Bonhomme Carnaval … sort of

crazy ending to 2010!!

When I was 16, I took a bus trip with my French class up to Montreal to see the Bonhomme Carnaval (otherwise known as the Winter Festival). Much more snow up there, and the Carnaval itself was a great celebration of Winter. But guess what? back here, nearly 12 years later, I’m not quite finding winter so festive nor fun anymore!

So the other night I actually had a dream this was going to happen: We’ve gotten rid of the piles of aftermath, but really, it’s only removing the cake before new globs of icing decide to make their way back onto the ground. Way to go, February. Ya jerk. (thankfully it’s only a slushy dusting this time around, but still, bleh)

The east coast certainly has taken their fair share of craziness this year, all beginning with a bang with the blizzard that ended 2010. Piles turned into mountains, and all eventually turning to ugly slush and ice. I believe I wrote this on my facebook wall for the crazy snow and ice storm that followed later in January:

“in my simple humble neighborhood, on my simple humble street … it’s another “dig out your car” party on the block with singing, a live stunt show of struggling drivers, happy children free from school for the day. We’ve got lights, a crazy set, and many innnnteresting characters… of course, this could all change when people start going to the bars across the street later this evening …”

Cabin fever is never jolly after a few hours, so of course, you gotta find things to do around the house. For the kid-less folk like myself, of course it’s easy to choose hours on the Internet or endless DVR. Technically, I could also sketch or paint, possibly touch up odds and end around the house. But hey, I say take this time to scrounge and make something delicious. If you’re gonna be locked in? might as well make circumstances a little cozier (and fill the house with some yummy smells too).

If you have to find a fulfilling project in the house, cooking will be IT, guaranteed. It’s all about your stomach & soul, right? So let’s factor in your favorite meal of the day and get creative, and for me, a snow day in will almost ALWAYS = quality brunch in the house. Of course, my fiance’ is the only beneficiary of these brunches, but regardless it’s fun for me and keeps us less cabin-fever cranky for sure.

(PS – If you’re impending a snow storm, don’t wait… get your butt to the market ASAP. Make a list and go in there with a mission! If not, I hope you got something real good to nosh on in your freezer!)

* PRESENTING … CORNED BEEF HASH

diced Corned Beef

Pancakes are a great things to have on the menu for a comforting winter brunch, but for us meat-eaters a good homemade Corned Beef Hash is also quite the kingly dish to pursue. For those looking for a lighter-fared meat you can always try to slow-cook some turkey or chicken, but for this time around, we’re going to go with an approx. 3LB corned beef (more or less)

SLOW-ROAST: If you got a crock-pot, great! (set it to 4-6 hours on high/ 10 hours on low) If not, a regular big pot will do as well (30 minutes on a high temperature & then bring it down to 2 hours on a low temp). Here it goes: Big Pot + 1 small onion (diced) + 3 cloves of garlic (crushed) + 2 Bay Leaves + enough water to submerge the meat.

fresh herbs!!!

Fresh Herbs are a great way to give a comfort dish some body. For my hash, I usually chop up some of the following: Parsley + Rosemary + a bit of Thyme. If you get the chance, try a good curly-leaf parsley. A little goes a long way! And of course, try to remember to buy fresh. You won’t regret it! Also, for a little more, you can also try to clip up a sparing dose of some Chives or Scallions.

* Remember to try to add your herbs in at the end rather than at the beginning. You want that flavor to last as much as possible.

pre-hash

The corned beef and herbs are definitely the emphasis of how to make the hash taste tender and delicious! PS – Try to find a 12-inch saucepan or cast-iron skillet to make this in. In full, this is what we’re looking for:

–  3LB. of cooked Corned Beef (diced)

– 4 big Red Potatoes (already diced & boiled. It’ll make the time go faster! your choice whether to leave the skin on)

– 1 Green & 1 Red Pepper (diced)

– 1 Red Onion (diced)

– Fresh Herb assortment: (chopped/ clipped) Parsley (1 whole stem), Rosemary (1/2 sprig),  Thyme (1/2 sprig or less, a little goes a long way!)

– 1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or even less, feel free to eyeball the amount for sauteing your vegetables)

– Salt & Pepper (however much you prefer. The corned beef is already salted but if you desire more, just don’t dump the sea in there.)

1 stem of chopped Chive or Scallion (optional)

  1. Take 1/4 c. of Olive oil and coat bottom of  saucepan set over medium heat. Add the diced Red Onion and cook until it begins to brown slightly, approximately 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. After the onion has browned, add in the diced Green & Red peppers, mix into the onions,  and cook for approximately 7 minutes. If you’d like them crunchy, less time is okay too.
  3. As the vegetables brown together, add in the diced, boiled Potatoes and mix in with a shake of of salt and pepper. Stir around until all are overall combined. At this time, lower your heat so that the potatoes don’t burn at the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add in the diced Corned Beef and fold in gradually with vegetables and potatoes. Mash in potatoes with the meat if you want a creamier consistency rather than a lumpy one.
  5. Once everything is combined, add in the fresh herbs and stir around until they’re completely immersed with the hash.
  6. Take a clean fork and taste it. Does it need more salt? more pepper? you’re the cook, the choice is all yours!

Winter Brunch

It goes great with some pancakes, scrambled eggs, n’ sparkling cider, and gives quite the appeal to watching snow fall outside your window in the process. Happy Hibernating.

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