I’m half Irish, and I remember vividly while growing up that my dad would take off work every St. Patty’s Day, get dressed up in all sorts of green, buttons and the works, and head down to the local St. Patricks Day parade to party with brothers, cousins and friends. Us kids being little, we stayed at home with mom, who had no interest in partaking in such “foolhardiness”. 🙂
Dad’s days of partying at the parade are long gone, but his commitment to the day and to the event gave me an appreciation for the importance of respecting one’s heritage, whatever it may be. I would love to have the time to research our ancestral countries and share the wisdom with our children, but the days seem to go by too fast with the simple necessities of life like teaching the children and caring for our home.
This year, however, I decided that I was going to make for Rick and the kids a classic Irish dinner. I cooked it up today, since Monday evening is booked with Maddie’s Krav Maga class, and I never cease to be amazed at how fun it is to try new and different ethnic foods of any type.
We started out with the classic Corned Beef and Cabbage. While doing my Internet search for authentic Irish recipes, some said that Corned Beef and Cabbage was an American invention of an Irish meal, but I found just as many Ireland natives who said they had plenty of Corned Beef and Cabbage in their lifetimes, so that’s what we went with for our St. Patricks Day Dinner. Being Rick is a Corned Beef fan, I figured I couldn’t go wrong. I used the recipe written here, and it was every bit as delightful as the reviews promised it would be. I remember trying Corned Beef and Cabbage as a kid, and hating it, but this version was simply delightful. The potatoes in this recipe are hearty and flavorful.
I also whipped up a batch of Irish Soda Bread from a recipe I found here. Irish soda bread has always looked dry to me, but I took a chance and tried it anyway. The local bakery here was selling it already made, but after figuring out that I could make it for about 1/3 of the cost of the bakery price, I went for a homemade version. It tastes a bit like a baking powder biscuit, only more dense and flavorful. Not at all dry as long as you don’t over-bake it.
For dessert, I found a recipe for a classic Irish Tea Cake with Lemon Glaze. The batter for this cake was absolutely yummy! (Didn’t you know that it’s a rule that you’ve got to taste the batter? 🙂 ) And the cake, beautiful, rich and sweet, didn’t disappoint either. I did substitute heavy cream for the buttermilk, since cream was all that we had on hand, and it worked out wonderfully. It’s also a pretty table decoration:
Rick and the kids all gave it a pretty big thumbs up. The cabbage went over much better than I thought it would with young kids, as did the corned beef. What a great meal for a Saturday afternoon, don’t you think?
What are your plans for St. Patricks Day?