I remember one St. Patrick’s Day in particular. I was a first grader at St. Margaret of Cortona School in Madison Place. Sister Justina asked me why I wasn’t wearing a green ribbon in my hair. “Because I’m Lebanese”, I replied timidly. The real reason, I suspect, is that Mom couldn’t afford to buy green ribbon to make bows for us 8 girls. But you know, after all those many years, even I’m a bit Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. The story goes that in the 5th century AD, St. Patrick went to Ireland, killed all the snakes and converted the people. What were they eating? For starters, cress, leeks and cabbage, all of which are….green!
Moist and buttery soda bread
You can’t eat just one slice. For readers who wanted a sweeter tasting soda bread. I use my food processor, but you can use a mixer or do it by hand. Check out my blog for step-by-step photos.
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 heaping cup dried cherries, raisins or your favorite dried fruit
1 cup regular sour cream
Melted butter for brushing on top.
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top (opt but good)
Preheat oven to 375. Place piece of parchment on cookie sheet and spray parchment. Mix flour, soda, salt, sugar and butter until mixture is crumbly. Add cherries. Toss to combine. This keeps the fruit suspended in the bread. Blend in sour cream. Form into mound-shaped circle about 6 inches wide and 2 or so inches tall. Place on cookie sheet and make a cross in the middle. (This is to let the devils out, or is it to keep them from coming in?!). Brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 40-50 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Check after 40 minutes.
Tip from Rita’s kitchen: Turbinado sugar is golden in color and crystals are large.
Terry Pettit’s famous fish fry cole slaw for Immaculate Heart of Mary Church
During Lent, IHM’s fish fry serves over 1000 people and they come, in part, to enjoy the slaw that’s served alongside the fish. This is for the reader who loves that slaw and wants to make it at home. I talked to Terry Pettit who shared this family recipe. “The recipe was from a restaurant that my wife and I owed in the early 90’s and was developed for that purpose”, Terry told me. I haven’t had time to test paring it down, but here’s a guideline. Start with 1 bag shredded cabbage (12-16 oz.), 1/2 cup carrots, 1/4 cup red cabbage and enough slaw mix dressing to coat nicely. For the dressing, I’d start with 2 cups mayo, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar and a scant teaspoon of celery seeds. I’d go to taste and add more of whatever. I’m thinking I’d like more vinegar, but I haven’t tasted Terry’s slaw at IHM so…. I would stir in enough dressing to coat the slaw nicely.
Here’s Tom’s big batch recipe.
Slaw: Mix together and coat with 1 gallon dressing
10 pound bag shredded cabbage
6 cups carrots, shredded
4 cups red cabbage, shredded
6 cups sugar
1 cup clear vinegar
1-1/2 gallons mayonnaise
1/3 cup celery seed
Dissolve sugar in vinegar. Add mayo and celery seed. Mix thoroughly.
This has a puddle of butter in the middle. Eat from outside to inside, dipping each bite into butter.
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, chunked up and cooked
1/2 cup whipping cream or half & half
1/2 stick butter
1 leek, sliced thin or 4 green onions, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
While potatoes are cooking, bring cream and butter to simmer and stir in leeks. Remove from heat, cover and let steep while potatoes cook. Mash potatoes, add enough cream mixture to make potatoes creamy. Make well in center, put dab of butter there to melt and make a puddle