Monday, March 17, 2014
MARCH MADNESS...IRISH MISCHIEF
The month of March brings to mind the winds of change, a breath of Spring, and all things Irish! Since I am of Scottish/Irish descent—half Campbell and half Conner—I am all for sipping some Irish Coffee, dancing a jig and passing along a Bit O’ Blarney! I had so much fun researching Irish foods and folklore, and I could almost imagine myself sitting down to tea in an Irish family home, being served the secret family recipe for apple pie. Most of the recipes I found were simple and hearty with very basic seasonings. It’s the flavor of each ingredient along with the cooking technique that makes the food so appealing. I adapted the recipes in order to make them more universally user-friendly.
May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks. May your heart be as light as a song. May each day bring you bright happy hours that stay with you all the year long.
2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ cup milk
½ stick butter
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 green cabbage
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup cubed thick sliced bacon (uncooked)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
Start recipe about 1½ hours before serving time.
Put the bacon bits and the thinly sliced onion into a non-stick pan or spray regular skillet lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Fry over low heat, stirring gently until the bacon is just browning and the onions are beginning to soften. Discard the tough outer leaves of the cabbage, remove the core and slice thinly. Add to the pan with the onions and bacon. Stir the mixture over a medium-high heat until the cabbage starts to brown around the edges. Add the cup of boiling water, turn the heat to medium-low, cover the pan with a lid and cook for one hour. Stir occasionally and add water as needed. After an hour, remove the lid, turn the heat back up to medium-high, and stir the mixture until it becomes almost dry (about 5-10 minutes). The cabbage and onions should both be browned and very soft. While cabbage mixture is cooking, boil the potatoes until tender. When potatoes are done mash with milk and butter. Add a dash of salt & pepper to taste. Put the mashed potato into an oven proof dish, cover with the cabbage mixture and sprinkle the top with the grated cheddar. Place under a hot grill (broiler) until the cheese is bubbling.
May your neighbors respect you, ttrouble neglect you, the angels protect you, and Heaven accept you!
Green are the hills of Ireland, and green they will always stay. Warm are the blessings wished for you, and they’ll always stay that way.
Beef “Hand Pies”
1 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
1/4 head(s) green cabbage, shredded
1/2 pound(s) red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 pound(s) ground beef sirloin
3 tablespoon(s) tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon(s) Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon(s) dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 (9 inch) pie crusts, homemade or ready-made
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; add cabbage and potatoes. Cook until mixture begins to brow, about 8 minutes. Add beef, breaking up meat well as it cooks. Brown meat well, until no longer pink. Stir in tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and 1 cup water. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Lightly mash mixture with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely. On a lightly floured surface, roll each crust into a 14-inch square; cut each square into 4 equal squares. Place 1/2 cup filling on one half of each square, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the filling. Brush borders with water; fold dough over filling to enclose. Crimp edges with a fork to seal. With a paring knife, cut 3 small vents in top crust of each pie. Spray 2 foil-lined baking sheets lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Arrange pies on baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Reminder: When pies are served hot, filling will be very hot.
An Irish wish from the heart of a friend: “May good fortune be yours……may your joy never end!”
Irish Cream Dessert Sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups strong black coffee
1/2 cup Irish Cream liqueur
Dissolve the sugar in the water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and boil until it turns light golden in color. Add
the coffee, bring back to the boil and boil over medium heat until the mix is syrupy. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool slightly and thicken. Mix in the Irish Cream and serve over sliced pound cake and ice cream.
‘Behave! The faeries are watching you!’ Irish legend states that if a child has been bad or has misbehaved then a parent or grand-parent will chastise them by telling them if they are not good then the faeries or the Sidhe (pronounced shee) will come and spirit them away and leave a changeling in their place. Irish folklore is also full of fanciful tales of Leprechauns. Many stories exist of how when a Leprechaun is caught they have to grant three wishes or part with their much cherished pot of gold. However, you must beware and use the wishes wisely. A Leprechaun does not like to part with either his gold or his wishes and will try his wily best to trick you!
The Irish whiskey cake is not only a delicious treat but it is also the traditional cake for Irish weddings. It is the custom to freeze the top layer/tier of a wedding cake to save and eat it at the one year anniversary. However, in the UK it is also a popular tradition to keep the top tier to celebrate the Christening of the couple’s first child. If the top tier is a fruit cake with a generous soaking of spirits, the cake will be well preserved and will not need freezing – it can just be stored in a cool, dry location.
Glazed Whiskey Cake
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 yellow cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 cup Irish Whiskey
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup golden raisins
1 stick butter
1/4 cup water
1-1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 to 1 cup Irish Whiskey (to your taste)
Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease and flour a bundt or tube pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining cake ingredients in order given, and mix well. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool; invert onto plate. Prick holes in cake. Prepare glaze: Melt butter in saucepan. Add water and sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in whiskey. Drizzle glaze over top and sides, allowing it to be absorbed into cake. Continue until all glaze is used. Cake should set at least one day before serving.
One of my all time favorite entertainers, the late, great Eddie Rabbitt wrote the beautiful "Song of Ireland". Eddie's parents were Irish immigrants who originally settled in New York and later moved to New Jersey. The Irish spelling of the family name is "Rabbitte", a name common to Galway and County Clare, Ireland. Eddie's father, Thomas, can be heard playing the fiddle on the recording of "Song of Ireland":
"I remember daddy playing on the violin, jigs and reels that he brought from Ireland. And I'm the first born in America, my friend. I have never been there but someday I'll take a trip. I'll cross the ocean on a big long silver ship.Hear them sing those songs I learned from Mama's knee; I just close my eyes and I can almost see, those shamrock hills and those forty shades of green. And the roots that tie me to a land I've never known...are calling me home, are calling me home. Sun shines through my window here in Tennessee. God sure made this a pretty place to be.But sometimes it just don't feel like home to me.So I close my eyes and I can almost see those shamrock hills and those forty shades of green.And the roots that tie me to a land I've never known are calling me home. Are calling me home. Are calling me home."
The romance and beauty of the Emerald Isle are great food for thought and imaginative wanderings. As you sip your Irish Coffee, or your beverage of choice, you may feel poetic and long to give your thoughts voice. Here are some great Irish toasts to keep you in the spirit:
May the roof above you never fall in,And those gathered beneath it never fall out.
Here's to health, peace and prosperity. May the flower of love never be nipped by the frost of disappointment, nor shadow of grief fall among your family and friends.
May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.
May you live to be 100 years, with one extra year to repent.
May the good Lord take a liking to you...But not too soon!
May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door.
There are good ships,and there are wood ships,The ships that sail the sea.But the best ships, are friendships,And may they always be.
Saint Patrick was a gentleman,Who through strategy and stealth,Drove all the snakes from Ireland,Here’s a toasting to his health.But not too many toastings, Lest you lose yourself and then Forget the good Saint Patrick And see all those snakes again.
'Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!' Happy St. Patrick's Day!