Adopt a holiday and have fun! Let’s face it families are a blend of cultures today. In my house growing up my mom made a mean corned beef with boiled potatoes and cabbage several times a year just for dinner because it was easy to make; she is half German so boiled potatoes were a common fixture at the dinner table. The celebration of St. Patrick’s Day included Corned beef, but required us to wear orange to school, not green, due to the wishes of my Grandma Mary who was Scottish. Scots wouldn’t be caught dead in green.
We moved to Spain during an influential part of my childhood and boiled potatoes and mince ( simmered ground beef with bullion and onions) gave way to plenty of garlic and Spanish flavors on the table. Somewhere in my memory bank is the combination of potatoes, garlic, tomatoes and my parents drinking red wine in a dark cavernous bar in Spain, my sister and I loving every flavor of the combination with our “agua sin gas”.
Fast forward years and I ended up in a South West suburb of Chicago, where everyone wants to be Irish regardless of their heritage on St. Patty’s Day, heck we dye the river green! Corned Beef has become a staple on March 17th. Unfortunately, for boiled potatoes, my family is addicted to crispy potatoes cooked with the Mediterranean spirit of olive oil.
Here is Salty Fig’s St. Patty’s Day Menu
Sliced Corned Beef with Cabbage and Carrots
Papas Bravas (Potatotes, yes, but they are from Spain)
Irish Soda Bread with Cranberries and Raisins, adapted from The New Basic’s Cookbook, by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins
Ice Cream Floats with a Vanilla Porter from Breckenridge Brewery, or Gale Gand’s Root beer for the kids
**for any one with a Gluten Allergy Sweet Ali’s Bakery in Hinsdale IL has terrific St. Patty Day cookies, and Irish Soda Bread; mail-order.
Buy the best you can afford and remember no matter how much you buy, it shrinks by half.
Cabbage, chunks with the core removed
Carrots, peeled and cut in half
1. Rinse the beef in cold water and place in a pot that will allow it to be covered with water. I find my Turkey Roasting pan great for this.
2. Bring the beef to a boil and drain. Cover with cold water for a second time, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. If you boil the beef it will be tough.
3. Simmer the beef anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on the size you are cooking. The beef is done when it is fork tender.
4. During the last 40 minutes of cooking I add peeled carrots and chunks of cabbage to the water and let them simmer until tender.
5. When you slice the corned beef, slice it across the grain.
6. Serve on a platter with some of the cooking juice, cabbage, carrots and an excellent mustard.
Irish Soda Bread
I grew up in the generation where the New Basic’s Cookbook by Julee Rosso and the late Sheila Lukins was the bible when you got married, copyrighted 1989. Even though I’m a chef , the book is well used and the pages slightly tattered with love! The Irish Soda Bread I make is based on their recipe for Grandma Clark’s Soda Bread, (Jullee when you read this post maybe you could share in a comment who Grandma Clark was?) Grandma Clark obviously loved Caraway, my family doesn’t and although currants really are great, I didn’t have any in my pantry , so I substituted a handful of raisins and dried cranberries. So the recipe is The New Basic’s with two adaptions of mine.
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 Tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup dried cranberries 1 3/4 cup buttermilk 2 eggs, well beaten 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature (1 Tablespoon caraway seeds, optional) Method: 1. Smear the 2 tablespoons of butter evenly over the bottom and sides of a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Line the bottom of the skillet with a circle of waxed paper. 2. Preheat the oven to 350 F 3. Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the raisins and cranberries and toss well to coat. 4. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter. Add this to the dry ingredients along, mix until just blended. Do not over mix. 5. Spoon the batter into the prepared skillet, and smooth the top gently with the spatula. Dot the top with remaining two tablespoons of butter. 6. Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the bread is puffed and golden brown, about 1 hr. Cool the skillet for 10 minutes and serve warm, or then transfer the bread to a wire rack to continue cooling. Cut the loaf into wedges to serve. 1 loaf
Ingredients: Pin It
2 Pounds yellow potatoes, par cooked
fresh ground black pepper
For the sauce:
3 cloves of garlic
2 Tablespoons Spanish Smoked Paprika, you can buy it from The Spice House
1 Tablespoon Sherry Vinegar, you can buy it from Amazon.com
4 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 teaspoon, kosher salt
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
To roast the potatoes:
1. Turn the oven to 400 convection or 375 Bake, convection is preferred if you have the choice.
2. Cut the potatoes in half or quarters depending on the size. Place them in salted water in a a saucepan and bring to a boil, continue until they are tender but not falling apart.
3. In an oven proof skillet, I use a large cast iron skillet, spray the pan with olive oil, add the potatoes and drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast until they are a beautiful golden brown.
For the sauce:
1. Put a small saucepan of water on to boil. Core the tomatoes and cut an ‘X”on the pointed side of the plum tomatoes.
2. When the water boils submerge the tomatoes for ten seconds and then place the tomatoes in cold water. Starting with the “X”, peel the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes in half and and squeeze the seeds out.
3. Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until an emulsified sauce arrives.
Vanilla Porter Ice Cream Float
Really Good Vanilla Ice Cream
Vanilla Porter from Breckenridge Brewery
A long spoon and a straw
A Fun Glass
In your fun glass place a scoop of Ice Cream and fill the glass up with the Vanilla Porter and garnish with whipped Cream and a long spoon and a straw.
Here is the link to download these Recipes http://www.saltyfig.com/main/book.html?ID=53&code=ctnh8d2w