St. Patricks Day
Just a year ago, Barbara Hebert and I were sitting on her stoop in what passes for early spring in New England. I was nursing a cold and she'd just made me a get-well drink. (I didn't know what was coming so I had a tuna sandwich at home first.) It was bright green and it certainly looked healthy and surprise, it tasted better than you think. I didn't know it then but I was hooked.
By way of introduction, Barbara's a health coach; we've been eating our way through kale, collards, chard, spinach, tons of celery, salad greens, cranberries, blueberries in and out of season, onions, mushrooms, lentils and beans of every description.
The ANDI system, aggregate nutrient density index, rates food from 1 to 1,000 evaluating its vitamins and minerals. For example, collards, kale and watercress come in at 1,000; spinach is at 740 and arugula's 560.
For the very green cocktails here, go organic and fresh over frozen, although frozen fruit works fine. We whipped these up on a Friday night. Although it's March, we are digging out from a foot of snow earlier and we were smarter this time to outsource the photos to Mr. J.
I couldn’t let St. Patrick’s Day come and go without making something to celebrate this “green” holiday.
This year I wanted to gift the teachers with a little sweet treat. With an unopened bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream that we received at the holidays, chocolate truffles were calling my name.
Truffles are a wonderful gift because you can make a big batch in very little time. Using premium ingredients, a ganache is whipped up in minutes and then rests on the counter to cool. While this batch of ganache rested, I went for a 3 mile walk. Came home, put it in the fridge for 45 minutes while I straightened up my house.
The end results are impressive. Wrapped in pretty boxes and gifted to those that deserve them wins bonus points for weeks to come. Although he doesn’t know it, I hid a few in the back of the pantry for Levi. He is doing such a great job with the transition into a gluten free diet, that a little sweet treat is my way of showing him how proud I am of him.
What I like about Irish baked goods is that they're always hearty and wholesome, like soda bread, scones, porter cake, and biscuits. And I especially like it when recipes are easy to make—ones that don't require yeast, rising dough, and all the things that come with it. One of the easiest cakes to make is porter cake, which gets its name from the Irish beer used. Yes, a bread recipe that uses beer!
In this case the beer is Guinness, the beer of Ireland: A rich, dark, and malty stout with a creamy head that requires a slow and steady multistep pour to get it just right. Guinness was first introduced as a porter in 1725, but its formula was changed to include roasted malt, which created a flavor profile that drinkers called "stout porter" and thus the name stout was born. Being that Guinness is my absolute favorite beer, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to bake this cake for St. Patrick's Day.
With St. Patrick's Day on the way, we just had to share our favorite recipes made with two Irish staples: Guinness and Bailey's. Enjoy!
Bailey's Irish Cream Cake
Three years ago, Stone Brewing wrote a post on their company blog titled "MustardGate 2010" in which they announced that the Stone Brewing mustard they've been shipping to their customers was missing an important ingredient - their beer. As it turned out, the company they hired to make the mustard for them never used the beer Stone sent them to make the product. The kegs Stone sent them came back empty, so there was no clue where the beer actually went.
I admired Stone for being this forthcoming, and for going out of their way to make things right with their customers and their fans by offering refunds, discounts, whatever it took to make things right. But in the end, it gave me the inspiration to make that mustard myself. I'd made mustard before, and beer makes everything better. So I made it, and it was delicious, especially when slathered on Bratwurst or (in this case) smothered on beer-braised corn beef & cabbage.
I’ve tried several versions of Irish soda bread, but this one from Cooks Illustrated is a favorite. For a more traditional soda bread, reduce the sugar by half and omit the raisins.
3 cups bleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400°F. Whisk flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in large bowl. Work softened butter into dry ingredients with fork or fingertips until texture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add buttermilk, egg, raisins, and stir with a fork just until dough begins to come together. Turn out onto flour-coated work surface; knead until dough just becomes cohesive and bumpy, 12 to 14 turns. (Do not knead until dough is smooth, or bread will be tough.)
