Monday, March 30, 2009

April Food Day!

by Erin & Xani

Today a friend and fellow Baltimore food blogger, Meg, informed us of a great event coming up on April 1: April Food Day! April Food Day is a day dedicated to fighting hunger in America, an issue that is affecting more and more of us during these tough economic times.

April Food Day is an effort by bloggers to encourage their readers to take a minute during April 1 and donate either to their local food bank or to Feeding America (formerly Second Harvest), a national food bank with 200 member banks across the country.

Click HERE to donate to Feeding America on April 1.

Thanks in advance, loyal readers! I hope we can all take tiny steps together to make a big difference in this important effort.

EP & X

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pantry Raid: Roast Beef Hash

by Erin

First, before I get down to business, a brief announcement: last weekend, Xani was learning to drive a motorcycle and she crashed and broke her hand. It's hard for her to type (and write - she broke her dominant hand), but she's doing fine, does not need surgery (unlike when I broke my hand - we BCD girls just can't keep our hands in tact!), and is in good spirits considering the circumstances. We're working on a way to communicate some of her great dining adventures in Chicago a few weeks ago - maybe our first vlog??

Can you find the broken bone??

Anyway, let's get down to business. Last week was my Spring Break (last one ever - weird!) and being the good daughter that I am, I went out to Blackacre to see the BCD parents. We of course did some great cooking and eating, including an Emeril recipe for roasted whole duck with roasted sweet potatoes in the roux (very delicious), and classic roast beef with Yorkshire pudding. The roast beef was wet-aged and perfectly cooked, and while we have in the past struggled with our Yorkshire pudding (too much fat, not puffy/fluffy enough), this time we went to the master, Alton Brown, for his Yorkie recipe. It was a hit! Very fluffy and crispy, with great flavor from the fat leftover from the beef.

As usual, the BCD parents sent me home with an entire box of goodies, including a big hunk of leftover roast beef. While I love a good roast beef sandwich on baguette with horseradish sauce, I wanted to take a crack at making roast beef hash. I love corned beef hash (tip to Baltimore peeps: I had some of the best corned beef hash of my LIFE at the Waterfront Hotel brunch - go get some!), and I had a great plate of roast beef hash during my first visit to The Spotted Pig in NYC, so I was eager to have it again at home.

I looked up a few recipes and relied most heavily on this one from Serious Eats, but in the end I sort of just made it up. I didn't have any cooked potatoes so I boiled up a few potatoes until a fork went in easily. Meanwhile I finely chopped the other ingredients: half a vidalia onion, about 5 cloves of garlic, and about 3/4 cup of mushrooms I had left over.

Taters in the hot tub...

Sliced and diced onions and taters

Mushrooms and garlic

I also diced the roast beef into about half-inch cubes, and I may or may not have eaten several of the delicious cubes along the way.

When the potatoes were done, I chopped them into about half-inch cubes. I added some oil to a big pan and got the potatoes cooking. After they started to caramelize, I added the mushrooms and the garlic.

I was a little concerned that the mushrooms would give off too much liquid and affect the crisping-up process, so I wanted to add them early-ish in the cooking. After the veggies had cooked down a bit, I added the beef and started it to brown.

One of the things that I love about a good hash is that everything is cooked down and crispy and sort of melded together, and that takes a long time. I cranked up the heat a bit and checked on the hash often so all sides of everything would crisp up nicely.

Mmmm...super-caramelized meat and potatoes

The verdict? Delicious. Everything worked well together, and the mushrooms added a really great flavor that you don't get in traditional hash. The meat was crisped up but still tender, and I loved all the caramalized potatoes, onions, and garlic. I thought about adding a poached or fried egg to my roast beef hash masterpiece, but in the end all I wanted was the hash - I didn't want to be distracted!

It was another pantry raid success. Stay tuned for the next one: chicken enchiladas verdes!


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