Sunday, February 14, 2010

Vegetables Everywhere

We do try to eat healthy around here but February can be a trying time. We've mostly eaten what little we froze from last season's garden--it was devoured by groundhogs, except for the peppers and tomatoes. There are pickled peppers left but one can't live on pickled peppers alone.

The grocery store was filled with vegetables from far away. But they are somewhat fresh and looked very tempting.

For supper, I made a big pot of collard greens/ Then I sauteed peppers, napa cabbage and garlic in olive oil. We ate the last of a big piece of nan bread from Stick Boy in Boone. Good meal. Tasty.

But it's reminded me that gardening season should be upon us here in the mountains of WNC. But it isn't. We still have snow--more on its way tonight, we are told. The ground is too wet and too cold. Usually by this time, I have onion sets in the ground.

But not this year. I'm a little worried.

I cooked those lovely peppers in a relatively new cast iron pan. I have several old ones, ones I use all the time. I can't recall where I got this one--maybe on sale at Lodge. It hadn't been properly seasoned and as a result, I didn't use it. With all the recent snow and cold, it behooved me to do the job right and so I did.

Now it just needs a job of use and it'll be fine.

I love a good cast-iron frying pan. Everyone ought to have one. Or two. Or four.

They take a lot of attention--they are high-maintenance cooking tools. But treat them right and you will pass them down to your grandchildren. Perfectly seasoned. Ready to use.

Wonder how much family cookery DNA gets passed down that way. Does my oldest pan have a molecule of my grandmother's stewed potatoes and cabbage? The same dish I make now for comfort food when life is too hard?

I like to think so.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Yeah, You Heard Me. I Said "Livermush."

Here in the South, we eat all sorts of interesting things. Squirrel, okra, head cheese. Don't ask. One of the things we eat is called livermush.

Bear with me a moment.

You see, Burns Night was a little over a week ago. That got me thinking about haggis...of course. Now, friends, I am not a haggis hater. I have had some quite delectable haggis in Scotland, in fact.

So I checked out cookery books and Google and could find not so many easy haggis recipes. So I gave up on it and simply drank Scotch instead.

Quite the celebration.

But I was at the grocery store a few days ago and found myself inexplicably drawn to the bologna and hot dog cooler. Why? Why am I standing here amongst things I rarely eat?

My eye caught the unappetizing grey square over to one side. Livermush.


Thanks for your patience--here's the point. Haggis is a bunch of animal (sheep or pig usually) bits chopped up and cooked with oatmeal. Livermush is pork bits chopped up and cooked with cornmeal.

Except for the casing, they are remarkably similar. Even in taste.

So, I am experimenting with an Appalachian haggis for next Burns Night. Next step is to find some proper casings.

Then I'll post some pictures.

Fingers crossed, dear foodies. This could either be brilliant or a total flaming disaster.