smith and me hanging out - always a little bitter sweet, you know?  Now that Em is 16, we are very aware of the all too brief time we have with her living in our home.  However, it's nice to be just the two of us.  Now if we can only come up with things to talk about other than our kids...

Anyway - at about 7:30 Smith says, "what are we doing for dinner?"  Often on a Friday we like to go down to the Pub, have a burger and a martini and hang out with Tom the bartender, but we are thinking about a trip to Europe this summer and we are trying to save our dimes (as my grandfather used to say).    So, I trudged to the kitchen.  You all know I love to cook, particularly something grand and delicious (my new favorite cookbook is The Smitten Kitchen - I'll try to write more about that later) - but when it's just the two of us, sometimes the most I feel like doing is open a box of raisin bran and pour the milk.  Smith's default is a very large PB&J.  But it was cold out (finally!) and something warm was called for.

Oh, the last time I've been to the grocery*?  8 days ago.  Which meant I had a pack of bacon, a dozen eggs and a bunch of frozen stuff.

Easy peasy.

Because this is what I made:

Eggs...mmmm... bacon... - wait, what's that green stuff?  Yes.  Spinach.  And under those eggs?  YES - frozen sweet potato and regular potato TATER TOTS.  Mashed into a hash.  

Here's what I used:
6 strips of bacon
grapeseed oil - as needed
1 cup of frozen tater tots (regular)
2 cups of frozen sweet potato tater tots
1 cup of frozen spinach
2 eggs

Here's what I did:

Swirled a bit of grapeseed oil into my smaller cast iron skillet * and threw 2 strips of bacon in.  Cooked it to crispy then removed it from the pan and let it drain on paper towels. Then I threw my 3 cups of tots in the bottom of the skillet (add a bit more grapeseed oil if your bacon hasn't thrown off enough fat) and just let them sit there over a medium to low heat.  After they defrosted, and once they started to brown, I mashed them in to the bottom of the skillet.  This is when I added salt, pepper and several drops of Tabasco.  Cook until they are brown on the bottom then scramble them up - which in my opinion creates the perfect hash - crispy and not-crispy at the same time.  
Meanwhile, I preheated my oven to 450 and swirled some more oil in my big big big cast iron skillet and threw in the remainder of my bacon.  (Cooking bacon in the oven reduces clean up - I hate splatter because I'm lazy.)  Cooked the bacon in the oven.
In my third cast iron skillet (who needs All Clad when you can get pre-seasoned Lodge cast iron skillets for about $25 at the hardware store?) (Ok, I do have a couple of All Clad pans - but I swear to you I use my cast iron more frequently.) (Moving on.) swirled more grapeseed oil, dumped the cup of frozen spinach in and let it sauté a bit until it became unfrozen.  Then I made a little space right in the center and cracked in the two eggs.  Splashed a little more Tabasco around and let the eggs sit until they cooked.  Smith likes his very runny, so I took his out early.  I like mine cooked to a slightly runny stage - so mine hung out.  

Put a layer of hash down on the plate and gently place the eggs/spinach on top.  Once your bacon is cooked, you can either crumble it over the whole thing, or let it hang out on the side.  I know I've been lax about posting - but Smith pointed out to me post greedy silent consumption that this is exactly the kind of meal my blog is about.

Anyway, this kind of dinner should also promote a long and harmonious marriage - even if you have nothing to talk about once the kids have left the nest...


* I'm conflicted about blindly going to Whole Foods these days in light of this and this - I appreciate that he supports sustainable farming and small businesses - but he seems a little nuts.  I've heard this for years, but I must admit I turned a blind eye because there really isn't anywhere else yet to buy things like grass-fed or hormone free meat and poultry in my neighborhood.  Plus the organic produce in grocery stores like Giant are not of the same quality and are much more expensive than WF.  Does the good outweigh the bad? ... sigh.  I hate knowing too much.  This is why I hate the internet sometimes...

* I use grapeseed oil because it has a lower flash point - and because bacon fat burns at the drop of a hat I believe (probably erroneously - but whatever) that the grapeseed oil prevents the bacon from burning.  I like really crispy bacon, but there is a line that is sometimes hard to catch between bacon that's super crispy and burnt.