St. Patrick's Day Dinner

In Ireland, it's turkey for St. Pat's, but I always go the "traditional American" route. My menu:

corned beef with carrots, potatoes, onions, and cabbage
homemade mustard
green beans
Irish soda bread
some sort of cake doused with Irish whiskey
beer (not green), milk (also not green), and wine

As you can see, this is a very heavy meal! Ready?

Corned Beef

Although I have corned beef from scratch, these days I don't have time and so buy one. I cook it in a pressure cooker; if you don't want to do it this way, you're on your own for how to roast it! If you buy one, too, usually the packages have the roasting instructions printed on them. If you're going to use a pressure cooker, too, check your manual about times and amount of water to use.

Cook corned beef for 45 minutes with 2 c water under 10# pressure.

Open pot. (Run under cold water at the sink and nudge the pressure "stopper" until the pressure is dissipated and then open; you will not be able to open the pot under pressure!) Remove meat and keep warm (I usually put it in the microwave, covered, at power level one.)

Add onions, potatoes, and carrots to the pot. Himself likes carrots a great deal, so I always put at least 2 pounds of carrots in. Check water level; add if necessary. Cook 9 minutes under 10# pressure.

Meanwhile put the meat on a rack on a cookie sheet (I use a jelly roll pan because it has sides to catch the grease. Let's face it: it's grease.)

Mix a glaze if you want one. I generally use brown sugar moistened with just enough of my homemade mustard to make a -very- thick paste.

Bake at 375 degrees. By the time the veggies and cabbage is done, the roast should be, too.

Open pot (same way). Remove veggies to a bowl and keep warm. Add cabbage, checking water level again, and cook. I use about 2 minutes at 10#, but it's easy to reduce cabbage to a complete mush, so check your pressure cooker's directions.

Carve meat across the grain.


Sometimes I make this instead of putting potatoes and cabbage in with the corned beef. Of course, the carrots are -never- omitted! This is a good dish if you're not crazy wild about cooked cabbage but want to have just a bit of the flavor and tradition. It is very mild - - not cabbage-y at all. If you like mashed potatoes and green onions, you'll love this, I promise.

1/2 small cabbage, shredded small, then cooked
4-6 potatoes, mashed
1 stick (sorry!) oleo or use butter (my gosh!), mixed with hot potatoes
6 green onions, sliced thinly
1 T chopped parsley (dried is ok)
salt and pepper (white pepper is a nice touch)

I cook the cabbage with about 1/2 c water in a closed glass dish in the microwave and drain it. Cook it stove-top, if you prefer. In any event, drain the cabbage -very- well or the dish will be soup-y. Do open the window if you can!

Mix all together. Zap if necessary in the microwave or heat on stove-top. Yield: about 7 c.

Irish Soda Bread

2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1/4 c sugar
3 T oleo (I use extra-light olive oil)
1 3/ c buttermilk (I use 1 2/3 c water plus wither 2/ c dry non-fat milk solids or 1/ c dry buttermilk)
3 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 egg (I use 1/4 c Eggbeaters)
1/4 t ground cardamom
handful of raisins (break them apart so there are no clumps)

Mix dry ingredients. Remove about 1/2 c and place in large bowl; empty raisins in and work them around with your fingers so the raisins are no longer in clumps and any dampness has been absorbed by the flour.

Cut in oleo (or stir in olive oil). Add liquid and egg.

Knead in as much more flour as necessary to make a cooperative dough. Form a round loaf no more than 1 1/2" thick (so it will cook all the way through). If you like, brush more Eggbeaters on the top of the loaf (or mix an extra egg yolk or eggwhite with 1 T water).

Bake at 350-400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or 'til golden. Yield: 1 loaf.

Recipe may be doubled. Some people add 1/4 to 1/3 c dry rolled oats.

Applesauce Cake

Well, the applesauce is just a small part of this! Booze plays a prominent role, too. This cake (and the one below) pack a punch. Do not serve to underage persons.

1 stick butter (I use oleo; no, not olive oil!)
1 c sugar
1 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1 #303 can applesauce
1/2 t salt
1 c nuts
1 c raisins, dredged in 1/2 c more flour

Work raisins in flour so no clumps are left and any moisture is taken up by the flour. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar. Add applesauce. Add rest.

Grease well and flour a Bundt or an angel food cake pan (or whatever pan you like!). Pour in batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

If you want a booze-less cake, skip the next step and don't substitute something else. Skip straight to the confectioner's sugar glaze step, which you should put on after the cake is cool.

When the cake is still a little warm, pour on 1/2 c to 1 c Irish whiskey. Or use rum, bourbon, Canadian whiskey, port, brandy, or whatever else is on hand. (Ok, ok. There are some kinds of booze that -aren't- going to work, even if you have them on hand: gin, vodka, licorice liqueur, marsala, crème de menthe, and such. I don't think Scotch would work, either, but this is just my prejudice!)

Let sit a day in the pan, wrapped well, to "mellow." Don't wrap it up until it's completely cool, though.

About an hour before serving, invert cake on serving plate. This allows the syrup to trickle down to what will be the bottom of the cake on the serving plate, and you won't have any extra liquid to deal with on the bottom of the pan (the area that will be the top of the cake). When you invert the cake, don't make any particular effort to remove it from the pan. It probably will do this task by itself, using gravity. If the cake has not betaken itself to the serving plate by the time you're ready to serve, coax it out of the pan by shaking very gently and invoking the good works of St. Paddy.

Glaze, if desired.

Optional: Make a glaze with confectioner's sugar and 1/2 t vanilla extract mixed with just a tad of milk until it's a consistency you can pour on the cake. Start with 1/2 c sugar and add 1 t milk (or water or more booze) to start. Don't get too exuberant with the liquid or you'll have to add more sugar and end up with a quart of glaze. If you feel extravagant, first mix 1 T soft oleo (or butter) with sugar and vanilla; and then start adding the milk.

Another way, but more complex, to put the booze in the cake is with a cooked syrup.

Boil 1/4 c granulated sugar and 1/3 c water until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes (or use the microwave). Add 6-8 T Irish whiskey and mix. While cake is still warm and in the cakepan, pour the syrup over cake. Wrap and let sit to mellow for a day. Invert, as described above.

Quick Irish Whiskey Cake

1 pkg yellow cake mix
8 oz. instant vanilla pudding mix (probably you'll have to buy 1 lg + 2 sm pkgs)
1/2 c milk
1/2 c vegetable oil (I used extra-light olive oil)
4 eggs (ha ha ha! I use Eggbeaters)
1 c chopped nuts, optional
1 c raisins, optional (dredge them in some of the dry cake mix)
1 c Irish whiskey

Combine cake mix and pudding mix. Add milk, whiskey, and oil. Add eggs, beating after each. Beat 2 minutes at moderate speed. Add nuts and raisins.

Pour batter into well-greased and floured Bundt or other pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until cake tester comes out clean.

While cake is baking, prepare syrup:
1 stick oleo (ha ha again)
1 c granulated sugar
1 c Irish whiskey (on the other hand, by the time we get here...)
1 T water

Melt oleo. Add sugar, 1 T of the whiskey, and water. Bring to boil. Simmer 10 minutes. Let cool 3 minutes and then stir in rest of whiskey.

While cake is still warm, pour on syrup. Mellow, invert, as described above.

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