Monday, March 14, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Holiday Meals

Hello Everyone!
I know that I said that my next post would be about The Frugal Femme wardrobe, but I have to take time out to write a special post for  St. Patrick's Day.  If you haven't guessed by some of the pictures I have posted on this blog, I am of Irish, Scottish, and German descent.  Although my family takes more pride in claiming the Scottish and the Irish part - as do many Americans.  I read somewhere that there are more people claiming to be Irish in Chicago and Boston than there are Irish people in the actual country of Ireland!  Whether that is true or not,  we (my family)  love to have an Irish meal for St. Patrick's Day.  Fortunately for me, I married an Irish farm boy who was overjoyed to partake of this tradition with me. The longer that we are married, the more we celebrate.  And once we got a house, we turned the formal den and library into an Irish Pub.  So now we really make certain to celebrate the holiday in grand style.

Meet Abercrombie.  He is the mascot of our pub and inspired its name, The Gilded Rack.  This picture was taken while he was drying as I painted him from a creepy life like deer head.  I wanted a large white and gold stag head but didn't want to pay hundreds of dollars. If you would like instructions on how to do this under $55 project, let me know and I will post it.
Whether you want a full traditional meal, or just a small meal for one or two, here are some recipes to help you celebrate St. Patrick's Day!

This  first set of recipes was my first Irish meal that I learned how to cook and was the first St. Patrick's meal I completed by myself when I was still a teenager. I have since changed things up through out the years, but this is still the basis for the menu that I make to this day.

This first meal will serve about 8 people.  (I stress this because this is different from my usual menu items where I have scaled the recipes for two.)

Green Pea Soup with Mint -- I'm not a fan of peas, but I can eat this soup
Irish Soda Bread
Corned Beef  with Horseradish Sauce
Champ (Mashed Potatoes with Scallions)
Stout Cake

Green Pea Soup with Mint

3 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 ten-ounce packages frozen peas (you can use fresh but frozen actually work better in this recipe.)
5 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper, or more to taste
2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint

1. Chop the onion. While you are chopping, melt the butter with the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Once the butter has melted and oil is hot, add the chopped onion and sauté until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
2.  Add the stock, peas, salt and pepper and stir to combine ingredients.  Make sure to add the stock before the frozen peas.  This will help avoid accidents.
3.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat to medium low/low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Add the mint.  And let the mixture cool.
5. Carefully pour the soup into a food processor or blender and puree.  Depending on the size of your equipment, you may need to do this in batches.
6.  When you are ready to serve the soup, simmer on the stove over medium heat until the puree mixture is heated through.

Irish Soda Bread

This particular soda bread is so delicious and easy!  It doesn't use yeast, so it doesn't require rising and it looks rustic and fancy.  I love to make this bread when I am making a stew and  dip it into the broth.  Best of all, your friends will think that you are a master baker because so few people make bread anymore.

3 cups flout
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. whole caraway seeds
6 tbsp. butter
1 1/4 cup, plus 1 tbsp. buttermilk
1 egg

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 1 (one) tsp. of the caraway seeds.
3.  Cut in the butter until the flour mixture is the size of peas. Stir in 1 1/4 cup of the buttermilk until the ingredients are well moistened.
4.  Turn dough out onto a work surface and knead until smooth--about one minute.
5.  Form dough into a ball and put on an ungreased baking sheet.
6. Beat egg with the remaining 1 tbsp. buttermilk and brush dough with some of this "glaze".  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp. caraway seeds.
7.  Cut a 1/4 inch deep cross in the top of the dough.
8.  Place in oven and bake until golden, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  After one hour in the oven, brush with more "glaze" and return to oven. 
Cool completely before serving.

Corned Beef with Horseradish Sauce

1 corned beef brisket (3-4 pounds)
1 onion
4 whole cloves
2 sprigs dill
8 whole peppercorns

1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp. prepared horseradish

1.  Peel onion and stick with cloves. 
2.  Put corned beef, onion (with the cloves stuck in it), dill, and peppercorns in a large pot with a lid and cover with water.
3.  Cover the pot, bring to a simmer and cook gently until tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
4.  While the corned beef is simmering, in a medium bowl combine the sour cream with the horseradish.
5.  When the meat is done, remove from the pot and discard water and onion.
Serve the meat sliced with the  horseradish sauce either on the side or drizzled over the meat.

