Smoked Salmon Hash Panini

Whoa! I mean, WHOA! Who knew hash and panini were soul mates, like yin and yang or peanut butter and chocolate? The answer is several innovative food carts and foodies across the US. My @Hashcapades twitter feed is an endless source of ideas and entertainment. It was there I discovered versions of hash in sandwiches. I thought, “Well, how about in a panini?” And the rest, as they say, is history!

Smoked Salmon Hash Breakfast Panini

Panini are like little gifts from heaven – two toasty, crunchy slices of good bread hugging an infinite variety of delicious fillings. Honestly, anything short of dirt tastes sublime after 5 minutes in a panini grill! Here’s mine, a VillaWare grill I picked up at Kitchen Kaboodle in Portland. (BTW, panino is the singular form of panini. I use them interchangeably.)

My panini grill, getting it done!

So, which hash recipe deserves the panini treatment? No contest – my award-winning Smoked Salmon Hash – huzzah! On New Year’s Day, I recreated this recipe, but neglected to pick up a sweet potato, but the Russet potatoes worked well. The following morning, I started building the panino, one step at a time, starting with good quality Como bread from Grand Central Bakery.

Good bread is key to a fab panino. Mayo on one side, country Dijon on the other.

Cover one side with Smoked Salmon Hash.

At this point, I wondered how I wanted the egg to be prepared. Given the fact that it was a pressed sandwich, oozing yolk on my grill was not an option, not to mention I think it’s illegal in five states! Scrambled eggs would have to do in  a pinch. My next challenge was the cheese…something piquant like chipotle smoked gouda or a nice Muenster? I chose Muenster because I didn’t want the spicy cheese to over-power the hash, plus, Muenster melts nicely.

Adding scrambled egg foundation.

Slap on a couple of slices of Muenster.

Add a little spinach for color and flavor.

The next step requires steady nerves and surgical precision – carefully flip the spinach, cheese and egg side on top. Wait. Stop. Pause to admire your creation…

Operation yum in progress...

Okay, now flip the top over and marvel at your culinary masterpiece. Then, simply put it in the panini grill for about 5 minutes or until the bread is striped with golden brown lines of perfection. Be careful not to stare at the lines as this may cause vertigo!

Voila! Smoked Salmon Hash Panini

I eagerly cut the panini in half and couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into my first hash sandwich. My son, Alex, had the other half and quickly gave it a thumbs up. My first bite of crunchy goodness coupled with the softer hash, cheese and egg filling was simply ridiculously good. Molto bene!

So, tell me about your hash adventures. Ever make something unique with leftover hash? What about hash empanadas? Let me know!

Happy Hashcapades,


Smoked Brisket Hash at Turkey Tailgater III, a.k.a. OccupyCNF

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” And thus, Churchill’s quote begins the end of this hashcapade, dedicated to our third annual Turkey Tailgater. His words are especially fitting, juxtaposing our Thanksgiving tradition and the worldwide Occupy movements. Therefore, we semi-solemnly also dub this, OccupyCNF – in honor of the dishes that sacrificed themselves for our post-running pleasure at the Portland HQ of Conway Freight (CNF)!.

Smoked Beef Brisket Hash - some dishes sacrifice themselves faster!

But what does OccupyCNF represent, you ask? Well, every  Saturday between March and October, hundreds of dedicated runners & walkers meet at NW 21st and NW Raleigh at the CNF parking lot. Members of PortlandFit, we come to test our mettle, set goals, train for races and commune with running friends. In the winter months, it transforms into StayFit as our running community shrinks to a dedicated core of intrepid and unruly souls, my running family!

Ravenous running family at the start of Turkey Tailgater III

And so, back to the end of the beginning. Expectations were high for my contribution to the Turkey Tailgater, but I had a secret weapon up my sleeve, Podnah’s Pit Barbecue! After our epic hashcapade there, I mentally filed away their stunningly delicious brisket hash and vowed to recreate it. After our lovely meal at Beast, Lisa and I stopped by Podnah’s Pit to purchase two pounds of brisket and their bbq sauce – seriously, I’m addicted!

