Monday, March 15, 2010

Smiling Eyes

Sure, it's not officially St. Patrick's Day yet, but we're not really sticklers for strict observance of holidays, ours or other people's. And while there is no Irish blood in our household, our Chinese-German-French-English-Scottish-Welsh eyes have been smiling. So, this weekend, we found Ireland on a map, talked about Irish things the kids could identify (this was a very short list of shamrocks and Riverdance. I have never read How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill), listened to bagpipe music (which then confused Bud to no end so that now he thinks the Irish are Scottish!), and ate typical holiday fare, mainly Corned Beef dinner with potatoes, carrots, and cabbage and Irish soda bread (alas, no colcannon, though I have the ingredients to make it later this week). And they loved it! Mama even had to go back to the store to get a bigger piece of corned beef, as the kids devoured it and begged for more (iron deficiencies? beef-deprived? hungry from the time change?). We made four little Irish soda breads because, mainly, I don't like caraway seeds in mine and Bud wanted dried berries instead of raisins and Sis wanted none of that and Mama wanted it all! But it worked well in doling out portions of who's who's. Most of which is all gone. So, there's still the long NYC parade to watch and the actual wearing o' the green (or else you'll get pinched, in my childhood's annual ritual) but for us the holiday has officially started.

Corned Beef
(I need to get the exact iteration of the recipe that Mama used, based on The Joy of Cooking.)

corned beef
6 large carrots, peeled and quartered
10 small onions, skinned and quartered
6 medium potatoes
1 head cabbage

Cover corned beef with water in large pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Keep checking water level to make sure corned beef is covered. Cook approximately 1 hour per pound.

About 45 minutes before end of cooking time, put in carrots and onions.

About 30 minutes before end, put in potatoes. Check if meat is overcooked (it will start to fall apart); remove if necessary.

About 10-15 minutes before end, put in cabbage.

Note: Do not BOIL. Simmer only.

Finish cooking until vegetables reach desired tenderness.

Serve with yellow mustard.

Mama Hungry, via Joy of Cooking


Irish Soda Bread
We baked four different mini-loaves placed apart on a silpat-lined cookie sheet for about 40 minutes.

4 cups flour
½ cup sugar
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 handfuls caraway seeds
1 cup raisins
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon melted butter

Generously grease a large iron skillet (or use a pizza stone). turn on oven to 350°F. Mix together dry ingredients. Add milk and butter. Bake 1 hour.
Note: You might need to add extra milk.

a friend of my MIL


4 medium to large all-purpose potatoes, such as
Russet, peeled and cut into chunks
Coarse salt, for
boiling water
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 head dark curly kale, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup whole milk, eyeball it

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, fresh or grated (I don’t
remember adding nutmeg)

1 teaspoon ground thyme
2 scallions, sliced
A handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Boil potatoes for 15 minutes in salted water. Drain
potatoes and return them to the hot pot and mash.

Heat stock or broth to a simmer. Chop kale tops,
discarding tough stems. Add kale to broth and cover.
Simmer 10 to 12 minutes.

In a large skillet over moderate heat melt butter and
add milk. Season with nutmeg and thyme and add
scallions to the pan. Remove kale from cooking liquid
to the milk and butter mixture using a slotted spoon.
Stir in 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Add mashed potatoes
to milk and kale and stir until combined and creamy, 1
or 2 minutes. Stir in parsley and season with
salt and
, to taste.

(I also made a well on the top and added butter, just
in case you needed more butter ;)

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