Friday, October 9, 2015

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Kielbasa and Kraut

This morning I woke up to that feeling of having someone with a large, strong hand squeezing at my heart. I've taken my medication, for what my doctor diagnosed as Barlow's Syndrome, faithfully since November 15, 1981. Except Barlow's Syndrome is mitral valve prolapse and this involves my tricuspid valve.  I'm beginning to think I should have gone to a cardiologist for a second opinion, but I have lived with this for so long, the urgency has sort of disappeared.

Ab, uski jan meri mutti me hai! 

The medication, which is a beta-blocker, is almost always effective except when it isn't. And right now it isn't although it will be soon because I've just taken my morning dose. Except the medication is supposed to be extended release, but lately it doesn't seem to be extending far enough into the day. When I was younger, I could fight through the discomfort and throw my whole self into my job. Unfortunately, those days are gone.        

Today's news was mostly grim, but there was one humorous touch: Republican Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority leader, has withdrawn from the race for Speaker of the House, a position he was geared to move into without issue, following the "retirement" of John Boehner. That was, until he opened his mouth. In what can only be characterized as an "excited utterance", and therefore trustworthy enough to qualify as an exception to the hearsay rule if hearsay had been involved, he blurted out that the House select committee on Benghazi, led by the impossibly coiffed and unbearably self-righteous Trey Gowdy (the man with the most confusing hair in Congress), was an attempt to hurt Hillary Clinton's poll numbers.  I hope Mrs. Clinton sent him a hand-written thank you note. It was probably one of the few times that a politician came out and spoke the unvarnished truth. Oops.

Which brings up the serious question that if the President and the majority of state Governors are subject to term limits, why not the members of Congress?

Chef Paul Prudhomme has passed away at the age of 75. God rest his soul.

Things are quiet around the garden; we are awaiting the delivery of yards and yards of dirt, to fill in and build up the planting boxes. My son, bless him, took on the onerous task of the cat litter box, which I had planned to deal with this morning. I think I can cook, but nothing complicated, and that's why I have planned on kielbasa and kraut, and some Italian pinwheel rolls.

But first, I want to revisit the beef stew. This morning I pulled it out of the refrigerator and proceeded to remove the layer of fat that had conveniently risen to the top and hardened. You can see that some of the seasoning - those are thyme leaves - came with it.  No way to avoid it, and that is why I recommend checking for seasoning after the fat is removed on the second day.  Just a reminder that the beef heart is glorious. I would have no reservations about replacing all of the stew beef with beef heart.

Kielbasa and Kraut

Kielbasa and Kraut is one of the easiest dishes to make, and one that my husband and son will scarf up with alacrity, forsaking all else I've cooked that week. When you look at the ingredients you may go "ick" - who combines sour cream with sauerkraut? - but it works so well, you really should try it at least once.

1 pound sliced kielbasa (I have always used Hillshire Farms for this. Always.)
2 onions, halved and sliced
1 - 1 pound jar sauerkraut, drained but not rinsed (I prefer Silver Floss Bavarian Style)
kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
caraway seeds, to taste
1 cup dairy sour cream
1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise (Hellmann's, please)

Place the onions into the bottom of a deep, no-stick skillet. Cover with the kielbasa. Cover the pan and steam over medium-low heat until the onions are soft. Remove the cover, mix in the sauerkraut, salt, pepper and caraway seeds, and let heat through.

Just before serving, mix the sour cream with the mayonnaise to make a smooth sauce.  Add slowly to the kielbasa, stirring over a low heat.  Add more pepper if necessary.  Serve with some kind of noodle side dish.

The pinwheels ... ahhhhh, I was so sure I had already posted this recipe - I made the first batch last week, took some good photos - that I was surprised when I couldn't find the post. More brain fog, I presume. Anyway, I did make them today, and they came out even better than the first batch, and I will type it all up for tomorrow's blog.

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