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March 14, 2012     Feather River Bulletin
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March 14, 2012
 

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter REGIONAL Wednesday, March 14,2012 1B 1 Corned beef eaten in St. Paddy's day? Think again Ingrid Burke Copy Editor iburke@plu rnasnews.com Here in America, we think of corned beef and cabbage as the quintessential Irish dish and the clear choice for St. Patrick's Day dinner. In Ireland; however, it's rarely eaten and is in no way considered the national dish. Here's the story. It is true that the Irish learned to salt cure beef sometime in the A.D. 1000s. But beef was considered a rare delicacy until the 20th century. Farmers raised pigs because they were cheaper and reproduced more easily; cattle were kept for milk and as status symbols. Beef remained expensive, and corned beef (so called because of the large grains of salt used in curing) was more so because of the high price of salt. Even while tenant farmers exported barrels of corned beef, they could not afford to eat it themselves. The average Irish instead cooked dishes like the popular boiled bacon and cabbage. Starting with a pork joint soaked in brine, they boiled the meat with cabbage and simple seasonings, such as peppercorns and bay leaves. The meal was served with potatoes in their jackets and a sharp sauce. Many Irish emigrants only began eating beef regularly after arriving in America. When they tried to find their familiar brined pork prod- ucts, the closest thing avail- able was corned beef, which became a substitute. Though the dish is simple -- too simple for holiday fare, say some Irish -- it may not be easy to duplicate boiled bacon and cabbage in the U.S. First of all, look for "collar of bacon," "shoulder butt" or "picnic shoulder" -- what we call "bacon" is Cherry Dog "rashers" in Ireland. Next, find a brine recipe. Roll up and tie the meat, then soak in brine in the re- frigerator at least 48 hours. This process is meant to tenderize the meat, not pre- serve it, and it's something the butcher would do for you in Ireland. The boiling is fairly straight- forward; add the cabbage about 20 minutes before the meat is done. For more details, history and recipes, visit europeancuisines.com. Click Countries, then choose Ireland. In the meantime, here are four authentic Irish recipes to try this St. Patrick's Day. Champ is a type of mashed potatoes. The recipe is from "Favourite Irish Recipes: Traditional Fare from the Emerald Isle," published by J. Salmon Ltd. "A favourite with children, Champ is remembered in the rhyme, 'There was an old woman who lived in a lamp; she had to room to beetle her champ", a beetle being a pestle once used to mash potatoes. It is also known as Cally, Pandy or Poundies and, in Ulster, young nettle tops, peas or parsley were sometimes added to the mixture." The,Colcannon recipe, from the same source, combines potatoes and greens. "Traditionally served at Hallowe'en, Colcannon would often contain charms; a ring for marriage, a horse- shoe for luck, a coin for riches and a thimble or button for spinster or bachelorhood. Somewhat similar to the Scottish Kailkenny or Rumblede- thumps and the English Bubble and Squeak, Colcannon was originally made with kale, but now more usually ccmtains cabbage." The Cherry Dog recipe comes from "Irish Teatime Recipes: Traditional Cakes from the Emerald Isle," also published by J. Salmon Ltd. "The classic Cherry Cake is as popular in Ireland as it is in mainland Britain, but Cherry Dog is an Irish variation which was an appetising and practical way to use up any left-over dough from a baking or breadmaking session." And what compendium would be complete without Irish soda bread? Feather Publishing's own Michael Condon shares his grand- mother's authentic recipe. "It's my grandmother's Irish soda bread. It's the real deal. My grandparents were raised in Ireland. The classic soda bread doesn't have the raisins and candied fruit. This is more of a Sunday breakfast version." Thanks to Eva Small and Michael Condon for sharing recipes and ideas. Grandma Condon's Irish Soda Bread Ingredients: 3 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 cup buttermilk 314 cup sugar 2 teaspoons anise seed 1 teaspoon salt 1/3 cube margarine 2 eggs lightly beaten 314 cup raisins 114 cup candied fruit (optional) 1 teaspoon caraway seed Directions: Dissolve soda in buttermilk. Sift dry ingredients. Crumble in shortening and then add fruit and spices. Add eggs and then buttermilk. Pour into hot greased cast iron pan. With floured hands, form into a round and sprinkle lightly with sugar Cut a cross in the top Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes irediRnts: Directions: adding sufficient milk to pro- , ouiljlecO Cherries Set oven to 400 digrees'F Or flute a s =Ole$ flogl" .................. " ...... = U,=lrleS nto ...... TUr bUL Ontoa lightly level teaspoons cream of halves or quarters, rinse in flouredsurface, knead lightly tartar 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda pinch of salt 2 ounces butter 2 ounces sugar 1 egg, beaten milk extra sugar for sprinkling Other wa ,s to celebrate Want to do something be- sides cook on St. Patrick's Day? --Use Irish slang like "acting the maggot" (fooling around boisterously), "banjaxed" (broken or severely damaged), "gansey-load" (many, an excess), "jammy" (exceedingly lucky) or "wojus" (extremely poor quality). --If you spot a rainbow, keep your eyes open for the pot of