St. Patricks Day
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.
Several years ago a friend of mine invited me over for her corned beef dinner on St. Patrick's Day. I have to say that boiled meat just never appealed to me. But, a St. Patrick's Day celebration with friends did sound good. I was so surprised that evening when my friend pulled her Irish-American version of a corned beef dinner from the oven. It was the first time I'd ever had corned beef prepared in this untraditional way. That experience launched my once-a-year preparation of corned beef in my own kitchen.
According to historical records, corned beef and cabbage got its start in Ireland in the 17th century. The word "corns," which means "grains," dates to Anglo-Saxon times. During this period when refrigeration wasn't available, beef was dry-cured to extend its shelf life. The process involved rubbing coarse "corns" of salt into the beef to aid in preservation.
It's hard to tell but these cupcakes are the color chartreuse, made to match the walls of the Buttersweet Bakery in Atlanta...a funky little shop with a hip vibe. Cupcakes are so "in" right now and it's fun to play with all the possibilities. Cupcakes are not just for kids anymore!
These are PERFECT for St. Patrick's Day. It was really difficult to photograph and show the real neon color these Key Lime Cupcakes take on. In person there is no mistaking their shade of green. They are very fun looking.
I love the unique flavor key limes give, more of a tart-bitterness, which is a good thing when it comes to baking and cooking with them. They do pack a flavor punch but in a pinch you could get away with using regular lime for these cupcakes. Just remember the key lime boasts a higher acidity and stronger aroma than regular limes, so it might change the overall limey-ness of this recipe.
So get your leprechaun on and make these...they are good...
It was the Monday of my freshman spring break, and rather than frolic on a Florida beach, I got my four impacted wisdom teeth removed. I developed "dry sockets," another name for pain. It was a blast.
My face blew up to gargantuan proportions, and with all the bruising, I looked like Violet from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I couldn't eat any solid foods, so after work, my dad surprised me with a coffee milkshake from McDonald's. He knew it was my favorite, and that frosty, creamy milkshake was just what I needed to soothe my aching mouth.
When he saw how much I loved the milkshake, he came home Tuesday grinning from ear to ear with a special St. Patrick's Day green Shamrock Shake (and a coffee one, just in case I didn't like the Shamrock Shake).
I was skeptical. I have never been fond of mint (it reminds me of Milk of Magnesia; not good), but after a couple of sips, its refreshing flavor left a pleasant minty tingling sensation in my dry socketed mouth.