Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Luck of the Irish

This years green photo

So I thought I would talk a little bit about luck; I don't have it.

Chris and I last St. Patrick's Day
I thought about just leaving it at that, but Christopher reminded me that I actually had something to write about. Yesterday we traveled upstate to my family's home. My mom was waiting on the stoop for us and welcomed us with open arms. I always love coming home, not only for the rest and relaxation, but for the hugs and comfort. We chatted about the uneventful trip, and waited for my father to arrive home from the restaurant. Just when my stomach was empty my mom mentioned there was spaghetti and meatballs in the refrigerator. Christopher always reminds me that meatballs is an Americanized Italian thing and that real Italians do not eat meatballs but Polpette.  I do not care what Italians like, because I am Irish, and I love meatballs.

Mom and I two years ago
I made Shepard's Pie for dinner, I thought it was pretty good, my dad said it was too salty, Chris mentioned that this was probably because it needed a buttered roll to balance it out. Chris and I normally go home after every block which is every three weeks for our three day weekends. But it has been five weeks since we have been to Lansing, and this visit was only 30 hours long. We picked this weekend because of St. Patrick's day, which is my father's feast day, and a traditional party for our family. Of course during this party, we are not relaxing but running the restaurant. Our whole family, including my mom, dad, sister- Margot, brother- Lansing, Sister- Melissa, Sister- Michelle, Nephews- Max and Jack, Christopher, and I pulled off St. Patrick's day at the KFH.

Lansing, manning the bread station

Mom, Chris, and I arrived in the kitchen at 9:30am and we started cutting carrots and cabbage. With a six burner stove it was hard to cook 40 pounds of carrots and 50 pounds of cabbage, plus a sack of potatoes, but we got it done. Mom had ordered in 210 pounds of corned beef, and so it was her job to slice it on the slicer, Chris and I kept testing it to make sure it was fit for human consumption- it was. The soda bread had been prepared the day before by a real Irishman. It was delicious. I think I probably ate half a loaf of bread today, and I brought a whole loaf back to school with me. Mom switched hats at one and went from the kitchen to the bar. I changed out of my chef's coat and into a clover colored skirt. And the festivities began! We charged 9 dollars for a full plate of corned beef, cabbage, carrots, rye bread, and soda bread, which I think is quite the steal. Last year, when I couldn't make it home for the 17th, I took my friends out to an Irish pub because they had never really been exposed to the holiday the way I have. Chris and I shared our first dance, and I paid 19 bucks for just corned beef and cabbage. Anyway, Margot and I worked the dining room, while my dad handed out green carnations to the ladies, Chris put the plates together in the kitchen, Max helped clear tables, Jack and Lansing expedited the food and cleaned dishes, my mom was everywhere, Michelle was at the bar with the Irish baker- Alan, and Melissa was supervising the serving. We all worked together, and we all sung Irish tunes together (even Chris) and it was a great time. It's very nice to be able to go home and be surrounded by people who love you. I know Chris wishes that his family lived closer so that we could visit them often too, but my mom always tries to make him feel at home which I appreciate.

Dad- happy as a clam
After breaking a mirror yesterday, I was reminded that I really do have bad luck as an Irish girl. I mean just looking back on all of my car history and all of the "why does this always happen to me" situations...I really am not a lucky person in general, but I am reminded how lucky I am to have such a wonderful family who cares so much about me. I am also lucky that my boyfriend is my best friend, and that he puts up with everything that my bad luck throws at us.

I brought some cb&c back to school with me, so that I could make myself a snack early this week. I wouldn't be surprised if I received some more corned beef in the mail because there was twenty pounds left over. Family is very important to me and St. Patrick's day is a celebration of our family. This tradition will live on for generations.

Shepherd's Pie
yield: 12 portions

3# ground lamb
3 onions
5 carrots
3 cups frozen peas
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups flour
16 oz red wine
2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 cup water
5 potatoes
2 cups heavy cream
1# butter
salt & pepper to taste

1. Dice the carrots and onions to the same size as the peas, saute the carrots first and then add the onions to carmelize.
2. Add the ground lamb and brown, seasoning with thyme, salt, and pepper.
3. Sprinkle the flour in using the singer method. Stir in until thick.
4. Add the red wine, worcestershie, and water. Reduce and add more flour if needed.
5. Add peas and butter. Continue to stir all together.
6. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes and strain. Mash together adding butter , heavy cream and salt. Run through a food mill or use mixer to smooth out potatoes. Put into a pastry bag with a star tip.
7. Spoon Shepherd's pie into casserole dish and pipe mashed potatoes on top to form a crust.
8. Before serving, flash in a 400 degree oven for five to ten minutes to brown the top of the potatoes.
9. Serve. (Roll suggested)

No comments:

Post a Comment