A few St. Patty’s Day favorites.

March 15, 2012

I wish that I could have a St. Patrick’s Day party this year, but unfortunately I have to work on Saturday night and I’m not too happy about that. :-(

St. Patty’s Day parties are always fun and very easy to put together; all you really need is green beer and/or a festive green cocktail, corned beef and cabbage, and some potatoes.

Have everyone wear something green. pass out some silly party hats as your guests arrive and you’re ready to get the party started!

Here are a couple of our favorites that you might want to try for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

First, the cocktail.

This Glowing Green Gecko is perfect for St. Patty’s Day!

Glowing Gecko

Then, here are some easy and yummy Ham and Potato Pancakes.

Ham and Potato Pancakes

Or, if you’re vegetarian, try this awesome Dilled Potato Pie that can be served with pesto or just a dab of butter on top.

Dilled Potato Pie with Pesto

And, this open-faced Reuben Sandwich is delicious and can easily be cut into smaller pieces and served as an appetizer.

Reuben Sandwich

And, a fun green dessert is just icing on the cake.

These St. Patrick’s Day Clover Cookies are fun and tasty.

St. Patrick's Day Clover Cookies

Hope everyone has a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

(And, don’t forget an Irish toast. This is a fun one.)

“May your neighbors respect you,

trouble neglect you,

the angels protect you,

and Heaven accept you.”

~LilSis

St. Patrick’s Day Clover Cookies

March 9, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Clover Cookies

Don't look too close! My royal icing didn't turn out too great!

We sisters have a little Irish in our genes, but not much. For some reason, though; maybe because my hubby is half Irish, we always have fun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. We usually have friends over, cook some corned beef and cabbage, listen to some Irish music and possibly have a green beer or two. Last year I made this Glowing Gecko Cocktail for some friends and it was a huge hit.

St. Patrick's Day Clover CookiesI love the legend about how every Leprechaun has a hidden pot of gold and how they’d rather turn you into a frog than be captured. Even though these guys don’t look like it, they are considered to be faeries and I’ve always been a bit fascinated by the “faerie world.”

I was in Michael’s a few weeks ago looking for something completely unrelated to St. Patrick’s Day but when I saw their St. Patty’s Day display, I couldn’t resist picking up a four leaf clover cookie cutter and some green sprinkles.

St. Patrick's Day Clover Cookies

To this day, I can’t pass a clover patch without stopping to look for a four-leaf clover. :-)

Even though I’ve made a few cookie recipes lately, I have to be honest and admit that I really don’t like to bake. If you look at my Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies and my Linzer Heart-Shaped Sandwich Cookies, I usually choose a recipe that’s more about the decoration, which is the fun part for me.

For these St. Patrick’s Day Clover Cookies, I used Alton Brown’s Sugar Cookie recipe that I found while browsing Food Network’s website. And since I had pretty good luck with the Wilton recipe for the Linzer Heart-shaped Sandwich Cookies, I decided to go with Wilton’s royal icing recipe.

St. Patrick's Day Clover Cookies

I think I may have bitten off more than I could chew with the icing recipe. Who knew that royal icing had to be mixed for 10 to 12 minutes with a hand mixer? (And, yes, I have survived my entire adult life without owning a stand mixer.) I even had to recruit my hubby to help me with the mixing of the cookie dough when my arm got tired.

This sugar cookie recipe was pretty simple and the cookies turned out perfect! I’m not a big sweet eater but if I’m going to eat a cookie, I like a soft cookie and I prefer something like a shortbread so that’s probably why I like these so much. They were soft and moist and not overly sugary!

St. Patrick's Day Clover Cookies

For me, the royal icing was a royal pain in the “you know what” and these sugar cookies are perfect without it!

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~LilSis

Glowing Gecko Cocktail

March 16, 2010

Need an idea for a quick and easy, green and glowing cocktail for St. Patty’s Day? If so, I think you’ll like this one. It’s super quick and easy and looks really festive served up in a nice martini glass. This cocktail is a little on the sweet side for me but it’s always the hit of the party.

I’ve got just a teeny, tiny bit of Irish in the blood so maybe that’s part of the reason why I enjoy putting on a fun-filled St. Patty’s Day Party every year. SirHoney got the Irish genes from both his dad and mom so he’s a little more fond of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes than I am, but I’ll pacify him on this one day. I actually get to take a break from hosting the party this year.

One of my good friends is hosting the “shindig” at her house and she always throws a great party so I’ll have to make a conscious effort to “behave” since it falls on a work night this year. I don’t want to wake up Thursday morning with the “Glowing Gecko Cocktail” flu! (That could get ugly!)

I mentioned this cocktail last year when I talked about St. Patty’s Day Party ideas and I’ve served the original Glowing Gecko recipe at a couple of my parties but I decided to adapt the recipe a bit this year. I’ll be taking all the ‘fixins’ to my neighbor’s house so we can make this new version tomorrow night.

