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My St. Patrick's Day dinner: adding to the classics

by Jenise » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:58 pm

We had two couples of Irish origins over for a traditional corned beef dinner last night. But as usual, I had to muck about a bit with the usual concepts. First of all, I wanted a sit-down starter course but nothing too filling because the rest is such a big meal, and I didn't want any filling hors d'ouvres either.

Champagne would be a usual aperitif for us but one of our guests isn't into it, so while re-arranging the liquor cabinet I realized I have an Irish gin from Islay on hand, The Botanist. Perfect: Irish cucumber martinis! To make them friendly to all guests and cut the alcohol effect by about a third, I combined equal parts gin and a weak simple syrup, juice of two limes, about three inches of mulled cucumber with a lot of ice timed for the ice melt to be done by the time I served the drinks. Each was garnished with a twist of coarse ground black pepper.

With the cabbage in the main course, a leafy green salad seemed redundant so I made what I called an "open-faced asparagus tart". That was a puff pastry disk topped with a thick layer of Boursin chive-and-shallot cheese, chilled asparagus, and an orange-mustard-shallot dressing pretty perfectly matched by a citrusy Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. A delicious course wherein all the ingredients are prepared earlier in the day and merely assembled for service. Love that!

OpenFacedAsparagusTart.jpg
Open-faced Asparagus Tart
OpenFacedAsparagusTart.jpg (38.45 KiB) Viewed 794 times


The main course was the usual cabbage and corned beef, although the corned beef was Wagyu. I am not, however, a fan of throwing all the vegetables in the pot at once, or even cooking all of them that way since I'm such a fan of contrast. So in this case I poached the cabbage and carrots in the pot liquor, left out potatoes altogether, grilled scallions on an indoor grill and flash-fried sugar snap peas in Irish whiskey.

CornedBeefPlatter.jpg
Corned beef, cabbage, carrots, grilled scallions, sugar snap peas w/Irish whiskey
CornedBeefPlatter.jpg (63.86 KiB) Viewed 794 times


A drizzle sauce of Maille mustard thinned out with Amontillado sherry and a bulgur wheat pilaf in lieu of the traditional potatoes were served separately.

CornedBeefPlate.jpg
Mustard drizzle and bulgur wheat pilaf
CornedBeefPlate.jpg (61.28 KiB) Viewed 794 times


A guest brought the best Irish soda bread I've ever had, and I had curls of Irish butter ready to go.

SodaBread.jpg
Irish soda bread from just three ingredients: flour, baking soda, buttermilk
SodaBread.jpg (39.29 KiB) Viewed 794 times


Dessert was going to be a 2005 Doisy Daene Sauternes (well, Barsac) with Irish cheeses. But we were all way too full for cheese so that stayed behind. To keep the servings small, I served it over frozen halved grapes.

SauternesWithFrozenGrapes.jpg
Sauternes with frozen grapes
SauternesWithFrozenGrapes.jpg (40.19 KiB) Viewed 794 times


All in all, pretty damned good.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: My St. Patrick's Day dinner: adding to the classics

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:21 pm

Nice drink and nice tart. Did a deconstructed "corned beef and cabbage" hit the spot with your guests?
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Re: My St. Patrick's Day dinner: adding to the classics

by Tom NJ » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:00 am

Wow. Love it. I make my various components separately also, although in my case I go with a long braised cabbage. It never touches the corned beef liquid, a combination I've hated since my youth.

Did you find the Wagyu beef substantially better here, Jenise?
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Re: My St. Patrick's Day dinner: adding to the classics

by Bill Spohn » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:31 pm

Psst - The Botanist isn't an Irish Gin. The island of Islay is one of the principal production areas for single malt Scotch in Scotland. There are a surprising number of gins made in Ireland, that just isn't one of them. :D

PS - that gin is made by one of my favourite single malt producers, Bruichladdich, who make a lovely malt!
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Re: My St. Patrick's Day dinner: adding to the classics

by Jenise » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:40 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote:Nice drink and nice tart. Did a deconstructed "corned beef and cabbage" hit the spot with your guests?


