Hippie hash — my take on the signature dish at Lansing, Michigan’s Fleetwood Diner
When I think of Fleetwood Diner, I think of summer 2009, my last three months before I moved to Brooklyn, during which I had two classes to finish, but few other responsibilities aside from a couple shifts a week at the newspaper, some freelance work, and planning my big move. That summer consisted of plenty of group trips to breakfast after late nights out at house parties or at our favorite bars — most of which ended in friends sleeping on my couch or floor, occasionally with Taco Bell wrappers on the floor next to them. By the time we’d meet up at Fleetwood in the morning, some of us were usually hungover, and all of us were always hungry.
Aside from post-party breakfasts, the whole summer was filled with great food. My friends and I started a restaurant club — a last chance at places we needed to try before leaving East Lansing (more great breakfast at Golden Harvest, Ethiopian at Altu’s, Mexican at Mango’s); we squeezed as many as six of us into my Oldsmobile grandpa car and drove 20 minutes to the most amazing produce market/grocery store, Horrocks; we took over the huge kitchen at my co-op house to cook big meals and have potlucks.
That summer, as well as the two years I lived in that house (with 13 other students) played a huge part in my love of cooking. There were so many times when at least five of us would be in the kitchen making dinner at the same time — we’d share cooking tips, try each other’s food, and eat together. In New York, the nights I’m usually happiest are when my closest friends in the city come over for what we call our “family dinners.” We pick a theme (sushi, dumplings, holiday cookies, soup), pitch in ingredients, maybe drink a little wine, and make a meal together. It’s the best.
I should also note that I made this for brunch with my friend Missy, one of my best friends and creative partners in crime, who made the move to New York just a few months after I did. (She definitely was not the one sleeping on my floor next to the Taco Bell wrappers. And that definitely did not happen two nights in a row.)
Anyway, this playlist is a bunch of songs my friends and I spent a lot of time with that summer — there’s nothing groundbreaking here, and any music nerds listening will not be impressed, but that’s not the point. Summer ’09 = great food + these songs. You can even listen as you make this dish. Enjoy!
A lot of this one is open to interpretation and based on your own tastes, but this is what we did.
2 small potatoes, shredded (and peeled if you want) and drained. I used a potato ricer to get the liquid out, but you can use a strainer and press down with paper towel.
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small onion
1/2 c to 1 c broccoli
4 mushrooms, sliced
1/3 large green pepper, diced
A few cherry tomatoes, quartered (or any other kind of tomatoes, diced)
Vegetable oil for the potatoes; olive oil for the rest of the veggies
• Heat a thin layer of oil in one pan; fry the potatoes with the garlic. I recommend doing this in a couple shifts so the potatoes have more room to spread out and get crispier.
• In another pan, heat a bit of olive oil and saute the garlic, onions, peppers, mushrooms and broccoli.
• When the potatoes and veggies are done, mix them all into one pan and add the tomatoes, then the feta (however much you want; we probably used about a quarter cup), before taking it off the heat.
• Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with eggs done however you’d like.
EDIT: Just realized I totally forgot to post a photo of the *real* hippie hash, so here you go.