Thursday, March 18, 2010

Éire go Brách

Yesterday, I was invited over JR & RH's house for some St. Patrick's Day celebrating. RH made a delicious Irish boiled dinner of (red) corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots in their fancy crock pot. (NB: we all know that this is not really "Irish" dinner; it is Irish American dinner.) JR's dad phoned while I was there and gave his report on the NYC parade; he is a drummer in one of the pipe bands. They had a gorgeous day for it!! Following dinner, we watched Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, which was as ridiculous/awesome as the first one. I ended up leaving before the end of the movie, but I do intend to watch the rest of it soon. (Judd Nelson plays the bad 'un in this one. I was reminded a couple of times of The Godfather, Part II, which I suspect was intentional.)

At dinner, we were laughing about about St. Patrick's Day from a few year's ago when I invited JR and RH to my house for St. Patrick's Day Irish boiled dinner. JR had never eaten corned beef and cabbage before, and I had never cooked it before. But I had watched my mom do it for years and years growing up so I thought how hard could it be, right? Wrong.

First, at the grocery store, I wasn't sure what kind of beef to buy so I had to call my mom to ask her. (There is that whole gray vs red debate. I bought the red.) When I got home, I put the corned beef into the boiling water with the pickling spices. Now the pickling spices jar told me to put one tablespoon into the water, but that didn't look like enough, so I added two more. After the meal had been cooking for a while, I did a taste test, which FAILED, so I panicked, and I called my parents to find out what to do. Mom said take out most of the pickling spices, pour out some of the water and add fresh water and more potatoes. Unintentional educational moment #1051: following the directions on the package is a good thing.

I ended up calling my parents at least three more times asking for advice and help on things like how long to cook the potatoes and how small do I cut the cabbage. You know how Butterball Turkeys have that cooking helpline at Thanksgiving? Well, my dad started answering the phone "Corned Beef Hotline." If I wasn't having company that night, it would have been funny, but it was actually really stressful. Unintentional educational moment #1052: Test out a recipe before serving it to company. Fortunately, the meal turned out just fine, albeit a little bit on the pickled side, and JR and RH said it was very good.

That is the first and last time I have made corned beef and cabbage. I think that I am going to try it again next year for St. Patrick's Day or possibly one day next month when there is less pressure to do it. I really love to eat it; maybe one day I will love to cook it too!


  1. I highly recommend having Whole Foods do the brining for you. On the gray kind.

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