Dad’s little roasted potatoes

A great, inexpensive dish for one or a whole crowd. I love these when I add them to one of my sheet pan roasted dinners. But pan roasting works, too. These little fellas are sort of like your best French fries—rounds instead of sticks or planks—crispy outside, soft and tender inside. Yum. Can be varied indefinitely.

The Irish figured out a long time ago that potatoes can be good in many different ways. And choosing either starchier potatoes, like russets, or creamy potatoes, like Yukon Golds, will give you a very different, but equally good, taste and texture experience.

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Egg McDad

Nearly went out to my local coffee shop for one of their breakfast sandwiches (a commuting standby when I was going into the office every day) when I realized I could make one at home. Using a leftover sausage patty, a fried egg, and a slice of American cheese, I came away a couple bucks better off and very satisfied with my solution.

The Process

  1. Toast an English muffin, any brand or type. Get it fairly crispy.
  2. Pop a leftover breakfast sausage patty into the microwave, covered with a paper towel to avoid spatters, for 30 seconds on high. We alternate between bacon and sausage for our breakfast meat. I buy the pre-sliced sausage patties (1 1/2 ” diameter)—available from several companies—as the short path between hunger and breakfast.
  3. Fry an egg in butter, using a spatula to pull in the edges continuously until the egg sets and is just a tad bigger than the muffin. Or, use a 2″ diameter cookie/biscuit cutter, but the egg usually sticks to these.
  4. Butter the muffin. For an extra treat, spread a bit of your preferred jam (mine is blackberry) on both pieces.
  5. Assemble the McDad: Make a sandwich with the muffin slices, egg, sausage, and some American cheese, or any cheese that will melt well. Microwave for 20 seconds or until cheese is melty the way you like it.
  6. Enjoy with a good cup and satisfaction from saving a little dough.

Teach your children well

Hats off to Jamie Oliver for caring about kids health and better eating. His TED Talk from 2011 is still timely today—unfortunately. People still die prematurely and unnecessarily because of the “standard American diet,” so called. I sense that progress has been made since 2011, but as other news from the food front tells us, there is still a long way to go and mountains to climb everywhere along the food supply chain.

Grandma’s Irish soda bread

My Irish grandmother, Annie Allen, arrived at Ellis Island in 1909, a twenty-one-year-old with two little boys, four and two, in tow. I can’t imagine. She joined her husband, who’d come ahead two years earlier and had never met his son Sam. Grandma set up house, had two more kids, and lived a long life in her own home, cooking, baking, and tending her garden until she passed in her late 80’s. As a young lad, I enjoyed her “Irish Cake” sitting with her for tea, a ritual she held to every afternoon around four whether I was there or not. Grandma’s Irish Cake is a variety of Irish soda bread, loved by many. We never captured her exact recipe, which I can be sure, came straight from County Down, where Grandma probably learned it from her mother, Mary Anne McGee.

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Mom’s potato salad

Summer’s here, and the time is right—for the old family recipe potato salad. The Queen Mum (this would be Dad’s mother-in-law) has a great recipe for potato salad that has been a family favorite for decades. She can’t recall where it came from and has “modified” whatever the original was, but she can’t quite recall how. This is no doubt the story of many old family recipes.

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Whole lotta bakin’ goin’ on

If you’re doing more baking during our current stay-at-home time, I’m sure you’ve noticed you’re not alone—judging at least by the bare grocery store shelves where the flour ought to be. I’ve been doing a lot more baking than usual, which is to say more than hardly any baking at all. Baking is tough when you’re trying to stay Keto. But we remain calm and carry on.

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The food revolution at scale

Any kind of new business, venture, cause, or movement eventually asks, “How do operate our solution at scale?” In other words, When new orders increase by a factor of 10, then 100, then 1,000, etc., how do we maintain our delivery promise, our ability to look and feel like we did when we were small and fresh?

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My first loaf

Another thing I inherited from Grandma—along with a deep appreciation for the warmth and sense of security that can happen in the family kitchen—was humility about my cooking and a certain dread that trying something new probably just won’t be as good as you’d hoped. “Oh, it’s not as good as…trails off…” always led to “Oh, it’s fine,” from my mom or another daughter-in-law. As the offspring of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians and Norwegian Lutherans, I ask forgiveness for these feelings.

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“Food is something you eat with bread.” — Rick Easton

I avoided making yeast bread until now because it always seemed too fussy, time-consuming, and hard. Poor me. 🙂 Then, a friend started making his own sour dough bread. It’s reminiscent of San Francisco, our old home, and as good as any I’ve ever tasted. Now that I’ve got some time on my hands—you know why—I’m going to take the plunge. I’m starting with a no-knead recipe that I’ll adapt from recipes by Jacques Pepin and Mark Bittman. A day-and-a-half from now, I should have my first samples. Wish me luck.