I always look forward to the month of March because I have so much to celebrate and be thankful for when it rolls around. My wedding anniversary, Pat’s birthday, and my birthday all happen within two weeks of each other. And, as if that’s not enough to, St. Patrick’s Day conveniently offers even more reason to have some extra fun!
I’ve done my share of celebrating my Irish American heritage over the years.
For more than fifty years, Chicago has dyed their river a vibrant, if not fluorescent, shade of green. Forty pounds of Oompa-Loopa orange colored vegetable based dye are sifted into the river by volunteers in white suits aboard a motor boat. The powder was originally used by plumbers to detect leaks and when it hits the water it instantly turns a brilliant green. Smaller boats chase behind the dye boat, weaving in and out, churning up the powder and mixing the color throughout the water. Thousands of spectators pile onto the bridges and sidewalks near the river to watch the outrageous tradition.
I kid you not, these photos aren’t a prank or a bad joke. I didn’t Photoshop them or apply a filter. This is actually what it looks like and if you can brave the crowds, it’s a site to be seen. If not, you can live vicariously through my photos while enjoying quiet warmth of your home and hopefully an Irish Coffee too…
Checkout my Pinterest board for additional St. Patrick’s Day ideas & inspiration
Nowadays we’ve happily hung up our bar shoes and prefer to celebrate the Patron Saint of Ireland by inviting our family over for a corned beef lunch. We enjoy great conversation, festive music, several Guinness, and sometimes a Jig or two. (…I just realized I described most of our family gatherings, not just St. Patrick’s Day…)
Corned beef is about as Irish as spaghetti. It’s eaten on St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S. not because it’s Irish, but rather that’s what was inexpensive and easy to find for Irish immigrants at the time. The flavorful meat was also somewhat similar to the cured ham or Irish style bacon from home. We actually eat it all year round because it’s so tasty and a feeds a crowd.
I order the briskets ahead and cook them the day before, letting them rest in the fridge overnight. The next day I slice the meat and line it up in sheet pans and brush it with some reserved cooking broth. Finally, I cover the pan with foil and then warm it up in the oven for about 20 minutes at 200 degrees. Guests pile the tender, briny meat onto fresh rye bread and top it with mustard and Swiss cheese.
I’ll leave you with my version of an Irish Coffee which is a a great way to kick-off your St. Patrick’s Day. As my Great Aunt Mary would say, “it primes my pump” – translation: this will get you moving.
Be safe and have fun this St. Patrick’s Day!
Mise en Place
- 1 mug
- 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
- 1 shot of Irish Whiskey
- 6 oz. (3/4 cup) Fresh, hot coffee
- At least 2 tablespoons unsweetened, heavy cream, lightly whipped (buy a 1/2 pint and whipped up extra)
- preheat the mug by filling it with hot tap water, let sit for a few minutes
- Lighty whip the heavy cream. I like to use an immersion blender, letting it run for a few seconds. You’ll want it stiff enough to sit on top of the coffee but loose enough that it will slowly dissolve into the coffee as you sip.
- Dump the warm water from your mug
- Add the whiskey and brown sugar to the empty mug and stir to mix
- Pour in the hot coffee and stir to dissolve the sugar
- Gently spoon the lightly whipped cream on top, about 3 spoonfuls