Mud Season Meals
One of the sensations of being sure of yourself when you are young is that you are cracker right of whatever you are, then, doing. Forty years later you are not so sure of your ‘back then’ but are very sure that, of these days, you are cracker right of whatever you are, now, doing. And then there is the Forty Year Spread.
The Forty Year Spread is a cracker right doing back then that has persisted and is a too, now and still, ‘a cracker right’, in and of, doing, NOW. “Bassa Peta”, for myself, is a ‘one of those’.
“Bassa Peta” is food. It is a meal that I made and ate for myself over forty years ago. Periodically, over past four decades, the “Bassa Peta” was and is made and served again to friends and family. It is a quick, stupid easy, ‘one pot’, controlled mess, hardy and ‘always gets eaten’ (all of it) “MEAL”. It is a classic recipe that one may find anywhere. I have my own recipe copy, written in my hand, forty years ago.
Continuing with that last notice and sidestepping for a few paragraphs the “Bassa Peta” as a ‘Mud Season Meal’ ‘Number Three’... I... and these ‘those they’... the hand written personal recipe book and its their-these food to self messages: Do you have one? Have you written this “YOURS”? “You wrote that?” they say to me. I did. Do. Still have. Still use.
THAT. All it is... is a junky plastic notebook that I write down any ole “I made” recipe that I, by happenstance, do, make, think of, remember or... as a Viking vessel sailed the sea... did that: I use that: My own recipe book. I wrote it “down”, page after page. You should too; it is a ‘your life’; your own ‘food life’.
The rare book world; rare antiquarian books and I as a ‘dealer’ of them, know (understand) full well the appreciation and value of these old ‘hand written’ ‘cook books’... found by flashlight on the attic floor... dutifully recording a marginally literate record of a ‘her recipes’... and little more.
These old books are usually the all of the author ever ‘written down’. Yes and ‘there we go’; they are precious. And some... may be found to be ‘quite well done’ ‘a good read’ and, of course, again and too, be... precious. So it is easy to understand a forty year manuscript notebook of recipes begun in 1814 and ‘died out’ (last entry) 1851. The last entry is for “TOAST” while the first recipe is for... raspberry jam. A complete life circle? Seems so to me.
Once one is clued to these “THESE” their precious magic is... IN YOUR OWN HAND; their book, or... your book, YOUR HAND writing. It very well could be the only ‘old manuscript’ you ever ‘make’ about ‘anything’. You can do this. Most “do not”.
My recipe book may be opened to “Bassa Peta”; a shortened and misspelled title? NO IT IS INTENTIONALLY “that way written”. That is my recipe book’s style. YOUR book will have YOUR style. Anyway; opened to Bassa Peta: I don’t need to open the book for the “TO MAKE THAT” recipe. And, as I mentioned, you can look “IT” up (similar recipes) “ON LINE” too. The “Bassa Peta” recipe title is correctly spelled Kielbasa (sausage) on Pita (bread) made with a quart of sauerkraut ‘very important’ too. The sauerkraut is the point of the recipe while the ‘Bassa’ and ‘Peta’ are cosmetic. They ‘vary in quality’ as ‘cosmetic’. The kraut varies in quality as ‘the point’ (“good kraut”). Okay this means that the Bassa may be any ole box store grocery prepared meat cooler dive bassa OR, as in this case, it may be Maine Fashion Forward Lisbon Maine made Sausage Kitchen’s premium Kielbasa. GO SHOP AT THEIR Lisbon STORE (factory) for this ‘buy local’ choice. The same for the Kraut; shop for box store brands in the pickle jar cooler ‘selections’ or... shop for Maine’s “BEST” Morse’s Sauerkraut from their Washington, Maine GO SHOP AT THEIR (‘in the middle of No Where’) Waldoboro Road STORE (factory) ‘buy local’ premium choice.
Make the ‘petas’ yourself. Yes... you do need to get that third world global culture bread ‘under your baker’s apron’.
The pita process, once your oven and (cast iron) griddle plate are “HOT” (very, very hot)... and your rolling pin is rolling... an... ‘about two minutes’ each... ten pitas in thirty minutes... event. It is an event. Rolling, griddling, flipping and stacking with a whole lot of oven door opening and closing... you are done in thirty minutes and rewarded with a stack of ten towel wrapped warm “PITAS” “I MADE”. Once one engages ‘how simple this is’, one has both awe and pride at “making my own pitas’. Leave them wrapped in the towel and now “MAKE” their filling.
That takes, like... maybe... twenty minutes... using the stove top and a larger and deeper (cast iron) skillet. A touch of olive oil and then add every component in order starting with a light stir fry of the onions and peppers. Add the (thinner than one quarter inch sliced) bassa. Stir (lightly ‘hot through’) fry that in a bit. Add the drained quart of kraut... stir in and careful not too hot now. Add ½ cup of sour cream. Or even lighter handed on that (1/3 cup). Two tbs prepared mustard (of any ‘your choice’). Heat whole mixture lightly through. Serve from pan by spooning onto your pita and ‘fold over’. You are done. Eat it; each serving themselves. Leftover? Fine if any is leftover. “We’ll make this again (real) soon” is the usual end-of-meal-status.
Remember: It is mud season. It is still ‘too cold’, too wet, too much snow, ‘no melting’ requiring boots, gloves, hats, (jackets in) ‘layers’ and... Mud Season farm yards and its ‘yard work’... make a hungry man. That’s what Bassa Peta is for: It is a Mud Season Meal.