gold at its base -- if you can get there! --Turn your pale yellow beer or other beverage green by adding approximately six drops of green food coloring per pint. --Cut out big shamrocks from green felt or construc- tion paper and use them for decorating your home, office, clothing and friends. --Announce "Erin Go Bragh" frequently. Pronounce it "air-in-guh-bra." Probably stemming from a phrase meaning "May I stand in Ireland forever," it is used now to express allegiance to Ireland. --Rent "Darby O'Gill and the Little People," "The Quiet Man," "Far and Away," "Waking Ned Devine" or "Riverdance." --Sing "The Irish Rover," "Molly Malone" and "The Rocky Road to Dublin" but be careful with "Danny Boy" since the lyrics were written by an Englishman. --Build a leprechaun trap. These tiny elves are very clever and mischievous, so the trap must be especially creative. Gold coins and nuggets-- fake or real! -- make good bait. --Join a tradition going all the way back to the 17th century by wearing green. warm water to remove any excess syrup, dry thoroughly and toss in a little flour. Sift together into a bowl the flour, cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda and salt, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles bread- crumbs, then stir in the sugar and prepared cherries. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture, drop in the egg and gradually work in the dry mixture from the sides, and then, with the hands, form into a round or into a thick sausage shape. Place on a greased baking dish, brush with milk to glaze then sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack and serve plain or spread with butter. Source: "Irish Teatime Recipes: Traditional Cakes from the Emerald Isle," J. Salmon Ltd. Why four-leafed clovers? There are several species of clover -- some produce flowers of various colors and some do not flower at all. Clover can be a versatile ground cover, used in place of lawns. It spreads easily, doesn't require the high levels of irrigation and maintenance of grass, and grows back well even after harsh winters. Among the sea of three-part leaves, keep your eyes open for the rare four-leafed cloverl Though the four-leafed clover is associated with good luck, the Irish and St. Patrick's Day, don't confuse it with the shamrock. This national symbol of Ireland is justa normal clover: it has three leaves. Asthe story goes, Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, used the clover to help convert the Celts to Christianity. He saw the tripartite leaf as an example of the Holy Trinity: each lobe was separate, yet part of the whole. The three lobes represented the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The fourth lobe on the lucky four-leafed clover is said to represent God's Grace. Many other interpretations of the four-part leaf circulate. The old song "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover" uses the mean- ings Sunshine, Rain, Roses and the One I Adore. Others view the lobes as standing for Wealth, Health, Fame and a Faithful Lover. Following are some more myths about the lucky symbol. --Eve was said to carry a four-leafed clover out of the Garden of Eden. --Some believe giving a four-leafed clover bestows even greater luck on its recipient, while others say the clover loses its power when given away. --In the Middle Ages, .children thought finding a four- clover would enable them to see fairies. --If a woman eats a four- clover, she will soon meet her future husband. Wearing a four-leafed clover inside shoe increases its lucky power. --Bragging about your find will cause its luck to disappear unless you knock on wood three times. Source: "The Four-Leaf Clover Ki " Running Press Photos by Eva Small Ingredients: 1 pound potatoes, peeled and quartered 8 spring onions, trimmed, but retaining their green tops 114 pint creamy milk salt and black pepper 4 ounces butter, melted Directions: Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water and drain very Champ well. Cover with a clean tea- cloth to absorb the steam and keep warm. Chop the spring onions inely, add to the milk and boil together in a pan for a few minutes. Mash the potatoes and season well, then pour in the milk and spring onions and beat well together. Divide the mashed potatoes between 4 warm bowls, make a well in the center of each and pour in melted butter to make a pool. Traditionally Champ is eaten with a spoon, each spoonful of mashed potato being first ' dipped in the butter. Source: "Favourite Irhh Recipes: Traditional Fare from the Emerald Isle,  J. Salmon Ltd. , Ingredients: 1 pound cabbage, washed and shredded 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters 2 leeks, trimmed and chopped 1/4 pint creamymil k O r single cream salt and black pepper pinch of mace 4 ounces butter, melted Directions: Boil the cabbage and potatoes in Colcannon separate saucepans until cooked. Meanwhile, chop the leeks add to the mlk and simmer together in a pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the cabbage and potatges very well. Mash the potatoes, stir in the leeks and milk and then add the shred- ded cabbage and seasonings. Combine very well, turn out into a deep serving dish and heat through in the oven, cov- ering with foil to prevent browning, if necessary. Make a well in the center of the mixture before serving and pour in the melted butter. Serve each portion with a spoonful of butter. Source: "Favourite Irhh Recipes: Traditional Fare from the Emerald Isle," J. Salmon Ltd. E00ziri Go Brzagh t t