Shamrock Shenaigans

Shenanigans were abound this St.Patrick’s Day beginning with the fact we celebrated on March 18th.  I had registered for the New Jersey State School Nurse Associations Spring Conference and guess what day it was on?  How did you know?? March 17th.  The conference was well worth waiting the extra day.  In a way, St. Patrick himself was sending his blessing, as St. Patrick’s Day fell on Saturday.  If I wanted to have any of my chromosomal offsprings to enjoy  the classic Irish-American corned beef and cabbage (yes it is Irish-American. The early Irish immigrants “borrowed” using an inexpensive cut of meat -brisket from the Jewish immigrants and made it their own. The things I know) dinner with me, it was not going to be on Saturday.  So in the end, it worked out for all of us.

My Irish Grandmother left me her famous Corned Beef and Cabbage recipe.  Well, she really didn’t technically “leave” it to me – she showed me how to make it. Every year I make this and every year I ask myself the same question, “Why do I only make this on March 17th?  I should make this more often. It is so easy”.  The answer is, I don’t know. It’s delicious and I hope you enjoy it too.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

You will need:
1 -4-5 lb corned beef
2-3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 palmful whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 onion-peeled and cut in half
1 palmful whole cloves

This is want you need to do:

To a large stock pot add: garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf, onion, and whole cloves. Place meat on top and cover sufficiently with cold water.  Bring to a boil and lower to simmer. Simmer for 2 hours.


Remove the meat from the pot and place in shallow pan. Set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Add to the water, carrots, cut into chunks, and small new potatoes and boil for about 20 minutes.  Add quartered cabbage and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender.


Wow! That’s a lot of carrots! There were a lot of us for dinner. Did you notice the green pistachio muffins in the background? When I quartered the cabbage, I kept the core intact.  I find this prevents the cabbage from falling apart while cooking.   I cut it off before I platter the cabbage.



While the vegetables are cooking, make a paste  from dark brown sugar, spicy brown mustard, and ground cloves.  Smear the paste on the fatty side of the meat and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until the sugar melts.  Remove the meat from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes or it will be stringy when you cut it.  Cut it against the grain.

This meal goes really well with a cold Guinness.





Farm Fresh

There is a reason New Jersey is called the Garden State. It is prime season for veggies at the farm stands and in the local grocery stores. A friend of mine and I “shared a share” in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) at the Mendies Farm – Every week the farmers offer a variety of fresh vegetables to load into our bags. Some they pick, some we pick. Vegetables range from kale and lettuces to peas and radishes and of course, the famous Jersey tomatoes. This is my first year of participating in a CSA and am throughly enjoying it.

I have been cooking zucchinis and making and freezing tomato sauce like crazy. I’ve shared my grandmother’s zucchini recipe below. She had a name for it – in Italian. I’m not sure it’s a real recipe name or a name she just called it. I’m not even going to try to spell it. All I know is it’s delicious. I hope you enjoy it.


3-4 Medium Zucchini’s, cubed into mouth size pieces
1 large sweet onion – chopped
2 cloves garlic-chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 bell pepper-chopped
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
1-2 Tbsp tomato paste
pinch of red pepper flakes -optional
1-2 tsp dried Italian Herbs

In a large pot, over medium heat, saute the onions and pepper in the olive oil. When the onions are translucent, add the garlic. Saute for another minute or two. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, stir, and bring to simmer. Add the salt /pepper, Italian herbs, and red pepper flakes ( to your taste). Lower the flame and add zucchini (you may have to add and stir in several batches). Cover and simmer until the zucchini are just about done. Stir frequently otherwise the vegetables will cook at different rates depending where in the pot they are. Do not overcook. Remove from the heat, uncover, and let cool in the pot – the zucchini will keep cooking. Stir frequently. Add more salt/pepper is desired. Serve over noodles, rice, or just as a side. Enjoy!