Pat dough into a round about 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches high; place on greased or parchment-lined baking sheet or in a cast-iron skillet. Cut a cross shape into the top.
Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into center of loaf comes out clean or internal temperature reaches 170 degrees, 40 to 45 minutes, covering bread with aluminum foil if it is browning too much. Remove from oven and brush with some melted butter; cool to room temperature, 30 to 40 minutes.
– Recipe courtesy of Cook Like James
If you’re getting around to planning your St. Patrick’s menu a little late like me, here’s something to help—a quick and easy sautéed cabbage recipe. I’ve never been one for the traditional boiled cabbage that often goes along with the corned beef on this holiday. In fact, I didn’t learn to love cabbage until I cooked it hot-and-fast–in a sauté pan, in a stir-fry pan, on a griddle—anything where I could bring out its sweeter side with a little browning.
Sautéed cabbage is not only (much) tastier than boiled cabbage, but it’s less fussy to cook. The basic recipe really doesn’t need much embellishment either, since browning accentuates the nutty flavor of cabbage. But after you’ve tried this and made it part of your repertoire, you can perk it up by adding sautéed apples to it, by tossing in a bit of ginger or garlic, or by playing around with the deglazing broth by sub-ing in white wine, lemon, or apple cider for the rice vinegar and soy sauce.
Regular old green cabbage would be just fine here, but I’m crazy about its crinkly-leaved cousin, Savoy cabbage (right). Savoy wilts in a hot pan a bit quicker than regular cabbage, and has a slightly richer flavor and lighter texture.
Growing up my mom used to make stuffed cabbage, what felt like, all the time. I wasnt’ really into it nor did I ever acquire a taste for it. Then I grew up and ate it somewhere (not my moms) and pretty much fell in love with it.
A few weeks ago, I spent a guilt free Sunday morning in bed, I sat there with remote in hand, watching a bunch of shows that had been recorded, yet never watched.
I had numerous Aarti Party’s, Barefood Contessa, Nigella Feasts, a few Challenges, and a host of others- non-food related. It was glorious. I ultimately left the bedroom, with list in hand and started printing out all the recipes that I wanted to tackle.
One in particular was Ina’s Stuffed Cabbage. What better week to make this than for St. Patrick’s Day? I made a simple salad and a Bakewell Tart. The cabbage is a great weeknight meal. Reading the recipe, it felt as thought it would have taken all day long. Not so.
Almost everyone eats corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day even if you're not Irish. I do. Even my Hungarian mother makes corned beef and cabbage every March. But this year I decided to do something different and out of the ordinary for the holiday. This time I'm celebrating St. Patrick's day with the Reuben sandwich, which isn't Irish at all, but the ingredients seem so Irish. I love the Reuben and all sandwiches that include sauerkraut for that matter. The corned beef, sauerkraut, and rye bread combination all make it feel like it was meant to be Irish.
The Reuben was invented by German immigrant Arnold Reuben, who sold the sandwiches at his deli in New York City. The hot sandwiches soon became famous and the classic was born. To this day, you can pretty much find a Reuben anywhere. The secret to a great Reuben is the Russian dressing, which is the traditional sauce—not mustard, ketchup, or mayonnaise. But Russian dressing is in fact made by combining mayonnaise and ketchup. Sometimes horseradish is added for piquancy. It ties together all the components of the sandwich so well.
Mystic Force Audition Got To Dance
I have such a fear of being that vegetarian: the one who shows up at a dinner party or holiday feast and realizes that there is nothing for me to eat. That is also known as the “Starving Vegetarian,” or the “Really Quite Put Out Vegetarian.” I try to do my due diligence, and let hosts know ahead of time about my dietary restrictions, even offer to provide my own dish if they don’t have the time or inclination to provide one for me. This is known as being the “Not Completely Obnoxious Vegetarian.”
