I've been asked to begin a blog that shows a "how-to" for the things that bring pleasure to my life. So, the intent of this blog is to share recipes, gardening, composting, sewing, crafts, art, everyday projects and even psychology tips to aid in healing wounds and living the life you're meant to live, a life with purpose!
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Corned Beef, Cabbage & Irish Bread for a Traditional St. Patrick's Day

Beef brisket makes corned beef by being salt and pickle cured. Beef brisket can come packed in a brine and with a small pickling spice packet. Remove the thick brine and rinse the brisket. A brisket can be used; however, if you use Corned beef, you will want to add a few extra steps. Corned beef is cured in a salt mixture, so it can be very salty. Bring the corned beef to a boil in plain water, discarding the water; you may want to do this 3 times before proceeding with the Guinness beer to cook it. Serve this dish with horseradish and Irish Soda Bread (*See recipe at the end).
Corned Beef, Cabbage & Irish Bread
For the Corned Beef:
3 1/2 Lbs Uncooked brisket for corned beef
2 bottles Guinness beer (or any dark beer)
10 whole cloves
1/4 C hot sweet honey mustard
2 Tbl dark brown sugar
1 Tbl pickling spice in a cheeseclothe, end tied
1 onion
1 halved head garlic
2 Bay Leaves

For the Vegetables:1 head cabbage
4 Tbls cooking oil, bacon grease or lard
5 carrots, cut into thick sliced chunks
10 small red potatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley at the end for color
1. Preheat oven to 300F.
2.Prepare brisket by washing well as stated above; Insert the cloves into the top of the slab of beef, evenly spaced. Spread the top with the hot sweet honey mustard. Sprinkle 1 Tbls brown sugar over the top of meat.

3. In a large pot, whisk together the beer and the other Tbls brown sugar. Snuggle in the brisket, it should almost be completely covered by the beer. Add the pickling spice cheeseclothe bundle, onion and the garlic.
4. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop, uncovered is best so you can keep an eye on it. Boiled-over beer is no fun to clean.
5. Once it begins simmering, cover the pot and place in oven to roast for 4-6 hours, flipping meat once during halfway point. Remove from oven.
6. Spoon out 2 cups of the corned beef braising liquid to cook the cabbage.
7. While the meat is roasting, cut up the vegetables, cut the cabbage into 8 wedges.
8. In a separate large, wide pot, heat up the lard/bacon drippings/oil on medium-high heat. When hot, swirl the pan around to get the fat to evenly coat the pan.
9. Add the cabbage wedges, carrots and potatoes and cook until browned, about a 3-4 minutes. Turn to brown the other side. Take the cabbage out with tongs and set aside.
10. Pour in the reserved corned beef cooking liquid, bring to a simmer and cover the pot. Turn the heat to low and let cook for 5 minutes. Continue cooking all the vegetables, add the cabbage back in, another 10-15 minutes or cooked though (pierce with fork to check doneness). *Note the cabbage cooks quicker than the carrots and potatoes.

11. Slice up the corned beef against the grain and serve with the cabbage and vegetables. Garnish with a sprinkling of parsley. Pour a bit of the sauce over the corned beef just before serving. Serve the extra sauce on the side with the dish so more can be added, if desired.

Rustic Irish Soda Bread:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour & 2 Cups wheat flour (or you can just use 4 C's all purpose)
  • 4 Tbl white sugar
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 Tbl baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 c margarine, softened
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c butter, melted
  • 1/4 c buttermilk
1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
2.     In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
3.     Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

A St. Patrick's Day Alternative to Corn Beef & Cabbage, Pizza Fit for Leprechauns!

So, Patty's Day is approaching and you are not that crazy about the traditional Irish food:
Try taking the tradional ingredients and making something that your family likes. How about a Corn Beef and Cabbage Pizza?
 I am thinking even your neighborhood leprechauns will love it!
Corned Beef and Cabbage Pizza:
(Yield: 2 large pizzas)
1 store-bought refrigerated pizza dough (2 crusts) or make dough from scratch. (See recipe below).
5 Tbls olive oil
3 C’s sliced green cabbage
1 teaspoon pickling spices, tied securely in a 6 inch by 6 inch square of cheesecloth
1 lg. potato, peeled and thinly sliced
Fresh ground pepper & sea salt
Corn meal
2 C’s shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 C shredded Monterey jack cheese
6 ounces sliced pre-cooked corned beef (I will be posting how I cook corned beef on a later post, as soon as I figure out what we will be having this year). --Post: on how to cook corned beef:
1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1.      Preheat to 500˚F for  30 minutes.
2.      Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven.  Place the other rack in the top third of the oven. 
3.      Meanwhile, to prepare the toppings, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the cabbage, season with a pinch of sea salt (remember, corned beef is already salty) and cook until just soft, about 5 minutes. 
4.      Pour in enough water to just cover the cabbage then drop in the pickling spices (the cheesecloth keeps them from getting all over your dish, a coffee filter works too). 
5.      Cover and simmer over low heat until the cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes.
6.      While the cabbage is cooking, toss the potato slices with 2 Tbl’s olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. I did not specify the type of potatoes because you can play with various colored potatoes, this year I am growing puple ones in my garden. The standard is yellow or Idaho.
7.      Place the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. 
8.      Roast in the preheated oven on the top-third rack for 12 - 15 minutes (until golden brown, watch them so they do not burn); set aside to cool. 
9.      Drain the cabbage in a strainer or colander and discard spices; set aside.

10.      Form one pizza dough ball into a 12 to 14-inch round, lightly spread olive oil to coat a bowl, drop dough in bowl and then turn dough and drop on the other side.
11.      Now that your dough has a very light coating of oil on it, lay it on a surface that is scattered with yellow corn meal.

(As you get used to making pizza's, you can experiment with various cheeses). One of my favorite is goat cheese, and since I love pepper, arugula lettuce leaves are a wonderful addition to sprinkle on top of the finished pizza's.
12.      Sprinkle half of the Monterey jack and Mozzarella cheeses on the crust. 
13.  Next, layer the cabbage, the corned beef and then the potatoes. 
14.  Top with freshly shaved Parmesan. 
15.  Okay,  now your getting close to being done. However, if you have a large leprechaun crowd, you will need to repeat with the remaining dough and toppings to make the second pizza. ;-) 
16. Carefully transfer the pizza to the preheated stone and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden and crispy.
There, now you have a pizza, even an Leprechaun would eat!

Recipes for Pizza Dough from scratch:  
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 C. warm (not scalding hot) water
2 C’s whole wheat flour (I keep mine in the refrigerator to avoid bugs)
¼ C. wheat germ (extra fiber is always a marvelous thing)
1 tea. Salt
1 Tbl. Honey
½ C. Cornmeal (approx.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Dissolve yeast into a small bowl of warm water. Let stand for about 10 minutes, until it gets creamy and frothy.
Roll dough into the desired shape on a lightly floured and cornmeal surface. Lie out on pizza pan, preheated pizza stone, or even on a hot grill (without a pan; a heavy duty foil works well).  Bake in preheated oven for 5 to 10 minutes. 

I usually make a whole grain crust; however you can't lose by using one of The Food Network Batali's white flour recipes. This one is yummy!   http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/pizza-dough-recipe.html#!