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Try these healthier mashed potatoes

Recipe: Colcannon with a twist -- chard and kale

Colcannon with mixed winter greens can be prepared ahead. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Colcannon is an old Irish side dish: Mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage and onions. It's a favorite for family get-togethers and winter dinners, and can serve as a holiday side dish, too.

The Gaelic name means "white headed cabbage." So taking the cabbage out of colcannon does seem like it can't really be called "colcannon." But for lack of a Gaelic dictionary, this variation is colcannon with a twist.

Before the big cabbage heads are mature, this recipe uses what's in abundance now -- young winter greens. That includes baby chards, kales and, yes, cabbages.

(Stick to the green-hued greens and not red chard or cabbage; the red may bleed into the mashed potatoes. )

Think of this colcannon as healthier mashed potatoes (all those extra antioxidants!) with no gravy necessary.

Another plus: This dish can be made ahead and re-warmed for gatherings.

Wash the greens well before chopping.

Colcannon with mixed winter greens
Makes 6 servings


5 russet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cups mixed winter greens, chopped
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream

Wash potatoes, cutting off any sprouted eyes or bruised spots.

In a large pot, place potatoes with enough water to cover. Add salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon). Bring potatoes to boil; cover and reduce heat to medium. Boil potatoes until tender when pierced with a knife and skins start to split.

The greens are cooked with onion before they're added to the potatoes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large deep pan over medium heat. Add chopped onions; sauté until soft.

Add chopped greens. Stir until greens wilt. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Reduce heat. Cook greens and onions until greens tender and water evaporated from the pan, about 5 minutes. (Check and stir occasionally; the water disappears fast.) Once greens are ready, set aside.

When ready, drain the potatoes and peel. Return potatoes to pot and mash. Add butter and cover. Let the butter melt a little, then mash potatoes some more. Stir in cream. (Add more butter and cream if desired.)

Once mashed potatoes are desired consistency, stir in greens and onions. Serve warm.

Prepare in advance: Combine the mashed potatoes and greens mixture, then transfer into a buttered casserole dish. Refrigerate until ready to warm.

Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before putting in the oven.

To warm: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place covered baking dish in oven and heat through, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove cover during final 10 minutes.


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For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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