Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Top o' the morning to you

Happy belated St. Patrick's Day! How could I skip the day that is clearly a tribute to Colin's heritage. There is no doubt that Colin has some Irish in him from somewhere, with his red hair, fair skin, and name! Colin's middle name is Reid, did you know it means red-haired? We didn't know this when we chose the name but it's certainly fitting! So my dear Granny can't let a holiday go by without sending Colin a card. This is a picture of Colin with his card. Of course being the nerd that I am, I attempted to stage the picture with a St. Patty's hand towel. I'm learning very quickly that little boys, or maybe there's hope and it's just babies in general, don't take to being placed somewhere and forced to sit still while their picture is being taken. As you can see, Colin wanted no part of my staging; no, he wanted to take a bite out of the camera! And yes, sadly those are orange Halloween socks that he has on! My mom said Colin "picked" those because they had bright green on them.

Now, on to the food. There are several posts in one here because they are all related. The first is what I refer to as the "official" Irish meal - corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, and sauteed spinach (not so much Irish but it was green!). The second is what you do with the leftover corned beef because trust me, you will have some!

Corned Beef and Cabbage a la Crockpot

1 slab of corned beef
1 small onion, or 1/2 of a large one
handful of baby carrots
2 bay leaves
1 head of cabbage, cut into big chunks

Remove the corned beef from the package and trim all visable fat. I am a touch anal when it comes to removing fat so just remove what you are comfortable with. I also scrape all the weird red jelly stuff off the corned beef (what is that stuff anyways), even though the directions on the package say to cook all that too. Cut the onion into strips and place in the bottom of the crockpot. Add the carrots and put the slab of beef on top. Sprinkle the spice packet that was included with the corned beef on top. Add the 2 bay leaves and about 1-2 cups of water. You just want enough to cover the bottom and then about 1/2 way up the crockpot. Cover and cook on the low setting for 8 hours. When there is about 30-45 minutes left in the cooking, remove the lid and add the cut up cabbage. The cabbage will cook from the steam but it's a good idea to sorta stir it in too.
To serve, use a slotted spoon to remove some cabbage, onions, and carrots. Using the edge of the spoon, just cut off the amount of corned beef you want, leaving the remainder in tact (the meat will be so tender this will be very easy to do).
Remove the remaining corned beef, in tact, and store in the fridge for meal #2 (below).

Irish Soda Bread
This bread is tasty, but very dense. I suppose they created this bread to soak up the juices from the corned beef and cabbage.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 375. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix in the buttermilk and form a dough. Shape the dough and place it on a cookie sheet or a loaf pan (I opted for the loaf pan). Bake for 40 minutes (the top should be golden brown). Serve with butter.

Now for round 2, the leftovers! This is a great recipe to use up that leftover corned beef.

Reuben Sandwiches

Loaf of rye bread, or if you're like me, wheat bread
1-2 T. melted butter
thinly sliced corned beef, warmed
sauerkraut, wamred
sliced swiss cheese
dijon mustard (or 1000 Island dressing - Wes hates mayo so no dressing for us!)

Heat electric griddle or grill pan over medium heat. Melt butter and brush both sides of bread with butter. Grill one side of bread and flip. Add one piece of swiss cheese to one side and spread desired dressing (mustard or otherwise) on the other side. Add sliced corned beef to cheese side and warmed sauerkraut to the mustard side. Stack the two to form a sandwich and flip to heat through.

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