Not So Traditional Saint Patrick’s Day Supper

Saint Patrick’s Day is but a week away – that magical day when everyone suddenly becomes just a wee-bit Irish. While the rest of America may be eating Corned Beef and Cabbage and raising a pint or three of Guinness, we will be dining on a less than traditional Irish-American fare. Throughout the country, there are parades and rivers run green. It is a party in the streets.

In Ireland this day is more akin to America’s day of Thanksgiving. It is a day for families to gather, to attend Mass and to honor the Patron Saint of Ireland. Although Saint Patrick is credited with the conversion of Ireland to Christianity, Saint Patrick wasn’t Irish. His exact birthplace and date are unknown, although it is believed that he was born in Wales, of Roman parents. At 16; he was captured by Irish raiders and spent 6 years in Ireland as a prisoner. During that time, he learned the language and became a follower of the teachings of Christ. Later; Saint Patrick traveled to France, where he formally converted to Christianity. He spent 15 years studying the faith. As the story goes, Saint Patrick had a vision that God’s plan for him was to return to Ireland to convert his captives. Although legend tells us that Saint Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland; in reality there were no snakes on the Emerald Isle to begin with. Many believe that the snakes are actually symbolic of pagan beliefs. Whatever your beliefs may be, for many of us there is a magic and sense of merriment surrounding Saint Patrick’s Day.

Dad is Irish. Yet we did not observe Saint Patrick’s Day with food, spirit or merriment. I’m not sure why that is – perhaps because Dad grew up as an Irish American Protestant, converting to Catholicism as a young man. Although Mom was a cradle-Catholic; as you can imagine Saint Patrick’s Feast Day wasn’t a big deal in the Philippines. While Dad likes his corned beef and cabbage today, it simply was not something we ate growing up. And the truth of the matter is, I still don’t particularity care for the taste of corned beef and cabbage. In my desire to honor what I believed to be Irish-Catholic traditions; I created a menu for my family that included corned beef while omitting the cabbage (see Saint Patrick’s Day Supper for detail). We served it up for years – until it occurred to me – if Corned Beef isn’t the National Dish of Ireland for Saint Patrick’s Day, why the heck am I eating it year after year? Silly me.

This year I am serving several dishes that I have made in the past simply because we like them. I have brought these favorites together to create a new; non-traditional Saint Patrick’s Day Supper. While Saint Patrick’s Day does not fall on a Friday during Lent, some years it does. This would be perfect for just those times or, as it does now, during Lent as an added day of abstention. Hope you find favor in my offerings  . . . have a blessed Saint Patrick’s Day.

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On The Menu
Irish Roasted Salmon
Herb Potatoes
Browned Butter Whiskey Glazed Carrots
Shamrock Irish Soda Bread
Irish Cream Crème Brulee
Irish Coffee with Whipped Cream

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Irish Roasted Salmon
2 tablespoons honey
1⁄4 cup cider vinegar
1⁄4 cup Irish whiskey
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1⁄2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper
4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets

Mix together honey, vinegar, whiskey, thyme, lemon zest, oil, salt and pepper. Pour over salmon and marinate 1 hour on the counter, or 4 hours refrigerated.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Remove salmon from marinade and place on a rack over a roasting pan.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, basting once with the marinade or until golden and white juices are just beginning to appear.

 

Herb Potatoes
2 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes – peeled and cut into quarters
Olive oil
3 Tablespoons of fresh parsley chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh Rosemary chopped
Coarse Sea Salt to taste
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste

Place quartered potatoes in a large pot. Cover with about 1 inch of water. Bring pot to a boil and let potatoes cook for about 10 minutes or so. Potatoes should be tender enough to cut with the side of a fork but firm enough not to fall apart.

Drain water from pot. Return pot to stove top and set over low heat to dry potatoes of remaining water.

Transfer potatoes to serving bowl. Drizzle a little olive oil over tops of potatoes. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and season to taste. Gently stir to blend and serve.

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Glazed Carrots (2)Browned Butter Whiskey Glazed Carrots
1 Bunch Baby Carrots, tops intact
2 Tablespoons Water
Pinch of Salt
4 Tablespoons Butter
4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Whiskey

Trim tops of carrots, leaving about 1 inch of the “green” intact.