All the yummy bits assembled.

And so to the begging of the end where I assemble all the lovely ingredients, a testament to the marshaling of raw ingredients and their subsequent transformation into…hash! Curious readers may wonder what mysterious goodness awaits in the ramekin on the lower left of the yummy bits. It is the Emeril Creole Seasoning that I used from one of my Celebrity Chef Hashcapades. I used liberal amounts along with salt and pepper for the roasted potatoes further below.

Podnah's Pit Smoked Brisket is sublime!

Seasoned Russets ready for roasting.

Once the potatoes were roasting away in the oven, it was time to caramelize the sweet Mayan onion. This was a quick redux of the process I used to make my award-winning Portland Bacon Takedown Hash. Huzzah!

Caramelizing onions with my Portland Bacon Take-down swag!

Hashed smoked beef brisket - yum!

After the potatoes were roasted and the onions caramelized, the rest of the process was simple: mix all the ingredients together in a big steel bowl. Because the Turkey Tailgater was the following day, I transferred the finished hash into a 13×9 baking dish covered with foil and slipped it in the fridge.

Über mixing bowl for the hash.

Mixing in the final secret ingredient...

Jeff approves of this hashcapade!

And now to the end of the end. (Wait, is that redundant?) Anyway, the day of Turkey Tailgater III, I simply heated the hash for 30 minutes at 350 degrees and slipped it into an insulated quilted thingy that Lisa had. We arrived at CNF before 8:00 so we could all have our picture taken together. After a stellar 6.5-mile run, I set my Smoked Brisket Hash on the table and the masses descended. Judging from Jeff’s enthusiastic response, it was a hit!

OccupyCNF veterans, Dawn and Lisa!

As the morning gave way to early noon, a small band of OccupyCNF remained, huddled together under and umbrella with a propane heater to fight the oppressive Thanksgiving weather. Occasionally, we lured unsuspecting runners to our encampment and served them mimosas and food. Cheers to our new friends, Kaylan and John, and cheers to my running family!!!

Happy Hashcapades,


Smoked Brisket Hash
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
2 lbs Russet potatoes, hashed into 1/2 inch cubes
2 Tbsp olie oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp Emeril Creole Seasoning
> Mix the above ingredients together on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are done, but not mushy. Remove and set aside.
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) real butter
> Heat pan to medium-high, add butter, then add onions. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently
> Reduce heat to medium low and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the onions start to turn golden brown. Remove from heat.
2 lbs diced Podnah’s Pit Beef Brisket
1 cup chopped green onioin
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/3 cup crème fraîche
1/3 cup Podnah’s Pit BBQ Sauce
> In a large bowl, combine the previously roasted potatoes, caramelized onion along with the rest of the ingredients above.
> Mix thoroughly and test for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper and/or BBQ sauce as you wish.
> Transfer to a 13×9 backing dish and cover with foil and store overnight.
> The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, place hash in for 30 minutes then remove and serve with extra BBQ sauce.

Pork Confit Hash at Cocotte

When I first saw the name of this restaurant, my mind scrambled it and the word, coquette, came to mind – suggestive, eyelash-batting flirting. But no, it’s cocotte, which is French for (among other things) an individual casserole baking dish. Personally, the flirting is more apt because their libations and hash were flirting with me the entire time! French press coffee, Bloody Mary with candied bacon and an exquisite Pork Confit Hash – ooh la la, monsieur!

Cocotte on NE 30th and NE Killingsworth

Also flirting with culinary nirvana were veterans from prior hashcapades, Mary and Cory, plus two newbies, Nick and Andy. As it turns out, Andy is an über accomplished globetrotter, inspiring our table to recount trips, dishes and misadventures while abroad – gypsy pickpockets in Cologne, walking around Edinburgh, and Stroopwafel from The Netherlands. And here we were in little old Portland, eagerly awaiting oeufs en cocotte (eggs in cocotte) and pork confit hash!

