Is There Any Corn in Corned Beef and Cabbage?

The Irish staple refers to a beef roast that has been “brined” and then flavored with spices. The brining, or soaking in salt water, makes a tougher cut of meat more tender. Then the corned beef is slow cooked with moist heat and served with healthy cabbage for an easy and delicious change from other protein/vegetable dinners. Here is a recipe.

Of course, I don’t recommend green beer or an excess of Irish whiskey to wash it down! The tradition of green tinted beer dates back to 1914, and blueing, used to whiten laundry, was the source dye. Chicago and New York City are awash in green beer on March 17. Dogfish Head Brewery makes a green beer naturally tinted with algae, so there is an alternative.

If green beer is not your cup of tea, here are some good choices to celebrate the day when everyone is a bit Irish.

And how about the food we most associate with Ireland, the potato? Although high in carbs, potatoes do have nutritional value. They contain more potassium than  bananas, Vitamin C, iron and other trace minerals, as well as fiber. Potatoes originated in South America, and were brought back to Europe by Spanish Conquistadores. Potatoes grew well in the rocky soil of Ireland. For Irish peasant farmers of the 1800’s, potatoes provided 80% of their daily calories. The Great Famine that occurred when the potato crops failed caused one million deaths among the Irish and is largely responsible for the great Irish immigration to the U.S. Caused by a fungus, the blight started in Mexico and spread to Europe.

Who can resist the comfort of mashed potatoes or one of the hundreds of other delicious ways to prepare potatoes, from scalloped to baked.  The problem with French Fries is really the trans-fat and rancid oil more than the potato. If you are trying to lose weight, go easy on the potatoes. Yams and Sweet Potatoes are better choices.

One of my favorite Irish foods is soda bread. During a wonderful road trip in Ireland, we stopped in villages we passed to sample the local Irish bread, cheese, and butter. We hardly ate in restaurants because the bread and cheese was better! Not exactly a low-carb holiday, but delicious. You can buy Irish Kerrygold butter in most grocery stores. They say that Irish cows are the most contented in the world, and when you see the color of the Irish grass they graze on, you can understand why. There are shades of green that only exist in Ireland. And check out a gluten-free Irish soda bread recipe here.

If I sound fond of the Irish, blame it on my parents. My mother was a Lehan and her grandparents met on the boat from Ireland and married in New York. My dad’s family was Irish/English. I have kissed the Blarney Stone!

So, for St. Patrick’s Day I wish you all Sláinte mhaith which means “good health”  (pronounced Slawn-cha Wa.) Don’t forget to wear green, or you just might get pinched!