*Guest post by chicago foodie girl contributor, Diana
Yeah, you read that right, this Mexi-Rican went Irish this year. What? I think Diana O'Hernandez has a nice ring to it, no? :)
Anyway, just for fun, Tom and I decided to prepare a lavish-ish Irish feast this weekend. The menu consisted of:
Corned Beef - I bought a semi prepped 5 pounder at Trader Joe's. It came with the seasonings and everything, which made it easy to throw in the crockpot with a can of Guinness (thank you Sarah for that tip!) and bit of water. I cooked it on high for three hours, then on low for another 3. It came out perfect! The flavors of the seasonings coupled with the beer made the flavors come together nicely. Slightly peppery with a hint of tartness, in my opinion.
Braised Cabbage - we used a Tyler Florence recipe that I highly recommend! Anything served with butter and olive is ALWAYS delicious! I just didn't want plain old boiled cabbage, and I think we stumbled upon a great recipe!
Roasted Mini Yukon Potatoes - Same as the cabbage, we didn't want just plain old boiled potatoes. We tossed them in garlic grapeseed oil, dried thyme, sea salt and fresh ground pepper (my favorite preparation). I forgot to snap the potatoes on their own, so here they are with everything else:
Fresh Pumpernickel Rye Bread, store bought and very delicious, didn't even need butter:
Guinness Chocolate Cake - I totally cheated this year, didn't make this from scratch because I didn't want all of those leftover baking ingredients in my pantry. It's too tempting to make additional cakes and I don't need that right now!!
I made mini bundt cakes instead of a one large cake, which was fun. All I did was add Guinness Stout wherever the recipe called for water:
I love my toaster oven!!!
I don't have tons of experience cooking with beer, so the cake just tasted like chocolate cake to me. I guess if I had regular chocolate cake to compare it to, I may have tasted the difference. But two chocolate cakes equals a lot of trouble for me! Ha ha!
Magner's Irish Cider - I found this just by chance as I was picking up last minute items at Whole Foods. I've recently become a cider fan (the Crispin brand is the best!), and given the occasion, I thought it would be fun to try. It was good, but I think I should have put it on ice or allowed it to get colder in the fridge. Ice cold cider tastes SO good!
It was certainly a lot of work, but dinner was great. We ended up sharing with Tom's dad, my family and we even had leftovers! I learned from my mother that you always cook for an army...sometimes that's a good thing, but sometimes it isn't, especially if dessert is involved! :)