German Potato Salad

Now that it is starting to cool down in the northeast, I’ve been craving some warm comfort food. This German Potato Salad, served hot, fits the bill. It is a completely different animal than its cold, mayo-dressed cousin.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pounds of medium red potatoes
  • 1 pound of bacon
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 3 tablespoons of course German-style mustard
  • 1 small bunch of parsley (about 1/2 cup when chopped)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut the potatoes into small, bite-sized wedges. Cook them in a large saucepan, covered in salted water, until the water starts to boil. Then turn the heat down to about half and let them simmer for 10 more minutes. They should be easily pierced with a fork, but not falling apart. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, slice the bacon into half-inch pieces. I usually keep my bacon frozen, so I remove it from the packaging and use my chef’s knife to slice through it while it is still frozen and easier to handle. Heat up your favorite large cast iron skillet and cook the bacon until it is crispy. I usually start out at 3/4 power and then reduce it to 1/2 power once it starts to brown. Once crispy, remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside. Make sure to keep the bacon grease in the pan, though.
  3. Dice the yellow onion and cook it in the bacon grease over 1/2 power, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent. Don’t let it get brown.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the cup of water, cup of vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper. Carefully add it to the skillet with the onion once it is translucent. Turn the heat up to full power and get the concoction simmering. Stir regularly and let it reduce by half. This takes about 10 minutes.
  5. Once the sauce is reduced, add the potatoes and bacon back into the pan, along with the chopped parsley, and toss everything to evenly coat. I like to leave the heat on during this to warm the potatoes backup a little bit in case they’ve cooled.
  6. Once you are satisfied that the potatoes are warm, the dish is ready to serve. I like to set the entire cast iron skillet on a trivet on our dining room table and serve it from there.

If you don’t eat it all in one sitting (it is a lot!), it saves and reheats pretty well. We usually eat our leftovers within a few days because it is so delicious.

Frittatas

You can make thousands of frittata recipes just by changing the fillings, but the base always remains the same: Eggs, veggies, and meat (if you are partial to that sort of thing; I am.) I’m going to give you a specific recipe for the frittata I made this morning, generalize a formula for making any frittata, then pull some suggestions out of my Instagram archives for good combinations.

Frittatas are great for brunch with your family or friends, but they are still worth making for 1-2 people. I like eating the leftovers for breakfast during the week like a cold pizza. Delicious.

Bacon, Potato, and Brussels Sprouts Frittata

Necessary Tools

  • Large (12-14in) non-stick skillet that is oven- and broiler-safe
  • Non-metal or coated spatula (so you don’t scratch your non-stick coating)
  • Knife and cutting board suitable for chopping
  • Stove with burners and an oven
  • Fine cheese grater (for grating the chunk of parmesan)
  • Oven mitt

Ingredients

  • 1 lb bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts, cleaned and chopped if they are large
  • 1 large potato, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 6-8 eggs, whisked with an ounce of half & half or milk for fluffiness.
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Start browning the chopped bacon in a skillet over medium high heat and add the cup of water to it. Cook down until the water is gone, stirring occasionally. Continue letting the bacon brown, stirring more frequently so it doesn’t burn, until it is crisped to your liking.
  2. You may need to pour off some of the bacon grease during this process. If you do, pour about 1/4 cup of it into a non-stick skillet. We will use this to fry the potatoes, brussels sprouts, and onions.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  4. Heat the excess bacon grease (or olive oil if you aren’t using bacon) over medium-high heat in a large, non-stick skillet that is oven safe. Choose the skillet wisely; the size of the skillet determines the size of the frittata. Carefully put the diced potatoes into the grease to start browning them. Stir occasionally to keep them from burning.
  5. As the potatoes are starting to turn golden brown (5-7 minutes), add in the brussels sprouts. The sprouts we had were tiny, so I didn’t bother chopping them. If you have larger sprouts, definitely chop them. Continue stirring occasionally.
  6. After the sprouts have been in for 5 minutes and are starting to get crisp on the sides, toss in the diced onion. Continue stirring occasionally.
  7. When the onions are starting to get soft (about 5 minutes), turn the heat down to medium.
  8. Pour in the whisked eggs & milk and stir everything to make sure the fillings are evenly distributed.
  9. Cook over medium heat until the sides start to pull away from the edges of the pan and start to bubble. Don’t stir, just let it set up. The center should still be runny.
  10. Take the whole pan and put it on the center rack in the oven for 10 minutes.
  11. After the 10 minutes are up, pull the pan out and grate the parmesan cheese and grind some black pepper over the top.
  12. Turn on the broiler, pop the pan (if it is broiler safe, i.e. your handles won’t melt) back in the oven under the broiler until the cheese melts and crisps up the top. This takes 3-5 minutes. Watch it attentively so it doesn’t burn.
  13. Pull it out of the oven and let the pan cool on the stovetop for 5 minutes, then carefully release the frittata from the pan by working a non-metal spatula around the edges. The frittata should then easily slide out on the cutting board.
  14. Cut like a pizza and sprinkle each slice with a little sea salt and serve.

 

 

Basic Frittata Formula

Ingredients

  • Choose 1 meat, three vegetables, and 1 cheese. If you are a vegetarian or don’t want meat in it, that is okay. Make it to your tastes.
    • Crumbly cheeses like feta are good for mixing into the frittata. Hard cheeses are better for grating on top of it.
    • Veggies like spinach and cherry tomatoes should be mixed in with the eggs instead of cooked beforehand.
  • For a 1 inch thick frittata, use 6-8 eggs in a large pan or 4-5 eggs in a medium sized pan. If you want a thicker frittata, add more eggs. If you want a thinner one, use fewer eggs.
  • Salt and pepper are good general seasonings, but sometimes oregano, garlic, thyme, and others work well with your ingredients.

