Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Menu (or, If a Cabbage Could Sing)

I usually don't make it to March 17 without a preemptive soda bread. And so it was yesterday, March 16, that I baked my first. Click here for that recipe.

I handle soda bread dough similarly to a scone dough, combining the dry ingredients in the Cuisinart, adding the butter and processing till fully combined then tossing all that in a big mixing bowl containing combined buttermilk, eggs, raisins, and caraway seeds. I stir it with a big spoon just until it comes together, then bake it on a sheet pan or in a pie dish and let it do its thing for an hour in a 300 oven. I'm not certain why the low temp works so well, but it does.

I'm a big fan of the boiled St. Patrick's Day feast which includes, but is not limited to, corned beef boiled with cabbage, potatoes, onions, and carrots. The rest of my household runs for the bonny green hills - a long haul from the prairie in which we find ourselves - whenever a cabbage makes an appearance. How the unassuming, thick-headed cabbage became the she-beast of the kitchen is beyond me. It's so cultured, so well-traveled - from sauerkraut to kim chee, in gyoza and atop fish tacos, in slaws and in your bra (if you're weaning a nursing infant - it really works!).

If a cabbage could open its mouth and sing it would sound like Susan Boyle. Uh huh. And then the world would see the error of its ways and appreciate it's versatility and value.

But back to St. Patrick. My personal favorite WikiBits about the man himself:

1. He is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. NOTE: methinks it unwise to say the words "pagan Irish" in the company of an Irishman.

2. He was born into a wealthy Romano-British family (see note above, substituting "wealthy Romano-British" for "pagan Irish.") At age sixteen he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland as a slave. It is believed he was held somewhere on the west coast of Ireland, possibly Mayo. (Shout out to the McHughs of Mayo!)

3. He died on March 17, 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick. (Wikipedia is so awesome.)

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

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