Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Culinary Confessions and a Non-Recipe for Colcannon

As you know, this blog is focused on produce and community-supported agriculture, and it features a lot of from-scratch recipes. But I didn't always eat or cook this way. My culinary beginnings included a fair amount of Cheez Whiz and Bisquick, brownie mixes, and cans of cream-of-mushroom soup -- though, fortunately, not all in the same dish.

Every once in a while I still dip into the realm of "semi-homemade"; which is why The Programmer did not get a home-baked layer cake on his birthday, but rather a parfait that featured instant pudding mix, frozen whipped topping, strawberries, and cubes of angel food cake. The cake, which I had in the freezer, was homemade, but it may have been a relic from The Programmer's birthday celebration last year. This reminded us of the "leftover parfait" bit from Malcolm in the Middle. Ours was a leftover parfait parfait.

Pudding Parfait
Not from scratch ...
but it tasted good.

By way of redemption, I present to you a non-recipe for Colcannon, just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Colcannon is simply boiled potatoes mashed with boiled cabbage or kale -- seasonal ingredients and authentic to Ireland.

Colcannon (Kale version)

Use a waxy potato variety, such as Yukon Gold, for mashing. I cut my potatoes into quarters for boiling, and don't bother peeling them until they have cooked.

Colcannon made with kale
Boil and drain about 2 pounds of potatoes. Let them cool slightly and remove peels as needed. Mash the potatoes, adding butter and warm milk, or pareve margarine and potato-boiling liquid, depending on whether you need to keep the recipe dairy free. Keep the mashed potatoes warm.

Meanwhile, remove and discard the stems from a bunch of kale. Roughly chop the leaves and boil or steam them until tender. Let the kale cool a bit, then chop finely.

Mix the cooked kale into the mashed potatoes, adding salt and pepper to taste. And that's pretty much it, though you could easily add in onions, garlic, or other seasoning if you like. If you have more cooked kale than you need for the potatoes, save it for another use, such as quiche or soup.

1 comment:

  1. The Parfait is REALLY good. Even though it is leftovers.