Champ (Mashed Potatoes with Scallions)

3 lbs. boiling potatoes, about 12, peeled and cut into chunks
8 scallions, sliced, including the green tops
2 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
6 tbsp. milk

1.  Put potatoes in a large pot with salted water, enough to cover the potatoes.  Bring to a boil and cook  until tender about 25 minutes. 
2.  Drain.
3. Melt butter in the pot used to cook the potatoes and add sliced scallions. Cook over low heat until tender, about 5 to 10 minutes.
4.  Mash the potatoes with the salt, pepper and milk.  Once mashed, stir in the scallions.
5. Add more salt and pepper to taste if needed.
Serve warm.

Stout Cake

3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup dark molasses
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup stout or dark beer  (Guinness works well)
Confectioners sugar, for sprinkling

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Butter and flour a 12 cup bundt pan. 
3.  In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
4.  In another large bowl, beat oil, molasses, sugar and eggs until well combined.  Gradually, beat in flour mixture.  Beat in the stout.
5.  Pour into prepared pan.
6.  Bake until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 45 to 50 minutes.
7.  Cool 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely.
8.  Dust with confectioners sugar. 

This can be served with whipped cream or ice cream.

This is the corner of our pub.  That stencil is based on the wallpaper from the BBC television show Sherlock. I know its not Irish, but I thought that it was perfect for a pub Library and I painted it with metallic paint so it faintly sparkles when the light hits it.

(This second meal serves about six.  This meal is also unusual because it requires kitchen gadgets.  I do not usually post recipes where you have to have special equipment, but I am making an exception since this is a holiday meal)

Here is another variation that I love for corned beef.  You will notice that, yet again,  it is not a typical corn beef and cabbage recipe.  I don't care for boiled cabbage and I try to avoid it at all costs.  I either have my cabbage in cole slaw or wilted in bacon grease and garlic.  Both of these will go good with either of the corned beef recipes that I am mentioning here and I will put those recipes in another post at another time. 

Tossed Salad -- I'm leaving you on your own for this one :-)
Potato Bread
Glazed Corned Beef
Boxty (Potato Pancakes)
Irish Style Scones

Potato Bread (Bread Machine)

This recipe contains mashed potato flakes which I normally avoid like the plague.  But,  in this recipe, it actually works better than potato because it is a dry ingredient and the consistency works but, please, don't use them for anything other than recipes like this.  They just aren't delicious.

Ingredients (For a 1 1/2 pound loaf) 
1  1/3 cups water
1  1/2 tbsp. butter
1  1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup mashed potato flakes
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. nonfat dried milk powder
1 1/2 tsp. rapid-rise active dry yeast

1.  Measuring carefully, place all ingredients in the bread machine pan in the order specified by the owners manual.
2.  Program basic cycle and desired crust setting.  Press Start.
3.  When cycle is complete, remove baked bread from pan.  Cool on wire rack.

Serving Suggestion:  Serve this bread with herb butter.  Combine: 1/2 cup softened butter and 1 tbsp. of chopped fresh herbs.  You can do herbs that you like.  Me, I like a combination of dill and thyme.
I also have the ratios for this recipe if you have a 2 pound bread machine.  Let me know if you would like to see it posted.

Glazed Corned Beef

1 corned beef brisket (3-4 pounds)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 celery ribbed, sliced
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp. prepared mustard
2 tsp. prepared horseradish

1.  Place corned beef and contents of seasoning packet (it should come with the brisket) in a Dutch oven; cover with water.  Add onion and celery; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours or until meat is tender.
2.  Drain and discard liquid and vegetables.  Place beef on a greased rack in a shallow roasting pan; set aside.
3.  In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Brush over beef.
4.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. About midway through baking, brush with sauce again.    Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Boxty (Potato Pancakes)

These are different than my previous latke (potato pancake) recipe that I posted, it is a little plainer and is prepared differently. In fact, these are flatter and more like pancakes than the other latke recipe which are shaped more like mini hamburgers.

1 pound baking potatoes (about two medium potatoes),  washed scrubbed and cut into chunks
1/2 small onion
3 egg whites
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 tsp. vegetable oil, divided

1.  Combine potatoes, onion, egg whites, flour, salt and pepper in food processor or blender.  (Mixture will appear grainy.)
2.  Heat a large non-stick skillet or large cast iron skillet 1 minute over medium heat. Add one teaspoon oil.  Spoon 1/3 cup batter per pancake onto skillet and lightly press flat.  Cook 3 pancakes at a time, 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Repeat with remaining batter, adding one teaspoon oil with each batch.
Serve with sour cream.