I’m not a big fan of rum and most of our friends aren’t rum drinkers either, so I eliminated the rum. And since we all know that Sweet & Sour mix is loaded with calories, I eliminated that also. Here’s my adapted concoction.

Glowing Gecko
(adapted from RecipeZaar)

2 oz. vodka
2 oz. Midori melon liqueur
1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice or Rose’s lime juice
1 oz. club soda

Combine first three ingredients with ice in a shaker. Shake and strain. Serve either straight up or over ice in a martini glass. Pour in club soda and garnish with lime.

Have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day!

~LilSis

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

March 17, 2009

We’ve talked a lot this past week about St. Patrick’s Day, but mostly related to food and parties. I was talking to the kids last night about wearing green on St. Patrick”s Day and it made me wonder what started the tradition of ‘wearing the green’.

So, of course, I started googling. What did we do before we had the internet? (Oh, I remember, we pulled out the encyclopedias!)

irish-clover

I found this on Wikipedia and thought it was pretty interesting:

St. Patrick’s Blue, not green, was the color long-associated with St. Patrick. Green, the color most widely associated with Ireland, with Irish people, and with St. Patrick’s Day in modern times, may have gained its prominence through the phrase “the wearing of the green” meaning to wear a shamrock on one’s clothing. At many times in Irish history, to do so was seen as a sign of Irish nationalism or loyalty to the Roman Catholic faith. St. Patrick used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish. The wearing of and display of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs have become a ubiquitous feature of the saint’s holiday.  The change to Ireland’s association with green rather than blue probably began around the 1750s.

leprechaun1

So, I decided to find out a little more about where the leprechaun came from.  Again, this is from Wikipedia:

In Irish mythology, a leprechaun (Irish: leipreachán) is a type of male faerie said to inhabit the island of Ireland. They are a class of “faerie folk” associated in Irish folklore with the Tuatha Dé Danann and other quasi-historical peoples said to have inhabited Ireland before the arrival of the Celts.

Leprechauns and other creatures of Irish folklore are often associated with “faerie forts” or “faerie rings” — often the sites of ancient (Celtic or pre-Celtic) earthworks or drumlins.

Leprechauns usually take the form of old men who enjoy partaking in mischief. Their trade is that of a cobbler or shoemaker. They are said to be very rich, having many treasure crocks buried during war-time. According to legend, if anyone keeps an eye fixed upon one, he cannot escape, but the moment the gaze is withdrawn, he vanishes.

So, as we partake in all the fun of this St. Patrick’s Day; we wear green, we eat green, and we even drink green. I think it’s nice to know a little more about how it all  began.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

~LilSis

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Potato Ho Down: Ham and Potato Pancakes

March 15, 2009

As long as we’re talking about potatoes and St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to do one more Irish recipe before the holiday.  I’m making the Ham and Potato Pancakes that I just discussed in my St. Patrick’s Day Party Ideas post a few days ago. This comes from a little cookbook called Irish Food, Fun, and Crafts.

And, yes, I too am entering my recipe into the Potato Ho Down being hosted this month by Evil Chef Mom.

Potato Ho Down

To participate in this fun event hosted the third Wednesday of each month, each entry must have a Potato Ho name. Since this is my first time to submit an entry, I’m making a big deal about announcing my Potato Ho name!

Drum roll, please… My Potato Ho name is Madame Potato Ho Frosty Gay. (And no, I didn’t just pull that out of a hat. There is a method to the madness.) You can read all the rules about this monthly blogging event on Potato Ho Down or on Noble Pig.

Now, for Madame Potato Ho Frosty Gay’s recipe.

ham-and-potato-pancakes

Madame Potato Ho Frosty Gay Ham and Potato Pancakes

3/4 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, grated, and squeezed dry (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions, green parts only
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup finely chopped cooked ham (4 -5 ounces)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 -3 T. vegetable oil

First, combine grated potatoes, green onions, and eggs in large bowl, mix well.  Add ham, flour, salt, and pepper; mix well.

Heat 2 T. oil in large heavy bottomed skillet. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls and press with back of spoon to flatten. Cook over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Remove to paper towels to drain. Add remaining 1 T. of oil, if necessary, to cook remaining batter. Serve pancakes warm.

closeup-ham-and-potato-pancakes

This is an easy recipe and the pancakes turned out really nice. It’s a great little appetizer to serve at your St. Patrick’s Day Party. And, my family loved them for breakfast. I made SirHoney one the size of the skillet!

Don’t forget to check Evil Chef Mom’s site on Wednesday, March 18th for the complete March Potato Ho Down Roundup!

