Food recipe: This spud's for you

On the cover of this month's Gourmet is the most gorgeous hash brown I have ever seen. More to the point, it is the most gorgeous hash brown my husband has ever seen. And this month, as he is wont to do every month, my husband pointed at the cover of my monthly food magazine and said "Me want. You make. Yum, yum."

Then he beat his chest and, knuckles dragging, went back to polishing the club he used to hit me over the head before he dragged me off to his cave.

(Actually, he really went back to his computer where he returned to writing something so eloquent I could feel it in my heart. Hot, damn, but my caveman can write.)

Anyway ... I make terrible potatoes. Terrible baked potatoes. Terrible scalloped potatoes. And the singularly most terrible hash browns on the face of the planet.

Terrible as in, they don't cook for me. Ever.

(I have made dinners where the dinner was devoured, the dessert was eaten, and the breakfast the next day was all gone before the damn potatoes from the night before were cooked.)

Yes, people, potatoes never, ever cook for me. So unless you like 'em tooth-chipping crunchy, don't ask me to cook 'em. Unless you want wedges.

Wedges I can do
In fact, I do wedges so well that I have invented a totally no-fail recipe for them. And not only do they come out perfectly every time, but there is absolutely no frying involved. Pretty good, eh?

But back to the hash browns ...
So I flip to the recipe (I love the man, so sue me) and note that it calls for 2 pounds of potatoes. That's 2 pounds of potatoes that will never cook for me.

So I turn to the Website in the hope that there will be a hash brown recipe that does not call for potatoes. One I have at least a hope of making.

Not surprisingly, there is not. But what there is is a recipe that calls for ... wait for it ... frozen hash browns.

FROZEN HASH BROWNS. As in precooked. As in, not crunchy-raw.

I am in heaven.

So what does any heavenly person do? Promptly go to the store to buy frozen hash browns. And, equally promptly, make them for her chest-thumping caveman husband. Which is exactly what I did. Sure, the recipe is not for hash browns. But it has hash browns in it. Good enough.

The food recipe from Gourmet that is not for hash browns, but that has hash browns in it
Food recipe: Broccoli and Cheddar Skillet Flan
6 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Rounded 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
1 (1-lb) bag frozen hash browns, thawed in a microwave oven
1 (10-oz) box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Whisk together eggs, milk, pepper, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until combined, then whisk in Cheddar and 3 tablespoons parmesan.

Heat oil in a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté shallot, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes. Add hash browns and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Spread potatoes evenly in skillet and cook, undisturbed, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and spread broccoli over potatoes, then pour in egg mixture. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Bake until set 2 inches from edge but still slightly wobbly in center, 12 to 15 minutes.

Turn on broiler. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until top is set, puffed, and golden brown.

So how was the food recipe from Gourmet that is not for hash browns, but that has hash browns in it?
Surprisingly mundane. As in nothing special. As in next time I'd just as soon have a frittata. Which is all well and good, but it does not solve my hash brown problem.

Twelve word solution
"Sweetie, let's go out for breakfast. Some place that has hash browns."