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Food Friday: Lá Fhéile Pádraig 
16th-Mar-2007 08:26 pm
yes, I chose Munster

When my siblings and I went off to boarding school together, we decided to start a holiday tradition of our own.
Christmas belonged to the immediate family and Thanksgiving belonged to the grandparents...Easter was never particularly celebrated.

So, we decided on St. Patrick's Day.

The first year, it just meant that we made a point of wearing green shirts (and orange underwear, we just can't pick sides) and I baked scones for the three of us and select friends.
It got bigger each year until 2003 when I had 65 people packed into my apartment for a feast of scones, cabbage, boiled potatoes, crudités, shortbread, biscuits, and tea (sweet, iced and hot). The pièce de résistance was one of my mad culinary experiments: Guinness Mac and Cheese.

Guinness Macaroni and Cheese
1 pound of pasta, elbows by preference, but almost any pasta will do
10 oz cheese, 5 oz of farmer's cheese and 5 oz of strong/sharp Irish cheddar
3 shallots
6 oz Guinness
1 oz butter

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.

Cook pasta. DO NOT put pasta in water until water has boiled. If you normally cook pasta this way, on you go, but for this recipe doing that will make the pasta too soft.
Whatever consistency you like your pasta to be in final form, remove it when it's about 1 minute away from that. (In other words, leave it just the smallest bit crunchy.)

Shred the cheese.

Finely dice the shallots. Sauté the dice in the butter.

In a large bowl, mix the shallots, Guinness, pasta, and most of the cheese.

Pour into a baking dish(es). Bake for 40 minutes, stirring the mixture every 10 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, spread the remaining cheese over the top to make a cheesy crust.

If the Guinness isn't all soaked in, drain off or continue baking until it does. (How much soaks in depends on how much you cooked the pasta.)

If you like a creamier Mac and Cheese, add 6 oz of cream and 1/2 cup of flour to the ingredients and make a sauce from the cream, flour, and cheese before mixing the ingredients

My family is Scots-Irish. There's no doubt about this. I'm not claiming ancestry that's dubious or tenuous. However, we never celebrated this holiday as anything other than an American interpretation thereof. It's a bit of a laugh.

So, sláinte! Enjoy it in the spirit.

Anyone got anything planned for St. Patrick's Day?
16th-Mar-2007 08:37 pm (UTC)
Wow. I'll have to try that recipe. Thanks!
16th-Mar-2007 08:47 pm (UTC)
Nae bother. :)
16th-Mar-2007 08:45 pm (UTC)
I'm having a St. Patrick's Day dinner party.
My menu thus far:
Irish Cheddar and Stout Fondue (I managed to find real irish cheddar in oklahoma!)
Brown Bread and Smoked Salmon
Shepard's Pie
Cheese-crusted Haddock
Irish Cream Rice Pudding (not made with Bailey's but an imported cream and whiskey)

16th-Mar-2007 08:47 pm (UTC)
Mmm...that's a lovely idea for fondue.

I'm not keen on rice pudding, but I'd still try it. :)
16th-Mar-2007 09:04 pm (UTC)
3 shallots

Which make me think of The Lady of Shalott.

What an interesting recipe! I'm throwing a St. Patty's get-together at a local Irish pub but am thinking of having a few friends over beforehand and was pondering what to cook that I, as a vegetarian, could also enjoy. :D This is a good option.

I have a whole bunch of green alcoholic beverages for people to enjoy before we stumble walk to the pub.

Of course, this is assuming that my sinuses have stopped their Irish pride by then...
16th-Mar-2007 09:04 pm (UTC)
Oh! And watching Boondock Saints, of course! :D
16th-Mar-2007 09:17 pm (UTC)
It works well also doing the mixing bit the day before and letting the Guinness soak into everything overnight.
Then you can just bake it before everyone arrives. :)
16th-Mar-2007 09:21 pm (UTC)
Another good thing to note. :D I might, if I feel like the sick has left my hands by this evening.
16th-Mar-2007 09:18 pm (UTC)
We're having friends over for the standard soda bread (with raisins and caraway) and corned beef & cabbage

That recipe sounds like something that would make my boo boo happy, I'll have to try it sometime.
16th-Mar-2007 09:41 pm (UTC)
We're both mudblood Irish, so we typically celebrate in fine form at an Irish bar in New Haven, CT. However, this year we will be at a Polish Freaking Wedding. Neither of us are exactly thrilled by this.

I look forward to trying this recipe!
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