Host a St. Patrick's Day party
featuring this casual menu. The entrée highlights two Irish favorites -- corned beef and
cabbage. The colorful, crisp vegetable salad and slightly sweet drop biscuits
The following menu will
surely make your Irish eyes smile with pleasure!
More Irish Fare
St. Patrick's Day is held in celebration of a man who lived and died sixteen centuries ago.
St. Patrick was born in England in about 389 A.D. When he was sixteen years old, he was abducted by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. He escaped six years later and went to study at a European monastery. He become a priest and then a bishop, after which he returned to Ireland, where he brought Christianity and literacy to the people. He started many churches and schools whose traditions live on to this very day. Now he is know as the patron saint of literacy.
A great teacher, St. Patrick used common, everyday things to explain complex concepts. He used the shamrock, today a symbol of Irish heritage, to represent the trinity of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The shamrock is a type of clover that grows abundantly in Ireland and contributes to the beautiful green color of the landscape. Thus Ireland holds the nickname "The Emerald Isle."
In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day traditionally is a solemn celebration, honoring the anniversary of the death of this great saint.
In the United States and other countries where Irish immigrants have settled, it takes on a more festive tone. Parades, the wearin' of the green, and parties are the order of the day.
Many people migrated to the United States when the potato famine hit Ireland, and legend now has it that there are more people of Irish descent in this country than there are in Ireland. This is not all that surprising, however, when you think about the fact that over half the people who fought in the Revolutionary War had Irish ancestors.
In this century it seems that everyone with a drop of Irish blood celebrates on March 17. So if you are planning a party and including guests who have diabetes or other health concerns, do not omit traditional Irish favorites!
Source: The Diabetes Holiday Cookbook, by Carolyn Leontos, MS,RD, CDE, Debra Mitchell, CEPC, and Kenneth Weicker, CEC, ©2002 by Carolyn Leontos, Debra Mitchell, and Kenneth Weicker.
Fairies & Folklore
The legends and stories of Ireland are not only peopled with heroic warriors and mystical gods but are filled with strange and intriguing tales of "little people," with the power to enchant, befuddle, and outwit humankind.
Historical research explains these tales of "little people" as the literal shrinking of the pagan gods of Ireland on the arrival of Christianity. From this time, the gods lost their religious significance, receding into legend and fairy tale, but retaining magical powers in the imagination of the people.
The Irish word for fairy is sidheóg,
which comes from the description of the old Irish gods who were relegated to fairy status
as aés sídhe--
Intimately associated with rural life, they are reputed to be swift to bless and quack to anger, thus symbolizing a combination of good and evil, both harbingers of fortune and misfortune. They must, therefore, be respected and placated. The tradition of leaving crumbs from the evening meal by the hearth, a saucer of milk on the bedroom windowsill, and the glowing embers in the fireplace as a welcome, are the most common examples.
The fairies can be divided into two principal groups: trooping fairies and solitary fairies.
The trooping fairies are usually dressed in green and are mostly friendly; blessed with the power of healing, they help people in trouble.
The solitary fairies are dressed in red, prefer their own company, and cause mischief.
Some of the more important solitary fairies are:
THE LEPRECHAUN (Leith Bhrogan) who is in fact the god Lugh, who was driven underground with the other gods and whose image was diminished in popular folklore into a fairy craftsman, a shoemaker, or tailor. He is somewhat ill-tempered and possesses a crock of gold, to be given to whoever catches him.
THE POOKA (Púca) is a malevolent fairy, capable of assuming any shape, usually animal, and is particularly troublesome to travelers, who may unwittingly jump on his back when the pooka takes the shape of a horse.
THE BANSHEE (Bean Sidhé) is a "woman of the hills" (also know as the "lady of death"), who attaches herself to a family and warns of approaching death by emitting an eerie wailing and crying. The banshee is sometimes seen accompanied by the coach-a-bower, a funeral carriage drawn by a headless horse and driven by the headless Dallahan.
Music has always served as a foundation stone to the cultural life if Ireland. It therefore seems fitting that fairy music should be a central source for the powers of the "little people."
Legend tells of magical music capable of healing the sick and inspiring great men, but also of enticing young children away from the mortal world and into fairyland; a changeling child is left by the fairies in the place of the mortal baby.
Tir-na-N-og or Tir-inna-Beo means "Country of the Young" or "Land of the Living," and is the fairyland of Irish mythology. It is often interpreted as symbolizing the afterlife, a heavenly land that you can only reach by journeying. On this mythical isle, neither death nor old age exist and the inhabitants know neither pain nor sadness.
