Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Irish Issues

by Leann

We have always celebrate St. Patrick's Day because both my husband and I have a generous dose of Irish in our genes. (Take a look at my
granddaughter. She comes by that red hair naturally.) When we were in college in Syracuse, the Irish as well as the not-so-Irish partied all day and all night. College town. Any excuse will do.

After we married, I made sure we had corned beef, cabbage and potatoes on the special day--or as we called it when I was a kid--"boiled dinner." During my childhood, we used to have it often throughout the year, not just on the holiday.

But as I grew older and developed one food issue after another--some cause hives, some cause simple rashes, some cause a runny nose, some cause an asthma attack and the worst of them trigger a migraine. What triggers more than one reaction? Nitrites in foods. You find it in lunch meats, bacon and of course, corned beef. Last year, when my husband begged for corned beef, I hunted up a recipe to "corn" or "cure" the beef myself. But it was too late! It takes days and days to "cure" and St. Patrick's day was already upon us.

This year, I planned  ahead. I would buy a brisket and do it myself. All it requires is a salt and herb marinade, after all. One problem. I could not
find a plain brisket in this town to save my life. In Texas, where beef brisket is used for barbecue year round, that cut of meat is EASY to find. At Whole Foods--or as many of us call that store WHOLE PAYCHECK--you can get naturally cured corned beef without nitrites. But man, is it expensive. And the nearest Whole Foods is an hour away. With my stupid back giving me trouble, I could not make that trip.

So, while my husband is enjoying regular old grocery store corned beef tomorrow, I will be eating leftovers from Sunday. No nitrites for me! (They are really bad for all of us, anyway.) What about you? Do you like corned beef? (I LOVE it!) Have you ever "cured" a brisket yourself?