~LilSis

Potato Ho Down: Dilled Potato Pie

March 14, 2009

You probably know that it’s almost St Patrick’s Day, but did you know that it’s also Potato Ho Down time too?  I bet you didn’t!

potato-ho

I was thinking about the two events, and two words came to mind:  green potatoes!  That’s right, you heard me correctly…green potatoes.  And no green food coloring is involved; just good edible ingredients.

I browsed my cookbook collection for an idea, and thumbed through “Savoring the Day: Recipes and Remedies to Enhance your Natural Rhythms” by Judith Benn Hurley.   It’s mostly vegetarian, and a little bit hippy-dippy, but it’ a pretty good cookbook, although it’s out of print now.  I found one of her lunch recipes called Dilled Potato Pie, which is supposed to be calming.  I figured we could all use more calm, and the recipe fit my criteria of green and potatoes so away I went.  I made a few changes and here’s what I came up with.  My entry in this month’s Potato Ho Down is Madame Potato Ho Wolfie Lee’s Dilled Potato Pie!

Green Potatoes with Pesto

Green Potatoes with Pesto

Madame Potato Ho Wolfie Lee’s Dilled Potato Pie
(adapted from “Savoring the Day” by Judith Benn Hurley)

2 pounds red potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided usage
1/4 cup milk
1-1/2 cups watercress leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
2 tablespoons fresh chives, snipped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the sliced potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water.  Add a big dash of salt, and boil until completely tender, about 15 minutes, depending on how thick the slices are.  While the potatoes are cooking, saute the onion and pressed garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil until translucent.

When the potatoes are tender, drain them and add them to a large bowl.  Mash them with the milk and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add the cooked onions and garlic, watercress, parsley, dill, chives, eggs, parmesan, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.

Spray a pie dish with non-stick spray, and spoon the potato mixture evenly into the dish, smoothing the top.  Bake until hot throughout and beginning to brown, about 40-45 minutes.   Serve hot with pesto or a pat of butter.

Green Potatoes with Butter

Green Potatoes with Butter

I have to say I was skeptical about this recipe…I was afraid it would be too bland, or just look too “Kermit-the-Frog-in-a-blender”.  Sorry for that visual, Kermie fans.  I’m a fairly adventurous cook though, so I plowed through and resisted the temptation to substitute spinach for the watercress.  The only time I’ve ever had watercress was raw in the vegetarian chef salad at Cafe Express; I’ve never had it cooked or even bought it fresh.  I was very pleasantly surprised though.  I didn’t get a watercress flavor at all.  All of the flavors blended together very harmoniously, but mildly.

The pie was really delicious!  I liked it with a pat of real butter on top (you are dealing with mashed potatoes, after all), but it was equally good with a drizzle of pesto over it or sitting in a pool of pesto with more parmesan sprinkled around.  I think this recipe could be modified to accommodate any flavors you like: different cheeses, adding hot sauce, or substituting other herbs.  You could also play with adding other vegetables to the potatoes, including spinach, broccoli, asparagus, corn, whatever you like!  But do try the watercress!  And do remember it for your St Patrick’s Day menu if you need an unusual side dish.

Green Potatoes Over the Top

Green Potatoes: Over the Top!

See the complete collection of March’s Potato Ho Down dishes hosted by Evil Chef Mom on March 18th.  For more info on the monthly Potato Ho event, get the scoop at Noble Pig.  And don’t be afraid of eating green potatoes!

~BigSis

St. Patrick’s Day Reuben Sandwich

March 13, 2009

reuben

I wanted to be sure to get this post up today in case anyone is having their St. Patrick’s Day celebration on Saturday. If you are hosting a party or just having a couple of friends over, these Reuben Sandwiches are easy and they’re a real crowd pleaser.

I mentioned the recipe for these sandwiches a couple of days ago in my St. Patrick’s Day Party Ideas post.  These are a little different since you bake them in the oven for a few minutes and serve them open faced.  If cut into smaller pieces, they made for excellent party appetizers.

I really love that you can put these together before the party. Whenever you’re ready to serve, you just pop them in the oven for five minutes to melt the cheese.

In hindsight, I wish that I hadn’t used Reduced Fat Swiss for this recipe. Full fat cheese probably would have gotten more browned and bubbly. I was trying to cut back a little bit on the fat considering the fat content in the mayo and the corned beef.

closeup-reuben

I’ve been thinking about these sandwiches so much that I decided not to wait until St. Patrick’s Day to serve them. We’re having them for dinner tonight!

~LilSis

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Lean Mean Green Cuisine

March 12, 2009

Lean Mean Green Cuisine!

Lean Mean Green Cuisine!

I really do eat this way.  While it’s true that LilSis and I are 1/8th Irish, I’m not having this green cuisine in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. This is how a too-tired-to-cook vegetarian can eat, and still get some nutrition.  I put this dinner together on the fly and then realized it was all green so I had to get a photo of it since March 17th is right around the corner!  It’s not a prize-winning photo, but you get the idea.

