B'gosh and Begorrah

Have a Great St. Patrick's Day!


Would you like to learn about St. Patrick - who he was and how he became a saint? And, when and why did we start celebrating St. Patrick's day in the first place?

Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He was born somewhere around 385 A.D. in Britannia (which in those ancient times was the name for Great Britain, Wales and Scotland combined). His parents didn't name him Patrick, however; they named him Maewyn, and he was raised in a Christian family.

When Maewyn was about 16, Irish plunderers raided his village, kidnapped Maewyn, and forced him to herd their sheep. He was very lonely and homesick, and he had plenty of time to think. He believed that his enslavement was a punishment for breaking God's commandments when he was a boy. Maewyn prayed to God for forgiveness and asked to be rescued. It was at this point in his life that he believed he had found his calling.

After 6 years of living as a captive, Maewyn was able to escape. Since he had decided to dedicate his life to God, he entered a monastery in Gaul (which is now called France) to study religion under St. Germain (a bishop in Gaul.) In the year 432, the pope named Maewyn, "Patricius", which is the Latin name for Patrick. By this time, Patrick had become a bishop.

Patrick began having visions, and in one of these he heard the voice of the Irish crying as if with one voice, "come hither and walk among us"! Patrick took this as a command from God to return to Ireland. He felt that he was being called on to convert the Irish pagans to Christianity. He traveled throughout Ireland, setting up monasteries, churches, and schools. According to Irish folklore, Patrick delivered a sermon that drove all the snakes out of Ireland. To this day there isn't a snake in the entire country!

The Catholic Church eventually made Patrick a saint. St. Patrick's Day is celebrated every year on March 17th, because that is the day he died in the year 46l. The anniversary of his death is celebrated with parades, Irish songs and jigs, and traditional Irish fare. SEE RECIPES BELOW!

Many of us wear a shamrock, which is a three-leaf clover representing the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - which has become the national symbol of Ireland. And, of course, we are all supposed to wear "green" whether we are Irish or not or we may just get "pinched"!

St. Patrick's Day came to America in 1737 - first to Boston (which had many Irish immigrants) and then quickly spread to the rest of the country. It is now a really popular and fun American holiday, (as well as a great excuse to drink Guinness and Irish whiskey!)


Killian's Red Corned Beef and Cabbage

My husband and I didn't even know we liked corned beef till my dear friend Betty brought it over one year to our annual St. Patrick's Day dinner. I've always liked Reuben sandwiches in restaurants, but had never attempted cooking corned beef myself.

The secret to this delicious version is the sweet and spicy topping you sprinkle on after the corned beef is done and then put under the broiler for a few minutes.

Corned beef is traditionally served with new potatoes and carrots, as well as (of course) cabbage!

Ingredients for Corned Beef: 4 pound corned beef brisket (Sometimes the corned beef will come with a little packet of seasonings. I sprinkle them on, too, as well as using the spices in this recipe.) 2 bottles Killian Red beer 12 peppercorns 4 bay leaves 4 red chilies 3 cinnamon sticks, broken in halves 3 cloves garlic, sliced 1 onion, sliced Small head of cabbage 2 pounds small red potatoes 2 pounds carrots

Ingredients for Topping: 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon cloves 1/2 teaspoon ginger 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 1/4 teaspoon celery seed 1/4 teaspoon caraway seed

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place corned beef into a deep, roomy casserole dish which has a lid. Pour beer over corned beef. Place peppercorns, bay leaves, red chilies, and cinnamon sticks on and around the corned beef. Place sliced onion and garlic on top of the meat as well. Cover with the lid and bake in the oven for around 3 1/2 hours.

When corned beef is done, scrape off all the spices, onion, and garlic and place in a clean oven-proof dish. Sprinkle topping over the top of the roast. Place it under the broiler a few minutes till topping gets bubbly.

Meanwhile, cook the potatoes, carrots, and cabbage to serve with your corned beef. (Betty cooks her cabbage in the brine that the corned beef was cooked in.) Note: Cabbage only takes about 10 minutes to cook. Slice the corned beef on the diagonal. Serve with your favorite mustard.

Irish Lamb Stew

When St. Patrick's Day rolls around our thoughts turn to Irish stew, Irish soda bread, and a large pint of Guinness. But lamb stew is hearty and delicious all times of the year, especially during the cold Winter months.

The very “traditional” Irish stew consisted only of lamb, potatoes, and onions, and was a bit bland in taste. This more modern version has the addition of garlic, carrots, peas, tiny pearl onions and seasonings to make it much more flavorful and extra healthy.

Serve it with Irish soda bread slathered in butter. You will find a great recipe for it on page 30 in the “Breads” section.

