Innovation is a Good Thing

March 30, 2015

So: this happened:

The corned beef latke. A marvelous thing.

The corned beef latke. A marvelous thing.

You’ll recall we had corned beef on and about St. Patrick’s Day. While it was what I thought was a decent sized corned beef when I bought it, between shrinkage from cooking and the getting rid of all the fat after it’d been cooked to provide flavor and moisture to the lean meat, there weren’t too many meals from it. You saw two of them, the traditional corned beef and cabbage, potatoes and carrots, and a corned beef sandwich that missed being a Reuben because of the lack of sauerkraut.

I had about two servings of the corned beef left. I was contemplating corned beef hash, something I purely love with an over easy egg on top of it. But I was also jonesing for latkes, which I had not had in a good while.

And as I studied on that quandary, an answer came to me. “Self?” I said, “Is there any good reason you could not dice up that corned beef, put it in with the potatoes, and have corned beef latkes?”

Self contemplated that notion and decided there was, in fact, no good reason we could not do that, so we got busy.

I grated up six small Yukon Gold potatoes and a half a big sweet yellow onion, and put that in a cheesecloth-lined colander. While it drained a bit, I got out the remaining corned beef, about six ounces of it if I had to guess, and diced that up in about quarter-inch dice.

I squeezed the excess liquid out of the potatoes and onions, dumped them in a bowl, added salt and pepper and two beaten eggs, along with a quarter-cup of bread crumbs. Mushed that all together, and decided that due to the corned beef, it needed another egg to help glue it all together, and added that.

Fried them in a quarter-inch of oil over medium high heat until they were nicely browned, and then drained them on a paper-towel-covered wire rack in a warm oven.

This made about 10 latkes, and I ate three of them on the spot, with apple butter, and they were MOST excellent. The rest came out of the oven and cooled, then went into a plastic bag in the fridge, from whence a couple of them got warmed up at varying intervals over the next few days, in the oven to restore the crunchiness of the outside. Some of those got the over-easy-egg treatment, while others got more apple butter (I do love apple butter).  Kept me in breakfast and lunch for most of the rest of the week.

I was sad to see the last of the corned beef. Though it was a grocery store meat counter version, and thus not nearly as flavorful as it should have been, it was good, and had a great texture that deli corned beef lacks. I still have a brisket in the freezer; I think I may yet attempt to corn my own beef One More Time; perhaps the fourth time will be the charm and I can enjoy this yet again.

It’s Holy Week, and I’m contemplating Easter dinner. We will have sliced ham, in keeping with family tradition; asparagus (with, Child C requests, “that yellow sauce you make,” which would be Hollandaise), some plain and some wrapped in proscuitto; English peas (wish I could find fresh ones; may have to check the grocery’s produce section, or make a run to Easy Way in Memphis); corn casserole (the Jiffy cornbread mix special, there’s no better recipe), deviled eggs, and a fruit salad. And rolls.

I also have to make a cheesecake this week for dessert for a meal at church following a funeral. I have made a lot of cheesecakes by a lot of different recipes, and this is the best recipe I’ve found. I have some frozen mixed berries, so I think I’ll cook those in some sugar to make a topping for it.

Much to do, much to do, and it’s finally looking and feeling like spring outside. So better I get up and commence to do it. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em come on over and we’ll cook some this week.



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