Sunday, March 11, 2007
St. Patrick's Week
I guess it shouldn't be a surprise to you that a family with the last name Dowd would celebrate St. Patrick's Day... for a week. As I have said before, in our house any excuse for a party is good for us and celebrating the patron saint of Ireland is an excuse to watch The Commitments(one of my very favorite movies), make Irish coffee, and pull out all manner of things green. I have to say that my father-in-law, The Colonel, used to say that the shortest book ever written was "Great Irish Recipes", but how can cuisine with potatoes as a cornerstone be bad?
Several years ago I was looking for some ideas beyond the traditional corned beef and cabbage, and I was surprised to find a wide variety of foods, so during the week around St. Paddy's Day we incorporate some dishes like salmon, soda bread, and bangers (Irish sausages) into our diet. A couple of years ago I found a recipe for what we call Irish Grilled Cheese that make a great meatless meal (remembering Lent, of course) with a nice side salad. Shepherd's pie, lamb chops, and Irish stew are also great options to celebrate the contributions that Ireland has made to our lives (Irish whiskey...Enya...Bono...Waterford crystal (my pattern, Colleen, to the right!))
Sources like Food Network and Epicurious are great for finding not only traditional Irish foods, but new twists using traditional ingredients in new ways (I can't wait to try the recipe for a Stout Float that I saw on Party Line with the Hearty Boys- anything that sounds so weird has got to be good!)
For us, while we enjoy corned beef and cabbage, our favorite meal is the next day when we have corned beef hash topped with eggs and grated Irish Cheddar. There is no higher calling for leftover corned beef and potatoes, believe me.
Don't you have to love a nation that has foods with names like boxty, bangers, "bubble and squeak" and blood pudding? So put on the Chieftains or Enya or even Flogging Molly (my daughter Molly doesn't like this much, once she found out what flogging was!), get out your Jameson's, and Bailey's, and put a shamrock in your lapel and take your own culinary journey to the Emerald Isle. Irish food... it's more than green beer (and it is not true that a 7-course Irish meal is a six-pack of Guinness and a bag of potato chips!)
Day After Corned Beef Hash
2-3 cups leftover corned beef cut in small cubes
4 cups leftover cooked potatoes (if you cooked carrots with your CB&C, you can use these, too)
2 tbsp butter
1 egg for each person being served
1 1/2 cups Grated Irish Cheddar (Blarney or Dubliner is best, but you can use regular Cheddar if that's all you have)
Melt butter in large lidded frying pan. Mix potatoes and meat together thoroughly and put in pan over medium heat. Stir a couple of times until heated through and then pat lightly down into the pan to let the hash get crispy. Using a spoon make a well in the top of the hash for each egg and break egg into well. Lightly salt and pepper the eggs and cover pan with lid, checking frequently to see when whites are set, then top with cheese and put lid on till egg white are fuly set and cheese is melted. Serve hash with the egg on top for each serving.
Irish Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
10 slices of whole grain oat bread (I like Oatnut best for this)
8 ounces cream or Neufchatel cheese, softened
4 scallions chopped (green and white parts)
2 cups grated Dubliner cheese
1 beaten egg with 2 tbsp milk beaten in.
1-2 tbsp melted butter for toasting sandwiches
Mix cream cheese, Dubliner, and scallions together until all ingredients are incorporated. For each sandwich, spread cheese mixture thickly on bread, top with another bread slice. Brush both sides generously with egg mixture and toast in pan like conventional grilled cheese in melted butter on griddle or frying pan. Cook until sandwich is brown and crusty and the cheese is melted. Cut in quarters and serve.