Source: Irish Food & Folklore, by Clare Connery, ©1997 by Octopus Publishing Group Ltd.
Patricks Day is perfect for celebrating the renaissance of great cooking in Ireland.
Today, travelers go for the food, rather than despite it, touring the country to enjoy the
breathtaking, green countryside and the dynamic energy of the cities. No longer condemned
to breakfasts loaded with several kinds of fried pork, followed by a day of overcooked,
monotonous pub fare, visitors now savor gourmet dishes as healthful as they are memorable.
For breakfast, you might enjoy toasted oat porridge studded with chopped nuts and drizzled with honey, or farm-fresh eggs baked in a nest of braised mushrooms, potatoes and carrots, accompanied by sliced tomatoes, a topping of melted Cheddar cheese and slabs of buttermilk brown bread. For dinner, you could have several innovative entrées to choose from, like lean pork cutlets with barley-stuffed cabbage rolls, or roasted pheasant served with apple-grape sauce and a parsnip-and-potato purée.
Renaissance and updating are key in todays Irish cooking. Before the Great Famine of 1845-50, when more than a million died and another million emigrated, mostly to the U.S., even farmers and peasants benefited from a bounty of local foodstuffs. Wheat, oats and barley, lamb, wild game and berries were plentiful. What vegetables could survive the harsh climate, including cabbage, Brussels sprouts, root vegetables and watercress, were also readily available.
Today, these foods are featured in contemporary ways, but the potato still rules in many variations. One of the better known is Colcannon, a combination of kale or cabbage and mashed potatoes, seasoned with onions. I make it using new potatoes, and leeks as well as onion as shown below.
Something Different is written for the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) by Dana Jacobi, author of The Joy of Soy, and recipe creator for AICRs Stopping Cancer Before It Starts..
1 (2-pound) corned beef brisket
Trim fat from brisket; place brisket in a Dutch oven. Cover with water to a depth of 2-inches above brisket. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 hours or until very tender. Drain; shred meat.
Separate cabbage into leaves. Place leaves and beef broth in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Drain; reserve 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Arrange leaves in a 1-1/2 quart oval gratin dish. Top leaves with corned beef and cheese.
Combine reserved 3/4-cup liquid and milk in a saucepan. Combine flour and 2 Tablespoons water, stirring well; add to milk mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in brown sugar, mustard, and pepper. Spoon over cheese.
Place 1 sheet of phyllo on a damp towel (keep remaining phyllo covered). Coat with cooking spray. Layer remaining 7 sheet phyllo on first sheet coating each with cooking spray. Place stack of phyllo over mixture in dish. Trim edges to within 1-inch of dish. Cut 1-inch slits in phyllo evenly around edge of dish. Gently press edges toward dish. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired. Makes 8 Servings.
Per Serving: 218 Cal; 7 g Totall Fat (2 g Sat Fat); 19 g Carb; 32 mg Cholesterol; 242 mg Sodium; 129 mg Calcium; 16 g Protein; 3 g Fiber. Exchanges: 1 Starch; 2 Med-Fat Meat; 1-1/2 Fat.
1-1/4 cups sliced leeks
Combine leeks and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until tender. Drain, reserving leeks and liquid. Set aside.
Arrange carrots in a vegetable steamer over boiling water. Cover and steam 8 minutes; drain. Plunge immediately into ice water; drain.
Combine leeks, carrot, and green beans in a large bowl; set aside. Combine reserved liquid, vinegar, and remaining ingredients; stir well with a wire whisk. Pour mixture over vegetables toss gently. Cover and chill thoroughly. Serve with a slotted spoon. Makes 8 Servings.
Per (1/2 cup) Serving: 56 Cal; 2 g Total Fat; 9 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 74 mg Sodium; 35 mg Calcium; 1 g Protein; 2 g Fiber. Exchanges: 2 Veg.
SODA DROP BISCUITS
2 cups all-purpose flour
Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; cut in margarine with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine buttermilk and egg, stirring until blended. Add to flour mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Drop mixture by rounded Tablespoonfuls, 2-inches apart, onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until biscuits are lightly browned. Yield: 16 Biscuits.
Per Biscuit: 101 Cal; 3 g Total Fat (<1 g Sat Fat); 17 g Carb; 14 mg Cholesterol; 154 mg Sodium; 27 mg Calcium; 2 g Protein; <0.5 g Fiber. Exchanges: 1 Starch; 1/2 Fat.
Vegetable cooking spray
Coat a 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking dish with cooking spray; sprinkle crushed wafers evenly over bottom and up sides of dish. Set aside.
