Fortuitous Dinner for Two à la Canceled Flight

Saturday, 10 Jan 2009


Tonight my husband’s flight to New York for a work trip was canceled because of the weather, so I was cooking for two instead of one.  Why not celebrate!  I made a dinner of Hasselback Potatoes, Brisket with Homemade Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, Pink Applesauce and Organic Herb Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette.


The only menu item that really took any effort was the Hasselback potatoes because it was the first time I’d made them and because I had the brisket, barbecue sauce and applesauce on-hand, frozen from previous dinners.  For the potatoes, I did mash-up ideas from several recipes.  I have to admit I’d never even had Hasselback potatoes, but I saw this recipe from Emeril on the Food Network and it caught my eye.  I used that as my basis but also gleaned a few good tips from other recipes such as using cold water to keep the potatoes from browning and using chopsticks to guide the slicing  (Gourmet via Epicurious) and adding paprika to the breadcrumb topping (Fine Dinings).


The above photo shows the potatoes before topping was added.   I had a couple “lessons learned” with the potatoes.  Emeril’s recipe calls for cooking the potatoes for approximately one hour total at 425 degrees.  After nearly an hour and a half, they still weren’t quite done, so plan on cooking them for extra time, as many of the reviewers of the recipe pointed out.  (As you’ll see in the photo below, Fred the Boston terrier also thought they took an awfully long time.  He loves hanging out in the kitchen while I cook, in case I drop anything. He gets lucky with that pretty often.)


Also, and this is fairly minor, I drizzled a little of the basting liquid on top of the potatoes after they’d been topped with the breadcrumb mixture.  I thought this would help them brown.  What it did was congeal in a brown mess.  They still tasted fine, but would have looked better with just the breadcrumb topping browned on top.


The brisket I’d frozen after our Hanukkah dinner (this is where the Pink Applesauce came from, too).  I didn’t totally love how the flavor came out, so after I thawed it, I mixed in some Homemade Bourbon Barbecue Sauce I’d frozen when I made Barbecued Shrimp, Cheese Grits and Collard Greens.  The barbecue sauce did improve the flavor and added a little kick.  I make an effort to freeze whatever I can, especially when it comes to homemade sauces since they keep well this way (and they take so much time to make).  I find it’s hard to cut quantities enough to get just portions for two, so I take advantage of freezing extra servings whenever I have the chance.  It makes impromptu dinners like tonight’s that much easier!


Tonight’s salad was really easy.  I just tossed some bagged “Organic Herb Mix” with very thinly sliced red onions and red peppers, along with a simple vinaigrette made with 3 tablespoons EVOO, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 teaspoons honey, 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard and salt and pepper.


We drank 2005 Hess Cabernet Sauvignon with the meal.  I think
Cabernet’s a great match for brisket– lots of brisket recipes even use
Cabernet in the preparation.

Reader's Comments

  1. Wow how fancy!
    You should get your own show on the food network.
    Hasselback potatoes, hmmmmmm.
    I saw someone making them on t.v. and thought they looked really pretty. He didn’t explain what he was doing though. So thank you, it’s like you read my mind. 😉

  2. Ohh, I love your nambe bud vase, and salt and pepper shakers. I am semi-obsessed with Nambe. Almost every time we go home we like to pick up a little something in their Mesilla store. Dinner looks great btw!

  3. @Betty- Thanks! The potatoes were really good reheated the next day, too. They kind of smelled like hashbrowns when they were baking originally. I think they’d make some mean breakfast potatoes the next morning!

    @Jackie– Yeah, the Nambe is a nice reminder from home! We got some great stuff as wedding gifts! I’m obsessed, too. It goes with everything.

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