How are all you Wisconsin friends feeling about this non-stop rain during what is supposed to be everyone’s favorite apple orchard visiting, cider donut eating, fall leave viewing time of the year? I know, I know. Me too.
It’s dreary and gray and so damn inconsiderate of the weather to continue being this wet during a season that is usually dry and beautiful. It totally sucks, but as I said, I’m back to obnoxious optimism and silver linings so let’s take this time to brainstorm some fun ways to embrace the rain. They may also happen to be all the things I did this week, but don’t you worry about that.
- Start a gratitude journal.
- Clean out the basement.
- Cancel your camping trip because there is no glory or pride in being a person who is good at “putting up with” terrible weather. Instead set up an air mattress in your living room and binge watch the 90’s classics from your youth that your husband continues to tease you for never seeing. Tommy Boy, Black Sheep, Top Gun, Back to the Future, here we come!
- Run on some trails anyway. Relish the mud coating your ankles. Embrace the wild rawness you were meant for.
- Make yourself an Old Fashioned.
- Make a few more Old Fashioneds.
- Up-pot a bunch of beautiful plants, place them in a well-lit room, breathe deep and pretend you’re outside.
- Cuddle your poor sweet kitten who just got neutered.
- Watch the Brewers in the playoffs. Then watch some College Football. Then the Packers game and then maybe watch some more baseball.
- Brew your first batch of kombucha thanks to this mega-easy kit.
- Keep your crock-pot stocked at all times.
- Make happy herb tinctures to help get you through the colder days ahead. I advise everyone get stocked up on lemonbalm tinctures and teas prior to winter.
- Hasselback anything and everything, especially potatoes, and feel no guilt devouring them because they taste exactly like your favorite potatoes chips but were roasted so are thus essentially calorie-free. If you decide to dip them in the mayo sauce, perhaps gorge yourself a little more slowly.
- Find several good books and rotate through them.
After two months of practically non-stop rain, my rainy day game has never been stronger. This rain is certainly still making being a farmer (and deriving an income off the land) incredibly frustrating but at least we’re finding ways to make our off-farm hours joyous.
At the farm things aren’t exactly not joyous, there is still abundant laughter, singing, and produce, but the days are certainly wet and muddy and slow. Everything seems like it takes forever to get clean and it’s hard to stay warm.
It’s still beautiful. The emptying fields glow under a gray sky. The colored leaves surrounding the field make a perfect backdrop for these final days of the season. The greens fill out fast. The parsley and chives bounce back practically overnight after a heavy harvest. Actually, pretty much everything left out there growing– scallions, fennel, herbs, greens, beets, roots, broccoli, cabbage– is enjoying all the moisture.
We love all these greens and roots coming out of the fields, but our bodies are a few months ahead of schedule. All of these damp days are having us craving heavy, warming dishes that fill us up and prepare us for the cooler days ahead. I’m not usually this determined to eat potatoes in October, but what can I say? I’m a woman defined by my surroundings. So potatoes we will eat.
We’ve been hasselbacking a baking sheet or two of adorable baby potatoes every Sunday and serving them on the side of whatever we have for dinner. If dinner is looking like a complete meal in need of no potato side dish, well then we snack on a plate prior to dinner. Hasselback potatoes are insanely addicting.
And what is a hasselback you ask? Well, it started as a fun way to prepare baked potatoes; you slice the potato thinly, leaving the base connected, and then bake as usual. With all the surface area, things get really crispy really fast and it’s just a wonderful way to transform a potato into something elegant with relative ease. This technique took 2017 Thanksgiving tables by storm and is now being applied to all kinds of yummy things– sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, beets, rutabagas.
Hasselback-ing (which yes, has now become a verb) may seem like a really difficult technique with lots of fancy knife work involved, but really all you need to do is put two chopsticks or two skewers alongside of the vegetable you plan to hasselback to create a sort of stop or barrier for your knife. Then, slice as usual. The vegetable will stay whole (because of the chopsticks) but also elegantly accordioned (because of the slicing). Toss these beauties onto a pan with olive oil and so much flaky salt for crispy, flaky, perfectly cooked potatoes every single time.
Enjoy, and try to stay dry everyone!
BABY HASSELBACK POTATOES WITH FRY SAUCE
Takes 1 hour
Serves 4-6 as a side, 2 as a snack
3 pounds baby potatoes (or fingerlings)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sriracha
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Hasselback your potatoes. In other words, place four or five little potatoes between a set of chopsticks or two wooden skewers. Thinly slice each potato until the knife hits the chopsticks or skewers. Repeat with remaining potatoes.
- On a large baking sheet, drizzle two tablespoons olive oil. Add potatoes and cover with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Shake pan to rotate potatoes and bake for 30 minutes more until crispy throughout.
- In a small bowl, stir together remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. You may want to add a pinch or two of salt.
- Serve potatoes hot with fry sauce.