Colcannon Croquettes

IMG_2944Happy St. Patrick’s day. As far as I know, I’m not Irish in any way, so I probably have no right to celebrate St. Patrick’s day, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of green-beer-drinking Americans, so why should I let it stop me? Actually I don’t have any Ceilidhs planned, but I did spend some time Reading Yeats’ poems today, in keeping with the situation. I’d never noticed how preoccupied Yeats is with growing older, but now that I’ve started to become more preoccupied with the subject myself, it seems that his poems are suffused with memories and regrets of youth, and fear of growing old and of bodily decay. Many of them are filled with sadness and disappointment, and though they’re beautiful, they’re not easy to read. I love this one, though. I love the idea of thinking in a marrow bone.

A Prayer for Old Age

God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;

From all that makes a wise old man
That can be praised of all;
O what am I that I should not seem
For the song’s sake a fool?

I pray—for word is out
And prayer comes round again—
That I may seem, though I die old,
A foolish, passionate man.

Colcannon is, I’m told “An Irish dish of cabbage and potatoes boiled and pounded.” I made this with kale, rather than cabbage, but they’re both brassicae, so I think that’s okay. Basically this is mashed potatoes with kale, cheese, eggs and herbs mixed in, and then baked in olive oil till they’re crispy outside and soft inside. You can use any herbs you like (or no herbs at all). I used tarragon, rosemary and basil, because I like them and that’s what I had. I made an olive hazelnut sauce to eat these with, but the boys actually at them with catsup!

Here’s The Sickbed of Cuchlainn by the Pogues.
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Tarragon & roasted garlic mashed potatoes

Tarragon mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes! I think they’re the ultimate comfort food! Is there anything better on a cold winter’s night than a big mound of mashed potatoes with butter melting in? I think not! Usually I’m something of a mashed potato purist. I like them with just milk and butter, salt and pepper. Not too smooth – I like a bit of texture. Last night, however, I had the bright idea to mix in some fresh tarragon and roasted garlic, and it turned out delicious! The potatoes have a calming affect on the tarragon, in their stolid potato-ness. The tarragon is still bright and distinctive, but a little more subdued than usual. I got home from work tired and cranky, last night, and I wanted to make something special but simple and quick. I made these, and I poached some portabella mushrooms in herbs, balsamic and olive oil. And then I stuffed them with black pepper boursin and broiled them! Deeeeeelicious.

Here’s Laurel Aitken with the Mashed Potato Boogie.
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