A Feast Fit for an Irishman

St. Patrick’s Day is one of the easiest and least expensive holidays to entertain for.  You could pull a Martha and brine your own corned beef, or you can take advantage of the grocery store sales and make your life a lot easier, but equally delicious! Here is a past menu we’ve served for our guests:

corned beef with cabbage, potatoes and carrots

st. patrick's day menu entertaining ideas

  • package of corned beef from you local grocer
  • 1.5 heads of cabbage, each head cut into 6 wedges
  • large package of baby carrots (for ease!)
  • 1 lb red potatoes, scrubbed and halved

Cook corned beef according to package instructions, adding vegetables toward the end of braising, cooking until tender.

homemade irish soda bread

st. patrick's day menu entertaining ideas irish soda bread

A bit of effort, but this bread really makes the meal! (for a detailed tutorial, please click here):

  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup apple-cider vinegar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and dusting
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup caraway seeds
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) raisins
  • Salted butter, preferably Irish, for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Mix milk and vinegar in a small bowl, and let stand until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in unsalted butter with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add bran, caraway seeds, and raisins; stir to distribute.
  3. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture; stir until dough just holds together but is still sticky. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat and press the dough gently into a round, dome-shaped loaf, about 7 inches in diameter. Transfer to prepared sheet.
  4. Lightly dust top of loaf with flour. With a sharp knife, cut an X into the top, 3/4 inch deep. Bake, rotating halfway through, until loaf is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour, 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Soda bread is best eaten the day it is made; serve with salted butter.

tossed butter lettuce and watercress salad with mustard viniagrette

st. patrick's day menu entertaining ideas salad

(adapted from Martha Stewart):

  • 8 oz fresh green beans, trimmed and blanched
  • pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 bunch (6 ounces) watercress
  • 2 packages of butter lettuce
  • 3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper

Whisk together vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Add oil, whisking until emulsified. Season with pepper.  Toss with salad and serve.

green beer and black and tans

st. patrick's day party menu entertaining ideas green beerst. patrick's day menu entertaining ideas

Easiest party drinks ever!  Use your favorite American brew (I think we used Bud Light) and add food coloring for the green beer.  For the Black and Tans,  fill a glass halfway with Bass Ale, then add Guinness by pouring it slowly over an upside-down tablespoon placed over the glass, being careful not to mix the layers.

Lime-Pistachio Tart

st. patrick's day menu entertaining ideas lime cheesecake dessert

While this is a gorgeous dessert, I am not posting the recipe because it was a true pain in the arse to make.  For starters, you have to start making the components 2-3 days prior to serving it and heaven help you if you’ve never made homemade lime curd!  Do yourself a favor, if you want to try this recipe, don’t make the curd yourself.  Stop by your nearest Harry and David store and purchase a couple of their premade jars.  You a.) won’t smell like egg yolk after 3 days in the kitchen and b.) will feel a lot better about eating your creation not knowing what goes into making curd!  That said, this is a quite delicious and decadent dessert and a fabulous ending to a simple meal.

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More Summer Salads

Bulgur Salad with Edamame and Cherry Tomatoes

The latest edition of Cooking Light Magazine has a beautiful Bulgur Salad with Edamame and Cherry Tomatoes recipe that I just had to try.  This is an herby, fresh-tasting recipe, that is best after letting it rest for at least an hour to let the flavors combine.  A great salad to keep in your summer salad armamentarium! Delicious!


  • 1  cup  uncooked bulgur
  • 1  cup  boiling water
  • 1  cup  frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
  • 1  pound  yellow and red cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1  cup  finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3  cup  finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh dill
  • 1  cup  chopped green onions
  • 1/4  cup  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4  cup  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper


1. Combine bulgur and 1 cup boiling water in a large bowl. Cover and let stand 1 hour or until bulgur is tender.

2. Cook edamame in boiling water 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain. Add edamame, tomatoes, and remaining ingredients to bulgur; toss well. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Time-Saving Tip: Instead of covering the bulgur for an hour (who really has an hour to wait?), I prepared it according to the Bob’s Red Mill package instructions, which is simply to bring the water and bulgur mixture to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

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Summer Salads

With the fast approaching summer season, the home cook should have a nice selection of refreshing salad recipes at his or her disposal  for last minute get-togethers.  I found this one about a year ago while perusing magazines at a doctor’s office.  It is a fabulous blend of flavors and is very refreshing and light, perfect for those warm summer evenings.

Curried Rice Salad

Curried Rice Summer Salad recipe



  • 1/2 c sliced almonds
  • 16 oz cooked brown rice
  • 1 c chopped celery
  • 1/2 c dried currants
  • 2 c seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1/2 c scallions, thinly sliced


  • 2 TB e.v.oo
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


Here’s the best part – Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, dress and serve! How easy is that?

Tip: This flavor combination is also wonderful as a chicken salad for sandwiches, stuffed pitas or  served on crackers.  Simply use cut or shredded rotisserie chicken or canned chicken to replace the rice, and reduced fat mayo (or plain yogurt, if you prefer) instead of the olive oil.  So simple and delicious!

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Halibut with Chickpea Salad

Giada De Laurentiis is one of my favorite Food Network chefs. She makes a fabulously light and fresh tasting halibut dish that my husband and I enjoy frequently. It is so simple to prepare and the cumin-lemon-honey vinagrette for the salad is out-of-this-world yummy. Try it tonight for a quick and delicious dinner.

halibut and chickpea salad



  • 1 (6-ounce) halibut steak
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 head frisee, chopped
  • 1 cup arugula, chopped
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 fennel bulb, stalk removed, halved, and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the halibut: Place a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the halibut with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.

For the salad: In a large bowl, combine the frisee, arugula, tomatoes, chickpeas, and fennel. In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, cumin, salt, and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the salad and toss to combine. Serve with fish.

Cooking Tip: Again, feel free to modify the recipe as needed for your household. I am not strict about amounts of veggies in the salad – I usually throw in a couple handfuls of arugula, chop up some frisee, throw in some tomatoes, add sugar snap peas for crunch, use only about 1/4 of a fennel bulb (the flavor is great but can be overpowering), and use only half a can of chickpeas. So, so good.

Shopping Tip: Veggies are cheapest and most fresh at local farmers markets. Halibut tends to be a quite-expensive-when-fresh fish, so I either buy it when on sale or purchase it frozen from Trader Joes.

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