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What's Cooking?: Happy St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday.  We look forward to celebrating it every year along with our Irish friends.   Rockland County’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pearl River is the second largest parade in New York State behind New York City’s parade.  After enjoying the parade with other enthusiastic revelers, we all look forward to continuing the celebration with great food and good friends.

The traditional meal associated with St. Patrick’s Day and Irish dishes is corned beef, potatoes, and cabbage.  It may be familiar but we just love it in our family. We are filled with anticipation when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around each year.  We start scouting out the supermarkets for the yearly corned beef sale.  I always prefer the point cut or thick cut which is a marbled piece over the lean flat cut.  It practically melts in your mouth.  Extra potatoes are cooked in the briny water flavored with peppercorns, red pepper flakes and bay leaves so that there are leftovers to make home fried potatoes or corned beef hash the next day.  This one pot meal is simple to make by just boiling the corned beef and later adding the potatoes and cabbage.   Let’s not forget the raisin filled Irish soda bread which makes this meal complete.  To elevate it to another level, I remember fondly how my father used to roast the corned beef in the oven after it was boiled.  It changed this bland looking boiled meat into a beautiful caramelized fragrant piece of deliciousness.  It is a perfect meal no matter which way you make it.

The color green is associated with this holiday and there are so many fun ideas to transfer this to sweets and desserts into the untraditional.  How about pillowy pistachio cream puffs?  A few drops of food coloring can change the cream filling or the lightly crusty choux pastry into a pale shade of green.  It is so much fun decorating cupcakes and shamrock cookies.  Chocolate covered cake balls and bonbons would please any guests with contrasting colors of green, white, and dark chocolate.   All one needs is a cup of Irish coffee to top it all off!

Cake Balls: Amazingly Delicious Bite-Size Treats by Robin Ankeny and Charlotte Lyon

Real Irish Food: 150 Classic Recipes from the Old Country by David Bowers

Kevin Dundon’s Modern Irish Food: More Than 100 Recipes for Easy Comfort Food by Kevin Dundon 

The Irish Heritage Cookbook by Margaret M. Johnson

Irish Pub Cookbook by Margaret M. Johnson

Irish Puddings, Tarts, Crumbles, and Food: 80 Glorious Desserts by Margaret M. Johnson

The New Irish Table: 70 Contemporary Recipes by Margaret M. Johnson

Malachi McCormick’s Irish Country Cooking by Malachi McCormick

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