Vacation Pandemic – Day 2.5

Don’t Kiss Me, Even Though I’m Irish..

I cook because it is the only thing that can fully occupy my mind. Even more so than reading a great book. I always play music. I think it helps fill the negative space. While I work, self soothe.

It’s St. Paddy’s Day. The world is encouraging “social distancing.” What a slap in the face for perhaps the most social holiday, second to Mardi Gras. But these are Pandemic Times.

I choose not to mix the cake dough by hand. While generally it is a good way to work off a stressful day at work, it also leads to much over mixed dough, and in turn, dense ass cake. Today, I use the kitchenaide, keeping it on a gentle spin, just enough to mix. In the background, my attempt at Irish(ish) Folk music fails. The Loreena McKennit station begins playing tracks from Last of the Mohichans, the song from a Christmas movie I haven’t seen in decades, and then some Pachelbel Canon a la The Scottish Royal Dragoon Guards bagpipe band. It’s actually really good.

I research and scratch out lentil recipes while the cake bakes. I don’t even like lentils, but… these are Pandemic times..

I can’t stop from taking a nap. I nap always. I joke that I am half cat, but actually I really am tired all the time. My doctor recently changed my meds. Taking away the fatigue inducer in replacement of one more… ass kicking. In turn, also taking away the med that helped with the chronic back pain. A fortunate side effect. My back has been hurting all day.

I crack open a beer, saving the Guinness for dinner. The Corned Beef has been bubbling in the pot. I boil potatoes and saute some cabbage and leeks in butter and garlic. Colcannon. I mix whiskey, ketchup, and soy sauce. Some odd, but delicious glaze. I pour an extra splash of whiskey into the measuring cup and take a sip. It might be more than a spash. But it’s St. Paddy’s Day and tomorrow the world might end.

The dwarves of Middle Earth begin singing their haunting mountain song. Dwarves singing. While not entirely an Irish classic… I don’t really know what to expect from this station.

I toss some broccoli florets in oil, garlic, and salt, then throw it in a high heat oven. Roasted broccoli, a gamble, but while my back is turned, I stir a pot of cheese sauce. Surely even cheese sauce can give the scortched broccoli redemption.

A quick 10 minutes in the oven for the whiskey glaze to get friendly with the beef, and it’s all done. No boiled cabbage or carrots. The meat is tough from unsupervised aggressive boil while I took a nap. But shit, we can’t all be perfect.


These are Pandemic times, and tomorrow the world might end.

Ps: The cake wasn’t dense.

My Global Potato Challenge (extra)

Because I couldn’t very well just eat potatoes straight for a month, I did alot of extra cooking on the side.

Here are the extra dishes I did to go with my Global Potatoes

Colcannon – Ireland

I actually made the Colcannon for St. Patty’s Day. So OBVIOUSLY, it went with my Whiskey Glazed Corned Beef.

The next day, I finished the Colcannon off with a couple Beer Braised Bangers and some Stoneground Mustard.

Hasselback Potatoes – Sweden

I served the Hasselback Potato with a piece of Garlic Lemon Butter poached Salmon, over Roasted Asparagus.

Pierogies – Poland

After making all the Pierogies, I had alot of Cheesy Mashed Potato left. So I added some Flour and an Egg, and fried them up as Potato Pancakes.

Warm Potato Salad – Germany

To go with the salad I hammered out some Pork Cutlets, breaded, and fried them, to make Pork Schnitzel.

Potato Leek Gratin – France

I was very ambitious with this one. I served the Gratin with Roasted Pork Loin, over an Apple Cider Cream Sauce.

It was delicious, but I ended up accidentally burning my hand so bad that I could hardly even eat the meal…

I certainly love to cook. And admittedly, some of these recipes didn’t fully work out. But one thing is for sure: I am potatoed out!

My Global Potato Journey

So between my epic Culinary Tours, I like to try to do some more cost saving challenges. Last time I did a Rice and Beans challenge, attempting to see how diverse Rice and Bean dishes can get.

This time I got excited about seeing how the simple Potato is prepared across the world.

Colcannon – Ireland

Cabbage, Leeks, Mashed Potatoes and lots of Butter.

Hasselback Potatoes – Sweden

I’m not sure I did them correctly, as they really just ended up tasting like a simple baked potato.

Pierogies – Poland

Mashed Potato filled Dumplings that are boiled and fried.

Warm Potato Salad – Germany

Light and tangy from a vinegar sauce rather than mayo.

Potato Leek Gratin – France

So cheesy and delicious, but I did not soak my leeks long enough to really clean them. So some bites were a bit gritty..

Sweet Potato Pie – The South

I was afraid I had added too much sugar, (actually, I did…) but it turned out really well.

Beer Battered Halibut and Chips – England

Because my fryer was occupied, I tried to bake my chips. I seemed to fail that and my chips turned out floppy rather than crispy..

Gnocchi with White Beans and Sauteed Kale – Italy

Dum Aloo – India

Indian Potato Curry. So so so failed. I did not have a mortar and pestle, my “gravy” turned out extremely thick and gritty with herbs. Tastewise, Indian curries are so delicious.

Yellow Curry – Thailand

Olivier Salad – Russia

It takes so damned long to cube all your ingredients perfectly. Once you do it though, you are left with a lovely potato salad. It calls to let your pickles drain well so they don’t over power the salad. In lieu, I think I ended up needing a smidge more salt.

In the end, it was a pretty fun challenge. Admittedly, I learned one thing: I really suck at cooking Potatoes! Half of them were not cooked long enough, and the other half were over cooked!

I also found there were far too many ways to cook them all. After a month, I was tired of potatoes! So I called it quits. I still have my eye on some recipes though. I focused mostly on European style potatoes. I think next time, for round 2, there are alot of interesting looking Central and South American styles I’d love to try.

Though the variance in flavors and styles was vast, its amazing how all across the world we still love our potatoes equally.