Monday, July 23, 2012
Colcannon makes me happy
I basically cleaned and I am still going through the house finding things that we don't need anymore and donating them to goodwill.
I cannot believe the mass about of things we have collected while we lived in the colonial house. Being in a small cottage house really puts things into perspective. What do we really need and what haven't we used in ages. Sadly it is alot! I haven't gotten into my china cabinet yet and I know that it is important that I do, as the shelves in there are starting to bow. I have slid in most of my holiday platters in there and of course the Christmas china. My collectibles are in there too and the things my mother had in her cabinet before she died. When I get done with my post to you, I am going to start collecting for the donation. UGH!
Moving on to the food in the above picture, I am German. I am also Irish. I love my family's heritage and I also love the food of the old country. My great Grandfather Oren Postma was from Germany, he was a stocky man with wide shoulders, he had a German Accent and so did my Grandma Alice Buwalda who was also stockily built and lovely to look at, when they argued, they broke into their German dialect and most of the grandchildren bolted for the door. I loved to watch the arguments and listen to the language.
Strange? Perhaps, but the arguments were never serious and when it was over, I was the last child standing, so to speak, and got to enjoy the make up kiss and sweet loving words in German.
Grandpa Oren made his own sauerkraut that sat in the cellar in huge 50 gallon crocks and had onions hung in pantyhose all alone the north wall. His garden was built on a hill. The top most level started with corn and the very bottom held berries of all different varieties.
My other grandparents were Irish, with fine delicate features and quiet, not a wisp of Irish in their words, but you would feel the old country in their home. My great grandmother Kathryn was superstitious and believed that if a broom feel company was coming, and I'll be damned if 20 minutes later someone was knocking at the door. My great grandfather Harry Mears, was known around town as Hap, because he was a happy go luck man who found happiness in the darkest places. He was a coal miner when he met Kathryn and fell in love with her when he saw her across the town square. She felt the same way, at the exact same moment and it was destiny that intervened and they were married soon after. Harry bought a little house and all the surrounding land so that my grandmother could garden to hearts delight. The vegetable garden they had covered almost an acre of land and my grandfather would hand till the whole thing in a day. They grew all their own fruit. I remember climbing in the apple tree and laying under the grape vines. But, my favorite spot was the rhubarb patch near the west fence! Dad, as we called my great grandfather, was a fantastic cook and taught my mother many things. Back then they made all their own food and canned it. I can still remember going down into the dark cool cellar and finding row upon rows of beautifully canned vegetables and fruit. Simplicity was the way of both of my great grandparents and my mother inherited the loving ways of both sides. I never had colcannon growing up. At Dad's house the potatoes and cabbage was always served separate on the plate, with various types of pickles in bowls on the table, sometimes beets, perhaps a meat was served, but often it was not.
My grandpa Oren would save all the leftover cooked potatoes from the week and mash them together to make patties heavily laden with black pepper for lunch on Saturday, he either served it with steamed cabbage or fresh sauerkraut and usually a rope of homemade German sausage he had made early in the week. For dessert we would get 1 small scoop of pineapple sherbert. The simplicity of cabbage and potatoes holds a very strong meaning in my heart. Love is the best I can describe it. When I need a comfort food I turn to colcannon. I quietly set out at a slow pace carefully chopping my cabbage and boiling my potatoes, recalling the voices of my childhood. The laughter and the noise associated with family. Pickles are placed in bowls, beets are pickled and set the center of the table. dark German bread and now vegan butter are served and the colcannon is served in summer with corn on the cob fresh from the garden with sliced tomatoes. Simplicity. Plain and simple. That is my happy place.
1 lb. potatoes, any type will do
1/2 head of green cabbage, sliced
1-2 onions, sliced roughly
Leaving the skin on the potatoes, wash well. Boil potatoes whole until a knife inserted comes out clean and potato is delicate and flakes, drain and set on counter top to dry. In a separate pot, boil cabbage until it is crisp tender, drain and place back into the pot. Throw potatoes into the pot as well and mash. In a skillet fry the onions in a little oil until they are caramelized and soft, toss them into the pot too. Mash everything together, you can use broth, margarine or soy milk to your potatoes to make a creamy mash, add lots of pepper and serve. I do all of the cooking at the same time so that it all stays hot. If you have leftovers, make them into patties, coat them in flour and fry in margarine or oil and serve with various pickles and beets for a lazy lunch. Make sure to have German mustard and dark bread on the side.
Today is my mother's birthday, she would have been 66 years old today. I miss her so much, but I know that she is always with me.
Happy Birthday Momma!
Posted by Brandi at 1:03 PM