24 March 2008

the great st. patrick's day extravaganza.

It has taken me a long time to get this whole St. Patrick's Day feast uploaded for you all, and I am sorry about that. It has been a crazy couple of weeks. But here it is, with lots of photos to boot.

St. Patrick's Day is a big to do in our little group of friends. There is always a gathering, usually there is basketball (although this year we were a week too early for that tradition), there is beer and there is food. The food is usually made by me. And this year I was ready for the challenge yet again. Especially after I saw the cover of Bon Appetite's March issue. The grilled corned beef and fontina sandwiches were it, but first came dessert. Okay, I made it first... intending for it to be eaten last... but it was not. It was eaten first too.

Dessert was my second attempt at ice cream: Guinness Ice Cream. When our friend Nate gave us an ice cream maker for our wedding, I promised him Guinness ice cream for St. Paddy's. And I make good on my promise. And damn is tasted good. However, I am saving it for the next post. So the partner dessert will have to tide you over until then. I needed something to go with the ice cream. Cookies seemed right and added something else to munch on for the day. I chose Meyer Lemon Sablés by Orangette because I still had a couple meyer lemons from our meyer lemon curd expedition. They tasted great, but...

Since I baked them at a friend's house, I had no parchment and no silpat to bake them on as instructed. Not good. Obviously. But at least the crumbs tasted good. And we got a couple full cookies out of the deal.

On to the savory... as for the corned beef, I did not brine it myself. The week of preparation was just to much for me to commit to this year. But the pre-brined that I bought at Lund's tasted mighty good. I braised it with beer and peppercorns and a couple bay leafs and it came out great.

I also made Braised Cabbage with Carrots and Onions, also by Orangette. You just gotta have cabbage with the corned beef, whether it is in sandwich form or not.

I also did some rosemary roasted potatoes. Red potatoes, olive oil, rosemary, S and P. Simple and perfect.

Last but not least, the sandwich. These were amazing. Melty with cheese, tangy with Guinness Dijon Mustard and sweet with caramelized onions. Just great. I wish I had eaten a whole one instead of just eating bites of my husbands. Oh well, I guess I will just have to make them again!

Guinness mustard
Bon Appétit - March 2008

1/2 cup coarse-grained Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons regular Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Guinness stout or other stout or porter
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon golden brown sugar

Whisk all ingredients in small bowl to blend. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Grilled Corned Beef and Fontina Sandwiches
adapted from Bon Appétit - March 2008

Good bread, I used a french style loaf, but you could use rye or whatever you wanted
Guinness Dijon mustard
1 pound thinly sliced corned beef
8 ounces thinly sliced Fontina cheese
2 sweet onion (such as Maui or Vidalia), thinly sliced and caramelized
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided

Place 4 bread slices on work surface. Spread mustard on 1 side of each. Divide corned beef among bread slices. Top with cheese and onion. Cover with remaining 4 bread slices, pressing slightly to adhere.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in each of 2 large nonstick skillets over medium heat. Place 2 sandwiches in each skillet and cook until golden brown on bottom, pressing occasionally with spatula, about 3 minutes. Turn sandwiches over and cook until golden on bottom and cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Transfer sandwiches to plates, cut in half, and serve.

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