When a host does ask me to bring my own dish, I’m not too annoyed: it’s another excuse to make my Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie, which I will certainly be doing this March 17th. While I have very fond memories of my mother’s annual St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage, I’m not sure what would happen to my insides, and subsequently my outsides if I ate it again after nearly two decades of abstaining from meat, which lead me to concoct what I consider to be a happy medium between traditional fare and a dry cleaners bill, “Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie”.
Who does not need a Bailey's Irish Cream Cake for tomorrow? Trust me you do. If you are out of Baileys, run out and get some, it will be on sale this week. Is this cake good? OMG. Yes.
Bailey's Irish Cream Cake
Start by greasing and flouring a 10-inch bundt pan. Sprinkle pecans over the bottom.
In a large bowl, with a mixer, combine yellow cake mix, vanilla instant pudding mix, eggs, water, oil and Irish Cream liqueur. Pour batter over nuts in pan. Bake for 60 minutes in a 325 degree oven or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Flip the cake out of the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. Combine butter, water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add Irish Cream liqueur.
Prick top and sides of cooled cake with a skewer. Spoon glaze over top and brush onto sides of cake. Allow the cake to absorb the glaze and repeat until most of the glaze is used. Save some glaze to pour over sliced pieces. You'll be glad you did.
– Recipe courtesy of Noble Pig
It’s St. Patrick’s Day this week and since I don’t really drink, I figured I would just find ways to incorporate booze into my food. As I have learned from baking with stout in the past, beer is a surprisingly wonderful addition to stews, brewed drinks, and cakes.
Originally, I wanted to make a triple layer cake. I could only find 2 of my 3 eight inch cake pans and I wasn’t really in the mood to go and purchase an additional cake pan for this project. This cake didn’t really have a purpose. I did’t need it for any specific occassion or event, I was just in the mood. I invisioned the chocolate cake with Bailey’s buttercream frosiing and green chocolate clovers around the perimeter of the cake. I found clover lollipop molds, but could not track down mini clovers.
Change of plans. I went with cupcakes. I know; there are tons of “green-themed” cupcakes circling the internet right now. Not totally original, but what the heck – lots of people in my community benefited from my baking whim. I made minis for Isaac’s classmates, larger ones for the M’s and the G’s, and the office gals got an unexpected afternoon snack.
Root vegetable. Corned beef. Sauerkraut. Rye. Gedney dills. It all adds up to something Irish. And a little bit Minnesotan.
When I got together with friends for a potluck meal last week, the theme was Something Irish, Something Green.
I had just gotten the Lee Brother’s newest cookbook, "Simple Fresh Southern," and found their recipe for Green Godess Potato Salad. Seasoned just right with fresh parsley and tarragon, a splash of champagne vinegar and some lime juice, the light mayo and sour cream-based dressing is just what the potato doctor ordered. And perfect for a "Green" potluck.
I made the Green Goddess Potato Salad for the potluck. It was enjoyed by all. With just a tiny bit of the potatoes remaining after eveyone had a chance to eat, I brought them home and discovered it is the perfect salad to eat with Reuben’s.
I love all types of savory pies, but one in particular is very special to me. The first time I ever heard of beef and Guinness pie was during my time studying abroad in London. I was so intrigued that I ordered it at a quaint, tiny restaurant that specialized in pies aptly named the Pie Room. It became the hang-out spot for my group of friends. Over the course of our studies we could not keep away. I had the opportunity to try all of their pies. Beef and Guinness pie made the biggest impression on me and it still remains among my top favorite British foods. I can clearly remember my first bite: a tender cube of meat, a luscious sauce, and a crispy crust. So as St. Patrick's Day neared this month, I decided I wanted to cook something other than corned beef and cabbage.
