Thursday, March 15, 2007

St Patrick's Day Plans

Thank you for all comments about my patio and water garden! My gardens have been a 5 year long project, and I'm finally at a point where I can add just a few new things each spring. Copper's wife asked how much time we spend out on the patio. Starting now, until June, it will be very nice, weather wise. It is too hot in July, August and September since there is not much air flow. But once Autumn arrives, we are back out there eating our meals and just relaxing.

St. Patrick's Day is coming up, so I got out Sarah Ban Breathnach's "Mrs. Sharp's Traditions" and read about the different ways to celebrate the holiday.

First of all, who was St. Patrick?

Saint Patrick was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.

Far from being a saint, until he was 16, he considered himself a pagan. At that age, he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village. During his captivity, he became closer to God.

He escaped from slavery after six years and went to Gaul where he studied in the monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre for a period of twelve years. During his training he became aware that his calling was to convert the pagans to Christianity.

Patrick was quite successful at winning converts. And this fact upset the Celtic Druids. Patrick was arrested several times, but escaped each time. He traveled throughout Ireland, establishing monasteries across the country. He also set up schools and churches which would aid him in his conversion of the Irish country to Christianity.

His mission in Ireland lasted for thirty years. After that time, Patrick retired to County Down. He died on March 17 in AD 461. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick's Day ever since.

On Saturday we will talk about St. Patrick's life, cook Corned Beef, Colcannon and Irish Soda Bread, and have a treasure hunt in the back yard.

First, I will share some recipes with you. I have been making this Irish Soda Bread for several years now.

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups sour milk

Preheat oven to 400F. Sift dry ingredients together. Make a well in the center. Add sour milk and stir together with a wooden spoon. The dough should be thick but not too wet. Turn dough onto a floured surface and form with hands into a round loaf. Place the loaf into a cast iron frying pan or heavy round casserole dish that has been greased with butter,. Score the top in the form of a cross with a wet knife. Bake for 40 minutes. Bread should cool for an hour before serving.

*Note: Soda bread is daily fare in Ireland, made fresh for breakfast and tea. If the loaf is made with whole-meal wheat flour, it is known as brown bread; if made with unbleached white flour, it's Irish soda bread. Authentic Irish soda bread is made with sour milk, not buttermilk, or milk soured by adding vinegar or lemon juice. To sour milk, simple leave it out overnight.

Next up is, Colcannon. It is the Ireland's National dish. It is *very* good and the cabbage makes it sweet.

1 pound new potatoes, peeled
4 leeks (or one bunch scallions), chopped
1 small cabbage, chopped
Milk (just enought to moisten potatoes)
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground thyme
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook potatoes until tender. Slowly saute the chopped leeks and chopped cabbage separately until soft and limp (but not brown).
Mash the potatoes with a hand masher, then add the leeks and milk and mash together until smooth. Next mash in the cabbage, adding the heavy cream, butter, and thyme; blend well until smooth and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper. Put this mixture into an ovenproof dish and place under broiler to brown.
If the colcannon is prepared up to the point of browning ahead of time, reheat covered with foil in a 350 oven for a half hour. Uncover and brown under broiler.

Finally, I will share with you a fun St. Patrick's Day activity. We have a treasure hunt in the backyard and look for an Irish leprechaun and his pot of gold. Although not one leprechaun is spotted, small mesh bags of gold foil chocolate coins are found!

I would love to hear about your plans for Saturday! Oh, and don't forget to wear one likes to be pinched!


Jodi said...

It sounds like you have a very fun day planned. Have a terrific week-end! :o)

Amy O'Quinn said...

Yum...I've always wanted to try Irish Soda bread, but never have. Now, you have me motivated to give it a try!
My twins wrote and created all the props and backgrounds for a St. Patrick's day marionette show called the 'The King's Clover'. They performed it for friends on Wednesday, and they had a blast doing it. I included a photo on my blog in Thurday's post.
Tomorrow, we will be visiting with my sister and nephew...but I WILL wear green! LOL
Have a blessed weekend.

dot said...

Kelli, it will be just another day for us but I enjoyed hearing all your plans. I'm glad you didn't forget the taters. I'd sure like to find a sack of those gold coins!

Julieann said...

Kelli, it sounds like you are going to have a wonderful St. Patricks Day:)

We will be having having Corned Beef too--and wearing green:)

Have a nice day.


Anita said...

First of all, happy St Patrick's Day to all of you!

Kelli, I really missed my regular visits to your blog over the past two weeks. I missed quite a lot: your garden & patio, springtime in Texas and your Easter decoration! Pretty photos!

I very much like the new fresh "look" of your blog as well.

Enjoy your week-end!


Amber said...

Everything sounds so yummy and fun! I think we are going to make cupcakes with green frosting and drink green kool-aid. The treasure hunt sounds so fun!

CONNIE W said...

Enjoyed reading your post for St. Patrick's Day. You have lots of special plans! Enjoy! :D

JacquiG said...

I was looking through the very same book night before last, reading about St Patrick's Day!!

We don't do anything at home to celebrate the day except phone home ... it's my parents anniversary! A lephrechaun hunt ... you always do such fun things with your kids!

Susie said...

We always have corned beef and cabbage. I've never tried the Colcannon. Sounds good, so I may try it this year. I usually boil the potatoes and carrots with the corned beef...
Have a fun celebration!

Heather @ Marine Corps Nomads said...

It sounds like you're going to have lots of fun on St Patrick's Day.

Honestly, this year we'll just be enjoying Daddy being home for a long weekend. Munchkin will be doing some fun activities in the car as we travel to the new house, so Daddy can see all of the work we've done while he's away.

But, we will all be wearing our green. I did splurge and pick up some Krispy Kreme donuts that are shaped like four leaf clovers and sprinkled with green and white jimmies. Not healthy, but yummy ;)

theups said...

Hi Kelli!!
We have no plans for St. Patrick's Day. Since we just got back in the country last Saturday, we are all DYING to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant!! I NEED SALSA!!!! :) So that's what we are doing tomorrow. :)

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these recipes you posted!! I am definitely trying them!! Probably this week!!!

Mrs. U

Open Roads Mama said...

I don't really celebrate st patrick's day, but it was fun to read about it!

homespun living said...

Thank you for the recipes ~ I have never had Colcannon, but will have to give it a try. We are having corned beef & cabbage, potatoes, and Irish soda bread. Have a great weekend. Debbie

Portrait of Peter said...

A wonderful blog site - to always enjoy.

Your ideas - are a delight.

Happy St Patrick's Day to you all.


as my older version is playing up hence this new blogpage.

Have a lovely weekend and blessings from Scotland.

Susan P. said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Kelli! What a wonderful and fun day you have in store for you! Wish I could go on the hunt for the gold with y'all! It is a cold and cloudy day here in Virginia so Mr. P and I are going to Richmond to see a movie and go out to eat:)

Anonymous said...

Not an Irish hair between us, but the Butler and I will feast on corned beef, cabbage, and new potatoes. It is green enough outside for all of us to enjoy the day. Rain, rain and more rain (yesterday) has allowed our dusty earth to freshen up nicely. I do love the way things are popping out. Even though it causes us to sneeze. Have fun!

Candy said...

Happy St Pattys day Kelli! A (Easter)card will be coming to you soon!!! :)

Lena said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day Kelli! What a lovely day you've planned. I really like the idea of a treasure hunt.

Candy said...

HI Kelli, I just emailed you at your gmail email address...
Had a question for ya,

Candy :)