Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Muppet style.

I'll toast all your health and wealth with a nice glass of Nyquil tonight. At least it's still green. In the meantime, enjoy this classic: Sláinte is táinte! Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig! [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCbuRA_D3KU[/youtube] … {Read on...}

Basic Jook (a.k.a. Juk, Congee or Rice Porridge)

This is my comfort food.  This makes me very, very happy.

My boys gave me a cold this week.  I cannot tell you the joy this gives me.  Not because I love slobbering and running from the nose, eyes and every other mucus membrane on my head.  I'm just relieved that I got it from them instead of the other way around.  That way there is no guilt!  And since I was fully healthy to take care of the little shavers when they were under the weather, they got the royal treatment. From cartoons on t.v. to hearing their favorite stories fifty times to their favorite foods they got whatever their little pea-pickin' hearts desired.  So again?  No guilt!  I was free to feel as punky as I actually did feel.  So I read my favorite stories to myself, watched 'What Not to Wear' on t.v. and made whatever I wanted to eat.  Namely, jook (a.k.a. juk or congee.)  I had made it for the kids, too, but it's good for what ails you.  What can I say? Tangent alert:  I will clear this up right now.  I have no claim to being an expert in the field of jook/juk/congee/lugau/rice porridge.   None whatsoever.  Crave info on it?  See this link.   I just know that millions upon millions of people eat some version of it daily and they do it for a multitude of reasons.  Among those reasons: It's simple to prepare.  It's dirt cheap to make.  It's delicious.  It's filling.  And it's really, really hard to screw up.  This is a major bonus when you can hardly see through the bleary, cold-addled eyes in your head. Tangent over. Okay, wait.  One more little bit of … {Read on...}

Ultimate Glazed Corned Beef: Part III of a St. Patrick’s Day Feast!

Ain't it perty?  Good enough to make your tongue slap your brain silly.

I know I promised to deliver this recipe, but I have a good reason for pushing if off until today and it only requires one sentence of explanation.  I have five kids and they all had a 24 hour stomach bug.  Oh yeah.  I think that says it all, right? Today, however, the sun is shining, the temperature is mild for March, and the kids are all better and all playing outside.  So, let's get our corned beef on, shall we? When I said that this corned beef is the be all and end all I meant it.  I always loved corned beef and it was one of my three cheat foods when I had my many-years vegetarian stint (along with Kielbasa and HAM, oh sweet ham. What a way to go...) A good old fashioned boiled corned beef is nothing to sniff at, but a few years ago I started glazing my corned beef after reading 'The Good Stuff Cookbook'.  I had made her Golden Crunchy Pickled Onion Rings and read the directions for using the leftover syrup to glaze a corned beef.  Lo and behold, I found a semi-eaten jar of the onions in the fridge while preparing our St. Paddy's feast and decided to give it a go.  From the moment we sunk our teeth into that brisket there was no going back. Whatever alchemy this process performs turns it a vibrant pinkish red on the inside with a sweet and sour crackling crisp crust on the outside.  It is truly the ultimate corned beef. But I wax rhapsodic again and my kids are desperate for someone to fling them around the yard on a huge wagon.  Don' t ask. Just make this … {Read on...}

Colcannon Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes: Part II of a St. Patrick’s Day Feast!

Minus the Guinness cheese spread for the little honyak who still likes the works.

I don't know what's going on with my computer today, but half of my photos are out of whack.  Please pretend they're all centered.  Thank you.   Colcannon: Mashed potatoes studded with tender cabbage or kale, onions, salt, pepper, butter and cream.  Oh my. It's the stuff of dreams.  This wondrous concotion graces our St. Patrick's Day table, but it also makes frequent dinner appearances throughout the colder months.  We love our colcannon recipe.  We adore it. And in the name of my pet theory that you can never have enough good potato recipes I messed with it. The usual way we go about preparing our colcannon is pretty straightforward.  Peel, chop and bring potatoes to the boil.  Add cabbage.  Drain, mash, add butter, salt and cream.  Stir in chopped green onions.  And occasionally add an indecent quantity of shredded Cheddar cheese then stir.  Okay, not so much occasionally.  We pretty much do that every time.  And normally, I would then add this to a buttered casserole, top with an equally indecent quantity of Cheddar cheese and pop in a hot oven until bubbly and lightly browned on top.  That makes colcannon pretty hard to beat.  Wouldn't you agree? But let me clue you in about how my brain works.  My brain is a pendulum swinging wildly between the two extremes: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" and "To boldly go where no man has gone".   (Even though that requires me to split an infinitive.  Anathema I tell you.) As I was gathering the ingredients to make … {Read on...}

Guinness and Cheddar Potted Cheese: Part I of a St. Patrick’s Day Feast!

I want to stick my face in this bowl.

Update:  Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.  I made a mistake on the quantities for the recipe.  It should've read '1 pound extra sharp cheddar'.  A friend pointed out that her cheese ended up 'pourable'.  My apologies and this recipe can be saved by adding an additional 1/2 pound of cheddar and re-processing or blending.  It should freeze jim-dandy, too, so the extra quantities shouldn't be a horrid burden.  And if they are, ship 'em to me.  I'll eat my mistakes. I am, like most people I know, a true American mutt.  I know we can account for Irish, German and Native American ancestry.  And I believe I've heard tell of some Romany and Scots heritage tossed in for good measure.  I love being the melting pot personified.  There's something romantic about knowing there are all of those wonderful cultures with me, before me, behind me, within me.* Growing up, my parents always made a very big deal of St. Patrick's Day.  I don't know if it was because our family tree is vastly dominated by Irish roots or if it was because it was just plain fun, but green was definitely the theme!  My Mom managed to make everything at the table some shade of green.  We looked forward to it for weeks ahead of time.  Around here, I save the green for the ubiquitous Shamrock Shakes but the fun continues in other ways.  We read "The Last Snake In Ireland" in our best Irish accent, play The Chieftains at top volume on the stereo, read a certain piece of historic literature*, and put on a massive … {Read on...}