August 22, 2023
It's back-to-school season and for some of us the change is palpable. We dropped our younger one off to college this past weekend. And, as she embarks on her next phase of new friends and experiences, I am faced with a deafeningly silent home. Once filled with so much laughter, screaming, and noise that I begged for relief from it all, the silence is thick and unrelenting. I thought I'd welcome it. For years I had begged for this. For now, just the first week in, I don't want anything to do with this feeling and instead - dare I say it? - want back to the old schedule of screaming to get them out of bed, make it to school with barely enough time, and the the mad scramble to do it all again at pick up. And what does this have to do with today's hash brown recipe? Well. It has to with the need to surround myself with pure comfort food. So, after I ate through a box of almond cookies (my goal of zero dessert did not apply yesterday), a bag of chips, and a fist full of crackers, I set my sight on the potatoes I had sliced up sitting submerged in water towards the back of my fridge. I decided to experiment with hash browns in my Air Fryer. It came out so good, I was even able to offer it up to the husband for dinner last night after warning him that I was not in any mental state to make dinner. I actually was able to whip up some kebab bites and warm up naan, which he sandwiched together with a layer of chaat masala hash browns to really take things to another culinary level. I call these diner style because in all my college years at Ursinus in Collegeville, PA, it's the one thing that made weekend brunch really special and worth the money splurge when we were all struggling students back then. That's one thing that I love about East Coast living - all of the amazing diners that pepper Pennsylvania and New Jersey with their refrigerated pie slice displays in front and comfort food-packed menus. And now, you can do the same. If you are lucky enough to have the kiddos still at home, make a batch as an after school treat. As a shortcut, dice up the potatoes, submerge them in water, and refrigerate them just like that. They will stay fresh in the fridge for weeks as long as they are covered completely with water.
2 medium Russet potatoes, diced into 1-inch squares (no need to peel)
1 teaspoon oil (I use avocado)
1/2 teaspoon chaat masala
1/4 teaspoon unsmoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Place the diced potatoes in a bowl, cover with cold water, and add a handful of ice. Let it sit in the ice water bath for at least 30 minutes. This pulls out the starch and helps crisp up your hash browns.
2. Drain and discard the water. Place the potatoes on a dish towel and pat dry completely. Return them to the bowl. Add the oil, chaat masala, paprika, and salt. Stir.
3. Place the potatoes directly into the basket of your Air Fryer (no parchment paper needed). Cook at 390 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Eat immediately. I like to add them to everything including sandwiches and on my salads. But paired with tamarind chutney, they are beyond perfection!
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