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Old Starch

January 18, 2016

Obsession. Compulsion. It’s so hard to tell the two apart sometimes.

These two forces can take many forms, and at least in my own personal experience, have always been a very good thing. I love my obsessions. My delicious, delicious obsessions. Of course, I realize that not everyone feels the same way. Mrs. Fussy would probably be delighted if I stopped holding onto containers of reserved fat to use for future cooking. And I’m sure there are plenty of people who have grown weary of my beer journey.

Luckily, today has absolutely nothing to do with beer. Nothing at all. Instead, it has to do with cooking. Because I absolutely go through cooking phases where I latch onto a dish and make it again and again and again. Except in these situations, it’s not a rut. No. No. No. Far from it.

What’s interesting is that I can track these food infatuations back to Mrs. Fussy, and her internal barometer that suggests dinner just isn’t dinner without the presence of a starch.

Let’s put aside the bigger question of whether or not a starch-free meal can be considered dinner. I think it can. But I’m happy to make accommodations for the missus. What happens, however, is that invariably there are leftovers from our dinners. And regardless of how much she ends up taking into work for lunch, some of those leftovers wind up on my plate.

The creative challenge of turning leftovers into a delicious meal is something I find thrilling. And I can track the way staple dishes have changed in the household over the ages, based on the starches that have accompanied our dinners.

Fried rice. Man, I used to make a lot of fried rice. Especially when we were making a lot of stir fries.

That transitioned into kimchi fried rice. Oh, how I loved kimchi fried rice. But, I haven’t made that in a long time. Mostly because we started using less rice and began using more pasta.

The funny thing was that I was still craving that flavor profile, so kimchi fried rice transitioned into a kimchi and gochujang pasta dish.

Then, when the kimchi supply ran dry, all that leftover pasta with aglio e olio was easily converted into a quick and sleazy puttanesca.

However, the kids began to tire of Italian food, and we found ourselves eating more Indian dishes. Since I was still into minimizing the rice, I started adding potatoes into the mix. And I was a wee bit obsessed with Indian spiced potatoes.

These days we’re still leaning heavily on potatoes, and my leftover starch obsession has led me down the path of hash. It’s become almost a background activity on those mornings when I’m able to work from home. I dice up a boiled potato, fry it slowly in some kind of delicious reserved fat, and then toss in a chopped onion. The whole thing gets topped with a poached or fried egg.

Maybe if there are some scraps of meat in the fridge, those will get worked into the mix too. I’ve recently had summer sausage, kielbasa, and roast pork belly versions. All have been delicious.

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So simple. So good. Organic onions and potatoes. Grassfed butter. Stewart’s egg.

The thing about these obsessions is that I love them. Not only are they super delicious, but they are great demarcators of time. I remember what I was doing when I went through the kimchi fried rice period, and where I was when I fell in love with Indian spiced potatoes.

It’s good to have these evolving obsessions. It keeps life interesting and unpredictable. I mean, what would happen if I bought another gallon jug of kimchi when we were in a potato phase? I don’t know. But now I really want to find out.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. -R. permalink
    January 19, 2016 3:08 pm

    Yup. Now that’s how you potato.

  2. January 20, 2016 3:44 pm

    Have you tried mixing some acorn or butternut squash into the hash? I never knew how delicious this could be until I had it at Wellington’s on a recent Sunday morning.

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