Friday, March 20, 2015

Dual/Duel Review: St. Patrick's Day Celebration vs. St. Joseph's Day Celebration 2015

Dual/Duel reviews are an online smackdown between two books, movies, games, podcasts, etc. etc. that I think are interesting to compare, contrast, and comment on. For a list of other dual/duel reviews, go here.

St. Patrick's Feast Day and St. Joseph's Solemnity fall two days apart in March, on the 17th and 19th respectively. We celebrated both this year, though which was the better celebration?

L as green as could be

N uses food to get green

Three happy siblings

For St. Patrick's, we had corned beef for dinner, even though it is really an Irish-American dish. The recipe is adapted from here. Instead of slow cooking it in the oven, we used our crock pot for the four to six hours of cooking time. I went a little over, since our beef brisket was three and three-quarters pounds and the recipe calls for three and a half. Also, we skipped over the veg part of the recipe since our friends were bringing vegetables. Here's what we did...

  • 2 bottles of Guinness Stout (other stouts of Irish origin are acceptable)
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 3.75 pounds uncooked brisket for corned beef, rinsed well and patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon pickling spice (or use the packet that came with the brisket, like we did)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 head of garlic (sliced on the equator, rendering the other half sort of unusable?)
On the stove in a large pot, whisk together beer and sugar. Put the brisket in, making sure it is mostly covered by the beer (I had to add half a bottle extra to get enough coverage, which meant I had to drink the other half bottle (can't let it go to waste like the garlic, can I?). Add in pickling spice packet, onion, and garlic. Bring to a simmer on the stove, then transfer to the crock pot. Cook on low heat for 4 to 6 hours, flipping once halfway through cooking. Remove from crock pot then slice and pour some of the sauce over the corned beef before serving.

The beef on the stove

We also made Irish soda bread and mashed potatoes.

Soda bread

Pre-mashed potatoes

Our friends brought not only vegetables but also home-made Irish Cream ice cream. That was delicious. They did not give us the recipe so I can't share it here, though we will probably try to recreate it once the weather is warmer and we are back into making ice cream at home.

On to St. Joseph...

For some reason, St. Joseph has become associated with Italy so Italian cuisine is typical. We had pizza for dinner, even though it is really an Italian-American dish. Thursday nights have been soccer night for the kids. It was supposed to end the week before St. Joseph's Day, but thanks to snow delays we have some make up classes. There wasn't really time to cook, so we ordered from a pizzeria.

Can you guess from the picture?

We did make some treats at home. The kids have gotten into crispy kale, which is kale baked in the oven.

L eats kale

A much better treat was brownies. Ghirardelli sounds Italian, right?

No Irish Cream here

This duel is a tough call for me. As much as I love home cooked foods, corned beef just isn't a glamorous or especially tasty cut of beef, even soaked in Guinness. Pizza is almost always good, even from chain restaurants (as long as it isn't greasy). Irish Cream ice cream comes out on top of the brownies but the brownies are awesome. Hey, that gives me an idea--the Irish Cream ice cream should top the brownies... hmmm... mmmmm... Okay, I'm back.

St. Joseph's celebration--since the ice cream defected.

St. Patrick's celebration--we'll go back to Guinness Beef Stew next year.

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