Sunday, September 30, 2012

Make your own hash browns.

Now that I've discovered how to make delicious hash browns in my own home, I never have to go out to breakfast again!  Would you like to make delicious hash browns too?  You are in luck as I have a pictorial for you.

Here's what you need:  a cast iron skillet (not non-stick, cast iron) a grater, a knife a spatula, a dish towel, potato (es) and some butter.
First put your skillet on medium heat and don't put anything in it yet.
Grate your potato.  If I'm the only one who is eating, I grab a potato the size I want to consume.  If you are making hash browns for more than one person, get a bigger potato. If you want, you can peel the potato, but I find that to be a pain and I like potato skin, so I just give it a good scrubbing.  Grate your potato onto the dish towel.  Work quickly because that grated potato will turn a weird color if you tarry.
Once the potato is grated, stick a tablespoon of butter in the pan and let it melt.  Use a bit less if there is a small amount of potato.
While the butter is melting, put the dish towel around the shredded potato.
Twist the shredded potato over the sink.  Depending on the type of potato and how much, you will get a few drips to a goodly amount of liquid.  Squeeze out as much as you can.
Still working very quickly, because that butter is sizzling by now, sprinkle salt and pepper on the potato. I stir things around with my spatula at this point, to distribute the salt and pepper evenly.
Using your hands, spread your potato around in the pan.  I like crispy hash browns so I don't pile too much on, another reason, in my world, for erring on the side of the smaller potato.   Make sure everything is even though.
Tamp everything down with your spatula.
Set the timer for seven minutes, which seems like an extraordinarily long amount of time, I know, but unless you have a minute amount of potatoes, you will most likely use that entire time.  If you don't believe me, poke the spatula under and peek at minute four, five, six and seven.  It takes a long time for that potato to brown up.
While you are waiting, rinse that starch out of your towel and rinse off your grater.  This might also be an ideal time to start some eggs, or empty the dishwasher.
Oh, yes, you also need a plate larger than your skillet.  Get that out right now too.
So eventually your potatoes will be golden brown on the bottom and pretty much cooked through, though the tops will still be a bit raw.  They should be sticking together in a nice big round of hash browns. Take a peek and see if they look good to you.
If they do, set the plate on top of the skillet, grab two hot pads, pick up the whole shebang and invert it.
Set the plate/skillet combo on the counter, lift off the skillet and you will find glorious hash browns, at least on one side.  But you are not done!
Melt another tablespoon of butter in the pan and when it has melted and spread around, take that plate and
Slide those hash browns back into the pan.
I usually set the timer for five minutes at this point, but it usually doesn't take that long.  Keep checking the underside to see if you've hit the magical shade of golden.
When you have, you can slide the hash browns onto a plate and cut them into wedges, or, if it is a single serving, you can fold it over twice and make a delicious crispy wedge.

Then you sit down and enjoy those hash browns.  You earned them.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Not so smart squirrel

I think this nut is not sufficiently buried.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Opossum in the back yard!

I'm sitting at my desk merrily working away at the blogs when what should wander by for a drink but an opossum!
I grabbed the camera while eagerly telling the cats to look out the window.  Antares caught on right away and he stayed right where he was with his pupils like tiny slits.  Sentinel jumped down from the bed and started batting the camera strap around, completely ignoring the animal right outside the window.

It was pretty exciting.  Last year the opossums would come out very early in the morning and tear down the cornstalks early in the morning, but I've not seen any since.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


At the beginning of summer Portland Parks and Rec buys space in the paper to advertise their free movies in the park.  They have an agreement with the movie distributors not to tell people the real names of the movies and instead publish a list of dates with movie names that are a play on the real titles.

Also every year, they have a contest offering the first people who decode all their movie names a prize.  This year, Matt and I entered the contest.  It took about an hour to un-puzzle them all, most of the time throwing names back and forth until one of us figured out what they were saying.  There were about three left when I finally broke down and we used Google. "We're looking for a movie with a mouse and a dog and a rake" and Matt typed in "mouse dog rake movie" and voila, the computer spit out the answer.

We sent off our list and after a week I figured we didn't win, but lo and behold, look what arrived in the mail today!  One free meal at Elmers (including drink.)  We won!

I would love to tell you the list of alternative movie titles, but I recycled the ad right after we finished the contest so I can't illustrate just how smart were were to decode them all (both with our brains and Google.)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Live Wire!

We had another good Live Wire! experience.

You can't tell from this picture, but that blurry image is Mike Birbiglia! Yes!  That funny guy who says things like this. He was sitting two rows in front of us, waiting for his interview.
Before we saw Mr. Birbiglia, we watched Helio Sequence play a fantastic song.  Due to the low light, I couldn't capture the best part, which was watching the drummer who had such a look of pure joy on his face and his whole body moved in this incredibly hypnotic way.  He was the best part of the Muppets, come to life.  I greatly enjoyed Helio Sequence.
Courtney Hameister's interview with Mike Birbiglia.  One part I'm pretty sure didn't make it on air:  Courtney asked a question and Mike Birbiglia said, "I'm sorry, I'm having trouble remembering what you asked because there is a woman in the front row knitting.  Is that part of the show?"

Amid cheers, Ms. Hameister remarked, "Yes, every guest here gets a free merkin to take home and she's working on yours."

Birbiglia responded with a happy, "Oh really?"


"Oh.  But I also don't know what that is."

We all laughed.  Later, I asked Matt what it was and he told me.
Chelsea Cain read an essay about writing about a ruthless female serial killer and being a mom.
There were sound effects.  One involved stabbing this watermelon.  Tricia Ferguson plunged the knife in and looked up, paused slightly took a deep breath and stabbed the watermelon several more times.

Should you want to hear what we heard, you can listen  here to the Mike Birbiglia one.
you can listen here to the Chelsea Cain one.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


So yesterday, I went over to the satellite location and harvested half of it with Stephanie North.  We got 44 pounds!
To celebrate, I made hash browns with cheese.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

9/1/12 Garden Update

Thanks to two people doing labor, I almost met my goal.

8/25 watering 15 minutes
8/28 watering 15 minutes
8/29 watering 15 minutes
9/1 Dig potatoes (see next post) 1.5 hours. But two people were working, so that's 3 hours of labor.

Total time this week:  3 hours, 45 minutes.  Nearly there.