Thursday, April 25, 2013

Boiled Over with Guest Blogger: Laura Bickle

Get Cookin' with author Laura Bickle 
today at the Book Boost!

Superstitious Comfort Food – Boiled Dinner

In honor of Grilled Cheese Month, I’d like to offer up one of my favorite comfort foods…Boiled Dinner!

It does not have a sexy name, sorry. For a moment, I thought about giving it one, calling it “Kielbasa Pommes de Terre” or something. But this is comfort food. Simple food, simple name, right?

My mom used to make Boiled Dinner when I was a kid. It takes a while to cook and makes the house smell delish! My mom will still call me when she makes it, and I’ll be on her doorstep within fifteen minutes, holding a Tupperware container like it’s Trick-or-Treat.

This recipe always brings me back to childhood, making me want to curl up under a blanket with a good book. We always used to eat this on New Year’s Day, so I tend to associate it with winter vacations. There’s a superstition that eating cabbage on New Year’s Day brings money in the New Year. And New Year’s Day is a holiday rife with superstitions. Eating pork on that day is rumored to make one look forward to the future, and eating black-eyed-peas are supposed to bring luck.

We observed a lot of food superstitions in our house. On Thanksgiving, my brother and I would dig for the wishbone buried in the Turkey. We’d play tug-of-war to see who would get the larger piece (and whose wish would be granted). We tossed salt over our shoulders if we spilled it. Garlic is supposed to ward off evil. It must have worked. We never saw vampires at our house, but that might just be because my dad loved garlic and it was in pretty much everything.

I still cook with a whole lot of garlic and squabble with my brother over the wishbone at Thanksgiving. I’d love to continue the New Year’s tradition of cabbage, but my husband is not a fan of cabbage (event though I SWEAR that the cabbage is cooked so that it tastes almost exactly like a potato). For the time being, Boiled Dinner gets made at our house when he’s visiting the in-laws. One day, I vow to bring him over to the dark side.

It’s a really easy recipe. The ingredient amounts aren’t exact – just use whatever you’ve got around. It always turns out delicious.

Boiled Dinner Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. kielbasa (one package that you get at the supermarket is perfect)
  • 1-2 medium onions (depends on how much you love onion!)
  • 5 medium potatoes
  • 8 carrots (or a bag of the mini-peeled ones)
  • 1/2 cabbage head
  • salt & pepper

Peel potatoes, onion, and carrots, then and cut them into medium-sized chunks. Chop cabbage and kielbasa into medium chunks (about the same size as the potato chunks, so everything cooks evenly).

Put ingredients in a dutch oven and cover with water. Add salt and pepper. Bring to boiling, then turn down heat allow to simmer for an hour-ish The important thing is to cook until potatoes and carrots are soft.

Made too much? Fear not! This is one of the few dishes I’ve encountered that tastes even better when re-heated. Sort of like chili.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Do you associate it with any particular ritual or superstition? Is there something that you MUST have on a particular holiday?

A Note from the Book Boost:  Fave comfort food is my grandmother's chicken/vegetable soup which no one in the world can duplicate exactly.  My mother's is a close second and I have a new version which I call Sopa de Pollo because of its Mexican seasoning (I chose to add this because hubby and I like it spicy).  It is good all year round, but always makes me think of fall--my fave time of year.  Thanks for joining us and making me hungry!  Please tell us more about your book.


If your home was the last safe place on earth, would you let a stranger in?

Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers are free to experience non-Amish culture before officially joining the church. But before Rumspringa arrives, Katie’s safe world starts to crumble. It begins with a fiery helicopter crash in the cornfields, followed by rumors of massive unrest and the disappearance of huge numbers of people all over the world. Something is out there…and it is making a killing.

Unsure why they haven’t yet been attacked, the Amish Elders make a decree: no one goes outside their community, and no one is allowed in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man lying just outside the boundary of their land, she can’t leave him to die. She refuses to submit to the Elders’ rule and secretly brings the stranger into her community—but what else is she bringing in with him?

Want More Laura?

Laura Bickle’s professional background is in criminal justice and library science, and when she’s not patrolling the stacks at the public library she’s dreaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs (she also writes contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams). Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and six mostly-reformed feral cats. "The Hallowed Ones" is her first young adult novel. 

Visit her on the web here:

Pick up a copy of her book today!  Click here.

1 comment:

Laura Bickle said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Kerri!