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Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day Dinner

The reason I haven't been posting bentos this week is because I am on Spring Break. In the past I still had to get up early and make Pippy's bento and get her to school, but this year she volunteered to do it all herself so that I could get some much needed sleep. As a result or as Pippy said "because I am lazy" she has in fact not made bento, but usually a sandwich and a couple of times money for a school lunch which she said that besides the fact that she can't tell what it is, it was pretty good. 

Instead of bento, today I am posting my "boiled" dinner. The reason it is special is because I tried a different cooking method this year. Boiling meat has never been my favorite smell and all that water leaves the corned beef very tender, but tasteless and impossible to slice into neat slices. The cabbage always comes out waterlogged. The potatoes and carrots are usually okay, but because most recipes call for up to 3 quarts of water, they don't gain any real flavor from the bath. My Gramma would do a smoked pork shoulder which could take the boiling, but the corned beef just does not seem to like it as much.
For the corned beef, I pricked the meat on the fat side and stuck in some cloves. Then I rubbed the top with honey mustard and sprinkle brown sugar on top. This goes into foil, and wrapped so that the foil doesn't rest on the fat. Pop it into a 350 degree oven for a couple hours and it is done. I may try to cook it lower and slower, or maybe in a crock-pot to make it more fork tender, but the family absolutely loved it. As you will see in the picture, I need to trim off the fat too. What you get is a lot of liquor from the cooking which you can use to flavor the meat more (but it really didn't need it at all) or the potatoes, which, having only been boiled and tossed with butter might like the seasoning and make it feel like a boiled dinner.
The cabbage got special treatment too. I sliced a small head of cabbage a little thin, then sauteed minced garlic in olive oil. Once I could smell the garlic I threw in the cabbage (I have a huge skillet, for those who don't you may have to put it in in batches as it wilts) and tossed to make sure all the bits have the flavored oil on it. Then I pressed it down in the pan and let the cabbage get a little brown, tossed again and repeated.  My entire family, two of whom used to hate cabbage in boiled dinners, absolutely loved it. It has been asked for a repeat performance.
Sadly, I totally forgot the carrots. I also forgot Cat's Irish Soda Bread, but we were very full and unable to move, so everyone ate well.

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