Cooking For Others: One-Eyed Potatoes
EVENT: Saturday Brunch
VENUE: Cara’s Apartment, Park Slope
MENU: Hash-Brown One-Eyes with Homemade Ketchup and Pesto Sour Cream; Roasted Baby Carrots; Wake-Up Cocoa Quickbread
Ah, that moment of recognition when you discover that someone else eats the same favorite food combination as you. It’s instantly bond forming and can solve all kinds of mysteries. For example: in 1998’s The Parent Trap, how would the American Lindsay Lohan have known that the British Lindsay Lohan was her identical twin separated at birth if they didn’t both crave Oreos dunked in peanut butter?
Here’s how this relates to the brunch I made for Roshni and Chris a couple weekends ago:
Growing up, we sometimes ate One Eyes for breakfast. You know, you’d cut out a hole in a piece of bread, crack an egg in its center, and fry the the whole thing til the egg was cooked and the toast crispy. Kind of brilliant, and, I thought, unique. Not so. Apparently, it just ran under a horde of other aliases: Egg In The Hole In The Bread. Hole-y Toast. Egg In The Hole. Bird’s Nest. Toad In The Hole. Abundant and literal, and I’m sure there are more.
By whatever name, the brilliance is in the simplicity. One Eyes take two things you’d normally eat at the same time on breakfast or brunch plates and marry them together as one. I was thinking about the other objects on that breakfast plate and it occured to me you could perform the same marriage on eggs and hash browns. For lack of a better suggestion, I’m calling them Hash-Brown One-Eyes (and taking suggestions on the name).
Because I was cooking for guests and wanted to be able to entertain them with my full attention and presence, everything had to be ready at once—my kitchen is really only big enough for one if you want to be able to, say, open the oven or get something from the fridge, and it’s not open, like Phoebe’s, so if I’m in there, my back is to my company. So I figured I’d bake the Hash Brown One Eyes, which meant I needed the Hash Brown part to be sturdy enough to withstand a hole being cut out of their center, some time in the oven and some handling with my spatula. To be sure they’d sruvive, as well as taste good, I wound up going with my mom’s Hanukkah-style potato pancakes. I fried them just a bit in advance, then reheated them with an eye in the center.
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Hash Brown One Eyes
You can fry the hash browns about an hour before, since you have to bake them to cook the egg anyway.
2 baking potatoes
1 small onion
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
oil for frying
Grate the potates and the onion. Don’t do this much before frying, as the potatoes will brown. Add the salt and flour, then beat in the egg.
In a frying pan, add oil to about 1/2 inch deep. Heat over medium heat until a shred of potato dropped in sizzles immediately. Gather one third of the potato mixture into a ball, squeeze out some of the liquid, and add to the frying pan. Flatten with a spatula, and cook on each side about 6-7 minutes until nicely browned. Remove to a paper towel to drain and repeat twice more.
About 30 minutes before serving, preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the pancakes on an oiled baking sheet, and do your best to smoosh a well down in the center of each. Carefully crack an egg into this recession and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the white is set and the yolk is as set as you like. Serve with ketchup and, in the spirit of Hanukkah, pesto sour cream (just mix a couple tablespoons of pesto with about 1/2 cup of sour cream or creme fraiche).
Wake-up Cocoa Quickbread
Makes 1 loaf
This loaf cake/bread is firmer and less rich than the muffin-like loaf cakes that are often served at breakfast and brunch—inspired by the flavorful French pain d’epice rather than a dense banana or applesauce bread. As a result, you can eat more of it.
3 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder*
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
NOTE: if you don’t have espresso powder, you can substitute 1/2 cup of very strong brewed coffee for 1/2 cup of the milk to achieve the same mocha effect.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan and set it aside.
Mix together the flours, baking powder, salt, cocoa, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine the butter with the sugar and espresso powder. Add the egg, beating to distribute evenly, then pour in the milk. Using as few strokes as possible, stir in the dry ingredients.
Transfer to the loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top is dry and slightly cracked. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack and cool further before slicing.
Roshni hates most vegetables, but I thought maybe she’d like carrots. Turns out I was wrong, but Chris and I still ate this simple brunch accompaniment.
1 bag baby carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Combine the carrots and oil together on a baking sheet. Bake, tossing occasionally, for 30-40 minutes, until the carrots are browned. Sprinkle with salt and serve, hot or room temp.