Wolfgang Puck’s Vaca Frita Hash

Holy Frijoles! You’d think following a recipe for a change would let you coast on auto pilot. You’d day-dream about sun (it’s officially summer in Portland) and listen to The Tallest Man on Earth. But nein! Wolfgang Puck is a taskmaster if his hash recipe is any measure of the Mensch!

Vaca Frita with a Tropical Tuber Hash cake with Caramelized Onions

Tapping yet another rich vein of hashcapade goodness, I thought it would be interesting to see what celebrity chefs are conjuring up for hash. While impressed by Emeril’s pace-setting 12+ hash recipes, Wolfgang’s single entry was an immediate challenge, an exercise in tenacity at a projected 2 hours and 45 minutes!

I was especially attracted to the veggie foundation – sweet potatoes, yucca root and boniato. Combined with red & yellow bell peppers, poblano & jalapeño peppers, cilantro, Italian parsley and Sherry, this was easily the tastiest part. However, I must reveal that it included a smidge of gateway meat (bacon) and I re-purposed bacon fat from my Bacon Takedown!

Veggie central for the foundation of this hashcapade.

At this point, a brief diversion is in order. A few years ago, I stumbled upon a fabulous Braised Short Rib and Caramelized Ravioli with Truffled Wild Mushroom recipe from Tribeca Grill in New York. Lisa and I spent hours…HOURS…on the reduction sauces (yes, plural) which were less daunting than the fresh pasta from scratch! So, I was a bit wary of Wolfgang’s Hash and his reduction sauce, bit it turned out to be tame by comparison 🙂

Hashed peppers throwing a party in my pan.

The most time-consuming bit is the grilling of the skirt steak and subsequent mini-braising on the stove. Once that was finito burrito, the reduction of the cooking juices and broth created a rich, meaty base that I used to sop up leftover steak – yum! I can share with you that pounding the steak into fibers with a mallet was therapeutic 😉

Skirt steak pounded into submission.

For this hashcapade, I halved the original recipe from Wolfgang Puck in my List of Celebrity Chef Hashes. Deviations included cooking the steak for only an hour, not marinating the cooked beef overnight and the lack of boniato & decent yucca.

Another view of Vaca Frita.
How was it? All the components blow your mind when you think of them as you’re cooking: black pepper and cumin-spiced skirt steak braised in mirepoix with bacon and broth + the aforementioned veggie foundation + caramelized red onion. Tasting them is even more intense, especially the reduction sauce and veggies. If I had more time, I would have tried this with pulled pork! Über tasty!
If you’ve had a celebrity chef recipe experience, I’d like to hear about it!
Happy Hashcapades,

List of Celebrity Chef Hashes

Ever wonder which celebrity chefs make hash? Here’s the start of yet another list you can feast on forever! If you see a favorite chef missing, please help me out by leaving a comment so I can “google” him or her!

Happy Hashcapades,

Alton Brown

Corned Beef Hash

Turkey Re-Hash

Michael Chiarello
Potato Hash with Baked Eggs

Cat Cora
Balsamic-Glazed Duck Breast Hash

Bobby Flay
Sweet Potato-Chicken Hash with Poached Eggs with Green Chile Hollandaise
Smoked Salmon Hash with Dill Vinaigrette

Tyler Florence
Bacon and Brussels Sprout Hash
Corned Beef Hash and Poached Eggs with Easy Hollandaise
Salmon Potato Hash
Turkey Hash with Poached Eggs and Hollandaise

Ina Garten
Basil Chicken Hash
Turkey Hash

Emeril Lagasse

BBQ Salmon with Andouille and Potato Hash

Roast Beef Hash with Poached Eggs and Wild Mushroom Sauce on Garlic French Bread

Nigella Lawson
Bacon and Tomato Hash
Corned Beef Hash
Sweet Potato & Salmon Hash Cakes
Ed’s Victorious Turkey Hash

Sandra Lee
Farmhouse Hash with Pot-Poached Eggs
Corned Beef Hash with Poached Eggs
Chicken Hash with Country Gravy
Pork Hash

Wolfgang Puck
Vaca Frita with a Tropical Tuber Hash Cake and Caramelized Onions

Marcus Samuelsson
Sweet Potato and Lamb Hash

Hashcapade Scene Investigator – Portland

An old-school salt shaker spattered with BBQ sauce, a Bloody Mary not quite finished, rings of water from condensation on the table, and honey in a squirt bottle tipped over. Surveying the aftermath of what surely was mayhem on an epic scale, I wondered incredulously, “What the hell happened here?!”

Post-Hashcapade Scene at Podnah’s Pit

The tattooed waitress at Podnah’s Pit calmly explained how it all went down, as if such a scene were a daily occurrence. “A group of unruly social media geeks (probably part of a twitter cartel) quietly stationed themselves in the back. I knew it was going to be trouble when one of the women ordered the Smoked Trout Hash. I told her, ‘Sorry, but we’re out.’ Her jaw dropped and her eyes totally bugged out! She was, like, cringing as she looked at this dude at the end of the table who seemed to be in charge. He furrowed his eyebrows then totally freaked, stood up and shouted, ‘This is a hashcapade!!!’ ”

The scrappy armadillo, patron saint of the Bloody Mary, guards the good stuff.

