Pure Comfort

Well, I survived the holiday season unscathed, barely. It was rough, kids. We had a death in the family right before xmas, which, I’m not gonna lie, gave me a bad case of the fuck-its. I’m better now, and we’re all moving along, but not my favorite holiday season ever. (Also, I believe I just won the Understatement of the New Year award…you can send it to my people, they’ll squeeze it in on the mantle).

I had a big “all the stuff I made for holiday gifts” reveal post planned, but alas, I was stupid and forgot to take photos of everything before I mailed it all off, so you don’t get any pictures…but I will give you a rundown:

  • burgundy and dove grey paisley scarves (one for MIL, one for SIL) made out of lovely soft wool/silk blend
  • hand-knit rickrack pattern scarf in Boston U burgundy and charcoal greys for BIL (I do have a photo of this one!)
  • dark blue tartan wool scarf for BIL
  • matching lounge-wear outfits for the neice and nephews (pants out of funky fabric, and scraps of that fabric appliqued onto long-sleeved shirts in the shape of xmas trees
  • a “fort kit” for the 7 year old nephew (giant duvet deconstructed into one large piece of fabric, clips, rope, flashlight and other fort-building necessities picked out by hubby)
  • an “art kit” with a large sewn portfolio envelope (matching the fabric from the lounge-wear no less!), notebooks, colored pencils, etc.
  • a hand-knit cowl and some bath salts for a secret santa swap (pic of this one too)
  • 44 million dozen cookies/candies/fudge/caramels to send to friends & family, plus about an gallon of Irish cream

All of that crafty business was a barrel of fun. Seriously. I’m totally doing it again next year (though I may start before November). And I may even remember to take proper photos to share with the interwebs! But I make no promises.

What I do promise is to share some comfort food with you…see aforementioned brutal holiday season, and you’ll not be surprised to learn that we have been loading up on comfort food here. Tonight is a shining example if ever there was one…pasties and mash. Yes, my Irish heritage salves the dinner plate and saves the day. If you are not acquainted with pasties, then my friend, you’re doing it wrong. That’s all there is to it. The good news, though, is that you will shortly be racing away to meet your first pasty, and it will be epic, I promise. Just read to the end before you scamper off, please?!

So pasties are individual savory meat and potato (and, if you are of heathen scandinavian extraction like my hubby, rutabaga) pies. Some cheap meat (usually skirt steak, though some will use burger), cheap potatoes, and a little butter & spices are all mixed up, folded lovingly into a flaky pastry crust, and baked till tender.  You make a small army’s worth at a go, because it is a lot of work.  Then, you freeze the little buggers and pull them out when you need a fast, hot meal. You can pop them into a 400 degree oven from frozen and have a piping hot meal with zero (and I mean zilch) effort. Someday I will post and show you how to make pasties, but it isn’t today kids, because all I’m doing is reheating them.

So that’s what is happening in my oven as we speak. Well, that and the mash, which is nothing more than pureed vegetable of choice (butternut squash, in this case), an egg or two, a splash of cream, and some cheese. If I had my druthers, I’d use parmesan, but since there was none to be found in my fridge, mozzarella did quite nicely instead. You beat the eggs to within an inch of their lives, stir them into the veggie, add about 1/4 cup of shredded cheese, maybe a pinch of mustard for some zing, and pour that into a greased baking dish, sprinkle a bit more cheese on top, and bake till firm and cheese is melty. Easy peasy, pudding and pie. No, seriously. Pudding. And. Pie.

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