Corned beef and cabbage is a classic dish that is traditionally served for St. Patrick's Day.

Corned beef and cabbage is a classic dish that is traditionally served for St. Patrick's Day.

Served up with a little Irish luck

Cathi Litzenberger remembers childhood celebrations of St. Patrick's Day and offers some traditional recipes for the big day March 17

An Old Irish Blessing

May love and laughter light your days,

and warm your heart and home.

May good and faithful friends be yours,

wherever you may roam.

May peace and plenty bless your world

with joy that long endures.

May all life’s passing seasons

bring the best to you and yours!

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, which commemorates the life of St Patrick, who played an important role in converting the inhabitants of Ireland to Christianity.

In Canada, St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador, but is celebrated across the country with parades, parties, shamrocks and the wearing of the green. It’s a time to celebrate Irish culture.

As a child I loved hearing all the Irish legends and superstitions. All that was Irish was enchanting to me, not necessarily true, but enchanting nonetheless.

This is the perfect time to enjoy some Irish foods and drink and what’s more Irish than a traditional recipe for corned beef and cabbage? The pistachio pie is a perfect dessert and so easy to make. Colcannon always seems to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day but this combination of potatoes, cabbage, onion and bacon is a wonderful dish to serve all through the late fall to early spring. Give it a try.

The last recipe for today is a rich shamrock sugar cookie which the kids will love.

Easy Triple-Layer Pistachio Pie

1-1/4 cups Oreo Baking Crumbs

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 oz. Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

1/4 cup canned sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup chopped pistachios, toasted, divided

2 pkg. (4-serving size each) Jell-O Pistachio Instant Pudding

1-3/4 cups cold 2% milk

2 cups thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping, divided

Combine baking crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and up the sides of a  9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate 30 min.

Mix chocolate and condensed milk until blended. Spread onto bottom of crust. Sprinkle with half the nuts. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Beat pudding mixes and 2% milk with whisk for 2 min. (Pudding will be thick.) Spread 1-1/2 cups over chocolate layer on crust. Stir half the Cool Whip into remaining pudding; spread over pudding layer on crust. Top with remaining Cool Whip and nuts. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm.

Irish Colcannon

2-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed

4 slices bacon

1/2 small head cabbage, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 cup milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup butter, melted

Place potatoes in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender.

Place bacon in large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Remove bacon to paper towels, crumble and set aside.

In reserved drippings, sauté the cabbage and onion until soft and translucent. Putting a lid on the pan helps vegetables cook faster.

Drain the cooked potatoes, mash with milk and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the bacon, cabbage, and onions, then transfer the mixture to a large serving bowl. Make a well in the centre, and pour in the melted butter. Serve immediately.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel

2 teaspoons yellow mustard

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 corned beef brisket with spice packet (2 to 3 pounds)

2 medium onions, sliced

2 quarts water

1 cup apple juice

8 carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces

1 small head cabbage

In a small bowl, combine first four ingredients; set aside.

In a Dutch oven, place corned beef and seasoning packet. Add onions, water and apple juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until meat is tender.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove brisket from cooking liquid and place in a greased roasting pan. Rub sugar mixture over warm meat. Bake 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add carrots to cooking liquid. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Cut cabbage into eight wedges, leaving a portion of the core on each wedge; add to carrots. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Thinly slice meat; serve with vegetables. Yield: 8 servings.

Shamrock Sugar Cookies

1- 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened to cool room temperature

1- 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup powdered sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 Tbsp. lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add vanilla extract, almond extract and lemon zest; mix. Add two cups flour, baking powder and salt. Mix.

Add remaining flour and mix just until flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and soft. The dough can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or it can be rolled out right away.

Dust a counter with powdered sugar or flour and roll the dough to desired thickness (I prefer my cookies on the thick side so I roll my dough out to about 1/4-inch, maybe even slightly thicker than that). Cut the dough into shapes.

Place the cookies on a lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes. The cookies won’t appear browned on top (or on bottom) when they are done baking so don’t let them overbake! I find 7 1/2 minutes is about perfect but if they are even lightly browned on bottom, I decrease the time by 30 seconds. I like them super soft with not even a hint of browned edges or bottom. This way they literally melt in my mouth.

Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every Wednesday and the third Sunday of every month.

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