I stopped her to ask a few questions, “So this guy…have you ever seen him before?” “No,” she quickly answered. I ventured, “Recognize anyone else?” I could tell by the look in her eye that she did. She turned pale and blurted out, “The breakfast guy. The PDX breakfast guy. You know, he wrote a book!” I tried to keep my cool and probed further, “Did he say anything or give any indication what was going on?” She started to shake and practically wailed, “He said, ‘I can practically gum this brisket.’!”

Clearly I had struck a nerve. I called over one of her co-workers to bring her a slug of booze to calm her down. “Was he wearing glasses,” I asked out of curiosity, thinking he must have been in disguise. “Oh my God, yes!” she exclaimed. “And did he say anything else?” Here, she really started to break down as she despondently stammered, “He said, (choking), he said, ‘This was good, I’ve got biscuit crumbs on my glasses!’ ”

At this point, it was pretty clear that she wouldn’t be able to carry on, so I eased her sobbing frame into a chair next to one of Podnah’s massive wooden tables. A reflection from something on the table caught my eye…an iPhone! Grabbing it, I unlocked it and poked around and found twitter. Scanning the tweets, I immediately found the smoking gun:

The ring leader, cowboyecho, sent this tweet.

So, an off-menu Beef Brisket Hash had been part of the hashcapade! I needed a better look, though, as the photo was grainy and out of focus. Fortunately, our image processing specialist at H.I.S. enhanced the photo from the original tweet. Just as I suspected: a spicy, tangy and delicious beef brisket with oven roasted potatoes (skin on) with green onion, diced jalapeños, two eggs over easy with lip-smacking BBQ sauce on the side!

Digitally enhanced Beef Brisket Hash

Sweat was beading down my forehead as I went through the rest of the tweets: Paul @pdxbreakfastguy, Lisa @runningchasey”, Lisa @oregonfanlisa, Matt @mattdev, Lindsay @rosemarried and two accomplices, Matt and Stacey, were all in cahoots! This was going to be a tough case…perhaps luring them into a hashcapade sting might be enough to nab ’em. Then again…maybe I should join them…

Happy Hashcapades,

List of Hash Articles

Starting with the article that inspired me to start Hashcapades by Clark Haass, The Humble Plate of Hash Has Nobler Ambitions, here is a list of on-line articles about hash. I’m hoping to curate more articles from around the globe. If you have favorite articles or recipes, please leave a comment with the link – THANKS!

Happy Hashcapades,

Catalyst for My Hashcapade Blog
The Humble Plate of Hash Has Nobler Ambitions
By Julia Moskin, NY Times
January 4, 2011

Learning to Cook Dinner for Julia Child
By John Donohue, StayAtStoveDad.com
January 7, 2011


Trend Watch: High on Hash
By Cari Martens, The Food Channel Blog
January 20, 2011

Haute hash: Classic chopped-meat (or veggies) entree returns to your table
By James P. DeWan, Special to Chicago Tribune Newspapers
January 27, 2011

Eat This: Smoked Trout Hash with Poached Eggs at James John Cafe
By Katherine Kole, MIX Magazine
April 2011

Humble, heavenly hash finally gets the respect it deserves
By Ronnie Fein, Special to the Oregonian
May 10, 2011

Making Meals With Marcus Restaurants: Hot Smoked Salmon Hash

Chef David Zakroczymnski
June 11, 2011

Favourite Ways with a Favourite Fish
The Southern Reporter (Selkirk Scottland)
July 29, 2011

A Toast to Toast

Now that all my family and friends have become hash-assimilated (resistance is futile), new hashcapade recommendations pop up all the time. The most recent suggestion came from Lisa’s coworker who mentioned Toast. After I dutifully added it to my list, I checked to see if Toast was on twitter and found them, @Toast_PDX – instant follow.

That very same day, I saw this tweet: “Creme Fraiche Coffee Cake. Orange Chocolate Muffins. Pomegranate Orange Mimosa. Pork Belly Hash. It’s a good day!  ”  Suddenly, my day had purpose and meaning, but more importantly, a brunch plan! Much to my chagrin, a calendar glitch made it impossible, but @Toast_PDX assured me that they’d let me know the next time hash was on the menu.

Toast – Family, Al Fresco and Bike-Friendly
Diner-supported art makes Toast friendly to all Picasso wannabes.

Well, shut my mouth and damn my eyes! The very next day, @Toast_PDX tweeted me: “-Bacon Hash today – FYI.”  Talk about the power of social media! I felt like Toast was my new best friend and that they understood and accepted my hash obsession! This impromptu hashcapade was on!!!

