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.