It must be my status of "lapsed Catholic" that requires me to confess my "sins" (usually only considered sins in my own warped view of reality) to everyone whenever I commit some sort of transgression. Because food is a primary focus, any time I break one of my own self-imposed "rules", I feel the need to shout it to the world.
So yesterday I was planning Father's Day brunch, which I will be hosting for my in-laws. When I asked my husband what he would like me to make, he had two requests: a classic version of the wife-saver, "French Peach Brunch" and, "Meat would be good."
I am also notorious for asking for my husband's input and then ignoring him. I didn't quite ignore him this time, but I did request that instead of using canned peaches in the French Peach Brunch, that I adapt it to use fresh rhubarb. He was okay with that.
I have entirely given in to his meat request. So here's the menu, then the confession:
Homemade Elk Sausage (ground elk meat mixed with an equal amount of ground pork, seasoned with brown sugar and salt and pepper, and formed into patties)
Baked Eggs and Mushrooms in Ham Crisps (I have made this a few times before, and it's lovely. It uses fresh tarragon, which is abundant in my herb bed, and I have a plethora of small fresh farm eggs that will work perfectly in twos, and not take too long to set)
Toasted Brioche from Christie's Bakery
Rhubarb Baked French Toast (I'll post the recipe after I work on adapting it)
Tea, coffee, juice
I was looking this over, and while it is already pretty full, I felt like it was missing something—something that involves potatoes. I went on line and searched through Epicurious's hash brown recipes, and stumbled upon on of my guiltiest pleasures: hash brown casserole (please note, though, that my family recipe is not the one on Epicurious, but rather this one).
And here is my confession. I am making it for Father's Day brunch. Why? Because I a) I love it, even though I know it is a fat-filled mess of mostly processed food, and I virtually NEVER buy canned soups; b) my guests will be universally appreciative; c) it is a good excuse to feed my occasional trashy food cravings, so that they stay in check.
I know there's nothing really wrong with cooking the occasional hash brown casserole. I just feel guilty, as a fairly militant food snob, giving in to the urge to make a dish that is SO not whole, fresh food. But hey, you can't deny your roots, and every once in a while, a can of cream of mushroom soup or Cheez Whiz (my other guilty pleasure, which my husband has banned from the house, since D was asking for it on his toast in the mornings, and since I no longer have pregnancy cravings as an excuse for buying and consuming it) has to cross the threshold. Now, I will go do my penance by baking bread, cooking beans from scratch and making my kids fresh fruit popsicles.
As an aside, I gave in while in the grocery store checkout line and picked up Canadian Living's Special Cookbook Edition on Summer Entertaining. My first flip through made me think I'd made a mistake, since most items seemed pretty familiar. But I've spent more time with it now, and it has worked my way into my meal plan this week in several ways. Tonight, to go with our grilled elk steak, I am trying out Dilled Potato and Grilled Corn Salad as well as Asparagus and Mixed Greens Salad. There are several more recipes that I'll be trying over the next few weeks, and I will share as I make them.
Happy Father's Day, to all the dads out there. I hope you have an excellent, meat-filled day (if that is your preference, of course).