Tuesday, March 17, 2009

As Irish As I Wanna Be (or I'm Becoming My Mother)

There's no parade here today. No green rivers. And I could pinch just about everyone I pass on the street (though my desire to not be punched in the face prevents me from doing so). So I'm desperate for a way to celebrate the one day of the year when I feel proud about my reddish hair and weird middle name.

I will be at an 'Irish' pub tonight but they don't have Guinness or Harp on tap so this day is what I make it! That's why I mixed traditional pub food with a tacky touch - just to get it all in! I won't lie, Guille didn't really want to eat my green food but he did enjoy it once he got over the color. You see, my mother always dyes food green on St. Patrick's Day and it just makes me think of fun.

So here are some recipes for filling up with a hearty meal before running to the pubs, where you will surely lose your sense of taste, and decency.

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie with Guinness

There are many takes on Shepherd's Pie out there, but I decided to add a combination of Guinness and sauted mushrooms to create the illusion of meaty flavor. Oh, and I dyed the mashed potatoes green (don't judge me!).
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped into small cubes
  • 1/2 kilo mushrooms (I used cremini), sliced
  • 1 small can (350g) peas
  • 1/2 t. dried thyme
  • 1/2 t. dried rosemary
  • s & p to taste
  • 1 cup Guinness
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1/4 t. cornstarch dissolved in 2 T. water
  • 2 - 3 cups mashed potatoes
Add butter, oil, garlic and onion to large skillet or non-stick pot. Saute on medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add herbs, s&p, and mushrooms, stirring often, and cook until they are moderately browned. Add peas, Guinness, and soy sauce, drop heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes - you want the veggies tender. Add the cornstarch towards the end of this cooking time. Keep an eye on the mixture and add more Guinness (or veg stock or water) as necessary. Transfer mixture to casserole dish and spread the potatoes on top, to the edges. I used only 2 cups but it depends on how thick you want the layer to be. Bake at 190C (375F) for 20-25 minutes.

Irish Soda Bread

I followed this Joy of Baking recipe exactly, adding the oats as suggested. I chose this version because it didn't include raisins or shortening, but search around for the one that sounds best to you. It was amazingly simple to throw together and was perfect with our pie. I'll probably cram in a few more buttered slices before I leave tonight.

Irish Surprise Lemon Layer Cake

Yeah, this really isn't Irish but it's so pretty! The Lemon buttercream frosting was way too sweet, so shoot for something a little easier on your teeth. It was surprisingly easy to make this homemade cake (food coloring added) and I love that it is adapted from a 1945 recipe in Gourmet magazine. I would like to try their frosting but I wasn't in the mood for dealing with lemon curd today. I followed SmittenKitchen's cake tips and froze both layers yesterday, this made it easier for me to trim them into shape and frost. I also iced the entire cake with a thin layer, put the whole thing in the frige for 15 minutes, and then spread the rest of the frosting on top of the hardened layer, thus preventing the green crumbs from poking out and ruing the surprise!

So sorry for linking to recipes, but in the tradition of my father and my father's father, I've got some drinking to do.

And it's no, nay, never,
No nay never no more,
Will I play the wild rover
No never no more.


Katie said...

Ok, first of all, I'm dying to know what your "weird" middle name is.

I won't comment on the green food coloring. :p lol

All of the recipes sound very tasty, but I'm particularly interested in the recipe for soda bread. My boyfriend tends to like cakes and breads on the drier, crumblier side, so I think he might like this (the soda breads I've eaten in the past tended to be a bit dry - is that true with this recipe?).

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Julia said...

wow such green food! i actually made it to an irish pub last night. there was plenty of guinness drinking to make up for your lack thereof.

meag said...

Katie, yes it is a dry, thick bread and it made excellent toast! So easy to make too. (Oh, it's Rylee)

Julia, thanks for getting my drink on (and happy 3 years!) :)

Weber said...

And your father's father's father too!
Rylee is NOT weird...it's Irish! If I had that little girl that would have been her name and it was almost Ethan's middle name.

Miss ya!
Your Irish aunt KELLY...see the Irish name trend here????