An a happy St. Patrick’s day to you too!

This grand feast started out as Karla pondered one day how she missed her (very much not Irish) family’s traditional Irish St. Patrick’s day fare but didn’t think it was worth it to make for just herself. Well, who would not rise to fill such a wonderful challenge as that! Mmm!

The appointed day began with gorging ourselves on a delicious breakfast, unfortunately too sleepily to document, of french toast from cinnamon roll, salsa and cheese egg scramble, fruit, oatmeal, fresh bread, bacon, and probably other things I’m forgetting. Oh, and corn muffins. And lemon bars and monster cookies. At this point we washed off, seasoned, and put the corned beef in the oven. 275F for about 2 hours, then up to 350F with a brown sugar/le croix crust to brown.

Corned beef, crusted with brown sugar, the sauce was deglazed from the pan with a bit of rum

The plan for vegetarians in the midst  was to have the main course be a mash of potatoes and apple. So next we got down to chopping, peeling, and eyeing. Four potatoes and two apples were chopped and thrown into boiling salted water. Later they were destined to be crushed into mash with half a stick butter and a 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and 1 Tbs. sugar. The other potatoes, the cabbage and six carrots for the corned beef got properly scrubbed, de-eyed, and very roughly chopped into about 4″ pieces or large wedges. After the corned beef was done we used the seasoned fat to flavor the broth boiling the veggies, though this renders them non-vegetarian (for some non zero set of vegetarians).

Boiling potatoes, carrots, and cabbage. Scrumptious!

Some time later the soda bread was made–twice, once ‘plain’ once with raisins and caraway seeds.

Hot crossed buns indeed, never have they smelled so sweet!
Soda bread. Delicious slathered in butter!

And at some point we just got adventurous and J mixed some flour into some of the apple potatoes to make gnocchi and I boiled some milk to make paneer, known in other parts of the world as farmer’s cheese. The lemon juice I used to curdle the boiled milk wasn’t potent enough so I ended up putting the ‘whey’ back on to boil again, added more lemon juice, and got many more curds out of it. Worked pretty well just heating it up again to make the reaction go. And as J pointed out, you take away the product and… Anyway, then it went into cheese cloth and hung for a bit. We wondered what to do with the whey, and found that some people cook pasta in it, so in went the gnocchi! I don’t think it changed the taste much but maybe it added some nutrients to the party. Then she made the sauce. Though I don’t really know what went in it I’m sure it had butter and fresh cheese.

delicious fresh pasta, mmm, fourth course!
Why fresh cheese? Because we are on an adventure, that's why!

Really, I wasn’t in charge of anything but breakfast and cheese, so I credit J for the mash and the fancy gnocchi from said mash and Karla for just about everything else. Mostly I just enjoyed everything, which, apart from the sharing of the food, is really what it’s all about. And Jordan for helping hand everything to Karla as she worked : ) And thanks to Jordan for all the photos here too!

soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, potato apple hash and gnocchi
Notice how all the veggies are a monochromatic white? That, too, is traditional : )

We should do this again sometime all of us have another day to spend together. (who needs to dance at CULX? right, right?)

Recipes:

Irish Apple Mash: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/specialoccasionrecipe1/tp/vegirish.htm

4 potatoes peeled and chopped
2 apples, chopped into small pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp sugar

“Place the potatoes and apples in a large pot and cover with water. Add salt to the water. Cover and boil for approximately 20 minutes. Drain the water. Add remaining ingredients and mash until the potatoes are smooth.”

Gnocchi from said mash involves incorporating flour till a dough forms then boiling.There is not as much bite as normal gnocchi probably because of all the butter, but it’s very tasty!

Irish Soda Bread with Caraway Seeds:

Sift together: 2c flour, 2T sugar, 2t b powder, 1t b soda, 1/2 t salt.

Add 1/2 c raisins and 1T caraway seeds.

Cut in 3 T butter with hands till crumbly.

Add 1c buttermilk, or do like we did and measure 1T lemon juice then fill to one cup with milk and let sit a few minutes before adding it. Stir quickly until just moistened. Over mixing will make the loaves tough.

Gather up and lightly knead on floured surface one minute. Do not overwork. Shape into a ball and place on greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. flatten into a 7″ circle. With a floured knife cut a cross into the top. Bake at 375F 30-40 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. (from the Wee Cookbook p28)

Corned Beef:

From Dr. M, Karla’s dentist. Set the seasoned corned beef in a pan. No water. No rack. Not covered. 5pounds takes about 4 hours. 3hrs at 275 then one at 350F. He says you can’t overcook it. Boil about 6 carrots and 6 medium potatoes (red or your favorite) with skins on for about 45 minutes. During the last 10-20 minutes add the cabbage sliced into 6 wedges. You can use the fat drippings to flavor the vegetable broth. Serve potatoes and cabbage with butter. Optional: Mysteriously make a crust with a paste made from brown sugar and seven up (or whatever you have on hand). We added this after slicing off the fat just before turning the temperature up.

Slice beef across the grain 1/4 inch thick. Since the grain tends to go in several directions carve from two sides sort of like disconnected chevrons.

Don’t forget to serve corned beef with horseradish! (usually found in refrigerated section)
And wish everyone a Happy St Patrick’s day! Cheers!

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