Well, today is here! The Irish Christmas. I have a great deal of pride in my Irish heritage, so much that I have purchased the tartan of where my family comes from in Ireland and I am learning the bagpipes to someday participate in Irish and Celtic festivals. And it has to be one of my favorite culinary holidays. Irish food has a stigma of being bland (and frequently associated with English food…for obvious reasons) and contain not much more than potatoes. Of course the entire world knows of the Potato Famine, and apparently canned sauerkraut (which is a German preparation of cabbage) is consumed today in lieu of actually cooking cabbage properly for an Irish meal.But, to each…his/her own.  I am freaking thrilled to be cooking the traditional corned beef, cabbage & potatoes. I actually started it over 10 days ago…

So, let’s not envision a rancid hunk of meat in my refrigerator. I began my preparation with a look back at my corned beef last year. And my god, was it awful! I had no clue what I was doing and was attempting to honor the holiday. I believe I made St. Patrick roll in his grave. Well, that’s not gonna happen this year! I spent a great deal of time researching and learning about St. Patrick’s Day cuisine with the intent to nail it this year. About 2 weeks ago, I bought my corned beef brisket and began the process of brining it. That’s how you get the most amazing flavor! Corned beef basically means brine-cured beef…a mixture of water/stock, large amounts of salt, seasonings and sometimes sugar. So, on day one I made a brine with lots of kosher salt, brown sugar, allspice, pepper, juniper berries, ginger, and who knows what else. And then I let it sit for 10 days. The salt keeps it from going bad, but it filled my fridge with an amazing aroma. And made me terribly impatient.

So, today is the day! I have my soda bread with Irish butter (has higher butterfat which makes it incredibly creamy and smooth), some amazing Irish cheddar to snack on, and will be making my corned beef in a Guinness stock, along with cabbage and potatoes. (and a few extra Guinness to assist with the cooking and eventual singing) I shouldn’t be this excited, but I truly want to recover from my horrible showing last year. With that said, it is time to get my St. Patrick’s Day started. Here are a few of my favorite blessings/toasts fit for today: (one last thought…it’s St. Paddy’s Day…not Patty’s.)

‘Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!’
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

May those that love us, love us.
And those that don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if he doesn’t turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we’ll know them by their limping.

My friends are the best friends
Loyal, willing and able.
Now let’s get to drinking!
All glasses off the table!

May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been,
The foresight to know where you are going,
And the insight to know when you have gone too far.

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