Sunday, March 22, 2009

another holiday to cook for. i love it!

the tour de lenten fish fries 09 continued with a trip to the polish american citizen's club last friday (well, two fridays ago by now).

this one had been talked up quite a bit by my good friend aNw. i trust aNw so i knew we were in for somethin' special....and oh man was it ever special!

first of all, i appreciate any place where beers are $2 and i appreciated this place even more since the bartender was the oldest polish woman i've ever seen.

for roughly $13 i ate one of the best fried fish dinners of my life. we had a large crew for this round - nine people to be exact but the poles hooked us up with a large table in the back and there wasn't a disappointed one among us.

now, you may be thinking $13 is a lot but let me tell you what the poles served up. we got a few baskets of kick ass fresh bread and also a nice size salad. i opted for the 1/2 perch & 1/2 shrimp with fries. i got about 4 or 5 small pieces of fried perch and about a half dozen fried shrimp. it was glorious. GLORIOUS.

and the best part - the poles host a fried fish dinner every single friday of the year. they don't need no stinkin' lent for good eats! polish american citizen's club gets an A++ for sure! they blew the eagles and irish right outta the water.

sadly, this past friday i had to miss a day of the tour. i think the crew - good friends that they are - decided to return to the polish american club so that i wouldn't miss anything. bless them. i think this week we'll be checking out the slovak club so stay tuned.

in other news - last tuesday was st. patrick's day. i decided to celebrate with good friends, good eats and good beer not assholes, bad bar eggs and shitty green beer.

(ps. i ripped that cartoon from the viper. i suppose i can give credit where credit is due.)

sunday night i made the soda bread.

here are some of my supplies - the dry ingredients if you will.

(notice those super cute and sturdy measuring spoons? those were the prize for my third place finish in the library soup cook-off.)

here is me adding the wet ingredients (buttermilk & eggs) to the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt & baking soda).

and here's some of the good stuff. melted butter. mmm!

and because i'm crazy i baked 5 loaves.

once these were done (you can check for doneness by popping them out of the pan and "knocking" on the bottom of the loaf. if it makes a thud it's done) i let them cool on a wire wrack and then wrapped them up tight in plastic wrap.

one went to the martini's house for his annual "state of grace" party. one went to aNw. why? she has a bun in the oven so i feel compelled to bake/cook things for her and her bun.
one loaf went to work with me to buy the praise of my co-workers, one loaf was served with some kick ass irish stew and the fifth one was just for kicks.

traditional irish stew is made with lamb but lamb is expensive and i am broke. plus i had two pounds of stew beef in my fridge that i got from my dad. free beef or costly lamb? hmmm....

first i chopped up all my veggies - potatoes, onions, carrots and parsnips.

then i layered the veggies and the beef in my kick ass new dutch oven (which is definitely the best investment i've made in quite some time!) and seasoned it with some salt, pepper and a couple of bay leaves.

then i added the guinness. mmmm....guinness.

because i'm poor and i wanted to drink more of the guinness than i was willing to put in the stew i finished it off with a lil' beef stock.

i put the lid on and let this simmer over low heat for about 2 hours.

a while back my fellow blogger, xenia inquired about good coleslaw.

here is what i came up with.

first, you chop up some cabbage. i used red and green cuz it looks pretty.

then i added a few heaping tablespoons of sugar and some cider vinegar.

then i realized that i forgot to add the carrots so i julienned a couple of those and added them to the mix. i also added about a tablespoon of keith's homemade hot vinegar just for a lil' extra zip.

i covered the slaw with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge so the cabbage could soak up all the goodness. yum!

when my friend mk and i were in ireland a few years ago we ate at a lil' pub that served their stew over mashed potatoes. i thought that was one of the best ideas ever in the world so i did i decided to do it myself.

i peeled and boiled the taters and then smashed 'em with some butter, chopped green onions, salt, pepper, a lil' milk and a couple of tablespoons of cream cheese.

i sliced one of my loaves of soda bread and invited in the crowd.

some friends and i gobbled up this goodness and slugged down a few beers and enjoyed our st. patrick's day.

maybe it was the stew or the beers or the beginnings of "darby o'gill and the little people" or gasp! dare i say the fact that we are all growing up but the party dispersed rather early.

however, we all slept with full bellies and we all made it to work on time the next day without feeling like death.

happy st. patrick's day!


Xenia said...

Thanks for the slaw recipe! I'll be making that stew some day soon too. One question though--what does soda bread taste like?

the erratic epicurean said...

hmmm....well really traditional soda bread is usually brown and a lil' more hearty.

this is a lil' more cakelike. it's kinda sweet cuz there is sugar in it. maybe like a bready pound cake or something along those lines.