Wash and peel carrots. Place in a microwave safe dish.

Add water and a pinch of salt. Microwave on HIGH for 3-5 minutes, until carrots are tender-crisp.

Heat empty skillet until almost smoking. Remove skillet from heat, add butter. Butter will begin to brown almost immediately. Add brown sugar, stir until sugar has dissolved to create a nice glaze.

Add whiskey, swirl pan to blend.

Place carrots in pan with butter. Swirl to coat carrots with glaze.

Place pan on low heat. Continue to swirl until carrots are nicely glazed and everything is hot.

Transfer to serving platter. Serve immediately.

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Easy_Irish_Soda_BreadShamrock Irish Soda Bread
4 cups flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup buttermilk*
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk
Kelly Green Food Coloring Gel as needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a heavy baking pan and dust with flour.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using a fork, blend in the butter thoroughly.

Stir in one cup buttermilk and the egg. Add food coloring to the dough. Mix well using your hands to knead it several times.

Form into a round shape and place on baking sheet. Cut an a clover-leaf on the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. (A shamrock-shaped cookie cutter can be traced for a more uniformed shape).

Combine melted butter and remaining buttermilk in a small bowl. Brush over top of loaf, allowing mixture to seep into the cut.

Bake 45-55 minutes, brushing the top again two or three times during baking.

Note: If you don’t have buttermilk, just stir 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice into a cup of milk and let sit for a few minutes. Also, bread can be made earlier in the day or the day before. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in an air-tight container until ready to serve. If desires, bread may be wrapped in foil and warmed in the oven just before serving.

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Irish Cream Creme BruleeIrish Cream Crème Brulee
3 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Vanilla Bean
3 Tablespoons Irish Cream
8 Large Egg Yolks, at room temperature
1/3 Cup Sugar
½ Cup Light Brown sugar

Preheat oven to 300-degrees. Have six ¾-cup ramekins and shallow roasting pan at the ready.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the crème and vanilla bean. Bring to a gently boil, remove from heat, cover and set aside for 15-30 minutes to blend the flavors. Remove the vanilla bean from the cream. Using the tip of a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream. Discard the bean.

Return the cream to medium heat and bring almost to a boil. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, and 1/3 cup sugar until just blended. Slowly whisk in the hot cream. Return the mixture to the saucepan over medium-low heat. Add Irish Cream and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick enough to coast the back of a spoon, about 3-4 minutes. DO NOT let it boil. Pour the custard through a strainer into the ramekins, dividing it evenly among them.

Arrange the ramekins in the roasting pans. Pour very hot tap water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan with foil. Bake until the custards are set but the centers still giggle slightly when the ramekins are gently shaken, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven but leave in the water bath until cool enough to handle, then lift out the ramekins. Cover and refrigerate overnight until well chilled.

Remove ramekins from refrigerator about 10 to 15 minutes before serving and let sit on counter to take the chill off cups. Just before serving, preheat the broiler. Sprinkle ½ cup Light Brown sugar over the tops of the chilled custards to form a thin, even layer. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet. Slip the baking sheet under the broiler, 2-3 inches from heat source. Broil until the sugar melts and caramelizes, 1-2 minutes. Turn the ramekins as needed to cook the sugar evenly.

Alternate Method: Use a small kitchen blowtorch to caramelize the sugar. Serve immediately.

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Irish-Coffee1Irish Coffee
8 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
½ cup whiskey
2 cups hot brewed coffee, or as needed
½ cup heavy cream, lightly beaten to form soft peaks

Place 2 teaspoons of sugar in each of 4 mugs. Add 2 tablespoons of whiskey to each mug, then fill with coffee. Hold a spoon, rounded side up, over each mug and slowly pour the cream over the spoon, floating it on top of the coffee. 

Note: For that Saint Patty’s Day Green, whipped cream may be tinted with green food gel to desired shade.

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May the strength of God pilot us

May the wisdom of God instruct us

May the hand of God protect us

May the word of God direct us

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