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Gardener's Grapevine 2013.04.17

on . Posted in Gardener's Grapevine

Wow, what an insanely busy week this past one was for Art and me. There is a saying that we plan and God laughs. Well, he must have been roaring with laughter this week. I started out thinking last Sunday that the week would be a breeze due to my doctor being out three of the five days, leaving lots of catch-up time with a concentrated effort of getting ahead. Friday I think I actually heard God laughing.

For those of you who don’t know, I am a nurse at Maumee Ob/Gyn for Dr. Kristal Ward. Each doctor has their own nurse who is responsible for keeping the wheels turning.  With all this said you can probably all see why the peas are not in the ground yet. I just can’t wait to play in the dirt, but the closest I got this weekend was raking the church grounds of winter debris and getting the thatch out of the grass.

Every year I like to assess the overall condition of the church grounds and get a general idea of what needs attention. The major need I can see is mulch spread in a few places and the boulevard is a mess. It will have to be replanted with grass. Not such a major amount of work. I enjoy working outside at our church; there is a peaceful feeling to it. The Congregational Church is very old, very beautiful inside and out and whoever planned it out did a nice job. The landscaping area is not very large so it accents the building without taking away from it.

​I, like a lot of other people, have a little Irish in my background. My kids would tell you it comes out in my temper. Not sure that’s true, but we’ll go with it. My husband would tell you it comes out in the red in my hair. I don’t know but I do know that I have a pretty strong interest in Ireland and my son is in love with it since his graduation trip there. He says the country epitomizes peace, tranquility and a simpler way of life. I don’t know about that when they are noted for having fiery tempers.

The reason for this little side trip to the Irish is that I read a great article this week on potatoes and the Irish dishes made from them. The Irish are known for potatoes and from the sounds of it they know how to do them right.

Here is a recipe for “Irish Champ,” a different take on mashed potatoes: 2 pounds of boiling potatoes, ½ cup nonfat milk, 1 bunch of green onions or a scallion in ¼ inch pieces, one pat butter, sliced or grated cheddar or Jarlsberg cheese. Cover potatoes with water, cook, then drain. Put the onions, milk and butter in a container and cook on the stovetop or in microwave until heated through, but do not boil. Mash potatoes with hand masher and add onion mixture. The final step is to stir in the cheese. It is traditional to leave potato lumps so avoid using a mixer to mash potatoes.

Another variation of this is called “Colcannon” and the only difference is to add 2/3 cup of kale, cabbage, collard greens, swiss chard, spinach, etc., with tough stems removed and chopped into spoon size pieces, steamed or sautéed. Greens must be patted dry. These are added to the champ with the onion milk mixture. It looked delicious in the picture.

The final recipe was for Spuds 'n Swedes. Peel 2 pounds of potatoes and 2 cups of rutabagas, dice both into half-inch chunks, cover rutabagas with water and boil 10 minutes. Then add potatoes and more water and cook 20 minutes or until done (stick a fork in, if it goes in easily, they’re done). Drain and mash a whole lot. Heat ½ cup milk and ½ medium leek with tough green leaves removed and white part diced together and heat until hot, not boiling. Add this to potatoes and stir all together. Serve with poached eggs or fried sunny side up eggs. The potatoes are put in a bowl with the eggs on top. I plan a little Irish food trip soon and hope you will, too.

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