Saint Patrick’s Day Menu

I’ve recently been in the papers decrying the Penn State ‘tradition’ of State Patty’s Day, and have made no secret of my dislike of what has become a distorted and meaningless practice of celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day…BUT, I’m not entirely immune to the charms of Ireland and the Irish, particularly since my husband is half Irish! If you’re more interested in a traditional meal celebrating the life of a fascinating man than drinking green beer, read on and enjoy!

First, a bit of history on the man himself…

Born about 390 CE near Dumbarton, Scotland, a boy named Maewyn Succat grew up with close ties to the Catholic Church. His father was a deacon, his grandfather, a priest. In the early years of Catholicism, before celibacy became the standard, priests could marry.

At age 16 Maewyn’s life changed dramatically when he was kidnapped from his home by Irish pirates and taken off to Ireland where he was sold more than once into slavery. A Druid priest, who was also a tribal chieftain, held him captive tending sheep for about six years. Though his religion had left little impression on young Maewyn, it became his solace during the lonely years as a shepherd in the Slemish Mountains. He prayed often, as much as 100 times a day and as frequently at night. When the vision of an angel urged him to escape, he ran away during the night, and after escaping another capture, finally traveled home by ship.

A deep religious calling led him to France where he was ordained into the priesthood and chose the name Patricius. While at the monastery he had many visions that urged him to return to Ireland to spread Christianity throughout the pagan land. In 430 CE, Pope Celestine I dispatched him, along with other missionaries, to Ireland where they spent many years traveling the country preaching to often hostile Druids. He saw the country was deeply rooted in idolatry and pagan tradition, and its people had not heard of Jesus until he preached to them.

The mission was often so dangerous he and his group were held in captivity twelve times and once were almost put to death. But each time they were released and sent on their way. He was said to have an engaging manner and often brought gifts to the chieftains, many of whom he converted to Christianity.

By the time he died at the age of 77, he had baptized thousands and established churches, schools, monasteries, dioceses, and church councils throughout the country. He died on March 17 possibly in the year 454 CE, though other historical records note various dates of his death as 460, 461, 462, and 463 CE.

Associated with many miracles, St. Patrick was attributed with driving poisonous snakes into the sea where they drowned. Though poisonous snakes are native to many countries, they do not exist in Ireland. Snakes were a well-recognized symbol to the Druid pagans. Perhaps poisonous snakes never existed in Ireland at all, but when Christianity replaced paganism, the snake symbolism also disappeared, and St. Patrick received the credit.

Now for the good stuff – FOOD!

As with all holidays, food is crucial. While traditional Irish cuisine tends to include meat, you can easily have a meat-free celebration on the 17th. Below is a vegetarian/vegan menu for an authentic Saint Patrick’s Day. Enjoy!

Begin your evening with Sean O’Reilly’s Cocktail, a delightful beverage dressed for the holiday in Irish green. Though kiwis are certainly not Irish, they provide the ideal base for a delicious thirst quencher. Spiked with a touch of lemon juice and ginger, the cocktail whets the appetite for the traditional meal ahead

Warm up with a flavorful Potato, Onion, and Leek Soup that boasts a creamy base of rich soymilk. The heart of the meal is a delectable vegan version of traditional Irish Stew with a robust combination of seitan, barley, carrots, and potatoes.

Accompanying the entrée is a thick ragout of Peas Porridge, a historical dish that centers on simply seasoned green split peas. And, no Irish celebration would be complete without Irish Soda Bread, especially one made more wholesome with whole-wheat pastry flour to give it rugged body.

Colcannon, an Irish favorite, combines feather-light and creamy mashed potatoes with steamed cabbage, two vegetables in abundance in Ireland.

Polish everything off with Apple Orange Bread Pudding, a dessert that features citrus zest and spices to bring out the best flavors and toothy textures of apples, walnuts, and pine nuts. Dress the pudding with a choice of Irish Whiskey Sauce or a Cinnamon Orange Sauce.

Click this link to see the recipes!!


SEAN O’REILLY’S COCKTAIL
(Kiwi Fruit Beverage)
Yield: 6 servings

  • 8 kiwis, peeled and quartered
  • 1 3/4 cup water 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 6 green onions, trimmed

Combine all the ingredients, except the green onions, in the blender and process until the contents become liquefied. Pour the cocktail into short 6-ounce glasses or long-stemmed glasses and place a green onion into each glass to use as a stirrer.

POTATO, ONION, AND LEEK SOUP
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

  • 3 small leeks, white part only
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds Russet potatoes, unpeeled, diced
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 green onions, sliced

Have ready a 10 to 12-quart stockpot. Cut off and discard the root end of the leeks and cut the leeks in half lengthwise. Separate the layers and wash them thoroughly under running water to remove any dirt that clings between the layers. Thinly slice the leeks and put them into the stockpot.

Add the onion, water, and olive oil and cook and stir over high heat for about 5 to 8 minutes or until softened, adding a small amount of water, if needed, to prevent burning the vegetables.

Add the diced potatoes, vegetable stock, celery, and parsley and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the soymilk and nutritional yeast flakes and season with salt and pepper. Put half of the soup into the blender in batches and puree until smooth, or use an immersion blender to partially blend the soup right in the stockpot. Just before serving add the sliced green onions.

IRISH SODA BREAD
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the soymilk and vinegar in a small bowl and set it aside.

Sift the pastry flour, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Form a well in the center, and add the soured soymilk, stirring with a large spoon until the mixture forms a dough firm enough to shape into a ball.

