The Lovely Bits


I sat there on the floor. Five rows of bookshelves mocking my single request. I wanted to make a cabbage and potato hash. I pulled four books. One had a hash recipe, but not what I wanted.

The night before I ate dinner at my friend, and fellow food writer, Scott‘s place. He follows recipes. He really follows recipes. Like doesn’t take this from that recipe, and this from that other recipe, and this from that imagination. His secret: good cookbooks.

I also think I own pretty good cookbooks, it just depends on the order. I have something in mind and then turn to a cookbook hoping to find the recipe. I invariably don’t. Then turn to the internet. Mis-match a few different recipes, throwing in some creativity, and usually figure out how to make it work. To get the best use out of cookbooks, you have to start at the recipe. A good recipe. Then buy ingredients. Or that’s what Scott thinks.

I borrowed his Indian cookbook, from which he made a few dishes for a Sunday night rooftop dinner. I’ve pledged to follow one of those recipes. Perfectly.

Until then. I kinda screwed up a hash.

Indian-Spiced Potato and Cabbage Hash

Scott’s homemade Indian jigged my memory of how much I adore curry. I just fudged it and made up my own spice blend. I used a (fake wood) mortar and pestle and crushed together: caraway seeds, coriander seeds, whole allspice, curry powder and turmeric. In a stick (not-non-stick) pan, which needs a crapload of fat to create the non-stickness, I added in butter and oil, then swirled around the spices. Pictured above.

I threw in cabbage, lots of salt and one small chopped red onion. And clearly not enough fat. Then I added in chopped boiled potatoes, more salt, then pepper and some garlic powder (powder for fear that real garlic would burn). I’m just not sure what the trick is for that hash-togetherness. I had visions of potato and cabbage clinging to a browned crust. No.


The lovely brown, the lovely bits of flavor, stuck to the pan. Above.

Was the pan not hot enough? Did I not use enough butter or oil? Should I start following recipes?

As you can see, I pushed all the hash to one side, and decided to try “deglazing” the pan with more butter, scraping up the bits as best I could. But the food just kept sticking. I gave up. It was time to eat.

80P isn’t a fan of fried eggs <GASP> so I took out a bunch of the hash and reserved it for him. In another pan I scrambled two eggs, then added in the hash for one big ole scramble.


I created a mound with the rest of the hash, then dug a whole in the middle, added more butter and cracked an egg in the well. I dropped the heat and covered it with a lid for 6 or 7 minutes.

This was all quite delicious and actually wish I was more aggressive with the spicing. But this still wasn’t the hash of my dreams. Suggestions, criticism, praise and lashings welcome.

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  • scott March 23, 2010  

    Gans if you keep raping recs like this I’m going to have to take that book back 🙂

    As for that layer of “stuff” on the bottom of your pan, I’ve been there. It’s the taters. They’re starchy and sticky. You can rinse them under a few changes of water to bring down the surface starch. Or you can precook them so they dont have a lot of time to spend in the pan. But they’re still gonna be sticky. Try letting them sit still a little more. Each time you move them you leave a little more love behind.

  • dad gansie March 23, 2010  

    You end result on top pic looks good. Way tmi on the other stuff
    Scott give gansie another try
    80p work on trying those egg dishes

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