Sunday, March 15, 2009

To Get You Started...

I've compiled some traditionally Irish goodies that are a mainstay in my home and that I highly recommend to anyone who's not yet Irish. ;)

This set is inspired by my Irish heritage (I'm half Irish, half Italian - read: very hardheaded), the upcoming St. Paddy's Day, and me father's birthday - which would also be St. Paddy's Day - he would have been 60 this year. Love ya, Dad!

Hope you get the chance to try some of these out, whatever your preferences may be. Oh, and I'll have an official St. Paddy's Day post on the 17th, you can count on it.

First up on the list of lovelies: Irish Oatmeal, as that's the first thing we all eat at our home. I love McCann's (~ 10 min. to cook) and a much more time-consuming but very tasty breakfast to make at ~ 40 min. is Country Choice Organic. These oats aren't rolled and are thus a whole grain - very good for you. A treat one of my Irish uncles David would make for us kids years and years ago was Irish oatmeal with vanilla ice cream mixed in for dessert. Oh how we loved that!

Next up (you guessed it!): Irish beer, as this is what we all have for lunch in our house (I kiid, I kiid!!). As a bit of a beer aficionado myself, over the years I've come to have a few favorites from three categories: stouts, ales, and cream ales. Now, there are other styles of brews, and I'll be posting on those in the future to be sure, but as for Irish beers, these kick arse. Top o' the lists for me are: Beamish Stout (like Guinness), Harp Lager, and finally, Kilkenny Cream Ale. Drink up! Responsibly, of course. And remember, indulgence not compulsion.

Finally, no Irishman is complete without this traditional Irish fare: Colcannon. Makes me mouth wada. My Irish grandfather Donald would hide coins in our colcannon when we were little as this is done in Ireland (and many other countries, too). I make mine with kale versus cabbage because I just love the bitterness of this leafy green and really like my cabbage on the side, but recipes vary according to region and personal tradition/preference. BTW, this recipe can be made into a vegetarian, vegan, or meat dish (I happen to be a near-vegan {meaning that my diet is primarily vegan with a few variances now and then}, or as some like to call it these days, a flexitarian), there's really a lot of ways to prepare it and many can be found all over Ireland.

Also on our table throughout the year, and yes, on St. Paddy's Day:

Irish Soda Bread (appetizer)
Corned Beef (main dish)
Apple and Barley Pudding (for dessert)
Cadbury Bournvita (after dinner drink for the kiddies)

So my friends, go out there and 'get your Irish on!' For me and my family, being Irish is a year 'round deal, but we were so generous we decided to let yous people who aren't Irish play Irish one day a year. Ain't we sweet? ;)

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