Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Follow the Ways of Your Ancestors" -Old Irish Proverb

"There is no fireside like your own fireside." - Old Irish Proverb

We have a tradition around here, you know I'm part Irish (along with over 40 million other Americans), from me-grandmother's side of course? But today, we all turn a little Irish. At our home on March 17th, Larry the Leprechaun comes to flip furniture upside down, turn milk green, leave sweet treasures of Lucky Charms and gold to enjoy, and shares swatches of green for the wearin'. This small little exercise of looking for their treasures reminds me, and someday hopefully them, that while they may search for the end of the rainbow elsewehere, they will always find the pot of gold in their own backyard.

So host a little ceilidh (pronounced kali) tonight, and dance a little jig with friends and family around your fire while listening to Celtic music. But don't make corned beef and cabbage if you want to dine with a traditional Irish meal, that is an American-Irish invention. Whip up a dish of Colcannon and Irish Soda Bread with lots of butter smeared on top.

Mrs. Sharp's Colcannon:
1 lb new potatoes, peeled
4 leeks, chopped (or green onions)
1 small cabbage, chopped
Milk, just enough to moisten potatoes
3 TBL heavy cream
2 ounces butter (1/2 stick), softened
1 tsp ground thyme
salt and pepper

Bring a pot of water to boil and cook potatoes until tender Slowly saute the chopped leeks and chopped cabbage separately until soft and limp (but not brown).

Mash potatoes with a hand masher, then add the leeks and milk and mash together until smooth. Next mash in the cabbage, adding the heavy cream, buter, and thyme; blend well until smooth and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper. Put this mixture into an ovenproof dish and place under broiler to brown.

If the colcannon is prepared up to the point of browning ahead of time, reheat covered with foil in a 350 degree oven for a half hour. Uncover and brown under broiler.

Mrs. Sharp's Favorite Irish Soda Bread:
4 C white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbl sugar
1 1/2 C sour milk (not buttermilk or milk and vinegar, just simply leave out overnight)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift dry ingredients together. Make a well in the center. Add sour milk and stir together with a wooden spoon. The dough should be thick but not too wet. Turn dough onto a floured surface and form with hands into a round loaf. Place the loaf into a cast-iron frying pan or heavy round casserole dish that has been greased with butter. Score the top in the form of a cross with a wet knife. Bake for 40 minutes. Bread should cool for an hour before serving.

Today's recipes, proverbs and facts were taken from Sarah Ban Breathnach's "Mrs. Sharp's Traditions - Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations of Comfort & Joy"

Thank you Sarah!

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