Saturday, March 17, 2012

happy st. patty's day!

Everything turns green for this occasion and Mother Nature is really nudging things along sooner than later.  We have enjoyed gorgeous record-breaking weather after a mild winter in these here parts.  Everyone is smiling and good-natured, and happy to be out and about.  The jonquils and magnolias are already blooming as the robins frolock in the garden.  One can't help but smile and hold gratitude for these little blessings. 
We have much to be grateful for as the wedding of our firstborn swiftly approaches and tuxedos are being fitted, updos and airbrush appointments are secured and soon we will toast to another Mr. and Mrs. Wind.  As if that were not enough to celebrate, Dan and Darcy will enjoy living in their new digs on Bluebird within weeks and they are excitedly making preparations for the closing.  We decided to take a breather before all the hoopla and indulge in the beauty of Negril in Jamaica for a bit and visit Margaritaville and Rick's Cafe.  Steve is ardently promoting the upcoming release of the movie I Heart Shakey and tying up loose ends at school before he graduates, then finalize his living arrangements at DePaul in the fall. Some of the apartments are fabulous with fantastic views of our beloved city. Whew!  All our boys have milestones to beam about.  Soon we will have two checkmarks on our parental list. Actually, 2 1/2.  LOL.
I discovered a new-to-me recipe using Vienna corned beef for our annual St. Patrick's Day dish.  I wasn't sure how it would turn out so I made the old fashioned version as well, but to my delight, it is divine; hence, I share. 
This easy peasy recipe calls for Guinness beer and brown sugar. 
That is all!

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  3 hours
Serves:  4-5 people

4 lbs. whole vienna beef corned beef brisket
2 cups brown sugar
1 bottle Guinness beer

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Make sure corned beef is dry after you take it out of the package.  Place the brisket on a rack in an oven safe roasting pan.  Rub the brown sugar all over the brisket top and bottom ( I did this the night prior) Pour the beer into the roasting pan around the brisket, just slightly getting the sugar wet on the brisket.  Cover and place in preheated oven.  Bake for 2 hours. Add your favorite vegetables in the roasting pan.  Cover again and cook for 1 hour.  You may have to add more beer to cover the vegetables (I did not have to). Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing. 

My old fashioned recipe is even simpler, for all you need to do is cut up and boil all the ingredients in a large stockpot for 3 hours.  As info, corned beef is made from a less-tender cut of beef, therefore, it requires long, moist cooking.  Place brisket fat side-up when cooking.  "Fork tender" is a good indication of doneness.  Note that corned beef may still be pink in color after cooking.  Allow the brisket to stand for about 5 minutes after removing from the heat to make it easier to slice.  It is best sliced diagonally across the grain of the meat.  Any corned beef left over from a meal should be refrigerated promptly and used within 3 to 4 days.

I cut 2 heads of cabbage into wedges, added bay leaves, peppercorns, one bag of carrots and one bag of red potatoes and the beef brisket, then simmered in enough water to cover everything for three hours, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  It is my preference to save the broth as cabbage soup is an excellent digestive cleanser. 
Instead of green beer, we'll have green river soda, a fond memory of days gone by.
Some of the kids in the neighborhood have been building this fort behind our house and it is so cute to watch them make their little nest.  It reminds me of our boys and how they spent many hours in the "echo." 

What is a blessing
but a rain of grace
falling generously
upon those who are in need;
And who among us is without need?
... May this day be a pathway strewn with blessings.
May your work this day be your love made visible.
May you breathe upon the wounds of those you live and work with.
May your breath be the breath of God.
May your own wounds feel the breath of God.
May you honor the flame of love that burns inside you.
May your voice this day be a voice of encouragement.
May your life be an answer to someone’s prayer.
May you own a grateful heart.
May you have enough joy to give you hope,
enough pain to make you wise.
May there be no room in your heart for hatred.
May you be free from violent thoughts.
When you look into the window of your soul
may you see the face of God.
May the lamp of your life shine kindly upon all who cross your path.
May you be a good memory in someone’s life today...xo

thanks to live, laugh, love and vienna beef recipes :)