Sunday, March 30, 2008

March 30: Home Fries

Just in case anyone is interested, it's March 30th. The only significance to this date is that, five years ago, my husband and I started a conversation in the parking lot after work, decided we were enjoying the conversation so much that we wanted to continue it, went back to his apartment, and talked until 2:30 in the morning, at which point he made a somewhat clumsy overture which I pretended not to find hilariously funny and kissed me for the first time, my last first kiss (I hope.)

I just asked Dan what the first meal I ever cooked for him was. What he said to me was, "If I had known there were going to be pop quizzes later, I would have written some of this crap down." For the record, it was a roasted chicken in his Ron Popeil Showtime Rotisserie oven. I had never met anyone who had one of those; I'd been dying to try it out. It really was as simple as they make it look in the infomercial. That chicken was delicious, and I think it clinched it for Dan, that I really was the ideal woman.

I have cooked very few meals that my husband hasn't loved. To be fair, I'm married to a man who loves food, almost all of it, but before me, he always dated (and married) women who couldn't cook and didn't care about food. In contrast, he and I plan days around certain meals, take road trips in order to eat at specific restaurants, and have a monthly food budget nearly equal to our monthly rent.

My husband makes perfect Kraft Macaroni and Cheese; he always lets the butter and milk and cheese bubble in the pot for a few minutes before stirring the pasta back in. He loves meatball hoagies. Green bell peppers give him indigestion. He likes his hot dogs simmered in water and then pan-fried for a few minutes in butter with a little sprinkling of pepper, with mustard and onions and cole slaw. He eats salad with whole-wheat pasta and sliced chicken breast and vinaigrette dressing every day for lunch. And he once played the unspeakably dirty joke of telling me he was eating a peanut butter sandwich, and then when I took a bite, it turned out that he was actually eating a peanut butter and mustard sandwich. I still have not totally forgiven him.

One of the things that I really appreciate about Dan is that on weekend mornings, he gets up with Max and makes a very elaborate breakfast. One of the best things he makes is home fries.

Here is Dan's recipe for home fries. You can make as few or as many of these as you want, just by varying the amount of the ingredients and the cooking time. This is enough for about 4 people, if you're making them as part of a full breakfast. Dan made them this morning for me along with scrambled eggs and bacon.

Thanks, babe. Here's to five more years, and another fifty after that.

Home Fries

2 russet, all-purpose, or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 small white onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons black pepper

Put potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl and toss with garlic powder. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and poke a couple of small holes in the plastic wrap. Microwave, on high, for 8 minutes.

Heat oil and butter in a large (12-inch) non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When butter stops foaming, cook potatoes in skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until golden-brown and crispy, 10-15 minutes. Mix in diced onion, continue to cook another 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

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