Irish Style Scones

3 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1  1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cold butter
1/4 cup finely chopped pitted dates (I sometimes like to substitute dried cranberries or cherries)
1/4 cup golden raisins or currants
1 tsp. water
6 tbsp. orange marmalade fruit spread
6 tbsp. softly whipped cream, crème fraiche or clotted cream

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Beat 2 eggs with cream and vanilla.  Set aside
3.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in dates and raisins/currants.
4.  Add egg mixture.  Mix until dry ingredients are moistened.
5.  With floured hands, knead dough four times on a lightly floured surface.
6.  Place dough on greased cookie sheet.  Pat into an 8 inch circle.   With a sharp, wet knife, gently score dough into six wedges, cutting 3/4 of the way into dough.
7.  Beat remaining dough with water.  Brush lightly over dough.
8.  Place in oven and bake 18 to 20 minutes until golden brown.  Cool 5 minutes on a wire rack. Cut into wedges.  Serve warm with marmalade and whipped cream/crème fraiche/clotted cream

My husband enjoying his first pint in the pub. This year we plan on creating our own signature Pub beer and serving it to friends for parties.  If it turns out well, we'll keg it. I may even be able to talk him into guest blogging about it.

Since this is a Frugal Femme, I had to have a dinner menu that shows you how to use any leftovers you have from the first two meals OR would work well as a St. Patrick's Day dinner for Two.

Corned Beef Hash With Fried Eggs
Swirled Dill Rolls
Baked apples

Corned Beef Hash (Serves 2)

This recipe can be used for your corned beef leftovers as a dinner or a breakfast. Or, you can pick up some corned beef and use it as your St. Patrick's Day Dinner for Two.

1 tbsp. olive oil
Dash of Truffle oil
1 tsp. butter
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
3-4 golden potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes or two Idaho potatoes
1 cup corned beef, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. dried dill
1 tsp. herb de provence
1/2 tsp. creole seasoning
2 eggs
Salt and Pepper to taste

1.  Put butter, truffle oil and olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed skillet and heat on medium heat.  When the oil is heated, add the potatoes, dill, herb de provence, and creole seasoning.  Stir frequently with a spoon to keep potatoes from sticking to the bottom of  the pan.
2. After potatoes have cooked for about 10 minutes, add the diced onions.  Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic.  Cook for about three minutes and add the chicken broth and corned beef.
3.  Continue cooking on medium heat until the liquid is gone and the corned beef is heated all the way through.  Set aside and cover to keep warm.
4. In a small non-stick skillet, melt 1/2 tsp. butter in pan.  Once butter is melted, carefully break two eggs into be pan making certain to not break the yolk.  Cook for about three to five minutes until the whites are solid and the yolk is still liquid.  Flip the egg and cook for about 30 to 60 seconds.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
To Serve:  Put the hash on a plate and place the cooked egg on top. If done correctly, the yolk will still be runny and, when you cut into the egg, the runny yolk will make a "gravy" for the hash.  It is so delicious!!!!  (It is one of my favorite dishes and is a true comfort food for me.)

Baked Apples

This recipe was modified from a recipe that I saw Jacques Pepin make on PBS' Create TV.  His recipe does not include cinnamon, which is why I have made it option, but I like it with cinnamon.  He also includes lemon zest, but I found that made it too lemony for me.  But please feel free to add about 1 small lemon's worth of zest to the water of this dish if you like a very lemon-y dessert.
1 medium Golden Delicious apples, stemmed
1 tbsp. sugar (can also use brown sugar, especially if sprinkling with cinnamon)
2 tsp. apricot jam
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
1 tbsp. water

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Use a vegetable peeler to remove a 1 inch-wide strip of peel around the middle of the apple.  Cut the apple in half horizontally and then core it.
3.  In a small bowl mix together the apricot jam and lemon juice.
4.  Arrange the apple halves cut side up in a small gratin dish.  (I like using the personal sized gratin dishes.)
5.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Then place a teaspoon of the jam in the center of each apple half. 
6.  Sprinkle both halves with cinnamon.
7. Pour water in the bottom of the dish.  Dot the apple halves with the pieces of butter.
8.  Put in the oven and bake for about 15 to 30 minutes. (Time depends on the size of the apples.)
    The apples should be very tender.
Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of crème fraiche or clotted cream on each half.

I know that I put ALOT in this post and I know that you're thinking:  "Well, that must be all of the St. Patrick's day food she has to offer."  But that thought would be wrong.  I still have scores of wonderful Irish recipes that I will break out for next year's St. Patrick's day.....and the next...... and the next.....

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