Ingredients: (In order of use) 1 1/2 pounds lamb stew meat, cut in 1” pieces 2 tablespoons cooking oil 1 cup chopped onion 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 cups water 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1 teaspoon dried rosemary 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1 bay leaf 2 carrots, peeled and sliced 2 medium-sized potatoes, cut in small chunks 5 ounces frozen peas (around 3/4 to 1 cup) I use Birds Eye Deluxe Tiny Tender Peas. 1/2 cup (or more, if desired) tiny pearl onions (found in the canned vegetable section) 3 tablespoons flour mixed with 6 tablespoons water (to make a paste to thicken stew ) Parsley, fresh or dried (optional)

Instructions: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet. Brown the lamb, sprinkling liberally with salt and pepper. Add onion and garlic and cook till soft. Scrape all ingredients into a large saucepan and pour in 2 cups water. Add salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, cumin, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; put cover on pot, turn heat to low, and let simmer until lamb is tender (about 1/2 hour).

Add potatoes and carrots; cover and cook until they are tender (about 10-15 minutes). Stir in peas and pearl onions; cook for about 5 minutes. Mix 3 tablespoons flour with 6 tablespoons water to make a smooth paste. Stir into stew and heat, stirring, until stew thickens and is steaming hot. Pour into bowls and sprinkle with chopped fresh or dried parsley, if desired. Serves 4.

" Green" Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

You can use pretty much any vegetable you want in this salad just as long as it's GREEN! That's the whole point - it's St. Patrick's Day! And, of course, it's so very healthy for you too!

Green Goddess dressing is an old fashioned dressing which you usually can't find in the grocery store anymore. That certainly is too bad since it is very delicious, but homemade is much better anyway!

Green Salad ingredients: These are the ingredients I used in my St. Patrick's Day Green Salad this year: Bibb lettuce (also called Butter lettuce), sugar snap peas (cut in thirds), broccoli (cut in small florets, sliced cucumber (slices cut in half), several green onions (finely sliced), sliced green pepper, and an avocado (cut into small chunks). Though I didn't add it, I bet asparagus would be yummy in this too!

Note: Make the Green Goddess dressing several hours ahead so the flavors meld together. Placing an avocado pit on the top of the dressing helps it to keep better. Make sure to keep it refrigerated.

Ingredients for Green Goddess Dressing: 2 avocados, sliced 1/2 cup sliced green onions 2 cloves garlic, sliced 1 cup mayonnaise 1 cup sour cream 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon anchovy paste or a couple of anchovies (Leave out if you don't like anchovies like my husband and I.) 1/4 cup parsley (I used dried, but fresh is probably even better.) 1 teaspoon dried Tarragon 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions: Put all ingredients for the dressing into a blender or food processor and blend till smooth. Store in refrigerator till ready to use. This Green Goddess dressing recipe makes enough for about 6 people. I doubled it for my St. Patrick's Day dinner party.

Tear up the lettuce into pieces with your fingertips and place in a large salad bowl. Add rest of vegetables and toss salad. Serve with Green Goddess dressing.

Shamrock Sugar Cookies

These sugar cookies are crisp and buttery - very delicious with a cup of Irish Coffee! They stay fresh for several days.

1 cup (real) butter, softened to room temperature 1 cup granulated sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 large egg 1 teaspoon vanilla 3 cups all-purpose flour green decorating sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, and salt together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add flour, mixing on low speed until completely combined. Do not over-mix.

Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out dough with a floured rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out dough with shamrock cookie cutters. Arrange unbaked cookies at least an inch apart on a non-greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with green decorating sugar.

Bake 11 to 13 minutes until cookies are just beginning to get golden around the edges.

Makes around 30 cookies (depending on how big your cookie cutter is.)

Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee is great served after your St. Patrick's Day meal, or along with dessert. Of course, no need to wait till St. Pat's Day; it's yummy and warming served on ANY cold winter evening!

Ingredients: 1 jigger Irish whiskey 2 sugar cubes 6 ounces (3/4 cup) rich, hot coffee Sweetened whipped cream (I usually make my own homemade whipped cream by whipping cream with a little sugar and vanilla. It tastes so much better than Cool Whip or the canned aerosol kind.

Instructions: Place sugar cubes in the bottom of an Irish coffee cup (or any cup will do!) Pour hot coffee over the sugar cubes and stir till sugar is dissolved. Pour in the whiskey, stir, and then add a large dollop of whipped cream. Now, this is what I call "warming" and yummy besides!!!

Irish Soda Bread

This delicious bread is traditional to eat with your Irish stew on St. Patrick's Day. It's pretty simple to make and requires no rising time since baking powder, baking soda and buttermilk act as leaveners. Cutting a deep cross in the top of the loaf ensures that the bread bakes evenly.

Irish soda bread is absolutely wonderful sliced and slathered in butter.

Ingredients: (In order of use) 4 cups all purpose flour 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces 1 2/3 cup buttermilk 1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional) 1 1/2 cups raisins (if desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 2 quart casserole dish.

Instructions: In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

With pastry blender, or with 2 knives used scissor-fashion, cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. If you are using caraway seeds and/or raisins, you can stir them in now.

Add buttermilk all at once; stir with fork until mixture holds together. Knead about 15 times till dough is smooth.

Pat dough into a round dome-shaped loaf about 7 inches in diameter. Place in greased casserole dish. Lightly dust top of loaf with flour. With a large knife, cut a deep cross in the top of the loaf.

Bake for about an hour until a deep golden brown and until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.

Cool before slicing. Enjoy!