Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Favorite Holiday

Well, I do love Christmas, watching my babies get lost in the magic of it all, but for me holidays = food, and my favorite holiday is St. Patrick's Day.  Don't get me wrong.  I love the tasty food at Thanksgiving - fried turkeys, dressing and pecan pie - an Easter ham with splotchy colored deviled eggs, but my favorite truly is March 17.  I know corned beef isn't really a traditional meat in Ireland, but since my husband and I are both only part Irish, I don't mind taking a little creative liberty in creating our own tradition.  You'll get to see the full feast when it's prepared, but today I initiated the metaphorsis of plain, boring brisket into the explosion of flavor it will be in just about a week.  If you haven't tried making your own corned beef, trust me, it's worth it.  My Mimi made it years ago, and I haven't been able to go back to the old, store-bought, boiled standby without feeling disappointed.  The corning process really is very easy to do; it just takes a little planning to make sure you've started it early enough.  You start with this rather unattractive piece of meat:

Doesn't my Tupperware marinator look happy to have come out of storage for its once-a-year task?   Next, you coarsely grind a mixture of coriander seed, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and bay leaves, then add a little brown sugar, curing salt, and garlic.  This yields a spice rub that will leave your house smelling fabulous:

Lastly, you lovingly coat every inch of the brisket with the spice mixture and let it hang out in your frig for about 7 days, depending on the thickness, turning once a day.  I'll be baking this puppy, which yields a much more flavorful end product since all that tasty spice rub is crusted on during the baking process. 
Seriously . . . I'm just so excited I'll get to eat this next week (and Mom and Dad, if you're reading, look what you'll get to eat when you're here :-))!  As a sneak peak of next week's post, the menu will be of course the corned beef, cabbage sauteed with onions and Irish bacon, champ (which is a butter-ladened version of mashed potatoes with green onions), Irish soda bread (I usually use my Mom-in-Law's recipe but saw an interesting brown version in Cooking Light this month I might have to try), and, for dessert, a Guinness Cake which is a dense, moist chocolate cake, flavored with a little Guinness (only a little . . . I don't like beer) and frosted with a bittersweet ganache.  Toodles!


Robin said...

St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays too!!! I LOVE me some corned beef and cabbage. Mmmmm... But I've never taken the plunge and tried to corn my own brisket. You make it look so easy, I may have to give it a try this year! We usually celebrate on the weekend so we can have a big family feast. :)

Susan said...

Sounds delish! I don't do it anymore since you and Ryan moved. Jack just doesn't care so it's no fun to do it just for me.