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Sat Apr 12th, 2014

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01:31 pm - Spring random
1. The Front Lawn Library is open for business. Copped a copy of Karen Armstrong's Buddha. The Front Lawn Exchange is likewise a go. Copped a small (8 in square) art deco mirror from across the street. Copped also three wooden louver shutters, hinged in the middle, maybe 10 in wide and three feet high. Probably custom made; if they were three inches higher they'd be perfect for that annoying study window whose left half I spend the summer trying to block. As it is they're almost perfect and I may look forward to not being dazzled/ broiled come July.

2. What a good thing I didn't try reading Adele Blanc-Sec in French, she says palely. It makes no sense in English. I fancy it's not supposed to make sense.

3. Jiro Taniguchi's The Walking Man is a lovely low-key manga whose plump and ordinary protagonist does nothing much except what I did- walk about the neighbourhoods of Japan. It's probably not Tokyo he's walking in, but it could be. (Unnamed protag also strips down and has a swim in a closed public pool, which is most enterprising of him.) I was a little put out that he was always coming home to his plump and ordinary stay-in wife, but then occasionally he runs into her while she's walking the dog, so evidently she gets out as well on occasion.

4. Now that I have it straight that a floury potato is probably one of those brown-skinned ones that looks like it's still got dirt on it, I was able to make Colcannon. Recipe from The Guardian, with rather more kale etc than that wiki article would indicate. A very good way for my system to handle leafy greens-- ie well padded with starch-- but containing rather a lot of dairy (lashings of butter, a cup of milk, and if you're me, Swiss cheese grated on top) and also, of course, potatoes. Research is uncertain if they're really an inflammatory, but for sure I like them too much to be allowed great quantities. Potatoes need to be balanced by lots of steamed vegetables, plain.

2 to 2½ lb / 1kg to 1.25kg russet or other floury potatoes (5 or 6)
6 to 8 tbsp butter
2 to 3 lightly packed cups / 400 to 800g chopped kale or assorted chopped greens, such as kale, parsley, sorrel, spinach, and / or broccoli or cauliflower leaves)
1⅓ cups / 320ml milk
4 scallions, green part only, minced
Salt and pepper

Put the potatoes into a large pot, with the larger ones on the bottom, and add water to come halfway up the potatoes. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water begins to boil, carefully drain off about half of it, then return the pot to the heat, cover it again, reduce the heat to low, and let the potatoes steam for about 40 minutes. Turn off the heat; cover the potatoes with a clean, damp tea towel; and let sit for 5 minutes more.

Melt 4 tbsp of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the kale or assorted greens and cook until just wilted, about 5 minutes.
Combine the milk, scallions, and remaining butter in a medium pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add the greens and stir in well. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and set aside.

Drain and carefully peel the potatoes, then return them to the pot. Add the greens and their liquid and mash until smooth, leaving a few small lumps in the potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve in the traditional Irish manner, push the back of a large soup spoon down in the middle of each portion to make a crater, then put a large pat of room-temperature butter into each one to make a "lake." Diners dip each forkful of colcannon into the butter until its walls are breached.

This recipe is taken from The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews (Chronicle, £30)

(4 comments | post comment)


[User Picture]
Date:April 14th, 2014 08:54 am (UTC)
Yes. The red ones, and frequently the white ones, are 'waxy'. Some are in between.
[User Picture]
Date:April 14th, 2014 11:29 am (UTC)
Since the names seem to be different everywhere you go, and the local doesn't even bother to tell you what kind most of their potatoes are, I was pleased to discover that brown = mush.

I'm still unsure how mushy baking potatoes are, if you boil them instead.
[User Picture]
Date:April 14th, 2014 05:31 pm (UTC)
If you peel them and boil them, they fall apart a bit, get mushy all around the outside surfaces. It's super easy to smash them into mashed potatoes, or with too much water, turn them into fine bits floating in the bottom of the pan. Worth trying with some left overs, if you have any, it's quite fun!
[User Picture]
Date:April 15th, 2014 12:28 am (UTC)
Oh, I remember the 'mushy all around the outside surfaces' and 'fine bits floating'-- waterlogged, messy, tasteless. Shall stick to russets for my mash.

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