My sister and I are saying goodbye to our family home this week. If all goes as planned, the 120-year-old home in the old cattle traders' neighborhood will have new owners on Friday.
After four hours of final cleaning, we walked through the rooms, sharing memories of holiday dinners, Christmas mornings, pizza nights, card games, and so much more. We laughed and we cried. This is part of the cycle of life. But I suspect it is never easy.
This was the house my father bought with his GI loan in the heady years following the end of World War II. Like many local homes, it was built around 1890 when housing was needed for the men who worked in the woods during the lumber boom. Over the years, the house - again like most older homes in our town - was enlarged and remodeled. As a widow, my mother did much work on the house, making it her own: Cozy and gracious with an interior of blues and golds, of bookshelves holding the classics and best sellers, of breakfronts filled with china and crystal. It was a place to come home to - and we always came, for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and the Fourth of July.
Saying goodbye is bittersweet, but I was happy to come to my own Victorian house where a meal of comfort food awaited me. Best yet, it was a meal made of leftovers.
This is the recipe that inspired me. This is how I interpreted it:
- 4 large Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1 large Polish sausage (kielbasa), sliced and halved
- 1 medium white Cipollini onion, peeled and cubed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon Penzey's Ruth Ann's Muskego Avenue seasoning
- 3 cups fresh spinach
Prepare potatoes; place in small bowl and cover with water. Microwave on high for 3.5 minutes until tender; drain and set aside.
Prepare sausage and onion and place in large skillet with olive oil. Sauté until onion begins to turn goldem. Add potatoes - I didn't drain them too much - and continue sautéing until contents of skillet are lightly browned.
In a separate bowl, mix brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and seasonings. Add this mixture to the skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 3-5 minutes. Add spinach. Continue cooking over low heat until spinach wilts.
This is perfect with coleslaw, or a chunky applesauce. It could be made with kale, too, and possibly lentils.