Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Wearin' O' the Green

Yay!  It's the best holiday ever (almost)!  As a girl who practically bleeds green, I love St. Paddy's, in part because it includes shamrocks and Irish whiskey.

In our house, we have more than 1 whiskey to choose from.

There is only one problem (outside of drunk drivers) with St. Paddy's.  I realize that some people are going to take offense to what I'm about to say.  I can't help it.  Someone has to be brave enough to say it loud and proud ...

Are you ready?

Are you sure you're ready?

Here goes ....

I hate St. Paddy's Day food traditions.  

So sorry; please don't give up on me.  Those of you who know just how Irish I am are cringing right now, and I'm risking being haunted by 4 of my great-aunts, but I just had to admit it.    Don't get me wrong, the IDEA of cooking the meat, and then adding cabbage and carrots and potatoes, and keeping it all as a one-pot-wonder, is awesome and leads to hardly any clean-up.  In theory.  In actuality, cabbage isn't very nice if it's boiled.  Carrots aren't very nice if they're boiled either.  As for potatoes .... we liked mashed (hello butter and cream) a lot better than boiled.  

And that's not the only weird Irish food - what the hell is up with mince meat?

But the Irish do redeem themselves with trifle. Trifle isn't weird at all.  Trifle is awesome.  More trifle, I say! 

Lemon Blackberry Trifle.  I should have stopped at 2 layers but why?  Sometimes overkill is a good thing!

And despite my Irish heritage, I really really don't like corned beef.  There is just something about beef being brined and trying to turn it into a damn pickle that I find fundamentally wrong and wasteful.  I mean, it's pink!  Not pink because it's nice and rare and might just moo at you if you poke it hard enough; it's pink even after four hours of cooking because it's just supposed to be that color.  It's weirder than mince meat!

My mom agrees with me on this.

Red Beard, my dad, and pretty much the rest of the planet all think I'm off my rocker.  I see that look you're giving me.  It's the same look I get when I say I don't like turkey.  

Of course, since I'm not a complete monster and I do spoil Red Beard as often as humanly possible, I did cook corned beef and fixin's to celebrate St. Paddy's.  I just had to correct the recipes a little along the way.  Food is constantly evolving right?  Traditions can change as we learn how to make things taste better!  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

My menu was a little different than most folks but it also turned out pretty damn tasty.  Ok, I still didn't like the beef, but it did taste better than it had in the past.  But everyone else was thrilled at the outcome.  My mom even liked the parsnips and we've been arguing about those for years.  Mean mommy says "ick", I say "yum!", and occasionally there's a swear word or two

We had corned beef cooked with Guinness and rosemary:

Sorry Aunt Katie; I'll never be a fan.

And roasted root vegetables (turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, and carrots):

Nothing boiled here!

And mashed 'taters, and braised cabbage with bacon:

Ooooh, pork fat. 

Let me tell you - by cooking everything as separate and important items, instead of just tossing them together in one pot, dinner was lovely.  Totally worth the extra pots and pans; coming from my dishwasher-less self, this is a huge endorsement.

The really cool part of this dinner was that the cabbage and beef could be done ahead of time - both hold really well and re-heat even better.  Come to think of it, the cabbage was actually BETTER the next day.  Which means when you've got 6 people coming to dinner and you're trying to get the food on the table by 7pm, AND you work all day, all you have to do is mash some potatoes (sorry, they just taste better fresh) and roast some veg on a sheet pan.  You'll have plenty of time to sip on 12-year-old Powers and kick back and enjoy yourself.  


Step-by-step and recipes coming soon.

Here's wishing you all a safe and happy March 17th.   Drink, eat, be merry, and don't drive.  If you are (soberly) driving any place Saturday night, watch out for the crazies & the snow they are predicting!


  1. Howdy neighbor! Looks like a great meal. I love the use of roots with the dish - delicious and nutritious. Happy St. Paddy's!

  2. your blog is very entertaining. You write as you speak. You capture your true essence. Keep drinking Powers however, keep away from the cabinet with the