By Maria Terry
I love St. Patrick’s Day because it is a holiday that celebrates fun. Usually, there isn’t an extensive family commitment. There aren’t any presents to buy, costumes to make or eggs to hide. All there is to do is have a good time. For me, this means making a St. Patrick’s meal that offers flavors from around the world.
My favorite cocktail is a Cuban Mojito: a cool, green concoction made from tangy limes and pungent mint balanced with the sweetness of sugar. With or without the rum, it goes well with just about every appetizer. A heaping plate of Mexican nachos would be a bonny way to start off the evening with your Mojito.
As for the main meal, corned beef and cabbage is a classic Irish dish. You can buy great pre-seasoned corned beef at most supermarkets. It is tasty and easy to cook.
But, instead of the expected green cabbage, try my mom’s recipe for Hungarian red cabbage. Its sweet and sour flavors work nicely with the piquant spices in the meat.
Since we are now in Eastern Europe, how about some German spaetzle as a fun alternative to the ubiquitous potatoes?
As for the wine, there is no question that the crazy flavors on this plate would play havoc with most of the usual suspects. Hunt down a sparkling, red wine like shiraz from Australia. Shiraz is the Aussie’s name for what we call syrah. The fresh berry flavors and a festive fizz will complement the food’s bold flavors and cleanse the palate. If you cannot find a sparkling Shiraz, look for an Italian Lambrusco or a fruity California Pinot Noir.
But wait, here we are at the end of the meal and there has been no mention of beer. Why not drink it for dessert? Many people like red wine and dark chocolate, I like a creamy Scottish ale and Swiss milk chocolate. Give it a try and tell me what you think
So, go on. Pair Up!
HUNGARIAN SWEET RED CABBAGE
½ small head red cabbage
1 tablespoon combination of butter and oil
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt & pepper
Slice cabbage into thin shreds. Sauté in butter/oil until beginning to soften. Add water and vinegar and cook about 15 minutes.
Mix in sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: (6) ½ cup servings
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
½ – ¾ cup water
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs and water. Starting from the center, mix until it becomes a stiff dough. If dough is too sticky, add a little flour.
You can knead the dough, roll it out and cut it into your desired size and shape or just drop small blobs directly into boiling salted water (usually the smaller the better). When they are done, they will rise to the surface. Serve with melted butter. Sprinkle with parsley flakes and a dash of paprika.
Yield: (6) ½ cup servings
Maria Terry is a Certified Sommelier and Wine Educator in Northern California. www.LaSommelierre.com