Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Corned Beef. It's whats for St. Patty's day dinner.

From reading my blog, it just looks like I am a glutton who knows his way around a menu, but ask me to stand in a kitchen and my eyes glass over and I lose all bodily function. This is not true my friends, not true at all. I would say I am better than average in the kitchen, good tools and good ingredients go a long way, and can definitely make someone seem a lot better than they really are. Why am I telling you this? I had a party this Saturday, for the greenest and happiest day of a leprechaun's year, and I figured I would go over the menu, and tell you what the offerings were.

St. Patrick's day, as every one knows, is a day of remembrance when a great man named Patrick first dyed his beer green, and served it in solo cups to hordes of coeds on spring break. This caused them to make very bad decisions but have a great time, and wake up with a wicked headache. So in honor of Patrick I did what I could to make bad decisions when it came to food, and beer so that I could remove life from my liver and cake my arteries with a thick coat of yellow plaque.

Food: I went for finger food type offerings, something that can be held in one had without the possibility of spilling your beer. Corned beef is an Irish staple, they say, and one cannot have corned beef without cabbage. I made corned beef sliders with a cabbage and green apple slaw with a very light dressing, mostly cider vinegar, oil, lemon juice and spice. They were served on small potato rolls, that were nice and soft, and soaked up all the different flavors. I was going put them in a chafing dish to keep them warm, but they went way too fast and I think I only got one.

I cooked up some bangers on the grill. I used a mahogany wood, it burns hot and lasts a while and gives a good flavor. Served up with a trio of mustards and there are some leftovers just not much.

Ireland has a long and famous tradition of smoking meat, being in the North Atlantic they have a huge variety of mackerel, herring, haddock, pollack and albacore tuna swimming in the cold water off their shores. Well I'm in Florida, and I will smoke what I can get fresh. I picked up a nice king fish from Jim's Seafood in North Miami, this is a great place that needs its own story one day, and I had them give me 2 very large fillets. I brined it overnight with salt, sugar, and other ingredients that Jim gave me and I cannot tell. Smoked just for 3 hours over apple wood. I have so much leftovers of this it isn't funny. It is in the freezer if anyone wants a slice.

More British then Irish, but I also made up a Welsh Rarebit, toast points with cheddar cheese sauce. This is the easiest sauce to make. The toast can be anything, I actually used a nice marble rye loaf that I cut up and I used Melba because it is cheap and stores well if I have leftovers, the sauce is Campbell's cheddar cheese soup, milk, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and salt and pepper till it tastes right. Really easy, but one of those things that I remember my grandfather making when I was a kid and I still love it.

Carole made a sticky toffee pudding, definitely some more British Fare, but people really loved it. Lots of dates, and sugar with a very sweet sauce. I can't imagine what the calorie count was on that alone, but it had to be dangerous.

Personally I didn't do dessert, not really in the mood for something sweet, just wanted salty and the most important staple to any St. Patrick's day event, Beer.

Beer: Cold, cheap, and yellow need not apply here, also I am not going to dye beer green, it doesn't add anything except sorrow and regret in the morning. I did a combination of the standard Irish Lagers and Stouts; Guinness, Smithwicks, Harp, and Magners Cider. These beers taste like Ireland, it is what you want to drink after you kiss the Blarney Stone, and you are sitting in a pub having the old locals laughing at you for kissing the Blarney Stone. While wanting to keep to my Irish roots, I also wanted to embrace this country's great contribution to malted hops and barley. I picked up a bunch of 6 packs of assorted American small batch beers; Magic Hat, Stones, Highland Brewing Company, and Cable Car were all represented. Beers from the east, west, and central. The night ended up disbanding the beer, and hitting the Michael Collins Irish Whiskey, so much for not having sorrow and regret in the morning.

I think that everyone who came had a good time. It was a long day but we had fun celebrating our Irish heritage, or lack there of. I will be going out to dinner and writing about it soon.

Finally I say unto you an old Irish Toast: 
May you have food and raiment, A soft pillow for your head, May you be forty years in heaven Before the devil knows you're dead!

Generally, in order to add the link the story has to be about the restaurant. Captain Jim Hanson's is great. Take to go, or eat in, either way it is awesome! The place looks a little sketchy, but the prices are great and the freshness can't be beat.
Captain Jim Hanson's Seafood on Urbanspoon

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