Quite a few people are expressing concern about the current economic downturn. While I am of the personal opinion that it has more to do with old men playing with imaginary numbers, that doesn't change the reality that many families are worried and suffering right now for many basic things, like food.
I was born outside of my generation, raised by a mother who felt the hand of the Depression still present within every action, every mouthful. The order of the day was always waste nothing, learn how to stretch every meal to it's fullest on the smallest amount of money, make do, and use your noggin.
In light of that, I'd like to share a few of my favorite recipes to help you make it through the best and worst of times, keep everyone in your circle happy, safe, and fed.
First up is colcannon. Some say that is an "ancient Irish dish" but that is a matter best left to historians. Some say that it dates from turn of the century Irish immigrants, but other dishes in the Old World seem remarkably similar. Either way, it's delicious, and no matter how much you make, the pot will always be licked clean by the end of the night, it's cheap and can feed lots of people. I must give fair warning: My recipes are never in exact measurements, but rather "a pinch, a bit, a pile"rather than 1 cup etc. It makes altering a recipe a bit easier, if you only have 1/2 an onion, or whatever.
You will need:
1/4-1/2 of a large purple cabbage (green is more traditional, but purple gives it a rich, fresh flavor)
about 10+ well sized potatoes
1 stick of butter (it really isn't the same with margarine, but that will do in a pinch)
black pepper, preferably cracked
Oil. Either olive, or whatever you have on hand.
Milk, cream, or half-and-half.
Chop the onions; it doesn't have to be minced or cut finely. This is hearty peasant fare, and tastes better when you treat it as such. Heat the oil in your pan, and add a bit of the rosemary when it seems to be crackling nicely. Add the onions and allow them to caramelize slightly, sort of brown around the edges, but not black. Chop the cabbage into about finger width shreds, and add them to the pan. Throw in some salt; it helps to bring out the flavor, and allows the cabbage to break down a bit faster.
While all this is happening, take a potato, throw it in the microwave for two minutes, flip it, and go for another two minutes. This is the big time saver! Or you can bake them in the oven ahead of time. Slice the potatoes, skin and all, into your pot. Add a bit of water, milk/cream, and sliced butter to taste. Basically, you are making homemade smashed potatoes, see?
Turn the burner on beneath it, and mash the potatoes. The consistency doesn't have to be Betty Crocker boxed perfect, you really don't notice it.Just get it as smooth as you can. Add a healthy amount of rosemary, a bit of thyme, and salt and pepper. Stir in the entire lovely pan of cabbage, onions etc., give it a stir, and ring the dinner bell.
Warning: It is best to stand to the side, because you WILL be trampled in the kitchen by hungry hordes ;)
Next time, bread or biscuits. Which ever you like. How to REALLY cook grits, maybe? Mmm fried apples... *drool*
Blessings to you and yours,
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