Because of the snow (and more than a little snow-induced lethargy), we haven’t been into town to grocery shop for close to three weeks. Our produce fridge is bare….with the exception of half a cabbage, a few stalks of celery, a couple of apples, and a knob of ginger (yeah, yeah…we have a “produce” fridge, but only because we have to buy so much produce when we go into town that we need a separate fridge to hold it all). We do, however, have tons of potatoes and onions as well as more dried beans than you can shake a stick at. Oh, and flour–we have lots of that (mind you, we’ve run out of white flour, but we have lots of whole wheat, chickpea, brown rice, and tapioca flour).
It’s all cool though because I like the challenge of making delicious vegan meals out of a few ingredients (ingredients that also happen to be incredibly cheap).
So our lunch today is shredded grilled potatoes (basically, hash browns) and spicy refried beans. Now, you may think it’s a weird combination, but it’s surprisingly delicious and I didn’t want to serve the refrieds with rice because we’re having dhal served over brown basmati rice for dinner and whole-wheat flatbread. Oh, and a side of coleslaw made with that cabbage, celery, apples, and onions–the only things left in the produce fridge!
So…about the hashbrowns:
About a year ago, I spent ages scouring the frozen section of various grocery stores for frozen hash browns that contained no oil and no salt. I finally found these ones, which are great, buuuuut I wondered why if they were just shredded potatoes, I couldn’t make them myself. However, every time I tried to make my own, they’d become a gelatinous mess….until I came across the secret to perfect homemade hashbrowns, which I will now share with you!
Perfectly Crisp Hashbrowns
First, scrub a couple of potatoes well. Don’t bother to peel them–just cut them into large chunks.
Next, grate the potatoes. I use my food processor with the grate wheel and it works brilliantly.
Next, is the trick!
Soak the grated potatoes in cold water for AT LEAST ten minutes. This little step is essential because it rids the potatoes of excess starch.
Drain the potatoes well–you’ll need to squeeze the shreds with your hands to get out all the water, but the shreds are surprisingly resilient–they won’t disintegrate. Finally, lay them on a tea towel and dab off any excess water.
At this point, you could saute the shreds on your stove top or bake them on parchment paper, but they will get SUPER crispy if you cook them in an electric grill (very lightly sprayed with vegetable oil).
Just spread them across the grill and close it for fifteen minutes.
After fifteen minutes, you will have the crispiest, most delicious hash browns ever!
And here’s lunch: hash browns, refried beans, a dollop of salsa, and a sprinkling of chopped onions. This odd combination is actually one of my favourite lunches…even when the larder isn’t bare!