Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tradition... Tradition!

Sorry... obscure Fiddler on the Roof reference.  But Tevya was right... tradition is important.

I love food.  I know... shocking, right?  Food is a major part of my life - sustenance for the soul, not just the body.  My family has always had celebration and holiday dinners and meals, and so cooking and certain foods really hold great memories for me.  I am sure most of you can probably relate... a particular scent, flavor, or a special dish can remind you of a certain person or time in your life.  In my family, a lot of our traditions involve food.

My father is Swiss, so we often have special traditional meals for holidays.  We have fondue, or raclette, spaetzle, wurst, lebkuchen... I am getting hungry.   Impressive, since I just finished a super-yummy dinner.  Anyway, my Mom has always made black-eyed peas for dinner to celebrate the New Year.  She said it was to bring good luck in the new year.  Now, I am not a superstitious person, but I will fess up that I did add some black-eyed peas to the dinner I made tonight... just in case.  :)

I want to share this dinner with you because I am feeling sentimental... I blame it on the wine.  In any case, my grandfather (I miss you, Pago!) used to make meals by emptying the refrigerator into a skillet.  We would have scrambies for breakfast, which was eggs scrambled with everything else in the refrigerator.  For dinner, same concept, only using rice or pasta or potatoes as the starch.  This is a fabulous way to get rid of your leftovers, by the way.

So tonight... in honor of Pago, my celebratory New Year Dinner cleaned out the fridge.  And had black-eyed peas, in case Mom is right.  :)  I am never one to turn down the chance at good luck.  Although, please don't curse me by sending email chain letters because I confess, I delete them without reading.
 Tonight's dinner started with wurst.  Some bratwurst and weisswurst from Edelweiss Deli in Portland, OR.  If you are local to the Portland area, you have got to check out this place.  They make their own wurst (sausages), and have a phenomenal cheese selection, cold cuts, European Beer, bread, chocolates, spaetzle... it is a gastronomic heaven, I swear.

 Then I added some onions and garlic, because everything Pago made had onions and garlic.  I learned this from him, and I am firm believer that onions and garlic go with everything!

 The sausages go in a skillet on medium high-heat.  No need to add oil or butter... just the sausages.

 As the sausages start to sweat, add the onions and garlic.  Saute until the onions are translucent.

 Now you add your leftovers... I added black-eyed peas, green peas, and spinach.  Then I added some spices.  I have a spice problem.  Anyone who knows me can tell you that my spice cabinet is out of control.  In any case, because I was using wurst today, I added some mustard powder to the spices, which normally consist of basil, oregano, red pepper flakes (another Pago thing!), onion powder, garlic salt, and whatever else I think will go well with the food.  Saute all this together until warmed through.

 Add the starch.  My starch tonight was rigatoni, so I cooked the rigatoni, drained it, and tossed it into the cooked meat and vegetables.  Then, because this is me we are talking about, I added cheese.  Tonight's cheese selection was Appenzeller.

 Delicious!  Nothing quite like a mix of traditions to start the new year.  A bit of Pago, a bit of the Swiss relatives, and a bit of my Mom.

Happy 2013 everybody!