Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ashkenazic Soul Food - Kasha Varnishkes

Tuesday - Damn, Damn, DAMN sneaky son of a bitch. I hate you fibromyalgia!

On Tuesday, after struggling to finish and publish the blog post I mostly wrote on Monday, that back pain blossomed into a total body experience which completely unravelled me. Fortunately I was already sprawled out on the couch, because if I'd had to actually walk to it, I wouldn't have made it.  My head became totally fogged up and I could not think straight, dithering with myself about buttermilk until I realized I had no chance of getting to  my car much less driving it to the market. I stayed in pain for hours after passing out on the couch. (Expletive deleted).

Wednesday - Good thing I typed up the kasha recipe the other day, because otherwise I would have nothing to offer you in the way of food.  Today I have to concentrate on a pile of disability paperwork before anything  else. (Ha ha, right. Maybe tomorrow.)

Uh oh, it seems I did not yet type up the kasha varnishkes recipe. You get the chicken wings today, the kasha on Thursday and the green bean casserole on Friday. That's my plan, but with fibromyalgia on the loose, who knows?

Thursday, and I'm still trying to pull myself together enough to publish a post with a recipe.  I think perhaps I need not to discuss politics or the Middle East, as both topics pull my mood down to the depths of Hell.  I fear for Israel to the point I feel sick over it.

Let me talk about happy things - slowly but surely my garden is pulling together. The rain is slowing us down a bit, but I hope to start planting this weekend.  I could have never done this if we had stayed in Hunter's Creek because of the strict covenants. Everything happens for a reason. It looks like the reason we had to leave that house was okra. And fresh herbs from my garden rather than from Publix. And a tomato named Mr. Stripey.

The wood frames are complete and almost all are filled with clean dirt

Look carefully - that's a jalapeño 

Kumquats ripening on my tree, just in time for fresh cranberry relish

Lettuce entertain you

Tomorrow is my cousin Cary's birthday. He is exactly my age plus eight weeks, and as I've often explained, he's my brother from another mother. Since our mothers were sisters, two crazy peas in a pod, no one understand our dysfunctional childhoods like we understand each other's. I love him dearly as I do his wife Maura and can't wait till our Alaska cruise next summer.

Now it can be told: the answer to the question "what do Emeril Lagasse, Ina Garten and Guy Fieri have in common, if it's not Food Network?"

Three different dates, a series of appearances at the Dr. Phillips' Center, and we have tickets.  I am totally excited to see them all. We got fairly decent seats, too.

Saturday we are going to a special 50th birthday party for our friend Laura. Since I've had to miss the last few social engagements because of ill-timed miserable fibro flairs, I am determined to make this one if I have to be wheeled in on a borrowed golf cart (it would have to be borrowed because neither Rob nor I play golf). I am crazy (as in crazy good) about the concept: we all go to a rather nice restaurant for dinner together, and in lieu of gifts, we go "Dutch." I love love love the idea. And after dinner we all go to a special suite - not sure what that's about, perhaps the birthday cake or an after-dinner drink.  Adults only. I love it! Did I tell you I love it? Why do I love it? Because picking out birthday gifts for adults is ridiculous. Chances are the adult doesn't really need anything, unless you are the type to buy cars and expensive jewelry for close friends. I would rather pay for my dinner and enjoy everyone's company. Very happy. I realize some people may be offended by the concept, but not me. Or Rob. I think it is brilliant.

I finally worked out the recipe for the green bean casserole. Thanksgiving will never be the same. Instead of cream of mushroom soup and some milk, my sauce is made from crimini mushrooms, fresh onions and garlic, mo' butter, fresh herbs, half-and-half, and wine, baby, wine, a nice bright Chardonnay. God willing and the crick don't rise, you get that recipe tomorrow.

Just a preview

And now finally, true Ashkenzic soul food - where else can you get so much satisfaction from a bunch of onions?

Kasha Varnishkes

1 cup coarse kasha (buckwheat groats)
1 extra large beaten egg
2 cups boiling water
4 onions, chopped
canola or corn oil
1 - 8 oz. package bowtie egg noodles (Manischewitz brand)
kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

In a large pot, boil the noodles according to package directions, rinse under cool water, and drain well.

Put the kasha into a heavy skillet; stir in the egg, coating each grain. Turn the heat to medium-low and stir the kasha until just dry, with each grain separate. Pour in the boiling water; cover and cook on low until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Fry the onions in a good amount of oil until soft and golden brown.

In the large pot you used to cook the noodles, combine the kasha and the noodles together.  Add in the onions and all the cooking oil. Add the salt and pepper to taste.  Mix everything together; add a very little extra oil if dry. Heat together over low heat. Serve immediately or transfer to a baking pan, cover and refrigerate. Reheat in oven, still covered, until warmed all the way through, for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

This doubles easily; yes, I know that's eight onions to peel and chop and fry but it is totally, completely, indubitably worth it.

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