It’s that dreaded day after Thanksgiving and I’m full beyond acceptable measure. It’s not even that I ate a lot. I just nibbled on this and that throughout the day. And the added tasting spoons of my contribution to the table filled me up long before we sat down for dinner at 8. Though I’ve been having a tough time processing it’s that time of the year when we pull all out to create a memorable feast and go broke shopping for the unecessary, I didn’t skip a beat and indulged in everything set out. I’m still trying to get in the spirit of the season. There’s so much more to come! The solution to reverse that may be a spiked jug of eggnog. And some Christmas tunes. That may trigger an affect. Who knows. There’s always something minor that causes my mind to wander and leave the moment. Food never leaves the mind, though. And today I’m tackling an old issue with my meals.
I’ve been known to be a glutton for pain in most areas of my life. But, this particular issue has resurfaced as a result of a recent conversation about the importance of breakfast which I seldom partake in. I was being “told” by a 72- year old. I took mental note and envisioned myself 10 years from now. You know, gravity does not forgive. I really don’t want to see myself working out 3 hours a day or suppressing my delicious appetite for the sake of maintaining a balanced lifestyle and healthy body. I’d rather get it right now and make it a way of living. It’s just so hard to justify all that food so early in the morning. Especially when I’m as full as I am right now.
But, there was a time when I was enjoying breakfast more than any other meal of the day. I distinctly remember brunching at a childhood friend’s grandma’s house. She lived across the street from my all but 700 sq ft apartment at the time. The main course: some amazing potato dish full of vegetables and cheese. That’s all I remember. All I needed to remember. The woman moved about her kitchen like a culinary school taught chef now 25 years in the industry. I was young then and loved to watch magic happen in the kitchen. I never really took notes outside of my mother’s technique, but I was tickled by the aroma of her skillet.
I started making that dish two weeks later and have never forgotten it. I don’t know what she put in it but I remember the flavors like my black bean recipe.
And so in my effort to enjoy hearty breakfasts and less gorging at night (I have serious fat kid tendencies), I went for this dish yesterday. There was nothing new or ultra special about it other than my new set of pans from Calphalon. In fact, it was probably the most rustic version I’ve made. When I moved back to DC, I sold most of my pots and pans. They were 12 years old and I was happy to part with them. Mostly because it was time I invested in a new, more sophisticated professional set. Everything else went to storage. Bare essentials stayed with me and are propped up at Mami’s house. It was so on time when Calphalon offered to send me a non-stick omelette pan and stainless steel sauté pan from their Your Set collection where home cooks and foodies can finally customize their own cookware. Options come from the Unison Nonstick and AccuCore stainless steel lines offering very distinct features that complement your cooking needs and style. I have about 4 other Calphalon pieces (my stovetop grill is a killer piece I love!) and have no complaints. The only thing I’ve had to be careful with is washing. I made the mistake of sticking one deep skillet in the dishwasher and it took about 6 months to recondition the core. A royal pain in my arm.
No less, I love the few pieces I have and am thrilled to add these two to the artillery.
I used the new non-stick omelette pan to sauté the garlic and Portobello mushrooms. I used a bit of porcini oil to start the flavoring process. For the potatoes, I tried two approaches. Because they’re pan-fried, pre-cooking them helps with the timing and doneness. If you go straight to the sauce pan (omelette would work too depending on how much you’re making) with raw potatoes, you’ll need far more fat (more porcini oil in this case) and a splash of water. The sauté pan is great for searing meats, etc… but I’ve found the starchy things like potatoes will stick and break down the food if you don’t have enough fat. On my second approach, I poached the potatoes in water for about 10 minutes, drained the water and then started frying with the oil. This worked much better and kept my potatoes in tact.
Cooking is a joy. The creativity and clean canvas that’s inherent in coming up with a dish is the beautiful element of it all. There are no boundaries when thinking of something special to cook. While this potato dish isn’t complicated, it’s fun being able to recreate it based on a feeling and amazing smell I experienced many, many years ago. Having the right equipment is crucial, too. I mean, mashed potatoes could have been what my fork was sticking to, but I was careful in what pan I used. That’s with any cooking. Knowing what you’re working with is half the battle!
The Calphalon Your Set collection and new site/community has everything you need to make everything you want, the way you want. It’s for the cook that likes to switch things up in the kitchen but still create beautiful, delicious food. Fancy, rustic, simple, elaborate. Whatever your fancy is. I’m looking at the roasting rack, another skillet, the 4 qt sauce pan and the stainless steel 8 qt stock pot for the days I have time to make beans without the pressure cooker! Yes, I actually cook without the pressure cooker, but it’s got to be right!
Sooooo, guess what I’m doing!?!?! Giving away a $500 gift card to the YOUR SET collection so you can go to their store and create your own set of fabulous gear! Who.Is.In? $500 will get you at least 2 solid pieces from the stainless steel collection and 3 or 4 if you mix it up from both, depending on the size you opt for! I say do it and take advantage. The holidays ARE here and while you’ll be shopping for everyone else, might as well throw something in there for you. Especially if you’ll be doing the hosting and cooking!
You have until December 7th to enter. I’ll choose a winner randomly on the 8th. This is what I’m asking you to do!
* Visit the Your Set site via this link and leave a comment sharing which of the pots from Your Set you’d love to have!
* Follow on Twitter and tweet this post including my handle @BrenHerrera and the hashtag #YourSet so that I can see it
* Like my Page on Facebook
* Follow on Pinterest and Pin one of my pictures
* Subscribe to this blog via RSS feed
* Additional entry: leave an additional comment letting me know you’ve done all of the above (just one comment for all)
* All have to be done in order for your entry to be counted. Playing fair here!
* Open to U.S. residents only. Must be 18 to enter. No purchase necessary. One winner will be selected at random. Fulfillment will be by Calphalon, Inc. Entries accepted through 11:59 pm EST, December 7th, 2012.
LOOK AT THESE BEAUTIES! Want. Want.
These other bloggers are also hosting the giveaway so check them out for additional chances to win:
Eclectic Recipes Thai- Basil Pork Stir Fry
Recipe Girl Cheddar Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Apple Bacon Pan Sauce
Aggie’s Kitchen Spicy Fish Wraps
Good Life Eats Sauteed Garlic- Bacon Green Beans
Family Fresh Cooking Pumpkin Mac n’ Cheese
PickyPalate Chicken Ragout
Baked Bree Steak au Poivre Sandwiches
Hope you have a lovely and utterly delicious Thanksgiving! I sure did! More on that next week. You know this Cuban house was out of control 😉
* This was a sponsored post as part of my work with Social Moms & Calphalon, an Atlanta company (yay!). As such, I was compensated. All of my opinions expressed and the recipe are genuine and my own. Always.