You may have noticed a bit of a void in my personal narrative. So I should probably address it.
After I returned from filming Chef Race, Josh and I decided to end our two-year relationship. It gave me another big jolt to spend my summer vacation recovering from, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still very much in the middle of that process. It’s not often that you lose a best friend business partner, and a best friend partner partner all in the same year. But 2012 has been a bitch.
In the past, I’ve always turned to neutral foods to get me through the initial hump of tears – things like rice bowls with soy sauce, or any other bland item whose taste won’t remind me of heartache when I eat it months down the line. I made the mistake once of having Saigon Grill Eggplant to nurture a broken heart. Now, my favorite dish just tastes like a million saddie face emoticons.
I’m not writing this to make you feel sorry for me. The point I am getting to is that of all the things in my daily life the breakup has affected, my cooking has been the biggest one. It means a lot more Friday nights alone, cooking the types of tasty, semi-special meals I would ordinarily have been making for the two of us. It also means a lot of solo time on the couch eating said meals in front of the TV.
I haven’t always been the biggest turnip fan. They can be a little bit bitter if not prepared properly. But they might just be the perfect vegetable for a bittersweet night of learning how to cook and eat alone again. I made this hash as a bed for a nice salmon steak, which I enjoyed alongside a large glass of white wine while watching Mean Girls a couple Fridays ago. I’ve come to terms with the loser-dom of this mental image. That’s actually part of the sweet part, in my opinion.
I’m not at the place yet where I want to go out and put on a tight black dress and pretend to care. I’m still sad. And as always, my kind of breakup sad, is the kind that likes to eat. There’s also something empowering about fixing yourself an overindulgent meal – the kind that gets 25 likes on instagram and lots of jealousy comments.
Of course, you don’t need to be nursing any sort of bittersweet emotions in order to enjoy this hash. Make it as an interesting substitution for your regular Sunday breakfast with a fried egg. Or, if you’re my kind of gal, say F-you to the black dress, pour yourself a big glass of wine and make yourself a big bowl, just because you can.
p.s. what did everyone think of last night’s Chef Race episode? I’ll be back tomorrow with behind-the-scenes mental footage.
Combine all the ingredients in a small food processor and puree until smooth.
Season with salt and keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Turnip Hash with Basil Vinaigrette
In a large cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over a high flame.
Carefully add the turnips and potatoes to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and dark browned on all sides, about 30 minutes. Add the onions, season with the paprika and salt. Turn the heat down to medium-low and saute for about 5 minutes, until translucent and sweet.
To serve, spoon the hash onto plates, drizzle with the vinaigrette and top with coarsely torn basil leaves.