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?  

16 comments:

Aurian said...

I really don't like corned beef at all, so no, I have never made it. Are there no organic butchers where you live? I would think that meat would be "pure".
I hope you have a nice day!

Kim Daley said...

My husband and I both love it! We had it last night, so he could have corned beef hash for breakfast today and take any leftovers on Monday. Never have tried curing one though.

mary kennedy said...

Hi Leann, it sounds like you will have a great celebration! I've never tried making corned beef, it sounds a bit daunting. Enjoy the day (from one Irish girl to another!).

Leann Sweeney said...

The only organic meat I can get is over an hour's drive away. :-(

Leann Sweeney said...

I love everything about corned beef--sandwiches, hash, the dinner. So this is a bummer for me! Enjoy some for me, Kim!! :-)

Leann Sweeney said...

We will enjoy it. Marinating meat for several days is no big deal. The German part of me often makes sauerbraten for Christmas dinner and that's a pot roast that is marinated for three days. But the cooking and the gravy for that one IS a lot of work-but so worth it.

Dru said...

Never liked corn beef and cabbage.

Gram said...

We had boiled dinner at home too. It was made with a ham ?butt, not corned beef. I like corned beef, but like the hash better. We have found a near-by restaurant that serves a full Irish breakfast...Yummy - leftovers. They make their own brown bread, too.

Leann Sweeney said...

Hey, I get it! It is surely NOT for everyone!! LOL.

Leann Sweeney said...

Ah, another one who knows "boiled dinner!" But we always had it with corned beef, never ham. And I love corned beef hash. And brown bread. And soda bread. I cannot WAIT to have a real kitchen again!! I want to cook!!

Diane LaBrie Leverson said...

I'm French all the way but my parents loved a boiled dinner. That's what they called it too. I don't care for corned beef but love corned beef hash.. Mom cooked a boiled dinner every St Patrick's day I just ate something else. My Father cooked it for Irish Night at the Elk's club. He was not a cook but did all the cooking at the Elk's for their Nationality Night's.

Leann Sweeney said...

It is one of my favorite meals but without Whole Foods nearby, I am going to have to pass. But Mr. Sweeney will be thrilled because boiled dinner is his ABSOLUTE favorite. I'm glad others remember the "boiled dinner." It was one of those easy one pot meals back then!

Mary Jane Maffini said...

The Italians have a boiled dinner too, Leann! I'm with you about nitrates. We have enough environmental perils without volunteering to ingest them.

Happy St Pat's!

XO

MJ

Leann Sweeney said...

Cool, MJ! Is it the same boiled dinner? Corned beed, cabbage, potatoes and carrots?

Lover of Books said...

I don't like corned beef so I make shepherd's pie and Irish Soda Bread. I am thinking of making one with raisins and one without. plus will make green shamrock sugar cookies and marbled mint brownies.
Krista

Leann Sweeney said...

Sounds good to me! Of course any home cooked meal sounds good after a year and a half in a house with a barely functioning kitchen. (And they don't eat corned beef in Ireland, so you are staying true to tradition!)