St. Patrick’s Day is this Wednesday, March 17th. In keeping with At Home’s principles of one full weekend before your party to plan ahead and spread out your tasks, I am getting this post in just under the planning wire. (My Frog Commissary day job has been pretty consuming lately. We are planning lots of great things at The Franklin Institute.) Having said that, I don’t think you would get in trouble with St. Patrick if you planned your St. Patrick’s Day celebration for next weekend when you and your guests are likely to be more relaxed. In fact, I am sure St. Patrick would prefer his day be celebrated at home a few days late than not celebrated at all.
St. Patrick’s Day At Home
At Home’s entire St. Patrick’s Day menu is a do-days-ahead paradise for home entertainers — with the exception of the Horseradish Roast Potatoes which can be roast a few hours in advance and re-heated. In fact, this food is best made several days ahead and sitting happily for the flavors to mellow. The cornerstones of a St. Patrick’s Day Meal are corned beef, cabbage and potatoes – traditional Irish foods.
The cured salmon is a part of At Home’s Mastering Cured Salmon recipe. If you have never cured your own salmon, it’s easy and once you’ve done it and gotten great guest comments, I promise it will become a part of your entertaining hors d’oeuvres repertoire. If you decide to add the suggested salad as a first course, it needs to be tossed just before serving. Remember that book owners can go to At Home Online and print out recipes for easy planning and cooking.
Make sure to shop for some genuine Irish beer like Harp and include a few bottles of Guinness Stout. Stout’s are very strong and bitter compared to lagers and are not to everyone’s tastes. But they do belong on your St. Patrick’s Day bar.
St. Patrick’s Day Menu from At Home
Traditional dill-cured salmon with dill honey mustard P.153
Beer-braised corned beef with mustard and brown sugar glaze P. 278
Melted Cabbage & Leeks with Mint P.321
Horseradish Roast Potatoes P.345
Shortbread Cookies P.466
Irish Whiskey Cake (Recipe follows) The recipe will also be added to At Home Online in the next few days.
Think about adding a Shaved Fennel & Asparagus Salad P.132. The Irish Whiskey Cake recipe follows.
What’s a Corned Beef?
A corned beef is a beef brisket that has been brined in a mixture or salt, brown sugar and spices. Brining typically takes about a week. The rule of thumb is five days for each inch thickness. It’s a very simple process, but, of course, we typically buy pre-brined or corned briskets. You might think about brining your own next year so you can decide on your aromatic spice accents. Typical aromatics include black peppercorns, cloves, allspice, coriander seed, mustard seed and bay leaf. I bought my corned beef from Whole Foods “uncured” without nitrates. If I were you, I would not worry about a little nitrates in a “cured” corned beef. Note: Pastrami is corned beef that has been smoked.
Irish Whiskey Cake with Walnuts and Raisins
We used to sell this hearty cake chock full of raisins and nuts at the Commissary restaurant. It will cut better if you make it a day or two before you plan to serve it. Since it’s glazed instead of frosted, a whole cake wrapped in plastic wrap and tied with a ribbon makes a grand present. You will need an Angel Food tube pan.
make ahead Cake can be made up to three days ahead and stored, well-wrapped, at room temperature. It can also be frozen for up to a month.
1 pound walnuts, coarsely broken
1 pound golden raisins
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
6 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup Irish whiskey
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 cup Irish whiskey, divided
1 Grease and flour a 10-inch angel food tube pan. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 275°.
2 In a large bowl, combine walnuts, raisins and flour and toss them together. Using a mixer, cream butter, sugar, egg yolks, salt, baking soda and whiskey until fluffy. Pour this mixture into the nut mixture and mix to combine. Wash the mixer and the beaters in hot soapy water before the next step because the egg whites won’t expand well if there is grease on the bowl or beaters.
3 Put egg whites into the clean bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Add a third of the egg whites into the cake batter and stir to lighten. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour and then cover the top with foil so it won’t brown too much while it continues baking for another hour or so. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, but it shouldn’t be wet. This time may vary some, depending on your oven. Let the cake cool completely before glazing and unmolding it.
4 To make the glaze, combine sugar, water and ½ cup whiskey in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Cool to the temperature of bath water and add the remaining whiskey.
5 Leaving the cake in its pan, use a pastry brush to brush the top of the cake with the glaze. Let it soak in for a few minutes and brush on another layer.
6 Loosen the sides of the cake by running a long spatula or knife around the edges, including the center hole. Invert cake onto a serving dish and apply the remaining glaze to the top and sides of the cake. This may take 10 minutes or so because the cake won’t absorb the glaze all at once. Wrap the cake securely in plastic and let it stand in the refrigerator or at room temperature for a day or two before serving.
Variations For a chocolate variation, substitute ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa for ¾ cup flour. You can also make a rum cake with pecans and apricots, for example, by substituting pecans for walnuts, dried apricots for all or part of the raisins, and dark rum for the whiskey.
I will be speaking and selling and signing books At Design Within Reach on Thursday, March 25 at 5:30. My theme will be Entertaining Within Reach: Planning for Passover & Easter. Design Within Reach is a wonderful home furnishing store that offers designer furniture to the public typically only available to the interior design trade. I hope to see you there.
Design Within Reach is located at 1710 Walnut Street in Philadelphia.
At Home in THE PENNSYLVANIA GAZETTE
The PENNSYLVANIA GAZETTE is the University of Pennsylvania’s alumni magazine. As you may know, I am a University of Pennsylvania alumni. (I consider myself Class of ’68 but Penn officially considers me Class of ’69. More about that at another time.) The current issue is The Food Issue. In an article called Quakers in the Kitchen by Samuel Hughes, At Home and I are featured. Thank you Sam. Here’s the link to the article. Once at the site, use the navigation to advance pages.
Own Your Own At Home or Buy a Gift for the Upcoming Holidays
Reminder that if you do not yet own At Home with At Home Online, ordering is easy. At Home is also the perfect house gift for the upcoming Passover or Easter Holidays. So plan ahead and order your gifts now. Click here to order.
Passover and Easter Planners Coming Soon
I am working on planners for Passover and Easter. Look for news about the free planner very soon.
Thank You for Visiting,
Your Home Entertaining Coach