Yay for March! This means spring and all that it promises is on its way! It’s also the month when we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and the Luck of the Irish. As you know, I love celebrating all things holiday, and St. Patty’s Day is no different.
While I grew up in a predominantly Italian-American family, I do have bit of Irish blood—evidenced in my two very red-headed children! And growing up in Cleveland, OH, the Irish spirit also runs very deep. They still have a very, shall I say, festive St. Patty’s Day parade (lots of beer and partying from morning until night). Cleveland is also home to some seriously amazing delis that serve real-deal corned beef (Slyman’s Deli—oh, how I miss you!).
Italian roots and all, every year we celebrated St. Patty’s Day—my grandmother made sure of it. She passed away this past fall at 90 years old. I will forever miss her, but am so grateful for the traditions she passed on to our family. So this year’s post is dedicated to her memory.
Every party starts with a good menu. Ours is pretty traditional—corned beef, cabbage and noodles, and quality horseradish and mustard are the centerpiece! For dessert, I kept it light and fun with cupcakes, festive marshmallows, and hot chocolate (or Irish Coffee for adults).
Here are a few of my favorite recipes:
- Cabbage and noodles (family recipe)
▪ Package of good quality egg noodles (I buy Amish noodles at our local Kroger)
▪ 1 large cooking onion (yellow), chopped, or a bag of frozen chopped onion (this is a great time saver)
▪ 1 head of green cabbage, chopped
▪ 1-2 apples (I prefer McIntosh, but honestly, you can use whatever you have on hand), peeled, cored, and chopped
▪ 1 stick of butter (can also use a mix of butter and olive oil)
▪ Kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste
Heat butter in sauté pan (I use a 12” cast iron skillet), add onions and sauté for a couple of minutes then add chopped apple and cabbage. Cook until light brown, add salt and pepper to taste. In the meantime, boil water for egg noodles and cook according to package. I prefer my noodles al dente (it’s the Italian in me), plus they will continue to cook once you toss with the cabbage and butter/oil. After cooking noodles, drain and toss with the cabbage mixture. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.
- A good corned beef
I buy the Sy Ginsberg’s brand from our local Kroger and Costco. I did a little reading about it, and it’s a Detroit-brand corned beef and supposedly the only corned beef that the famed Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan uses. I really do think they provide a better cut of beef than the basic store brand. This is the first year that I didn’t just boil the corned beef. Instead, I cooked it for an hour on the stove (submerged in water along with the spice packet. I brought it to a boil and then let it simmer for an hour). I baked it at 350 for 1.5 hours, and glazed it with a brown sugar and mustard glaze that I found online. I really like the glaze!
I like Ina’s recipe because not only is it a pretty quick bread to make, but it’s a bit sweeter than a traditional soda bread, and definitely not as dry. Delicious! Also great for toast the next day.
- Pumpernickel—I normally just buy at the local grocery store.
- Good horseradish and stone ground mustard
- Izze Clementine soda (for kids & kids at heart), sparkling water and your favorite Irish ale if you so desire.
Found this easy recipe for homemade hot chocolate mix (I use Dutch processed cocoa that I buy in bulk at Costco, but Hershey’s would work just as well). Also, you need to buy powdered milk for this recipe. I discovered this last month when I had a bunch of 10-year-old boys over and realized I didn’t have any hot cocoa mix. I pulled this together in under 10 minutes. Definitely better than the expensive, bland store variety.
Again, another Ina Garten recipe. This is the first time I’ve ever made homemade marshmallows. They are good and it was fun to dye them the perfect green for St. Patty’s day, but I’m not convinced it’s worth the effort. But that is simply a personal opinion! 🙂
- Vanilla cupcakes with green & white icing
I made a basic cream cheese frosting. I kept the half of it white and dyed the rest green, top with sprinkles of your choice.
St. Patrick’s Day tablescape
For decor, I always struggle a bit with St. Patty’s Day. I love classic, timeless decor, but St. Patrick’s Day decor tends toward more kitsch than class. That said, I think I’ve found a good happy medium. First, I found a couple pins that inspired me and after shopping my house a bit and adding a few floral pieces, I found the right mix. Plus, St. Patrick’s Day food seems decorative and festive all by itself!
My Christmas Bells pre-lit garland was a great starting point. I was able to tuck some of the more “Christmas-y” elements underneath and play up the festive cypress leaves and gold berries. I added a bit of baby’s breath for a touch of white, and to create the same look found in the House Beautiful pin. I pulled in gold chargers I got from Michael’s a couple of seasons ago, gold candlesticks with white candles, and green cabbage/leaf plates that I bought from HomeGoods in February. I love them and I plan to use them again for Easter. I used the oatmeal-colored linen napkins that I hand-fringed in the fall and tied it with a green shamrock ribbon that I also got from Michael’s. Both fun and pretty. I also hand-stamped paper coasters and paper coffee cups with a gold shamrock stamp.
So that’s it—set a menu, pick a few ideas that you love for décor, and invite those you love over to celebrate. I promise, if you feed them, they will come! 🙂 Happy St. Patrick’s Day!