Monday, March 16, 2009

Grandma Lynn’s Traditional St. Patrick’s Day Feast

I should title this post “Grandma Lynn’s Traditional Non-Traditional St. Patrick’s Day Feast,” since her meal is anything but a traditional boiled dinner. Who is Grandma Lynn you ask? Well, this is a little complicated. She is my children’s grandmother, she is my father’s wife, and technically, I suppose, she is my stepmother. The stepmother title is strange to both of us since she and my father met and married after my husband and I got married. So, I mostly think of Lynn as a dear friend and a wonderful cook!

She began her tradition over 25 years ago, when she decided to host a St. Patrick’s Day party, but she wanted to serve something fresher and tastier than the traditional boiled corned beef and cabbage. So, she gathered recipes, adapted most of them beyond recognition, and hosted her party. When she joined our family, she still hosted her large group of friends, but she included us as well. She made one other change to her tradition—She incorporated our recipe for potato casserole to her meal (after she changed it for the better of course).

She hosted my family last night for a scaled back version of her party. She didn’t scale back the food, but since my dad hasn’t completely recovered from some health problems, she invited family only. Once my dad recovers completely, she plans to invite her friends back for this great dinner. I watched, took notes, and copied all of her recipes last night, so I could share them here. Enjoy!
Baby Carrots and Dill
3 bunches fresh baby carrots or 4 cups cut-up carrots
2 to 3 Tablespoons butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 12-ounce bottle of Guinness beer
2 Tablespoons chopped dill

Scrub and peel carrots leaving 1-inch of the green tops on the baby carrots (if using). Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the carrots. Sauté the carrots for 1-2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and the bottle of beer. Simmer until the carrots are tender. Drain the liquid from the carrots and add the dill and another pat of butter. Toss to coat the carrots and serve.

Cabbage and Egg Noodles
1 head green cabbage
1 head red cabbage
1 red onion, chopped
2 teaspoons sugar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook egg noodles according to package directions. While the noodles cook, slice cabbage and cut into 1-inch pieces. Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan, and sauté cabbage and onion. Add sugar and season with salt and pepper. Sauté cabbage until tender. Drain noodles, and toss with cabbage. Add more butter if needed.

Potato Casserole
6 medium potatoes
¼ cup of butter, melted
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (Lynn uses Dubliner cheddar cheese)
2 cups sour cream
½ cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper

Boil potatoes in skins. Cool the potatoes then peel them. Grate the potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Add butter, cheese, sour cream, onions, salt and pepper into the potatoes and mix lightly to combine. Turn potatoes into a 2-quart casserole dish. Dot with butter, and bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Serves 8.

Corned Beef
2 3-pound corned beef briskets
1 tablespoon pickling spices
2 12-ounce bottles of Guinness beer

Corned Beef Glaze (see recipe below)

Rinse the corned beef with cold water. Put the corned beef in a large stockpot, and cover with cold fresh water. Bring to a boil, and boil for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the stockpot from the heat, and drain and remove the corned beef and set aside. Clean the stockpot. Place the corned beef back into the stockpot, and cover with fresh water. Add the pickling spice, and bring the corned beef to a boil. Turn down the heat to simmer. Add Guinness to the water (watch so this does not boil over). Simmer the corned beef 1 hour per pound. Once the corned beef has finished boiling, remove and place into a large roasting pan, and let stand while you are preheating the oven to 375°. Pour the glaze over the beef, and cover with foil. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the glaze is caramelized.

Corned Beef Glaze
½ cup Dijon mustard
½ cup honey
1/3 cup sherry wine vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 8 minutes whisking to combine.

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