Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Irish Soda Bread
We had a few friends over Saturday night for a St. Patrick's Day meal. Last year was the first time I made corned beef, so I decided to step it up a notch and also make Irish soda bread, a Guinness, broccoli, cheddar dip, and double chocolate mint cookies. I basically doubled the recipe from last time. Even with S's borrowed 6.75 quart Le Creuset, I still needed a bigger pot, so I undercooked a bit of the carrots, potatoes and cabbage. I'll have to remember to either cook it longer next time or use a bigger pot. I also used point cut as opposed to flat cut corned beef brisket from Vons. It was still very good, but definitely fattier, so we had to trim off a lot of fat before serving. It was my first time ever making bread and I followed Ina Garten's easy recipe for Irish Soda bread, using bread flour since I was almost out of AP flour. I baked it for about 50 minutes, but I think it could have used another few minutes; it's really hard to tell when bread is done from the outside. It also tastes better warm, it was really good toasted in the toaster oven this morning for breakfast, topped with just a little bit of butter. The fragrant orange zest and currants really make this bread stand out. For the Guinness, broccoli, cheddar dip, I used my usual dip recipe, just subbing in shallots instead of onions adding half a pint of Guinness and reducing for a few minutes in the beginning, using only cheddar (about 3/4 lbs) and subbing in steamed then chopped (using a food processor) broccoli for the greens, and adding a little bit of mustard, thyme and parsley towards the end. The Guinness definitely adds a nice depth to the cheesy creamy dip. I made Giada's double chocolate and mint cookies again but used really good organic mint chocolate bar from Whole Foods, as opposed to Andes mints which I used the first time, which I think definitely made the cookie better. I served the cookie warm out of the oven with a cup of vanilla ice cream, a nice ending to a big St. Patrick's Day meal. A different way of celebrating from the pub crawl days of old, but a nice alternative as well.
What remains of the corned beef
Double chocolate mint cookies

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