What an exciting week this has been! For the first time since I started this blog I’ve let seven whole days go by without posting anything. I’ve spent what little free time I had watching and reading everything I can get my hands on about our new Pope. On Wednesday when the white smoke emerged from the chimney, I was still at work and found out when I checked my Twitter feed. (I was only slightly disappointed that Pope Alarm didn’t text me until I already knew about it.) On the drive to school to pick up the boys I listened to the reports from the Vatican on the radio. The “Habemus Papam” came as I sat in the pickup line. A friend told me that the kids were going crazy inside. When the boys finally emerged, they were breathless. “We have a new Pope!” “His name is Francis!” “Why can’t I stay longer so I can see him??” On the drive home we listened as the new Holy Father came out, asked for prayers, and gave his blessing.
Today I read that Pope Francis said Mass at one of the parish churches in Rome, and afterward shook hands with the worshipers just as an ordinary priest would after Mass. Then he went out in the street and greeted even more people. I loved how following the Angelus, he said, “Have a good Sunday, and have a good lunch!” I think this Pope will do just fine.
Now to the “meat” of this blog post.
I was at the grocery store checkout line a few weeks back, scanning the magazines to see if there were any that might have recipes to try. I picked up the latest issue of Woman’s Day, noticed it was only $2.79 (most of the cooking mags are $5 per issue or more), and started thumbing through it.
Now if you’ll allow me, I’ll go a little bit off-topic: After I started my Cooking Nick’s Books blog, I began to pay more attention to the food in the books I was reading. A while back (probably more than a year ago now), I read Rick Springfield’s memoir, Late, Late at Night. I was a huge fan of Rick as a young teenager (you can read my memories of one of his concerts here), and I read that book somewhat reluctantly. At fourteen, I idolized Rick, and I knew if I read his book I would probably learn things I might not necessarily want to know. My curiosity got the best of me, though; and I will say that yes, I did find out things I didn’t want to know about Rick, but I also gained a new appreciation for him. He was very frank about the struggles and addictions that he has faced throughout his life and career, and how his spirituality (albeit a new-aged type of spirituality–but yes, he does believe in God) helped him work through the dark times in his life.
There is not much food in Rick’s book. I do remember, though, one instance when he was flying home to Australia, hoping his mother would fix him bangers and mash for breakfast. I vaguely wondered what bangers and mash were, and quickly forgot about them. When I picked up this particular Woman’s Day, I suddenly remembered Rick and his love for them. (“Bangers” are sausages. I tried not to think about whether or not that term might have sexual connotations.)
BANGERS AND MASH
1 1/2 pound red potatoes, cut into 3-in. pieces
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 small head green cabbage (about 12 oz), cored and thinly sliced
3/4 cup whole milk or half-and-half
6 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 small links Italian sausage
Whole-grain mustard for serving
1. Place the potatoes in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover; bring to a boil. Add 2 tsp. salt, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cabbage and simmer until the potatoes and cabbage are tender, 5 to 8 minutes more. Drain the potatoes and cabbage, and return them to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the milk, thyme and garlic and bring to a boil; remove from heat.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Prick the sausages with a fork and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and just cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
4. Strain the milk mixture into the pot with the potatoes. Add 1/4 tsp salt and mash. Serve with the sausages and mustard, if desired.
*SWITCH IT UP Instead of cabbage, use 1/2 bunch of kale (stems discarded, leaves torn into 1-inch pieces).
Woman’s Day, March 2013, p. 90
I decided to cook this when Joe would be out of town, because the “mash” part is mashed potatoes mixed with cooked cabbage. That is one of the three things he will NOT eat (the other two being Brussels sprouts and beets); in fact, he swears that the smell of them cooking makes him gag. According to the recipe I could use kale instead, and that’s what I opted to do. When the usual “What’s for dinner?” came and I announced what we were having, the boys were NOT impressed.
I tried to make it more appealing by adding less kale than the recipe called for, although personally I would rather have used more. I got some good sausages from our local butcher; which normally I would either fry up with some peppers and onions and serve on a big old Hoagie roll with cheese, or cook with my mother-in-law’s homemade spaghetti sauce.
(I tried making barbecued kale chips with the leftover greens. I did not dry them off properly, though, so they were a little bit soggy; BUT I put lots of seasoning on them, and they were delicious.)
The Verdict: It was good, and the boys admitted that it wasn’t as bad as they expected (HA); but I think in the future I’ll leave off the greens in my mashed potatoes, and have a sausage sandwich. Pass the peppers and onions, please.
I’ll leave you with EWTN’s broadcast of Pope Francis’ Angelus from this morning. If you have a half hour to spare, I encourage you to watch! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, and have a great week!