Place the dough on the parchment paper and form into a circle 8 inches in diameter and about 1 1/2 inches thick. Using a knife, make 3 vertical cuts into the top, 1/2-inch deep and about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.

Then, crisscross with 3 horizontal cuts abut 2 inches (5 cm) apart. These cuts will make it easier to break the baked bread into portions.

Bake the bread 40 to 45 minutes or until the bread forms a golden brown, firm top and bottom crust. Serve immediately or warm gently to serve later.

IRISH STEW
Yield: 4 servings

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 medium onions quartered
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 pound seitan (wheat gluten) cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/4 pounds potatoes, unpeeled and cut into bite-size chunks

Combine the water, onions, barley, and salt in a 6-quart stockpot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes.

Add the carrots, seitan, water, celery, and soy sauce and simmer 10 minutes.

Add the potatoes and up to 1/4 cup water if needed. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer, or until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Adjust the seasoning, if needed, and serve.

PEASE PORRIDGE
Yield: 4 servings

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup green split peas
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine the water and peas in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low, partially cover the saucepan, and cook for 45 minutes or until the peas are soft enough to mash and all the water is absorbed. Check the water content occasionally during the cooking and add more if needed. The mixture will be very thick.

Transfer the peas to the food processor and add the olive oil, soy sauce, and pepper. Process the peas until they are smooth and fully pureed. Transfer the Peas Porridge to an attractive serving bowl or spoon it onto a serving platter and shape it into a shamrock.

TWO-TONE COLCANNON
Yield: 5 to 6 servings

  • 2 pounds boiling potatoes (white or red rose or Yukon gold)
  • 4 cups finely shredded purple cabbage
  • 3 cups finely shredded green cabbage
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 to 1 cup unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 green onions, sliced

Scrub the potatoes, but don’t peel them. Cut them into quarters or eighths if they are very large. Put the potatoes into a 4-quart saucepan with enough water to cover by 1-inch. Cover the saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-high and boil gently for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Meanwhile, put 3 cups of the purple cabbage, all the green cabbage, and the water into a large, deep skillet. Cover, and steam over high heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender.

Remove the cover, add the olive oil, and cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until the cabbage is thoroughly softened. Set aside.

Transfer the cooked potatoes to a large bowl and mash them with enough soymilk to create a smooth, creamy consistency. Season with the nutritional yeast flakes, if using, along with salt and pepper. Add the mashed, seasoned potatoes to the cabbage along with half the green onions and mix together.

Transfer the Colcannon to an attractive serving bowl or platter and garnish the top with the remaining green onions. Finish by garnishing the perimeter of the bowl or platter with the remaining purple cabbage.

APPLE ORANGE BREAD PUDDING
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
(For convenience, make the dessert a day ahead. Just before serving, warm the pudding gently for 15 minutes starting in a cold oven set at 350 degrees.)

  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 pounds firm sweet apples (Fuji, Gala, Pink Lady, or Braeburn)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raw pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 cup black raisins
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 slices whole wheat bread

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a 9 x 13-inch glass baking pan.

Mince the orange and lemon zest and place it in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice from the zested orange and add the juice of 1 or more oranges to measure 1/2 cup. Add the juice to the bowl with the zest.
Peel, core, and chop the apples and place them in the bowl with the orange juice and zest. Mix well to coat the apples.

Combine the brown sugar, water, and cinnamon sticks in a 2-quart saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover the pan, lower the heat to medium, and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add it to the apples.

Toast the walnuts and pine nuts over high heat in a non-stick skillet, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes until the nuts just begin to turn golden. Quickly transfer them to a dish and allow them to cool completely before adding them to the apples.

Add the soymilk, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla to the apples.

Toast the bread until dry and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Add them to the apples and stir well to moisten the cubes and distribute the ingredients evenly.

Transfer the pudding mixture to the prepared baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, shiny side down, and bake for 45 minutes. Carefully lift the aluminum foil and stir the pudding mixture to break down the bread cubes. Replace the aluminum foil cover and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the apples are softened.

Serve warm or chilled with Irish Whiskey Sauce or Cinnamon Orange Sauce. Refrigerated the Apple Orange Bread Pudding will keep for 4 days.

IRISH WHISKEY SAUCE

  • 2 cups (240 ml) vanilla flavored soymilk
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) organic sugar
  • 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup (60 ml) Irish whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water

Combine the soymilk, organic sugar, whiskey to taste, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan and bring to a boil, uncovered, over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer gently for 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir the cornstarch and water together in a small cup or bowl until well blended, and pour it into the bubbling sauce a little at a time. Stir constantly for about 1 minute until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately or chill and serve later. Makes about 3 cups.

CINNAMON ORANGE SAUCE

  • 1 1/3 cups (320 ml) fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) plus 2 tablespoons organic sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water

Combine the orange juice, water, organic sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan and bring it to a boil, uncovered, over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer gently about 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir the cornstarch and water together in a small cup or bowl until thoroughly blended and pour it into the bubbling sauce. Stir constantly for about 1 minute until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately or chill and serve later. Makes about 1 3/4 cups.

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One thought on “Saint Patrick’s Day Menu

  1. superalzy says:

    Soda bread and potato leek soup, yes please! I’m glad I’m not in State College anymore. I’ll never forget leaving my apt one St Patty’s Day & some frathole pinched me and said “hur hur you’re not wearing any green.” I said to him, “No, I’m actually Irish.”

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