Combine gelatin and water in a medium bowl, stirring 2 minutes or until gelatin dissolves. Add Neufchatel cheese; stir with a wire whisk until cheese melts and mixture is smooth. Chill 55 minutes or until consistency of unbeaten egg white, stirring occasionally.
Pour milk into a large glass or stainless steel bowl; freeze 30 minutes or just until ice crystals form around edge of bowl.
Beat ice cold milk at high speed of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold milk mixture into gelatin mixture. Spoon into prepared dish. Cover; chill at least 3 hours or until set.
Just before serving, top with chopped fruit. Makes 12 Servings.
Per Serving: 173 Cal; 4 g Total Fat (2 g Sat Fat); 30 g Carb; 12 mg Cholesterol; 144 mg Sodium; 98 mg Calcium; 5 g Protein; 1 g Fiber. Exchanges: 1-1/2 Starch; 1/2 Fruit; 1 Fat.
1/2 tsp minced garlic
Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat an 8-inch square casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients (except cooking spray). Mix well.
Press ingredients into prepared casserole dish. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve hot with reduced-fat wheat crackers. Makes 20 Servings.
Per (1/3 cup Serving): 79 Cal; 3 g Total Fat; 7 g Carb; 34 mg Cholesterol (2 mg with egg substitute); 213 mg Sodium; 6 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Very Lean Meat; 1 Veg; 1/2 Fat.
2 tsp canola or vegetable oil
Heat oil with 1 tsp. butter
in medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté leek and onion until they start
to brown, about 5 minutes. Add half the cabbage, stirring and turning until coated with
oil and wilted, about 4 minutes. Continue adding cabbage a handful at a time, until it is
all wilted, about 8 to 10 minutes. Pan will be very full.
BEEF AND CABBAGE
1-1/2 pounds corned-beef brisket, well
1/2 cup nonfat sour cream
Place trimmed brisket in a large Dutch oven. Cover with cold water. Add onions, cloves, bay leaf, and peppercorns.
Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 3 hours. Skim off fat and foam from top of water.
Add cabbage wedges during last 10 minutes of cooking time.
To prepare Horseradish Sauce: In a small mixing bowl, combine ingredients for sauce.
Use a slotted spoon to remove cabbage wedges. Place them around the edges of a large platter. Slice the brisket, and layer slices of meat down the middle of the platter. Serve horseradish sauce on the side. Makes 8 Servings (3 ounces meat, 1 cabbage wedge, and 2 Tbsp sauce per serving).
Per Serving (as described above): 148
Cal; 12 g Total Fat; 7 g Carb;
1 cup chopped, peeled apple
Sauté apple, onion, and carrot in oil for about 2 minutes; add flour and curry powder, and stir for 1 minute. Add chicken broth; bring to a boil and cook until thickened.
Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 8 Servings.
Per (1 cup) Serving: 53 Cal; 2 g Total Fat; 9 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 6 mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Veg.
1 pound carrots, peeled
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cut the vegetables into 1/2-inch cubes. Heat the oil in the pan and quickly fry the vegetables until just colored.
Transfer to a roasting dish, drizzle the honey over, toss to coat evenly and roast in the preheated oven for 1 to 1-1/4 hours, until tender and well glazed. Note: Toss frequently during the cooking to prevent the honey from burning.
Serve with roast meat, poultry, and game. Makes 6 Servings.
Per Serving: 145 Cal; 3 g Total Fat; 30 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 148 mg Sodium; 534 mg Potassium; 155 mg Calcium; 2 g Protein; 6 g Dietary Fiber; 11 g Sugars. Exchanges: 1/2 Starch; 4 Veg; 1/2 Fat.
6 oz frozen pineapple juice concentrate
Put pineapple juice concentrate, water, lime juice, and 1 cup of sherbet into a blender container. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into eight 10 - 12 oz glasses. Add remaining lime sherbet to each glass. Fill each glass to the top with soft drink. Serves 8.
Per Serving: 117 Cal; 00 g Fat; 27 g Carb; 3mg Cholesterol; 16mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Fruit.
4 oz chocolate syrup
Pour syrups and espresso into 8 demitasse (small coffee cups). Top with foam and dash of cocoa. Makes 8 servings.
Per Serving (with Irish Cream Liqueur): 127 Cal; 00 g Total Fat; 10 g Carb; 2 mg Cholesterol; 30 mg Sodium; 2 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Skim Milk; 1/2 Fruit.
1 ounce Irish whiskey
Pour whiskey in 2 large coffee mugs. Add sugar, and stir to mix. Fill with coffee. Top with whipped topping. Makes 2 Servings.
