Breaking It Down

The following statement came to me in my sleep: Man can wait, but not breakfast.

It sounds a lot more profound when in a semi-conscious state, but what it means is that with very few exceptions, breakfast foods are meant to be prepared at the last minute, and eaten immediately.

A couple years before the Louisiana Purchase, when I was in the hospital after having The Kid, each day I was delivered a little card with meal choices on it.  Every afternoon I’d fill it out, and look forward to the next day and my picks.

One morning I was really looking forward to lifting that cloche.  I’d ordered an omelet.  Instead, my breakfast was a banana.  Sitting in that warm, moist environment for an extended period had mutated those eggs into a rubber doggy chew toy.  Honest, in all aspects, that omelet had become a silicone movie prop.

rubber food

…and that’s not a steak, an ice cream, or a happy meal either.

Even Petey knew better.  When I complained, he said, “What do you expect? Eggs can’t sit around like that”

Lesson learned.

Growing up, when my mother needed to make dinner fast, or the cupboard was bare and payday a few days away, sometimes we’d have breakfast for supper.  My poor mom would always apologize.  What she never understood is that we looked forward to those nights.  Breakfast for dinner is kinda renegade, a little indulgent, and totally awesome.

Fast forward to present.  Each week I inventory the kitchen and make a semi-flexible meal plan.  And on that schedule is usually some kind of breakfast for supper.

Years ago I realized something.  There’s no way to do much of the cooking beforehand.  Bacon though, is my friend.  You can make it anytime, because as long as it’s crispy, you can happily eat it at any temp.  But almost everything else has to be made right before eating; it needs to be eaten hot.  Reheating just leads to sadness and regret.

My kitchen always looks like a hurricane has hit after dining on breakfast.  Everything gets done at the same time, and there’s no time for tidying before eating.

And that’s why I say breakfast waits for no man.

Here’s a half-exception, though.  Next time you’re baking potatoes, bake an extra few.  When they come out of the oven, let them cool a bit, and then bag them up and toss them in the fridge.

When it’s time for breakfast (AM or PM), peel ‘em or not, then dice into 1-inch pieces and put them into a big bowl.  If you’re not doing baked any time soon, parboil any type tater you’ve got on hand.

Next, it’s time to go treasure hunting.  Open that Frigidaire and look for some sad orphans.   Did you find some leftover pot roast, corned beef, or another protein but not enough for a full meal or even a sandwich for one?  We’re making hash here, so cut it up and throw it in.  What about some droopy mushrooms, carrots, or peppers?  In they go.  Even mostly empty jars of things like jalapeños, beets, or capers work.

And this, you can do even a day or two in advance.

Helpful Hash

hash

Potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes (about 3 heaping cups)

Refrigerator booty (roughly half as much as potatoes)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper

Place spuds into bowl.  Put in booty also.  If you have any hard veggies like carrot or parsnip, par-boil until not quite fork tender.  Drizzle in vegetable oil, and gently toss to coat.   Season (then taste for seasoning).

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium-high.  Place butter in it, and when melted, add potatoes and booty in one layer.  Give them a little smoosh with spatula so you get more surface contact, thus get more caramelized, crispy bits.

Let cook until there’s a golden crust, then flip and cook until that side’s crusted.

Plate and top with eggs (for the best scrambled eggs ever, don’t whisk, mix in the blender until frothy then cook quickly in lots of butter).  Serves 4-6.

I love breakfast for supper.  The only way I could love it anymore is if I ate at Waffle House, and let them clean up after me.

After supper, all I have to do is loosen my belt.

Thanks for your time.

 

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