Extraordinary Bloody Mary - Bacon Accessorized!

But first, we have to talk about the Bloody Mary. I was the only one at the table to order a breakfast cocktail. When it arrived, we collectively zeroed in on the candied bacon that shamelessly caused us to ogle the amazing presentation. Honestly, the drink could have been colored blue with prickly pear cactus and it wouldn’t have mattered – seriously!! Coincidentally, the rest of the crew ordered a side of the brown sugar bacon with their entrées 🙂

Cocotte's stellar Pork Confit Hash

When the hash arrived, Cocotte’s presentation was simply stunning – pork confit, rainbow chard stems, mustard, roasted brussels sprouts, crème fraîche, and a sunny-side egg. Are you kidding me? Hovering over the food, I stole a glance at my compatriots who were equally enthralled with their selections and proceeded to dig in. Impressive. Sublime. I could go on, but this was truly one of the best hashes I’ve ever had! Who knew brussels sprouts could complement a hash so well – great texture and slightly sweet counterpoint to the softer chard and roasted potatoes. Très bon!

Sated tweeps outside Cocotte

We could have easily spent another hour talking about food, travel and social media, but the cozy restaurant was bursting at the seams. We had to let Cocotte flirt with new patrons and lure them with candied bacon and libations – santé!

Happy Hashcapades,


Hi Spot Cafe is *the* Spot

I am a Hopist. That is to say, I am a complete convert to the positive spirit and cozy charm of Hi Spot Cafe. This realization struck me twice. The first time was during this post’s epic hashcapade with one of my super tweeps, Jackie. The second time was when I conceived of Hopist as an anagram from Hi Spot! By the way, my new word is pronounced with a long “o” lest you think I’m talking about hip hop or hops…

Hi Spot Cafe on 34th Ave and E Union St in Seattle

Anyway, this hashcapade had “fabulous” written all over it because Hi Spot came highly recommended and the weather was perfect – a brisk, sunny fall morning. And if that weren’t enough for a bona fide Hopist, I snagged a parking spot in front! Because I was in town attending the SuperComputing 2011 conference, I can say the odds of both occurrences in Seattle were exactly one in a bazillion, give or take!

Cozy upstairs nook at the Hi Spot.

While I waited for Jackie to arrive, the irresistible atmosphere begged for a few photos to capture the ambiance of this hashcapade properly. The upstairs nook had a bright and comfortable feel to it, a sense of community. Creative artwork was displayed along one of the walls downstairs, creating a sense of vibrant energy. Both are undoubtedly apt descriptions of Hi Spot’s proprietor for the last 17 years, Mike Walker, whom Jackie and I met briefly.

Scott Smith's funky artwork adorns one wall...

The lovely and hip (with cool glasses) Treisa attended to our every need as Jackie and I chatted up a storm like old friends as tweeps often do! You see, we met through twitter and have mutual interests in good food, travel, blogging, edgy art, photography and high-tech. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: social media is real and we had a really good time!

Hi Spot's Corned Beef Hash - yum!

And so to the hash – house-cured corned beef, shredded potatoes mixed with cayenne pepper and paprika, onion and celery. Jackie was the first to remark that celery is a rare component in hash, but it worked remarkably well! I rather liked the piquant, smoky shredded potatoes combined with the bright notes of celery anchored by the perfect corned beef. Altogether, a very delicious hash creation for this Hopist 🙂

Thanks again, to Mike and Treisa, and especially to my new BFF, Jackie, for an epic hashcapade at Hi Spot!

Happy Hashcapades,


Chipotle Carnitas Hash with Queso Fresco and Cilantro

Yes, I speak Nahuatl, the ancient tongue of the Aztecs. Do you? Well of course! You see, the word, chipotle, comes from Nahuatl (as does avocado) and we all deftly pronounce it these days. As for me, chipotle conjures up a vision of rustic, spicy, smoky mystery that is simply amazing in almost any dish. So when my son, Alex, suggested we make Chipotle Carnitas, I was all in! Four hours later, I was expecting a carnitas baby and plotting the perfect use of the abundant carnitas that remained – Chipotle Carnitas Hash.

