Monday, March 16, 2009
Luck of the Irish
St. Patrick's Day may not be until Tuesday, but Ben and I started celebrating this weekend. And by celebrating, I mean eating food that I consider to be Irish in nature. Like the corned beef and root veggies I made on Saturday.
I hadn't necessarily planned to make my own St. Patty's Day meal, but when I did my grocery shopping this week, I was feeling particularly Irish, an emotion that may have been induced by a deli case of steeply discounted corned beef.
The corned beef was very good, as were the carrots and onions cooked along with it, but the real stars of the show were the roasted red potatoes, made with a vinegar-mustard dressing. You can find the exact recipe here, but I just eyeballed the measurements. Cut up small red potatoes, toss with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast in a 400-degree oven until tender. Throw a few cloves of garlic (unpeeled) in with the potatoes. While the potatoes are roasting, whisk together a little more oil, a little bit of vinegar and Dijon mustard, some chives and more salt and pepper. When the roasting is through, squeeze the garlic from the skins into the dressing. Whisk. Add potatoes, toss to coat, eat, delight in the potatoey goodness.
This recipe is great for a few reasons. One, it requires no potato peeling. Two, it is filled with garlic. Three, it is filled with garlic. I give it the Kiefer Kitchen Seal of Approval.
On Sunday, Ben and I continued our Irish-tivities with a trip to The Hibernian, Cary's best (and perhaps only) Irish restaurant. It's our favorite cold-weather eatery.
We appreciate The Hibernian not only for the great eats, but for the Irish atmosphere. (And I consider myself something of an expert on this topic -- I've seen "Far and Away" like six times.) A roaring fire, Celtic music, and more pictures of famous Irish people than you can shake a stick at. Also, I've heard at least one authentic Irish accent while we've been in there.
Ben and I have different approaches to our meals at The Hibernian. He generally opts for a ginormous sandwich while I go for a small cup of soup and leave room for dessert. I do this because the raspberry bread pudding is excellent and worth skipping the corned beef sandwich for. Sunday, I discovered that the orange-chocolate cake is also excellent. For visual proof, please see the "before" and "after" photos.
Notice that I did leave the orange slice, the mint leaf and at least half of the powered sugar that was dusted around the rim of the plate.
I was kind enough to share my dessert with Ben, who selected a battered cod sandwich for his meal this time around. (I went with the Irish stew and a slice of Irish bread, which New Englanders know as Boston brown bread.) I let him have his own spoon and everything. I guess I was just all caught up in the St. Patty's Day spirit.
Even though I love the raspberry bread pudding and I'm not usually a big fan of chocolate cake, this little confectionery wonder has made a fan of me. Éirinn go brách and pass the cake, please.