Friday, April 2, 2010

St. Patty's Day Feast

I can't believe how long it's taken me to blog about the food I made during the week of St. Patty's Day!  I made such good things that week and such good things after.  The recipes are really starting to pile up!  More on that later.

I got the bug to make St. Patty's inspired food, but I'm not actually Irish.  I'm partly of Scottish descent, though, so that's close enough, right?  I'll just jump right in.  This is going to be a long post because I made a lot of food.  And man oh man do I wish I had some of it now.

  • Naturally, I started with corned beef!  Yeap, from scratch.  Brined it myself!  I used this recipe, courtesy of Alton Brown for the brine.  I couldn't find juniper berries, so I used fennel seeds instead, and I threw in some dried thyme as well.  I didn't want to just boil the brisket in water, so I used this recipe to braise it in the oven.  After 3 hours I had a flavorful, falling apart cut of meat that was so delicious that when Husband tried it, he lamented there was only 3lbs.  I loved the flavors imparted by the Guinness and beef broth.  I am definitely making this again next year.  Of course, I don't think I'll wait that long to try brisket again in other preparations.  It's yummy!  I love that juicy, falling apart texture. 
  • Let me tell you about this whiskey sauce I made for the corned beef.  See, I had some extra whiskey (more on that below).  And I had all this beautiful braising liquid.  And I wanted something to top the beef.  So I made a roux with a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of flour over medium heat.  I added the whiskey and about 2 cups of braising liquid, brought it all to a boil, and let it simmer until it reduced and became nice and thick.  Man of man this sauce was heavenly!  It was smoky from the whiskey and the braising liquid was beefy and complex.  I can still remember what it tastes like, and my mouth is watering.  Try this.

  • Mustard roasted potatoes, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.  I had made these once before so I knew they would be delicious...and they were!  I love the grainy mustard over these waxy potatoes.  This is my go-to recipe for a healthy flavorful potato.  And how well does mustard go with the rest of this food?  Perfectly.  Yeah.

  • Horseradish cream braised cabbage and beet greens over roasted beets.  I based the cabbage off of this recipe, courtesy of Sassy Radish.  I nixed the leeks because I didn't have any, and threw in the greens from from the beets.  I wanted to work in horseradish because I thought the flavors would go nicely with the beef and mustard from the potatoes, and I didn't want anything too too creamy, so I used about 2 tablespoons of white horseradish and used the same amount of cream.  It kept the dish light and super flavorful.  I couldn't get enough!  I also roasted the beets, sliced them thin, and plopped the cabbage right down on top of them.  Oh yeah.  Sweet, creamy, spicy, and slightly crunchy.  

  • Brown soda bread, courtesy of Nourished Kitchen.  This was my first attempt at soda bread.  And seeing as how this recipe called for whole wheat flour and booze, well you know me.  I was there.  Also, I liked that you soak the flour in the buttermilk overnight.  I'm new to this trick, but find it absolutely genius.  Soaking the whole grains overnight helps break down the starches to make them soft and silky.  This turned out really well!  For the most part.  Except I was kinda pressed for time...long I totally undercooked it, and it wasn't cooked all the way in the middle.  But you know what?  I still liked it!  I loved that doughy flavor.  And hello!  The whiskey soaked currants?  Delicious.  I would use more currants next time!  Husband wasn't really so much a fan.  Since it was a soda bread, it didn't have that yeasty flavor he likes.  I would make this again, especially when I want an easy bread without a lot of steps.  And oh yeah, that leftover whiskey I was talking about?  It was from soaking the currants, so it had currant essence goodness in it.  Yum!

  • And now the piece de resistance!  Smitten Kitchen's Irish Car Bomb cupcakes.  Seriously.  Oh my god.  These are by far the best cupcakes I've ever made...and possibly ever eaten.  Ok, let me walk you through it.  The cupcake is a Guinness chocolate cupcake, so yum right off the bat.  See that little bit of chocolate in there?  That's a whiskey ganache.  And it was amazingly good.  And that frosting?  Baily's frosting.  The frosting made it for me for sure.  It was so good!  But all three together were magical.  These were a hit with everyone I gave them to.  Word spread about them like a wildfire.  And not only did a bunch of people ask for the recipe, one person actually made them herself that very same week!  They're moist and chocolaty, and the alcohols provide a great complexity of flavor.  Love 'em!
How yum does all that sound?  My job may have hung in the balance, but having a lunch like this sure gave me a bit of reprieve:


123 said...

Following you from The Doggy Blogger! This is a beautiful blog. I love the pictures.

Pam said...

Love your blog here! The lighting in your photos is so nice - do you use natural light, or some other light to take them? I've always found it a challenge to take nice looking pictures of my food in the evenings (when I normally have time to cook) because the lighting is so crappy :p

Stephanie - said...

Your soda bread looks so yummy and crunchy on the outside. Btw, you posted on another blog that you wanted to make your Blueberry Rhubarb Pie but it isn't (unless I'm blind) on your blog anywhere...are going to share or what?! Sooo curious. Thanks :)

DaydreamerN said...

looks really good. my mom would love this sit. I really like the pics


Cian said...

looks delicious =)

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