so i’ve been waiting around for a few months now until the library allowed me to interlibrary loan request the Ad Hoc at Home cookbook (i tried when it first became available and was told “no, no, it’s too new, you have to wait a few months to order it.” ohfinewhatever. now i’ve finally got my hands on a copy and it’s all that i expected it to be. usually i see “cookbook by famous chef” and think recipes i’ll copy and set aside in my “wishlist” notebook of recipes i’d love to be skilled enough or have access to ingredients enough to make someday but likely won’t. this book isn’t like that though. it’s focused on accessible comforting, simple home recipes. the first recipe is for fried chicken – you don’t get much more homey than that. because it’s the Sunday before my anniversary (4 years and i feel like we’ve been married forever) and i have the time to stretch out and spend two hours making breakfast, i attacked three recipes from the back of the book. it felt like a good diner breakfast, a nice hash with bacon, scrambled eggs, fluffy biscuits and good, hot coffee. it’s also good slight-hangover food, which was necessary for my now-lightweight ass. yesterday we took a trip to stand at our friend’s grave and cry, leave some flowers and immense regret behind, then soothed our heartache by going to the bar and sitting at the table where Erik first met Tim. we drank Tim’s favorite beer (Killian’s Irish Red) and i polished off two pints of it by myself. it’s doubly pathetic that it affected me the way it did because it was weak-ass Utah beer. but i don’t mind telling you this and eliciting a smirk at my expense because my sudden inability to hold my alcohol would have made Tim laugh and the memory of that is enough to make me smile.
Potato and Bacon Hash with Buttermilk Biscuits
recipes adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home
for the melted onions:
sliced onions (i used a large sweet yellow onion) sliced thinly
crushed pepper, thyme leaves from a sprig, crushed garlic, bay leaf, all wrapped together in a cheesecloth satchet (though i only used the thyme and pepper just added to the onions b/c i don’t have any cheesecloth)
in a large saute pan heat on low and pile the onions inside. add a large pinch of salt and let this cook, stirring occasionally until the onion juices are cooked out. add a tablespoon or two of butter, the pepper and thyme, and let this cook on very low heat, stirring once in awhile until the onions are soft and melty looking. set this aside for later use.
for the potato hash:
a couple medium yukon gold potatoes, diced into small dice
bacon, cut into lardons (small pieces)
some of the melted onions
heat a film of oil in a large pan. add the potatoes to the pan and cook until tender and slightly browned. remove to a plate. add a couple tablespoons of water to the pan then scatter your bacon inside. the bacon will turn color and render its fat, but it won’t get crisp. after it cooks enough to release its fat, remove the bacon to a plate. pour off all but a little of the oil leaving another film of fat to fry the potatoes. add your potatoes back into the pan and salt them. let them start to crisp and heat through. add in the thyme, bacon, and onions. let this cook together and heat through til the potatoes are crisp. remove to a plate and keep warm.
for the buttermilk biscuits:
2 cups cake flour
2 cups regular flour
1 Tablespoon plus a teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes, chilled
1 1/2 cups buttermilk plus another couple tablespoons for brushing
couple tablespoons of melted butter (optional)
heat the oven to 425. line a baking sheet with parchment paper. combine the flours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl. cut in the butter using a pastry cutter (i don’t have a food processor to do this for me) until you have a nice, shaggy looking dough with well incorporated butter. make a well in the center of the mixture. pour in the buttermilk and stir it enough to make it come together. dust your counter with flour and turn the dough out onto it. pat out the dough into a 3/4 inch rectangle. use a large biscuit cutter (i used 2 1/2 inch) and cut out biscuits. lay them together on the baking sheet – it’s okay if they touch. re-pat out the scraps and keep cutting biscuits until you have 12. brush the tops of the biscuits with a couple tablespoons of buttermilk. bake for about 20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. brush with melted butter when you take them out if you want.
serve the potatoes with scrambled eggs, or poached eggs, or fried eggs if you want, with a biscuit.