Today is St. Patrick’s day, and I cooked a “traditional” Irish dinner. OK, not really – I cooked traditional Americanized Irish food. Still, it was very good, and our dinner guests enjoyed it as much as we did.
It was actually a bit difficult to come up with a menu of Irish-esque food for a group of teetotalers, but here’s what we ended up having:
Corned Beef and Cabbage – not really traditional Irish, but traditional American-Irish, and I like it. The trick with this, as with most boil-in-the-pot-for-3-hours dishes, is in the spices. The perfect taste is just the right mix of black peppercorns, garlic powder, bay leaves, and salt. All this stuff just gets thrown into the water with the corned beef brisket and the oils from the herbs and spices permeate the meat as it cooks. Tres magnifique!
Colcannon – An authentic Irish dish, this is basically mashed potatoes mixed with garlic and steamed kale. As a tangential side note, the English variation of colcannon is called bubbles and squeak.
Irish soda bread – A really simple flatbread that uses baking soda (often referred to as bicarbonate of soda in the Irish recipes) instead of yeast for leavening.
And since we don’t drink alchohol, all traditional Irish drinks were out, so green kool-aid would just have to do.
Finally, for desert was a really cool looking St. Paddy’s day cake that Marcia made last night (and frosted this morning, with about 4 hours of sleep in between). You can see the amazing icing work in this picture, but what you can’t see is the cake itself, a green and white marbled cake baked to absolute perfection. I’m eating my third or fourth piece as I write this.
As far as I know, there’s no Irish blood in either of our families, but in my book, any holiday that presents itself as an excuse to cook good food is a holiday worth celebrating!