When I think of Ireland, the first thing that comes to mind is the drinking culture. What surprised me the most about my time in London was seeing everybody on a Friday night drinking in hoards out in the streets around the pubs. Stereotypically everyone seems to think negatively about the drinking culture. But as someone who lived in Great Britain, I can say that it is a very enjoyable and communal way of meeting people, getting people together, celebrating life's events, or just for talking about the day over a few pints of stout or ale. I've not yet had the chance to visit Ireland, but if I do, I will make sure to visit the many pubs and make a pilgrimage to the temple of my favorite beer, the Guinness factory.
Ever since I was in grade school, St. Patrick's' Day has been a day when I wish I was at least a little bit Irish. The teachers at my school instructed their Irish students to wear something green on St. Patrick's Day. The rest of us – orange.
So, while many of my friends came to school wrapped in green sweaters, donning fuzzy green shamrocks on their shirt, or wearing green socks, I would come with an orange headband in my hair. I would have preferred green.
As a young baker, though, I made sure our family had shamrock-shaped sugar cookies frosted in green on St. Patrick's Day. I never told my teachers. To this day, I don't wear a bit of green on St. Patrick's Day – my teachers taught me well. But, I don't wear orange, either.
I just sneak a little bit of Irish into the foods I eat on that special day.
St. Patrick's Day. It's all about meat, 'taters, cabbage, and leprechauns. No wonder this Italian girl from New England has never gotten excited about it. Fortunately, it's also about beer, and that does get me excited.
I'm a late-comer to beer, but I love it; since I live in San Diego, that's a good thing. With a whopping 33 breweries producing craft beer, San Diego was recently crowned the top beer city in the country by Men’s Journal.
I just discovered an amazing seasonal beer calle Pipeline Porter. It's brewed by Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii but distributed to only a handful of markets including San Diego. It may just be the perfect beer for a Beer Ice Cream Float.
I grew up in Ireland, and we ate Irish soda bread every day with breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is a recipe that my family inherited from our cook in Ireland, Mrs. Creagh, and it’s the best that I know.
This bread is particularly delicious toasted at breakfast time with salted butter and my homemade pomegranate jelly: The salty and the sweet are just fantastic together. If you don’t have pomegranate jelly, do as the Irish do and spread with salted butter, then top with smoked salmon and capers with a drop of lemon. Unbelievably delicious.
Alright, even though we have been working so hard on what the heck we are going to make for Easter, I almost forgot about St. Patrick's Day. Gasp! I mean I never miss a chance to celebrate those dang rainbows, pots of gold and little green people. So instead of pulling out the Lucky Charms once again, as your go to St. Patrick's Day feast...why not make this? And don't even say, "I don't like corned beef, wah, wah wah'. It's tradition people, it's all about tradition. AND THIS will take tradition to another level, I promise.
Whiskey-Glazed Corned Beef
Adapted from Cuisine at Home
Submerge in Water; Simmer
1 corned beef brisket (3.5-4 lbs)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup whiskey (such as Jack Daniel's)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Submerge corned beef, fat side up, in water, in a large pot. Cover and simmer over low heat until beef is tender when pierced with a fork, 3 hours. (If chilling overnight, keep the meat in the liquid. Bring it to a simmer the next day, then continue with the recipe).
I used to hate St. Patrick’s Day.
I grew up with working class Irish-American kids in one of the biggest Catholic parishes in San Francisco. All the nuns and the priests were Irish. They spoke with thick Irish brogues. Many of my classmates’ parents had brogues. On St. Paddy’s Day everybody else faked a brogue. They’d play that grinding fiddle music and make us do these silly step dances. Then somebody would pass the hat for the IRA.
If you weren’t Irish, you couldn’t wait for this holiday to be over.
Years later I visited Ireland. I found that St. Pat’s Day wasn’t as big a deal there. In fact, St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish. He was a Roman taken slave by pirates or some other “pagans” and brought to Ireland. Corned beef and cabbage was not the national dish. As a B&B owner explained to me, a true Irish dinner was probably potatoes and seaweed. A poor family in Ireland couldn’t afford meat. Only in America would they be so lucky.