Saturday, November 20, 2010

Colcannon in color

Colcannon with  real and fake squash, plus a pear.
It was a stormy Friday night, snowing and blowing so that the evening dog walk was severely truncated. It was fun to walk (or in Parker's case gallop in excited circles) with my back to the wind as the snow zipped by and whirled around in the street, but facing into it was another matter. I needed full Sumas Northeaster gear instead of the girly little scarf and hat I'd grabbed on the way out the door. It was hard to breathe, and the sleety flakes stung.

So we came back early and I made some colcannon, the Irish potato/cabbage combo that got many a poor family through winters like these, until the potato famine wiped out even this basic fare. Colcannon is mashed potatoes, boiled cabbage, butter and salt, and maybe some scallions. Winter Harvest has a recipe, but you don't really need one.

There's a nostalgic song about colcannon, which the Kulshan Chorus will be singing at our concert this December 11. One verse goes:

Well did you ever make colcannon,
Made with lovely pickled cream
With the greens and scallions mingled
Like a picture in a dream
Did you ever make a hole on top
To hold the meltin' flake
Of the creamy flavoured butter
That our mothers used to make...

Well, I like colcannon well enough, and I like the song, but I don't seem to be true enough to my Celtic roots to dream about it. It's not exactly exciting stuff. And that got me thinking....what if it were more colorful, literally?  So I whipped some up with the purple potatoes and red cabbage from my Osprey Farms CSA, with results seen above. Whether this is a picture from a sweet dream or a nightmare depends on how you feel about purple food, I guess. My housemate says it would look better on a hotrod. The bread is celeriac bread (also in Winter Harvest), which is basically Irish soda bread, with celeriac. It's tasty.

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