Thursday, March 18, 2010

St Paddy's Day - the day after

Everything turned out great.  We had 5 fewer guests than I expected, and we didn't make the Guinness Chocolate cake.  That said, it didn't seem to get in the way of us having a great time.  It was a big day, on a few fronts.  So, first, I think we made 6 dishes.  Probably an all-time high!  Okay, maybe not, but still, it was a lot.  I will post all the recipes as soon as I can.  I am nursing a super sore neck/shoulder, maybe some sort of repetitive stress, maybe from swimming or using the laptop..or maybe both or something else all together.  Anyways, getting an appointment for the doctor today.  Such a bummer!

St Patrick's day recipes:
- lamb stew without garlic, onions, or leeks - omit leek, onion, garlic
(because i love my sister, who is allergic)
- vegetarian mushroom and barley stew (i love you, mo!)
- roasted veggies irish lamb stew - i chopped up a whole leg of lamb, turnips, leeks, and roasted all the veggies before going in the stew
- colcannon (even my sisters didn't know colcannon is mashed potatoes and cabbage and ham)
- irish soda bread (dang, this was good!)
- guinness chocolate cake (okay, we got all the ingredients, but haven't made it yet.  i'm putting up the recipe anyways...)

Jib Jab
Just a few notes on the whole thing.  As usual, I scoured the Internet for recipes, and basically went to the store with ingredient lists for several versions of the above, so yes, I got a few too many things.  Extras include:  large turnip, stuff for chocolate cake.  extra 8 pack of Guinness, plus i think a couple in the first 8 pack.  I guess I was the only one dying for the Guinness.  A bunch of extra potatoes.

More Jib Jab
Cutting up the leg of lamb took a lot longer than I was planning.  Basically, about an hour.  I cut it up into small pieces, because I like it that way.  It's kind of hard to eat those big chunks, straight up.  After getting that ready, I browned it, and then split it into two pots, one for the onion-less version and the other for the rest of us.  Then I got the leeks and onions in there to saute.  Then it's major peeling and chopping veggies.  Thanks for chopping, Moira!  Carrots, 2 kinds of potatoes, parsnips - was that it?  So, cover in olive oil, add rosemary sprigs.  Roast in oven.  In the meantime, make a roux.  Add broth and tomatoes, split between two lamb stews.

While the others are roasting and simmering, get veggie stew going.  Onions, leeks and so on.  Then carrots, celery, mushrooms, potatoes, I forget what else.  Saute in olive oil.  Add broth, barley simmer.

While that's simmering, Moira is making vegan cupcakes for school, trying to use the oven at the same time.  Oh, and then making pesto... tons of fun!  For her no-meat club, they are serving vegan cupcakes and pesto pasta to non-converts, to show vegan is healthy, and delicious.  Go Mo and Sarira!

And then, do we still have time?  We have to!  Okay, Mark, you be in charge of the soda bread, and Kathy, will you do the colcannon? (while i micro-manage!)...  We pretty much ran out of pots and burners.  We were boiling potatoes, while steaming the cabbage, and cooking the bacon, with the other 3 stews going...and the vegetables in the oven.  yeah, it was a bit of a shuffle, and at the same time on 4 burners, pretty dang fun getting it all going...  Thanks Mark and Kathy!

The soda bread is so crazy easy (especially when you can tell someone else to do it :-)).  Basically, you mix all the dry ingredients, then cut in a stick of butter,
and shape into the loaf, slice a cross in it, and I had Mark glaze the top with a butter,/buttermilk mix to get it to brown nicely.  I did another thing, to speed things along, and I kinda remember seeing it somewhere - I threw it in the oven at 450 degrees, instead of 350 or something like that.  It took about 30 minutes to brown up, glazing it every 15 minutes or so.  Then after 30 min, I turned it down to 350 to cook the inside.  It turned out so perfect.  I have pictures, but I am not optimistic on how the pics turned out.

The colcannon was easy too, really.  Once I figured out what the recipes were saying.  Essentially, you make potatoes like mashers.  Peel, dice, boil, smash with butter and milk...little trick, heat the milk, then your 'tatos don't get cold.  The recipes call for ham or bacon slab or chunk or something like that.  I decided to go with bacon, american style bacon...hate to admit it, but oscar myer.  I know....but hey, it worked.  So, I just fried the bacon, tried to go not too crunchy, but not under get all the grease off with paper towels, then dice, pretty finely.  I didn't want big chunks of meat in there...and actually I went way light on the quantity, because I was looking for just a hint of meat flavor.  The cabbage, just slice real thin, throw in pot, steam, add butter, once it goes darker green, then out, dice, and into the potatoes, with the bacon.  Done!!  Oh, and of course, a big pat of butter on every serving...and parsley chopped on top, as garnish.

Pog, thanks for bringing in the folding tables and chairs, and finding a table cloth and all that jazz.

So, there you have it!  We also had some nice Irish cheese.  I forget what kind, with crackers, and of course Guinness, and wine, and Coors.  We had the Collins' over.  Jim is Irish, and even has Irish citizenship, and so do their kids, Christian and Jillian.   Even with that said, they brought over their stout, which they only know me, who likes it...Jim is a Coors drinker...(which I like too!).

Everyone really liked their dinner.  Even Mark, who quietly brought baked chicken because he didn't think he liked lamb...  He was wrong.  :-)  The girls liked the vegetarian mushroom barley stew, and even Patrick and Bryce liked the lamb stew, potatoes and bread.   Dang, that was fun.  Finished off with an Irish cream liquor...nummm.

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