Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spreading a little Luck!!!

GO GREEN!!! This month is all about St. Patty's Day. Even though I have not done a lot of celebrating over the past years, I do love the Holiday and its history. My husband is very Irish and I have some Irish, and so I thought this year we should start some new Irish Traditions for our family. We are going to get into the spirit of St. Patty's Day with good Irish food, Desserts, Drinks, Crafts, and of course stories and poems. To start everything off, I will post a little history about St. Patricks Day in case you do not know it. Then a recipe that I plan to cook.

Who was Saint Patrick?

Even though Saint Patrick the patron saint of Ireland and one of the most celebrated religious figures around the world, the factual information about his life and times is quite vague. Most information about St. Patrick has been twisted, embellished, or simply made up over centuries by storytellers, causing much ambiguity about the real life of St. Patrick. However, there are a some elements of his story about which most scholars accept to be true.

According to Coilin Owens, Irish literature expert and Professor Emeritus of English at George Mason University, Saint Patrick is traditionally thought to have lived "between 432-461 A.D., but more recent scholarship moves the dates up a bit." At the age of sixteen he was kidnapped from his native land of the Roman British Isles by a band pirates, and sold into slavery in Ireland. Saint Patrick worked as a shepherd and turned to religion for solace. After six years of slavery he escaped to the Irish coast and fled home to Britain.

While back in his homeland, Patrick decided to become a priest and then decided to return to Ireland after dreaming that the voices of the Irish people were calling him to convert them to Christianity.

After studying and preparing for several years, Patrick traveled back to Ireland as a Christian missionary. Although there were already some Christians living in Ireland, St. Patrick was able to bring upon a massive religious shift to Christianity by converting people of power. Says Prof. Owens, "[St. Patrick] is credited with converting the nobles; who set an example which the people followed."

But Patrick's desire to spread of Christianity was not met without mighty opposition. Prof. Owens explains, "Patrick ran into trouble with the local pagan priesthood, the druids: and there are many stories about his arguments with them as well as his survival of plots against them." He laid the groundwork for the establishment of hundreds of monasteries and churches that eventually popped up across the Irish country to promote Christianity.

Saint Patrick is also credited with bringing written word to Ireland through the promotion of the study of legal texts and the Bible, says Prof. Owens. Previous to Patrick, storytelling and history were reliant on memory and orally passing down stories.

Patrick's mission in Ireland is said to have lasted for thirty years. It is believe he died in the 5th century on March 17, which is the day St. Patrick's Day is commemorated each year.

The first year St. Patrick's Day was celebrated in America in 1737 in Boston, Massachusetts. The first official St. Patrick's Day parade was held in New York City in 1766. As the saying goes, on this day "everybody is Irish!" Over 100 U.S. cities now hold Saint Patrick's Day parades.





Corned Beef Brisket Recipe
Ingredients :
1 (8-10 lb) beef brisket
4 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in thirds
The Brine ... See More
1/2 cup white vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
2 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 pinch ground cloves
1 teaspoon peppercorns
The Simmering Liquid
water, to come up 3/4 to side of brisket
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 garlic cloves, sliced
Preparation :
Combine all of the brine ingredients and bring to a boil, then cool. Place the beef brisket, the cooled brine, and the 4 garlic cloves in a huge plastic roasting bag. Make sure that all of the meat is covered by the brine, tie off tightly, place in a pot large enough to hold it all, and refrigerate for 6 to 7 days, turning occasionally.
After the 6 to 7 days, discard the brine after removing the brisket from the brine. The meat should be thoroughly rinsed and then placed in a Dutch oven or other large pot. Add enough water to come up 2/3 to 3/4 of the way up the side of the meat.
Add the rest of the Simmering Liquid ingredients (peppercorns, mustard seeds, allspice, cloves and garlic), bring to a boil and skim off any foam. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook, covered, for at least 3 hours.
6-8 servings.

Come back for more St. Patty's Day Celebrating!!!

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