Chipotle Carnitas Hash with Queso Fresco and Cilantro

Now I should mention that this particular hashcapade took place in Wyoming, in the very home in which I was raised by wolves, er, I mean my 5 siblings. Why? Because during the frigid Wyoming winters, we use the outdoors as a giant refrigerator. More precisely, we store beer, wine, leftover turkey, pies and other holiday goodies in the solarium adjoining Mom’s house. Protected from critters, except her cat, everything stays marvelously cold! That’s where we left the carnitas to remain steeped in its juicy goodness to await its destiny…

Carnitas from night before simmering slowly...

The next morning, we set the pot of carnitas on the stove and kept to a low simmer. In the meantime, I commenced the hashing and mincing of basic ingredients: Russet potatoes (unpeeled), onions, cilantro and garlic. Added to the pan in stages, I then set about crumbling the queso fresco and chopping the cilantro. Finally, I pulled the pork with a fork and added juices from the pan to add more flavor and keep it moist.

Hashing up the good bits!

Chipotle Carnitas

Another hashcapade success!

Expectations were high as Alex and Rachel watched me plate the hash – first the potato hash topped by forkfuls of carnitas, then sprinkles of queso fresco and cilantro, and then a fried egg plus more cheese & cilantro. We eagerly tucked into the hash and only one word could describe our collective approval –  ¡Olé!

Further below is the recipe for the hash itself. A note on the actual carnitas recipe – don’t boil away all the juices, leave about 1/3 and skip roasting the carnitas. Flavor and moisture are your friends!

Happy Hashcapades,


Chipotle Carnitas Hash with Queso Fresco and Cilantro
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 medium Russet, unpeeled, diced into 1/2″ cubes
1/3 cup diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp real butter
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
> Set frying pan on medium, wait for for it to heat up then add oil and then the potatoes, cooking for 15 minutes. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes or so.
> Once the potatoes and onion are tender, add the minced garlic, butter and parsley and stir for about 2 minutes.
> Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust as needed.
Plating the Hash
2-3 cups pulled Chipotle Carnitas + 1/2 cup of the broth in which it steeped, stir it in and let it sit.
3 fried eggs
1/3 cup cotija cheese
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
> Spoon about a cupful of the potato hash on the plate and spread flat
> Top with a third of the carnitas then sprinkle with cheese and cilantro
> Top with a fried egg and sprinkle with more cheese and cilantro – voila!



Meriwether’s Hashcapade and the Mole Baby

Mole baby? As in those blind, digging rat thangs? No! I mean moh-lay, as in Oaxacan mole, the delicious, smoky sauce from Mexico. And I mean bay-bee as in a “baby” that you create from filling your belly with food! Such was the fate of one of our intrepid hashcapade tweeps.

Matt ordered Meriwether’s eye-popping Huevos Rancheros whose foundation is a mole casserole topped with eggs and guacamole. After the meal, he rubbed his distended belly, smiled and pronounced the immaculate conception of his mole baby – priceless! Now that you understand the end of this post’s title, let’s start with the beginning…

These Huevos Rancheros created a mole baby!

I had never heard of Meriwether’s even though I ran right by it during this year’s 40th Portland Marathon. Fortunately, Lisa was a veteran of this charmingly warm, spacious and inviting restaurant that happens to serve a mean hash. It also boasts an absolutely splendid outdoor area. Can I just say that I cannot wait for warm weather to return for a chance to sit outside?

Meriwether's on NW Vaughn and NW 26th

Amazing al fresco dining awaits warmer weather.

And it gets better – Meriwether’s grows its own produce at Meriwether’s Skyline Farm for a true farm-to-fork experience that’s hard to beat! So as our hungry crew sat down, we were salivating at all of the sumptuous choices on the menu. True to form, I zeroed in on the Corned Beef Skillet Hash – potatoes, kale and sunny-side eggs. If you’ve ever wondered why it’s called “corned” beef, let me enlighten you. Before refrigeration, hard grains of salt were used to salt and preserve meat. In Old English, a hard grain is call a corn. Now you know!

