St. Patrick’s Day Sides: Oven Roasted Asparagus with Garlic Brown Butter

First asparagus of the season. Oven roasted with garlic brown butter. I love #spring!

I was quite happy to find asparagus everywhere at farmers’ market last weekend. I love asparagus, especially during the spring when it’s super thin and not gross and woody. Roasting just about any vegetable makes it about 100 times better in my book and asparagus is no exception. Roasting the asparagus give it a little crispy crust to the tips that is just amazing. While not a traditional Irish side dish, it’s green, seasonal and delicious. It’s also one of the simplest side dishes in the world. Perfect for a quick, weeknight dinner or a fancy dinner party.

This dish is adapted from my balsamic roasted asparagus, but I made an amazing garlic brown butter sauce instead of the balsamic. As much as I love balsamic, it is a bit harsh and very overpowering. I think the garlic brown butter sauce works with a lot more dishes.

Excuse the Instagram photo, I wasn’t planning on posting this originally, but it turned out too delicious not to. 

Oven Roasted Asparagus with Garlic Brown Butter

For the Asparagus:

  • 2 pounds fresh asparagus, woody stems removed
  • cooking spray
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Brown Butter Sauce:
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6+ garlic cloves, minced (I used a whole head, but I’m crazy)
  1. Heat oven to 400F/200C.
  2. Arrange the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray lightly with cooking spray until coated and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the asparagus in the oven and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender and just starting to crisp.
  4. While the asparagus is in the oven, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is almost completely melted, add in the minced garlic. Stir to coat. Allow the garlic to cook until crispy, stirring occasionally so the butter and garlic don’t burn.
  5. When the asparagus is done, place in serving dish and pour garlic and butter over. Serve immediately.

St. Patrick’s Day Side Dishes: Horseradish & Scallion Mashed Potatoes

Irish Beef Stew

Look beyond the Irish Beef Stew and let’s talk about the potatoes. I’m Irish. I love potatoes. I’m basically a potato expert. While I have nothing against tried and true, plain mashed potatoes, sometimes you just need to spice things up a bit. I like horseradish quite a lot and horseradish is quite nice with beef dishes. I knew I was going to like these, but I was very pleasantly surprised about how well the horseradish went with the stew. The horseradish really brought out the best of the flavors on the stew. I think these potatoes would be the perfect side dish to any St. Patrick’s Day meal

Horseradish & Scallion Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 stick softened butter or 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2+ tablespoons prepared horseradish (I think more is better)
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup chopped scallions
  1. Put the potatoes in a saucepan; cover with cold water and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low to medium heat and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let sit until just cool enough to handle, then peel and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add the butter/oil to the potatoes. Add the milk, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and pepper to taste; mash with a potato masher or large fork.
  3. Fold in the horseradish and half the scallions. Spoon the mashed potatoes into a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining scallions.

Thirsty Thursday: Irish Buck (with Homemade Ginger Ale!)

Irish Buck Cocktail

So many of St. Patrick’s Day’s drink options involve Guinness, which can be a bit disappointing if you have to avoid gluten. I know whiskey isn’t everyone’s favorite, but this drink is so light, slightly sweet, a bit fruity and really reminiscent of a Moscow Mule  that you might not even notice the whiskey. The other reason I like this cocktail so much is it is so, so simple. Simple is better sometimes, especially on a festive day.

I went a little wild and decided to use homemade ginger ale… It was received with mixed reviews. I found it too sweet and too gingery, but I watered it down a bit more and it started to grow on me. I have ventured into the world of homemade sparkling beverages after getting a Sodastream for Christmas. I love it. It is amazing And there are endless possibilities.

Irish Buck

  • 2 ounces Irish whiskey
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 ounces ginger ale (recipe for homemade follows)
  • Lime wedge, for garnish
  1. Fill a lowball glass with ice. Add whiskey, lime juice, and ginger ale. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge.

Homemade Ginger Ale

Ginger Syrup

  • 1 cup peeled, finely chopped ginger
  • 2 cups water
Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

 

  • Club soda (I used water from my Sodastream)
  • Lime juice
  • Lime wedges
  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add ginger. Reduce heat to medium low and let ginger sit in the simmering water for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Discard ginger pieces.
  2. In a separate saucepan, make the Simple Syrup by dissolving 1 cup granulated sugar into 1 cup of boiling water. Set aside.
  3. Make individual (tall) glasses of ginger ale by mixing 1/2 cup of ginger water with 1/3 cup of Simple Syrup and 1/2 cup of club soda. Add a few drops of fresh lime juice and a lime wedge to each glass.

Mustard Glaze Corned Beef

Mustard Glazed Corned Beef

Even though I’ve posted two beef recipes in a row, I am generally pretty picky about my red meat. I usually only eat red meat on the rare (pun!) occasion I go to a steakhouse (NY strip, medium please). Red meat in general, and steaks to be exact, are the one thing I have yet to find and master a go-to, fail-proof recipe (quality beef is too expensive to experiment with). Brisket would be the one exception to the red meat rule. I can make a mean brisket. I did learn from the best. Mama CC makes the best corned beef I have ever had. Yes, I am completely biased, but really her recipe is wonderful. So wonderful I need to share it.