I hated that the tart photo was of my plate. I purposefully cut the asparagus the same perfect lengths, and only one plate had an odd one--mine of course, and that would be the one I photographed. But yeah, the dinner was great. Six of us demolished everything on that platter but for one carrot and a few peas.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: My St. Patrick's Day dinner: adding to the classics

by Jenise » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:51 pm

Tom NJ wrote:Wow. Love it. I make my various components separately also, although in my case I go with a long braised cabbage. It never touches the corned beef liquid, a combination I've hated since my youth.

Did you find the Wagyu beef substantially better here, Jenise?


Funny--that's EXACTLY how I feel about potatoes cooked in the corned beef liquid. If I hadn't made the pilaf I'd have separately roasted the potatoes. But pot liquor cabbage, I love!

And YES on the Wagyu. Everyone said said it was the best they've ever had. (My quip about it: it's twice the cost but four times as good.) The cut being from the round or rump, not brisket, is a finer grain--fantastic texture vs. the stringy brisket (which I don't dislike, it's just different). Would be tough if it weren't Wagyu, but it's Wagyu so beautifully and evenly marbled. Also Snake River Farms' corning process is much lower in salt than the usual commercial brands, which adds to the refinement. Not that this changes anything materially in the final result, but I toss out the obligatory seasoning packet that is packaged with the meat and add sweet Hungarian paprika and several sprigs of fresh mint to the cooking liquid because I love the orange color of the liquid and the enhanced aroma from the mint during the cook.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: My St. Patrick's Day dinner: adding to the classics

by Jenise » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:53 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:Psst - The Botanist isn't an Irish Gin. The island of Islay is one of the principal production areas for single malt Scotch in Scotland. There are a surprising number of gins made in Ireland, that just isn't one of them. :D

PS - that gin is made by one of my favourite single malt producers, Bruichladdich, who make a lovely malt!


Oh, how embarrassing. :oops:
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: My St. Patrick's Day dinner: adding to the classics

by Bill Spohn » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:02 pm

Jenise wrote:
Bill Spohn wrote:Psst - The Botanist isn't an Irish Gin. The island of Islay is one of the principal production areas for single malt Scotch in Scotland. There are a surprising number of gins made in Ireland, that just isn't one of them. :D

PS - that gin is made by one of my favourite single malt producers, Bruichladdich, who make a lovely malt!


Oh, how embarrassing. :oops:


Not at all - you were probably thrown off by having to prepare a dinner for someone that doesn't appreciate Champagne.... :wink:

BTW, I momentarily grimaced when I saw the Barsac adulterated with grapes, but after I thought about it, because they were whole grapes, they would add nothing to the wine; cut them in half and you'd have flavoured wine, a sad end to a distinguished wine, but whole and frozen, unusual but no problem for the wine!
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Re: My St. Patrick's Day dinner: adding to the classics

by Jenise » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:18 pm

My neighbors actually tasted the gin in Islay and were raving about it--then stunned to find out I actually had a bottle. You'd think in that conversation I'd have found out they were in Scotland, but no. I actually hunted it down after a friend poured it for us awhile back. They called it Irish, and stupidly I never questioned it.

I hear you re the Doisy, but two things here. My guests weren't wine geeks, and this wasn't a Climens or Yquem. I was actually eating these green grapes Saturday morning when this idea occurred to me while contemplating whether or not to serve a dessert wine. I didn't want to send anyone home looped. Freezing the grapes and pouring the 375 over--small portions that looked larger than the alcohol value thanks to the grapes--made a perfect, low impact, dessert. And they were indeed cut in half because they were kind of large, would have been like eyeballs if left whole. Because they were frozen they didn't leach any flavor into the wine, they were actually a nice acidic contrast to the honed ripe-year tones.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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