Their Corned Beef Hash is served in a hot cast iron skillet.

When my hash arrived, the skillet was fresh-out-of-the-oven hot – excellent first impression. As I started to dig into the corned beef hash, my eyes bugged out at the big, chunky, succulent morsels of corned beef. Are you kidding me?! The potatoes were full of flavor, as though they had been brined before being roasted. Farm-fresh kale provided a splash of green and a perfect, toothsome bite while the sliced, roasted garlic helped amp up the dish. Don’t even get me started on the other dishes…

Chicken & Waffles, Dutch Baby Pancake, Housemade Granola, Biscuits & Gravy (clockwise from upper left)

…too late. I included the other dishes at our table – instant food porn entrees. We scrambled like forty-niners going for the mother-lode as we pulled out iPhones, Droids and Nikons to capture this epic hashcapade! Thanks to Lisa, Matt, Jenn, Dave, Lars, Matt and Lisa – rutabegas! Oh, and to the patient staff for putting up with our unruly table, thank you!

Happy Hashcapades,


Beer-Braised Pork Belly Sweet Potato & Chanterelle Hash

“Psssst! Clark!” Kathy whispered. Before I could respond, she thrust a document into my hands, performed a perfect pirouette and left my cube. Browsing the two-page black & white copy, I could only chuckle as I realized it was a recipe from Bon Appetit for Sweet Potato-Pork Belly Hash. My peeps were feeding my hashcapade obsession!

Beer-Braised Pork Belly, Sweet Potato & Chanterelle Hash

I love hearing new suggestions for restaurants serving hash. I love getting new recipes. I love it! Sometimes I create something from my imagination and other times I modify a recipe to suit my style and technique. This hashcapade was one of the latter because my favorite mushrooms, chanterelles, were in season – huzzah!

Gorgeous chanterelle mushrooms begging to hash it up!

Basic ingredients...but where's the pork belly?

Another game changer was the product of sheer luck. We went to Uwajimaya to get high-quality, Carlton Farms pork belly. While cruising the produce aisles, a reddish-purple tuber caught my eye – a Japanese sweet potato. Combined with the yam, I’d have a good contrast of orange and golden sweet potatoes to amp up the presentation! Finally, you’ll notice BridgePort Brewing’s Kingpin Double Red Ale, which I substituted for half of the braising liquid.

Sweet potatoes and shallots look festive!

Because this recipe calls for braising the pork belly for 3 hours, you can use the extra time to prep/cook the potatoes and cook the chanterelles. Hopefully, you’ll have the time to also catch part of a college game, paint your bedroom or take a post-marathon run like I did 🙂 And when it’s ready, heaven awaits – rich, flavorful, succulent beer-braised pork belly!

Pork Belly getting ready for braising.

Beer-Braised Pork Belly cooling down.

After all was said and done, this was a very tasty hashcapade. Imagine the tender, lip-smacking, beer-braised pork belly quickly seared in the pan to develop a lovely crispy crust. Then consider the sweet lusciousness of shallot-infused sweet potatoes combined with the earthy, woody and dense chanterelles. Finished off with syrup, red wine vinegar and a poached egg, this was truly a flavor-gasmic hashcapade!

Tucking into a heavenly hash!

So, a few other modifications. I added a sprig of fresh rosemary in the braising liquid. For the chanterelles, I sweated them in 2 tablespoons of butter, then added 1/4 cup of cooking sherry and a teaspoon of fresh thyme. Finally, rather than wait for the pork belly to be done, I used 2 tablespoons of bacon fat and cooked them for about 15 minutes, before adding the shallots for the final 5 or so minutes. I also used the pork belly immediately rather than press and refrigerate over night – I was hungry!!!

Tell me about your experience with this recipe or your favorite way to cook pork belly 🙂

Happy Hashcapades,