Tuesday, March 18, 2014

no muffins here, only soda bread

I am the self proclaimed keeper of all of the traditions.  For as long as I can remember, my mother has always made Corned Beef and Cabbage on St. Patrick's Day, and I have continued that tradition.    Growing up, we did in fact have it twice in that one week, it is Kiki's birthday on the 12th and five short days later St. Patrick's Day.  My Mom and Kiki liked the cabbage, Johnny probably did too, Jenn and my Dad... I don't remember if they liked it.  The cabbage wasn't a favorite of mine or the carrots, I did not care for either.  But the meat, potatoes, and rye bread, oh yeah, now that is for me.  Then I met Andrew and he said to put butter and salt on the cabbage, that is all I needed, butter, everything is better with butter.   And bacon....I really do like corned beef, I don't know why I don't make it more often.

I enjoy doing all of these "side by side taste comparison" a little too much.  I think that I am getting a little out of control with it, eck... what are you going to do, it doesn't make me a bad person or nothing.....and besides someone has to do it, might as well be me.

I decided that I should make corned beef two ways, boiled and baked.   So I boiled 5 pieces in Guinness Draught(my tried, trusted, and true way) and I baked 2 pieces..... woohoo woohoo   I need to get a life....really. 

It must have been the luck of the Irish, because I was able to try the "new" stainless sauce/stock pot.  I can bathe a small herd of deer in that thing....it's big, really, really big.  I did the math, it hold 26 quarts.....how do I know this, no it is not marked on the bottom.  I needed to find the formula on how to calculate it and yes, I probably said that I would never put those formulas to use, and now see, that statement came back to bite me. I should have paid more attention in math. It is a good thing that they invented the internet, because I could see me counting quarts of water, hehehe   But I digress...

I prepared the veggies first:  chopped 2 large onions, 4 shallots, garlic (whole mess), carrots, potatoes (red), and finally the cabbage.  I bought the smallest heads I could find because I think that they taste the best.
They look good....

I put the fingerling and the russet potatoes aside.

I sauteed the onions, shallots, and then the garlic in the big pot and when they were soft and delicious, I added the rest of the spices, the ones that came with the meat, and cloves, bay leaves, summer savory then when they were nice and fragrant I added 10 12 ounce bottles of Guinness Draught, added the meat, and 4 quarts of water, brought it to a slow simmer and let them happily hangout in the meat jacuzzi.  I let them cook for about 2 hours, plucked them out put them on a tray, tented them, then added potatoes and carrots, then finally the cabbage.

With the other two pieces of corned beef, I wrapped a jelly pan in foil, put a wire rack on it, then I slathered the meat with 3 different kinds of mustard (course grain, sweet hot, harvest grain), horseradish, whole cloves, and brown sugar.  I wrapped them in no stick aluminum foil tightly, so they did not leak.  Thank you Reynolds Wrap for the No Stick Grill sized foil (purchased last year on clearance, have not yet found it again).  I put them in the oven @ 325 for 2 hours. 

Well,  one kept the liquid in, the other sprung a leak, and drained all into the pan.  Oh, well......

I spoke to Kathy to confirm that she and Mike would be here at 5:00, we have to eat pretty much around then because let's face it, we belong to the geriatric club, and we go to bed pretty early.  I said to Kathy that Mike is not one for boiled potatoes and veggies.  I told her that I was going to make Mrs. Gallo's potatoes for him to enjoy.  I purchased the fingerlings for a good price, potatoes have been super expensive.  The fingerlings were nice, so.....and mighty tasty raw...I might add.  I quartered the potatoes,  I chopped up some garlic, shallots, and the star....bacon.....yup bacon.....adding summer savory, basil, oregano, parsley, chives, thyme, salt & pepper.  

life is better with bacon

I put a little olive oil on them, not too much because they will have the bacon deliciousness.  I baked them for about 45 minutes @ 350.  I then took them out of the oven, flipped them a bit, and put them back for 5-8 minutes till they were golden,  they were heavenly.

When nobody was looking, cause I was alone, and the dogs were sleeping.  I peeled and diced up the russet potatoes,  I then put the potatoes and shallots into the food processor, pulsed for a minute, continued doing this until all the shallots and potatoes were pulverized.  I put them in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl to drain the water out.  After a bit, I drained the water, kept the starch, added the potato/onion mix, 2 eggs, salt, pepper and flour together in the bowl.  Yes, I made potato pancakes, for the very first time....yup, yup, yup.......I fried them in a bit of canola, drained on a paper towel.  I am sooooo proud of myself.....who knew they were that easy,    Where have I been????  

You see, Kathy loves potato pancakes...loves them.  She and Mike go to Harold's for St. Patrick's Day, so they can have lots of leftovers, and she gets the potato pancakes.  So being as though they were coming here to celebrate the festivities, I thought I should make them and I know that it would make Kathy all warm and fuzzy.  Donna said they came out good, and she knows potato pancakes.  She told me next time to mix sweet and white potatoes.  I will say that Kathy is lucky she got any because Andrew went hog-wild on them.  He had to have a separate plate for them.  They were good.....I liked them, I enjoyed them with sour cream and applesauce.  I can never make them again, got to include them with the caramel fondue...things I can never make again, ever, ever.....

We had a very nice dinner with our friends, and nice conversation.  We had pie for dessert.  Thank you Donna, Kathy, and Mike for coming over.   

Can't forget the Soda Bread (Wegman's far superior than Stop&Shop). 

It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive.

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