I’m obsessed with asparagus right now, it’s like vegetable crack to me.  I can’t get enough of it.  Same with hummus.  This version of my Healthy Hummus has a small handful of fresh chives thrown in.  I also have some delicious green beans that SisMama made, without bacon or ham, thank you very much!  Add a green salad, and my lean mean green cuisine is complete (OK, it’s just lettuce, but it’s all I had and I put dressing on it, so TA DA, it’s now salad).  St. Patrick’s Day or not, it was a scrumptious meal!  It’s funny how your palate can change.  The longer I eat clean, the more I crave pure unprocessed good foods that are fuel for the bod.  Now, if I could just lose my craving for Kettle Chips!

Happy Patrick’s Day everyone!  And don’t forget to eat your green stuff!

~BigSis

St. Patrick’s Day Party Ideas

March 11, 2009

clovers

St. Patrick’s Day Party, anyone? I love St. Patrick’s Day! I think it’s because it’s just another good excuse for me to have friends over for some party food and beverages.  Since St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, I’m undecided as to whether or not I’ll have a party or just invite a couple of friends and neighbors over.

Are you hosting a party or maybe just serving up some great Irish food for a small group of family or friends? If so, hopefully you’ll find something here that will help you plan your ‘get-together’.

I have a teensy bit of Irish in me, but SirHoney is half Irish, so I like to keep things festive for St. Patrick’s Day.

balloons

I like doing just a few decorations, maybe some green and white balloons, cute cocktail napkins and plates, and a nice centerpiece. But, I really love having a selection of fun hats, tiaras, and boas for guests to choose from as they enter the party.  I think it creates a fun mood, like at a New Year’s Eve or Halloween Party.

Here are a few sites that are loaded with ideas and party supplies.

To get this party started, here are a few ideas for cocktails. How about this Glowing Gecko? I actually served this at a St. Patty’s Day Party a few years ago and it was a big hit with those who like sweet drinks.

Flourescent Green Gecko

Fluorescent Green Gecko

If you’re not a big fan of the sweet drinks, how about a green beer?  You can actually brew your own green beer at home, but it takes two weeks, so there’s not enough time to start that now. Supposedly, you can just add green food color to some light beer, but I don’t think I want to drink green food coloring.

green-beer-home-brew-st-patricks-day-photo

If you want to skip the green beer, just serve up some authentic Irish beer like Guinness Stout or Murphy’s.  If you’d still like a few more ideas for cocktails, check out this site for more St. Patrick’s Day Drinks.

When it comes to the menu, it obviously depends on how many people you’re having over and whether or not you just want to serve appetizers or have a sit down meal. I would normally prefer to serve more appetizers, but I’m trying to keep with the Irish theme and you can only eat so many potatoes! I don’t want anything else too heavy.

I found this Potted Beer and Cheddar recipe in the same Irish cookbook as the Potato Pancakes, but I discovered that the recipe came from Cabot Cheese.  I haven’t made it yet, but it might be an option. It looks easy and it’s festive since it has beer and cheese in it!

For my last St. Patrick’s Day Party, I had about ten people and this was my menu.

  • Ham and Potato Pancakes – This recipe was in a special little Irish cookbook I bought called Irish Food, Fun, and Crafts.
  • Beer Potato Soup – This soup turned out so good! I found the recipe on Fabulous Foods, but it originated from Tapp’s Brewpub and Steakhouse in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.
  • Reuben Sandwiches – This recipe was on Food Network, but it originally came from Gourmet Magazine. I loved how these could be put together a little bit before the party so all you had to do is pop them in the oven as the guests arrive. I actually cut some into smaller pieces and served as an appetizers. (Of course, the ‘manly men’ can eat a whole one.)
Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage

For dessert at my party, I think we just ended up have a little Bailey’s Irish Cream (I’m not real good about remembering to include a dessert).

If you want to include a dessert, here are a few that look great!

Check out this Irish Cream Bundt Cake from The Recipe Girl. I’d really want to try this recipe!

Irish Cream Bundt Cake

Irish Cream Bundt Cake

For the kids, I like these Shamrock Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Shamrock Ice Cream Sandwiches

Shamrock Ice Cream Sandwiches

And these St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes from Taste of Home are simple but very cute.

St. Patrick's Day Cupcakes

St. Patrick's Day Cupcakes

I hope this helps to jump start your St. Patrick’s Day Party Planning!

Oh, and don’t forget; no St. Patrick’s Day Party is complete without some great Irish music! And one last thing, you’ve got to have a great Irish toast when raising your glasses to friends on St. Patrick’s Day. I love this one.

“May your neighbors respect you,

trouble neglect you,

the angels protect you,

and Heaven accept you.”

~LilSis