When I arrived, Kai greeted me as I chose a spot at the counter and excitedly inquired if she was Toast’s tweeter. I wanted to hug her (and everybody like Judah Friedlander in the DMB video, “Everyday”)! Unfortunately, she wasn’t, but she let me tell her all about my blog and PDX/Chez Clark hashcapdesas I jotted down my blog’s URL for her. (In the back of my mind, I’m hearing my 8-year old son exclaim, “I can’t believe you’re Portland’s Hash Blogger!”)

As luck would have it, Toast’s owner, Don Kotler, was there and we chatted about his awesome marketing weapon, @Toast_PDX. He was clearly tickled at my unbridled enthusiasm for my personal invitation to a Bacon Hash hashcapade. Thank you, Lindsey!!! Virtual hug [ ].
(Speaking of hugs, I wanted to hug the Ninkasi Brewing beer tap, which was tantalizingly close, but out of the question on a work day.)

Beer tap tempted me the entire meal – wish it had been the weekend!
Bacon Hash – Hash-a-licious!

And so, a mere 2 weeks after my Bacon Takedown win for Bacon Hash, the most delicious, wholesome and delightful bacon hash from Toast arrived. I was blown away by the imaginative combination of ingredients: pickled red onion, collard greens and carrots with perfectly pink bacon (parboiled & fried briefly?), roasted potatoes, all topped with a poached egg. Kai offered the house-made hot sauce which rocketed this hashcapade to the stratosphere – I was in heaven!

So, I’d like to propose a toast to Toast: Here’s to the most twitter-friendly restaurant in Portland, their amazing staff and their awesome hash! 

Happy Hashcapades,

List of Chez Clark Hashcapades

For the uninitiated, Chez Clark is the fancy name for my little kitchen where occasional magic occurs. Mayhem is even more likely, especially when scaling up to feed hungry hordes – e.g. Bacon Takedown! I’ve tried to organize by main meat ingredient and Iv’e started a veggie section at the end. As with my List of Portland (+ Other Cities) Hashcapades, there are older posts with a little less polish, for which I humbly beg your forgiveness.

I have additional recipes for dozens more. Please let me know if you’re interested!

Happy Hashcapades!


Run Girl Run Hashcapade

List of Chez Clark Hashcapades

Beef – Steak, Ground Beef!

Dirty Rice with Chipotle Pepper BBQ Flat Iron Steak

Fresh Ground Beef & Cognac Mushroom Hash

Red Flannel Hash with Sirloin

Grilled Skirt Steak & Artichoke-Potato Hash with Olive Aioli

Sous Vide Short Rib Hash with Chipotle Sauce

Chicken – These are fancy!

Chicken Curry & Potatoes with Mustard Seed Hash

Fish – Use smoked trout too!

Lamb – Who kn-ewe?

Harissa Lamb, Cucumber, Carrot and Chickpea Hash

Pork – Bacon is the gateway meat!

Bacon Takedown Hash

Bacon-Wrapped Ham Loaf Hash with Horseradish Sauce

Hood to Coast Hashcapade

Spring Asparagus and Pancetta Hash

Shellfish – Crab and Clams, others coming!

Rhode Island Clam Hash

Crab Crimini Mushroom and Corn Hash

Veggies – Who needs meat when veggies abound?

Ironic Hashcapde – Lon’s at The Hermosa Inn

Hot! Hot! Hot! You’d think I’d welcome the mercury’s rise past the 60s. But my quick business trip to Phoenix was a rude awakening – 103 already! Where’s my happy compromise, say, 80? Oh, that’s right. I’m missing the best day of the year so far in Portland, while I sweat it out here in Phoenix!

Enough whining, but isn’t it ironic, don’t you think? It’s worse than a black fly in your Chardonnay. It’s like a hot hashcapade in the Phoenix shade! And thus begins my visit to Lon’s at The Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley for their Short Rib Hash.

Jen, Noah and Kaleb at Lon’s

Unfortunately, Erik was unable to make it. He had continuing education for his massage therapy license, which he doesn’t need anymore (ironic). Happily, I was able to meet Jen and her two boys, Noah and Kaleb, but only after getting lost, even though my rental car had GPS (ironic).

La fuente and cactii

We ate al fresco on Lon’s patio with the soothing sound of water flowing from a fountain nearby. I could almost feel its cooling influence lower the temp a little bit! Desert cacti stood like sentinels guarding the fountain, separated by the pathway that ringed it. A little oasis for our hashcapade!

Short Rib Hash – sans potatoes

By the time my Short Rib Hash arrived, I was more than starving and quickly soaked in the presentation. Wait, where were the potatoes? Had they been hijacked by the carb police? Hash without potatoes (ironic). But then I realized I was in the realm of conquistadors from ages ago. Their version of hash, picadillo, has no potato!

No problemo! Delicious, succulent hashed short ribs, accompanied by red and yellow diced pepper, roasted tomatoes, a reduction sauce and two perfectly poached eggs disappeared in minutes. I’m pretty sure Jen thinks I was raised by wolves!
As I write this post at the airport, I’m in my air-conditioned cocoon, staring out the window, thinking of the ultimate irony – over 4 million people, living in a desert. Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
Happy Hashcapades,