Instructions

  1. Cook and brown the meat you are using (if you are using it.)
  2. Clean and chop all of your veggies.
  3. Cook your veggies in stages so nothing gets overcooked. In my recipe above, you’ll notice that I cooked potatoes first, then added brussels sprouts, then added the onions so that by the time the onions were done, everything else was, too. If I had added the onions at the beginning, they would have burned by the time the potatoes were done.
  4. Whisk the eggs with an ounce of half & half or milk. The added liquid and protein makes the final product more fluffy. If you add salt, let it sit for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs, stir so the ingredients are evenly distributed, then cook over medium heat until the sides start to pull away from the edges of the pan and start to bubble. Don’t stir, just let it set up. The center should still be runny.
  6. Take the whole pan and put it on the center rack in the oven for 10 minutes at 375F.
  7. Turn on the broiler for the 3-5 minutes to brown and crisp the top. If you want to grate cheese on it, do this before broiling. Watch it attentively so it doesn’t burn.
  8. Pull it out of the oven and let the pan cool on the stovetop for 5 minutes, then carefully release the frittata from the pan by working a non-metal spatula around the edges. The frittata should then easily slide out on the cutting board.
  9. Cut like a pizza and sprinkle each slice with a little sea salt and serve.

 

Ideas for good ingredients combinations

  • Ground turkey, spinach, broccoli, onions, and basil
  • Mushrooms, shallots, thyme, and soft cheese like camembert
  • Broccoli, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, and green onions
  • Spicy Italian sausage, brussels sprouts, jalapeños, and asiago cheese
  • Mexican chorizo, potatoes, and onions
  • Ham, kale, green peppers, and goat cheese
  • Ham, broccoli, and cheddar

 

Here are a few frittatas I pulled from my Instagram feed:

FrittataFrittata

Breakfast Skillets

Breakfast skillets are the “Weekend Special” here at the Grimmett Apartment. Simple and delicious.

Breakfast Skillet

  • 1/2 lb of bacon, chopped
  • 3-4 potatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 hot pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chop up the bacon and fry it in a large skillet over medium high heat. Remove it from the skillet when it is crispy, but retain the grease. Put in the diced potatoes and start frying them in the bacon grease, still on medium high heat. Flip them over after 10 minutes, turn the heat down to medium, and add in the onion and hot pepper. Fry for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the bacon back in and sprinkle the paprika, salt, and pepper over the top. Turn the heat up to medium high again and cook for another 8 minutes to crisp everything up.

I like to eat this with soft soft-scrambled eggs, but it is great on its own, too. Wash it all down with a strong cup of black coffee.

Bacondiced potatoespeppers and onions

Variations include:

  • Sausage instead of bacon
  • Tossing in veggies you have left in the fridge that you don’t know what to do with
  • Leeks or green onions instead of regular onions
  • Adding kale
  • Adding cumin for an entirely different flavor

Breakfast Skillet

The Half-Pound BLT

We take sandwiches very seriously in the Grimmett household. We are picky about the ingredients and the way they are arranged. Admittedly, sometimes we take things a little too far, but as our friend Thomas says, “If it is worth doing, it is worth overdoing.” We agree.

BLTs (I’m referring to bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches, not one of the other 105 possible meanings of that acronym) are really good. If you are just starting to learn how to cook, start with something simple and delicious like the BLT. It will taste great, ease you into cooking for yourself and others, and be a solid option you can experiment with and make variations of for the rest of your life. Here is my version.

The most important part of a BLT is the bacon, so don’t skimp here. Go buy some quality bacon (if you need help, consult this book), then take a moment to consider how you are going to prepare it to maximize its value on the sandwich. Here is what I recommend:

  • Cut the bacon to slightly larger than the size of the bread you are using. It will shrink a little while cooking, so the finished product should be the same size as your bread. Edge-to-edge porky, smokey goodness. In this sandwich I used a half-pound, but if you aren’t feeling quite as hungry you can use less.
  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
  • Lay your bacon on a foil-lined pan, making sure it overlaps. This is crucial because you want to be able to move your slab of cooked bacon to the bread in one easy step.
  • Cook it for 20-30 minutes depending on how thick the bacon is and how crispy you like it. Turn on the broiler for the last 5 to ensure it gets crispy.

Our bacon stared out like this:

IMG_9455

And ended up like this:

IMG_9462

 

What’s next? Condiments. Most people use mayo, but if you have a ripe avocado around, mash it up with two tablespoons of sour cream until it turns into a creamy paste like so:

IMG_9456 (1)

 

Wash your lettuce, slice the tomatoes, and slice off a piece of red onion, then you are ready to assemble the great sandwich that awaits you.

  • Take a thick piece of toast, spread on some of the avocado cream, and push a few pieces of red onion down into it.
  • Then carefully lay the bacon on top such that it covers the whole piece of toast. The goal is to have is bacon in every bite.
  • Layer on the tomatoes and crisp lettuce.
  • Top it all off with another piece of thick toast.

Flip it over, cut it in half, then get your phone ready to snap a pic for Instagram. (If you actually do post it to instagram, use the hashtag #cooklikechuck !)

It should look something like this:

IMG_9469 (2)