Too many plans!
Surely you’ve heard us talk about (er…whine about?) busy days and weeks. There always seems to be so much going on. There’s our kids’ extra curricular activities, school and family events, working late… all these things contribute to broken routines and make life feel hectic. You undoubtedly know what that feels like, right?! Sometimes we want to stop the train or just slow it down enough to give us time to catch our breath, get organized, do a little bit of nothing, and build up our energy to get back out there and do it all again. I think three-day weekends would be awesome. One of those 3 days would be dedicated to doing nothing…a whole lot of it. Can you imagine?!
Not a normal week…
This week was one of those weeks… maybe even more than usual. We had something planned every evening of the week. I actually texted Liz one day to ask if we would have even one evening for a home cooked meal with all four of us at the dinner table…at the same time. Not rushing, not shovelling food down quickly to rush out the door to another activity. Just the four of us sitting, eating, and catching up. You know where we’re coming from here.
Things finally slowed down Friday evening. No plans! I could have made dinner, but I was pretty tired too. We ended up going out for dinner and had a nice time winding down and catching up from the busy week, and catching up with each other. It was a perfect way to close off the week. Ahhh… breathe… yes!
Here’s a kicker. I’ve seen TV shows, YouTube videos and pictures of hasselback potatoes, but I’d never eaten one until I made them at home this weekend. To be clear, I’m not sure mine are a true representation of the original “Hasselbackspotatis” invented by Restaurang Hasselbacken in Sweden. I did use the original technique (thin slices across the potato) and then added flavours I like to make it my own version. But I may not have paid homage to the originator. It seems like the technique alone has taken on the name and now people ‘hasselback’ almost any food. I started with potatoes. Respect to the potatis.
This seems simple enough but, not being a trained chef, I did struggle a little with the cutting. I used a fantastic cook’s knife that cut through the potatoes neatly and with ease… my struggle was in keeping the cuts straight and not slicing through the potato completely. I was doing a much better job by the third potato….so the old saying about ‘practice makes perfect’ applies here. Some folks recommend using a wooden spoon on both sides of the potato to act as a stop so you don’t cut through. That’s a smart tip that I should have learned about before I got started, I guess. Oh well, live and learn…now you know.
Learn an old technique that’s new to you. Take a breath…smell the roses…or potatoes and bacon bits in this case. Make time and find your favourite way to recharge, and always eat well, friends!
Hasselback Potatoes with Bacon Bits Recipe
- 4 medium russet potatoes
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup (plus 2 tbsp, melted) unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp salt flakes
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 strips bacon, shopped
- 1 tbsp fresh chives, diced
- Place the oven rack on the middle level and preheat the oven to 425 ºF.
- Wash and scrub the potatoes.
- Carefully cut the potatoes along the short side of the potato in 1/8 of an inch (3 mm) thick slices. Make sure you don't cut all the way down. Leave about 1/8 to 1/4 inches uncut at the bottom for each slice. The slices should stay attached along the bottom and will look like an accordion.
- Place them in water to remove some of the starch and leave them there until you're ready to use them. The water will keep them from changing colour.
- Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet and spray both with cooking spray.
- Dry the potatoes and place them on the cooling rack.
- Using a pastry brush, coat each of the potatoes intirely (including between the slices) with the vegetable oil. Separate the slices carefully to try to keep the potato whole. If it breaks, you can still cook it!
- Place the potatoes on the cooling rack (and baking sheet). Place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
- In a small pot (do this while the potatoes are baking), heat the 1/4 cup of butter and garlic on medium high
- Once the butter starts to bubble, reduce the temperature to medium and continue to cook for about 3 minutes while constantly mixing with a wooden spoon. Set aside. Note: You don't want to burn the butter or garlic. This process will infuse garlic flavour into the melted butter.
- After 30 minutes, pull out the potatoes, separate the slices a little with small knife and pour the garlic infused butter over the potatoes. Place the potatoes back in the oven to continue baking.
- After another 30 minutes, check the potatoes for doneness (poke with a fork). They may need to bake another 15 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Ours took 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Pull out the cooked potatoes and brush them with the 2 tbsp melted butter.
- Sprinkle the salt, black pepper, bacon and chives over the potatoes.
- Serve hot with your favourite protein or on it's own. Enjoy!