The special secret to her corned beef is the amazing mustard glaze she puts on top before serving. It’s delicious. There is something about the sweet, slightly caramelized mustard and the combination of salty corned beef that is out of this world. If you really want to impress any St. Patrick’s Day guests, I highly recommend this recipe. I would also recommend serving with a horseradish sour cream sauce on the side. It’s the perfect finishing touch.

Mustard Glaze Corned Beef

For the Corned Beef:

  • 3-5 pounds corned beef (with spice packet or brine, if included), trimmed of excess fat
  • 12 ounces pale ale/light beer or low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut in half
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 dried bay leaves
For the Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup grainy mustard
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (dark or light, doesn’t matter)
  1. Place corned beef in a large pot. Add the beer/broth, onion, garlic, carrots, bay leaves, 1 1/2 cups water and the contents of the spice packet/brine, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until very tender and easily pierced with a fork, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  2. Heat oven to 375ºF. Transfer the beef to a foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the mustard and sugar. Brush the beef with the mustard mixture and roast until the sauce has thickened and set slightly, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the beef to a cutting board and let sit 5-10 minutes. To serve, slice thinly across the grain.

Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew

Irish Beef Stew

 

This stew is the perfect alternative to corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day, especially if you don’t have all day to cook. Slow cooker recipes are great for entertaining a crowd.

Some people put potatoes into their stew, which I think is just a waste of perfectly good potatoes. Stew just cries out for creamy mashed potatoes. I made a delicious horseradish and green onion mash, which was absolutely amazing with the beef and the broth of the stew.

One other note about the onions… I got a new crockpot recently and for whatever reason it does not like cooking onions unless they have already been softened a bit. To make this stew turn out, I sautéed the onions in the same pan I browned the beef in and deglazed it after all that. If your slow cooker isn’t as moody, feel free to skip that step, but it really does help add some extra flavor to the stew.

The result is a great combination of tender beef, wonderfully flavored veggies and the broth is so flavorful I can’t even put it into words. The broth and potatoes I used to sop it up were probably my favorite part.

 

Slow Cooker Irish Beef Stew

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds stew meat,
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Blend)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 large carrots, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4-8+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 large bay leaf or 2 small
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup rich red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
  1. Place the carrots and peas into the crockpot.
  2. Rinse the meat and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Toss and coat beef with flour, garlic powder, paprika and salt and pepper, to taste. (I recommend using a large bowl or large plastic bag.)
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add beef and sauté in batches until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Add more butter and oil as needed and make sure not to over crowd the pan. When beef is browned, add to crock pot.
  4. When done browning the beef, add in onion, sauté until softened and starting to brown. Add in garlic and brown until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Use a generous drop of beef stock or wine to deglaze the pan and add everything to the crock pot.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients (bay leaf, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, broth, wine) to the crock pot. Stir together.
  6. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or 6 to 9 hours on low.

40 Shades of Green Salad

40 Shades of Green Salad

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day! That makes me happy. I happen to particularly enjoy St. Patrick’s Day, but I have yet to meet for an excuse for a party that I didn’t like. That and I’m Irish (thanks ma and da). I have some traditional (Mama CC made/approved) and not so traditional things in store for the week. Unfortunately, my celebrations can’t begin until I’m done with midterms. Hopefully dreams of potatoes and whiskey will be enough to see me through…

This salad is definitely not your stereotypical Irish fare. It’s light and healthy and vegan actually, the exact opposite of meat and potatoes.  It would be a great starter for any dinner party. It would definitely help balance out any and all corned beef and whiskey that might be consumed. I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this salad. I really like salads with multiple lettuces and this had a great mixture. The crispy, cool iceberg, peppery arugula, soft butter, and some spinach just because. They all really worked together and made each bite interesting. I basically opened the fridge and grabbed anything green. It worked out to be a festive little number and perfect early spring lunch.

Johnny Cash wrote a song “Forty Shades of Green,” which I am a bit embarrassed to say that I only discovered yesterday. My Ireland born, Johnny Cash-loving father will be so disappointed. I remember flying into Dublin when I was younger, and shockingly, it wasn’t raining. I think she was trying to get me to shut up, but my mother told me to try to count the 40 shades of green out the window and that’s been the only connotation I’ve ever known until yesterday. 

 

40 Shades of Green Salad

INGREDIENTS:

For the Cilantro Lime Dressing: 

  • 2-3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1-2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 cups butter lettuce
  • 1/4 head iceberg lettuce, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch (about 8) green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 pound green beans, trimmed, blanched and cut in half
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced

INSTRUCTIONS:

For the Cilantro Lime Dressing: 

  1. In a small bowl, combine all the vinaigrette ingredients and whisk until thoroughly blended.
For the Salad:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lettuces, green onions, and green onions. Gently toss the greens thoroughly with about 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Place the greens onto six salad plates (white looks nice), arranging any of the little pieces that have fallen to the bottom of the bowl on top.
  2. Place several pieces of the diced avocado on each plate. Lightly drizzle with a bit more vinaigrette. Serve immediately.