Tuesday, March 6, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Enjoyment Guide

As much as St. Patrick’s Day is a day to enjoy inebriation and parades, it’s also a great food holiday – for everything from sweets to meats. Start preparing for your St. Paddy’s day celebration now and shop ChefTools.com for everything you need for eating, drinking … and, yes, dying things green … .

24 cupcake cases, 24 cupcake toppers

All the tools you need to bake sweet and beautifully decorated cupcakes. A set of cupcakes wrapped in shamrock-clad wrappers, topped with dancing leprechauns is pure fun, especially for young lads and lasses. And, you can bake more than just cupcakes with this kit – line up early along the parade route to get a good seat and chow down on a batch of warm breakfast muffins!

And what would your cupcakes and muffins be if they aren’t dyed green? Forest green is my favorite, but we carry every shade of green from teal to leaf to mint. The beauty of Ateco Gel Paste is that it works with any food. Pour it in your cake batter, buttercream frosting, and whipped cream – whatever. It will maintain its luster and rich coloring across all your recipes. Will this color beer? We don’t know – but you could always try!

8 quart Fennel Green stockpot - from soup to nuts, your corned beef!

My grandmother’s Irish soda bread method: mix up a couple of pounds of lumpy, wet dough, plop it on an ancient sheet pan in a big ugly pile, and just bake until hard – not gold brown, not cooked all the way through, just rock hard. And, actually, it usually comes out OK. But the key to dense, moist bread is a Pullman pan. The lid seals in moisture and does not allow the dough to expand and take on air while it’s baking. This is the perfect tool for perfect Irish soda bread … just don’t tell my grandmother.

Corned beef: Le Creuset Fennel Green Stock Pot (on sale!)
You’ll need this stockpot for every step of the long, but rewarding, corned beef process. First, you boil the beef brisket in the pot alongside lovely spices like juniper berries, mustard seeds, sugar, pepper, etc. After that, cool it with ice in the fridge for a couple of hours. Then brine for 10 days (not in the stockpot; use a large bag or plastic container). Then, on the morning of March 17, put that hunk of beef back in the stockpot and simmer it until the meat falls off the bone.

Irish whiskey tastes wonderfully different than any Scottish, American, or Canadian type. You have to try it to know the difference. Enjoy with a side of water to cleanse the palate. It’s the perfect cap to a long day of parades, cupcakes, and corned beef.
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