March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Dinner

The hubby and I invited my parents over for a casual St. Patrick's Day dinner since it's Ozzie's first St. Patrick's Day. Don't I sound like a new mother? Like he really understands anything that is going on at 7 1/2 months old.

Nevertheless, I was determined to celebrate it and start new traditions for Ozzie. So yesterday I searched the web for Corned Beef and Cabbage recipes. I knew I wanted to make the corned beef but eat it as a Reuben.

Recipezaar has this great recipe for NYC Corned Beef and Cabbage: Click here for the detailed recipe and shopping guide. Below is my modified version:

3 lb. corned beef brisket
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 head of fresh cabbage
10 to 12 medium red potatoes
1 (1lb) bag fresh carrots (I used baby carrots no chopping or peeling involved)
Fresh parsley
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 garlic clove
1 medium sweet onion
1 bottle of beer (we had Alaskan Winter Ale in the fridge)

Place brisket with seasoning pack (best side up) in large dutch oven or stock pot
Add two bay leaves and teaspoon of peppercorns
Cover generously with water and bottle of beer and bring
Remove outer leaves of cabbage, rinse, cut into quarters
Peel onion, cut into eighths
Peel and cut carrots into quarters (like I said I used baby carrots so I got to skip this step)
Rinse parsley and chop

After 2 hours of cooking brisket
Add potatoes, add more water to cover if necessary and bring to boil
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes
Add cabbage, onion and carrots, add more water if necessary and bring to boil
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes
Check cabbage to see if it is tender
If not, simmer another 5 minutes or until tender. Do not under cook cabbage

When done
Place potatoes in bowl while piping hot
Add stick of butter, chopped garlic and handful of chopped parsley
Gently stir until butter is melted
Slice brisket cross the grain
Serve cabbage and carrots as side dishes
Discard stock including onions and seasoning

The Reubens (we winged it and didn't look for a recipe, we ended up loving it!)
Dark rye bread
Muenster cheese (per my Dad's request- good thinkin' Dave!)
Thousand Island dressing
Butter for bread
Layer in this order- corned beef, cheese, dressing, cabbage leaves
Grill both sides until cheese is melted. We used a Le Creuset 10" grill pan and pressed the sandwich like a panini.
We served the Reubens with the potatoes, carrots, a salad, any extra cabbage and a bottle of red wine. Dinner was deelicous!! For dessert we had strawberries and whip cream (not green or Irish but yum yummy!)

Ozzie was stuffed! Just kidding he can't eat real food yet but doesn't it look like he just finished Thanksgiving dinner in this picture?!

While I was cooking I started to feel guilty that I hadn't decorated the house for St. Patrick's Day. I know Ozzie is only 7 1/2 months old but it is his 1st St. Patty's Day and I wanted to do it right. So I waited until his next nap and ran to the craft bin to see what I had.

Luckily I had large dark green ribbon and small thin brown ribbon. I cut shamrocks out of the green ribbon free hand (you can tell the shamrocks were cut by free hand if you look closely but I know you won't) and tied them to branches from my backyard with the brown ribbon. Add a tall vase and some river rock and voila I had a St. Patrick's Day centerpiece in 10 minutes flat!

I searched high and low for votives but I must have used them all during our last black out.

Don't look too close at those shamrocks!

Like I said casual dinner so we ate on the kitchen table.

When my little leprechaun woke from his nap, I tried to take a few pictures of him in his green err... olive outfit but he was more interested in throwing stuff off the edge of the sofa.

This is the best smile I could get outta him

Wow gravity!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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