Sunday, March 21, 2010

Our St. Patrick's Day Celebration!

I thought it would be fitting to start out this St. Patty's post with a picture of alcohol.  This isn't just any ol' picture of alcohol, but actually what I used in the making of this meal.  Interestingly, no one drank any beer, but I did cook with it!
So what did we drink?  Some of us drank wine, but us hard-core Irish folk had a Wild Irish Rose. The Wild Irish Rose is a whiskey based drink, mixed with lime juice and grenadine and then topped off with ginger ale.  I realize grenadine isn't alcohol, but as an integral part of the drink, I felt it warranted a spot in the booze line up.  It was quite refreshing and not overly sweet.  I personally like the taste of whiskey and would rather taste my alcohol than have it overpowered by something sugary.  We did tweak the recipe slightly and added a bit more whiskey and about 1/2 the amount of grenadine.

For appetizers, my friend put out a lovely plate of french bread, Kerrygold cheese, and strawberries.   My contribution to the mix were Emerald Eggs, or as I called them (since I have a 6 year old), Green Eggs and Ham.  This recipe is a twist on deviled eggs.  Yolks are pureed with mayonnaise, scallions, tarragon, and watercress.  The flavors were light and the tarragon shown through.  They needed a little more punch, so when I made these a second time this week, I added a bit more salt and also 1/4 teaspoon of dry mustard.  The recipe also calls for placing a piece of ham in the egg first and then topping with the yolk mixture.  It was a little awkward to eat.  This time around, my artistic director, Mark, came up with the brilliant idea of rolling a piece of ham and sticking it in the middle.  Worked like a charm!
Picked by my very own beer connoisseur, I used a full 22oz bottle of Chatoe Rogue Dirtoir Black Lager as simmering liquid for the corned beef.
I pretty much stuck to this recipe I found, Slow Cooked Corned Beef.  Six pounds of corned beef were braised in beer and water, with one spice packet, a couple of bay leaves, peppercorns, and a whole bulb of garlic. Not a pretty sight, but completely delicious.  The recipe called for 1/4 cup of peppercorns, which I did use, but next time will reduce the amount.  It was great the first day, but as leftovers, the pepper continued to permeate the meat as it sat.  I let it simmer for about 5 hours, took it out and kept it warm, and then added carrots, red potatoes, and cabbage to the liquid.  Once they were tender, dinner was ready! 
On the side, I made a horseradish sauce that consisted of equal parts of sour cream and horseradish, combined with about 1 cup of the braising liquid that I reduced down first. 
The other component of the meal was Irish Soda Bread.  The bread was amazing and comforting.  I was hooked when I saw the article in the recent issue of Bon Appetit for Mrs. O'Callaghan's Soda Bread.  Just the picture of her alone was so authentic and rustic, that I was drawn in and set on using that recipe.  I didn't adjust any ingredients, but added a few oats to the top and cooked it on a pizza stone.  Besides taking much longer than the 40 minutes it said to cook it, the flavor and density was perfect to soak up juices, spread with butter, and drizzle with honey the next morning for breakfast. 

So far, from the line up, we've checked off grenadine, whiskey, and black lager.  The remaining spirits are in the dessert!  I found this recipe on Cat's blog, Neo-Homesteading.  She came up with her own take on a traditional Scottish dessert called "Millionaires Shortbread". 
Cat's recipe for Homestead Shortbread includes a scrumptious shortbread on the bottom, layered with a mixture of dulce de leche, brandy, and chopped pecans, and then topped with melted chocolate combined with orange-flavored liquor.  More pecans adorned the top.   It was hard to eat just one of these multi-layered treats!  Hope everyone had a great St. Patrick's Day!


  1. What a wonderful dinner and great evening! I'm not Irish, but felt it through the delicious hearty dish, Wild Irish Rose, and the great company! Was a wonderful feast and great gathering of happy souls! The desert was delicious too! Thanks! By the way, great pictures! :)

  2. It was great fun! Thanks for having it at your new place!

  3. I love the New York photos and food - Great times !