Monday, September 28, 2009

Settling into a new kitchen - Kielbasa, Tatsoi & Kasha

Everything I own is in boxes or bags, or bags inside boxes and I am feeling rather flustered. Moving sucks.

Moving into a 100 year old space, that clearly wasn't originally intended to be what it now is (an apartment) throws a real wrench into the system. Don't get me wrong, I am loving the fact that there is laundry in the place, but the only spot for the washing machine to be is in the pantry... and where you ask is the dryer? Well across the room next to the refrigerator, of course.

The kitchen is particularly perplexing because I don't really know how or where things should go. (Does warming oneself by the dryer, at breakfast, really seem like the most appealing place to put a kitchen table? The other option is next to the bedroom - breakfast could quite literally be in bed, daily.)

And since I don't know where to put things, I have ignored the boxes filled with pots, pans and spices. I ignored them until this evening when I decided I needed to make dinner. Not a snack or a makeshift picnic on the floor with some cheese from the fridge (the fridge contains 4 eggs, some Armenian string cheese and 3 slices of sopressata), no I needed to make a proper supper.

I grabbed a few items from the farmers market and was intent on creating a meal. Then I got home and remembered that I still hadn't unpacked anything. I set out to find my cast iron skillet - its missing; I fear its buried under books. During the hunt I unearthed a few spices and set them atop the shelf over the stove. (AH ha! things are starting to make sense!) I found a pot and a wooden spoon and a knife and got to cutting up the smoked kielbasa, onions and tatsoi (Japanese spinach).

I seared the kielbasa (Austin Brothers Farm) then added a little water to help it braise. In went the onions and some ground celery seed and aleppo pepper. (Salt and black pepper are still unaccounted for) While they were steaming, I got to thinking about a starch and remembered I had some kasha (toasted buckwheat) and once the meat was hot through and the onions had softened, I threw two handfuls in. Once the kasha burst open, I added in the roughly chopped tatsoi, just to wilt.

Without silverware to be had, my wooden spoon doubled as a fork and knife. The dish was a little sweet from the onions and kasha, smoky and a little bit salty from the kielbasa, a hint of heat from the aleppo, and the greens helped balance the dish out from being too heavy. Sure, a pinch of salt and pepper and maybe a dash of vinegar would have made this even better, but its hopefully the first of many new adventures in my new home.

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