Per (6-ounce) Serving: 61 Cal; 1 g Total Fat; 4 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 00 mg Sodium. Exchanges: Count as 1-1/2 Fruit.
CURRANT SODA BREAD
4 cups soda bread flour*
*If soda bread flour is not available, use all-purpose flour plus 1 heaping teaspoon baking soda and 1 heaping teaspoon of cream of tartar. All "soda" style Irish breads need to be eaten the day they are baked, and toasted or fried the second day.
Sift the flour and baking soda into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the salt, sugar and fruit. Make a well in the center and pour in almost all of the buttermilk. Stir with a broad-bladed knife or wooden spoon to form a loose dough, adding the rest of the milk, if necessary.
Use the butter to grease an 8-inch round cake pan, approximately 3-inches deep. Place the dough in the pan, leaving the surface rough. Sprinkle with a little flour, set the pan on a baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven (400°F) for 30 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to 300°F and cook for a further 30 to 40 minutes, until the bread is golden-brown and crisp to the touch. A skewer inserted in the center should come out clean.
Remove from the cake pan and wrap in a clean cloth. When cool, cut in slices and serve buttered. Makes 12-16 Servings.
Note: Nutritional analysis based on 12 Servings.
Per Serving: 199 Cal; 1 g Total Fat (1 g
Sat Fat); 42 g Carb; 3 mg Cholesterol; 118 mg Sodium; 120 mg Potassium; 4 g Protein;
1 pound potatoes, washed and peeled
Grate the potatoes on a coarse grater into a bowl; add the flour, sifted with the baking powder. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the milk.
Drop tablespoons of this mixture onto a hot, lightly oiled pan or griddle. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side until golden-brown. These are traditionally served hot with butter and sugar or fried bacon. Makes 11 Pancakes.
Per Pancake: 59 Cal; 2 g Total Fat (<0.5 g Sat Fat); 8 g Carb; 1 mg cholesterol; 45 mg Sodium; 225 mg Potassium; 2 g Protein; 1 g Fiber. Exchanges: 1/2 Starch.
1/2 cup dried peaches, chopped
Combine dried fruit & tea in a large bowl; cover & let stand overnight.
Add next 3 ingredients to fruit mixture; stir well. Gradually add flour, mixing well. Spoon batter into a spray-coated 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cut into squares & serve with butter, if desired. Makes 9 Servings.
Per Serving: 198 Cal; 1 g Total Fat; 46 g Carbohydrate; 13 mg Cholesterol; 315 mg Sodium; 3 g Protein. Exchanges: 2 Starch/Bread; 1 Fruit
1-1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 375°F. Using butter-flavor cooking spray, coat a deep (2-3/4-inch high sides) 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
Sift first 5 ingredients into large bowl. Rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in apples and brown sugar.
Whisk eggs and milk together; stir into apple mixture (batter will be thick). Transfer to pan & sprinkle with sugar. Bake cake until golden and springy to touch, about 35 minutes. Cool slightly on rack. Cut around cake to loosen; remove pan sides. Place doily atop cake & sprinkle powdered sugar over top. Remove doily before serving. Makes 8 servings.
Per Serving: 237 Cal; 8 g Total Fat; 41 g Carb; 80 mg Cholesterol; 513 mg Sodium; 3g Protein. Exchanges: 2 Starch; 1 Fruit; 2 Fat.
2 egg whites (at room temperature)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat nonstick baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites, food color, and vanilla and mint extracts with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar; beat until stiff peaks form.
Fold in the chocolate chips, then drop by tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets.
Bake for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven but leave the cookies in the oven until cool. Makes 24 Cookies.
Per (2 Cookie) Serving: 47 Cal; 1 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 8 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 10 mg Sodium; 1 g Protein; 8 g Sugars. Exchanges: 1/2 Starch (1/2 Carbo).
1/3 cup cold water
Combine water and gelatin in top of a double boiler, and let stand 1 minute. Add marshmallows and milk to gelatin mixture. Place double boiler over simmering water, and cook until marshmallows melt, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat, and stir in liqueurs. Let mixture cool slightly (do not let mixture thicken)! Fold in whipped topping.
Spread wafer crumbs in bottom of an 11- x 7- x 1-1/2-inch baking dish, reserving 1 Tablespoon crumbs. Spoon topping mixture evenly over crumbs in dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 Tablespoon crumbs over topping mixture. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or utnil set. Makes 12 Servings.
Per Serving: 172 Cal; 5 g Total Fat (4 g Sat Fat); 28 g Carb; 1 mg Cholesterol; 53 mg Sodium; 2 g Protein. Exchanges: 1-1/2 Starch; 1 Fat.