Thursday, January 30, 2014

Right Now: A Riot of Song and a Full Head of the Aroma of Farewell Dinner

If you were here with me now you would:

... smell the aroma of red onions, cabbage and Kale sauteing in the a large sauce pan as the cubed petite red potatoes bubble away on the back burner. These will all come together with a little milk, freshly ground nutmeg and melted butter to make Colcannon. You would also catch the scent of the Guiness Stout I prepare it for a Guiness & Balsamic Reduction Sauce that will grace the top of the Welsh Rarebit on Sourdough Toast that we are having for dinner.

... likely feel your toes tapping to the snappy tunes of Gaelic Storm. (You might recognize them, they are the band that plays in the basement party on the Titanic just before and during the time that it was sinking in the movie.) Right now we are listening to "A Box of Chickens" which I have included below. While that music is not Gaelic, it is a lot of fun. I think my favorite is "The Bear and the Butcher."

... likely hear us singing sea shanties later on. I've included some of them below, too.

... see Ethan's stuff spread out on the floor as he packs for his tip to California tomorrow. He will fly to Santa Barbara, then take a taxi and train ride to Ventura. If time allows, he will do a bit of quick shopping at a surplus store to pick up some rubber boots and other things he needs for the sailing adventure.

... see the snow falling in wet, thick flakes outside. It is predicted that 7" - 11" of snow will fall over night. Kids all over the city are praying for a snow day. I imagine that a good number of teachers are, too. I expect that we will have school, but that the classrooms will only be dotted with a few kids.

... most likely be asked to let Remmie in or out. He loves the cold and the snow. He has invented a game that is sort of hike and seek with his toys in the snow. He tosses them in the air, then chases after them, looking for them in the snow. When he gets too cold he wolfs slightly at the window by the door, trotting in happily once you open the door. His dark coat glistens with the wetness and glitters with the snowflakes that are as of yet in tact and whole. Soon he will ask to go out again.

... possibly miss hearing the latest news in the sailing tales as told by Dana, in Two Years Before the Mast.

... possibly want to discuss the recent viewing of "Master and Commander."

... know that Ellie is not part of the mix as she is away at a babysitting gig.

... know that I am tempted to sign up for "Life Scripted," an online brush stroke lettering class.

Welsh Rarebit with Guiness Balsamic Reduction Sauce

2 bottles Guiness Stout
1 1/2 TBL Balsamic Vinegar
2 TBL Butter
2 TBL Flour
1 TBL Mustard Powder
1/2 tea Cayenne
2 TBL Worcestershire Sauce
1 # Cheddar Cheese, Grated (about 2 cups, roughly)
1 loaf of good bread (today it is sourdough)

To make the Reduction -
In a heavy sauce pan place 1 bottle of stout and heat on medium until reduced by at least half. (Make sure to use a pan with plenty of room. I started out in a smaller pan only to find that heating the stout causes it to foam significantly.)Once the reduction is done, stir in the balsamic vinegar. It takes the bitter edge off of the stout reduction. Do this to taste.

Preparing the Toast -

Preheat the broiler on high. Be sure the rack is close to the heating element. Slice the loaf into as many pieces as you like. Place them on a cookie tray and broil them until they are lightly browned. Be sure to keep on eye on them as they burn easily. Flip them over and toast the other side half as much.

Make the Cheese Sauce -
Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add in the flour and stir with a whisk over medium heat until lightly browned. Be sure to stir the entire time so that it does not burn. Add in mustard and cayenne, stirring until fragrant. Next, whisk in 1 bottle of Guiness stout and the Worcestershire sauce. Once this part of the sauce is combined, remove from the heat and let cool until it is about 158 degrees. (This temperature will melt the cheese without causing it to become grainy or change the smooth texture.) Fold in the cheese
and stir to melt. (At this point the cheese sauce can be refrigerated for up to a day or so.)

To Serve -
Place the toast on the the cooking sheet, pale side up. Spread the mixture on top of the bread and place under the broiler until bubbly. (The broiler part is optional.) Add a tiny bit of the Guiness Reduction sauce on top and serve. It is traditional to add a side of tomato slices. It is also lovely with tomato soup. We liked it with a Caesar Salad.

via: Barefoot in the Kitchen blog
Yield: 6 servings

3 slices bacon (I omitted this so that Larr could eat this)
2 lbs small red potatoes, chopped into 1" pieces
1/2 small head of napa cabbage, about 4 cups chopped small
(1 bunch Kale, cleaned, torn off of the spine and chopped - my addition to the recipe)
1 small yellow onion, about 3/4 cup chopped small
1/3 cup milk
kosher salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
(Pinch of Freshly ground Nutmeg (optional)I added this in, too. A small bit of nutmeg brightens the palette.)
2 tablespoons butter, soft or melted

Place the potatoes in a pot, along with enough water to cover them. Add 2 teaspoons salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 15-18 minutes.

While the potatoes are boiling, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium high heat. When the bacon has browned and is slightly crisp, remove to a paper towel lined plate. Reserve about a tablespoon of the bacon grease and drain the rest. Leave the rest of the drippings in the skillet. Add the onions to the hot skillet with the bacon grease and saute over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Add the cabbage and toss lightly while it sautes and wilts, about 5 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper as it cooks.

Drain and place the potatoes back in the hot pot. Place the pot back over the still-warm burner (or if your stove is gas, set the heat to the lowest setting). Mash the potatoes over very low heat and add the milk, 1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Fold in the cooked and crumbed bacon, cabbage, and onions. Transfer to a serving bowl, form a small well in the center and fill with the butter. Serve hot. Enjoy!

"Box of Chickens" Gaelic Storm

"I'm Going Back to the Sea" by the Jolly Rogers (not exactly family friendly if the kids are old enough to understand the references.)

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