Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

The Best of My Irish Heritage for Your Table and Mine

“Tis said one can not improve on the best. Thus here are some of my very best for St. Patrick’s Day over the past ten years. So, even if you’ve never been one to celebrate this holiday, be encouraged in that these recipes are almost fool-proof.

Once a year we are all Irish. My father’s family came from Ireland when being Irish wasn’t quite okay. They dropped the “O” in the family name in order to blend into the American social landscape more quickly. Some of us would have preferred otherwise. So those of us who have Irish roots adopt all in our St. Patrick’s Day feasting.

On the day set aside to honor St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, we cook a wee bit more, sing the Irish songs with a wee bit more gusto and give a nod to those of the Old Country who had courage to come to America. We thank them for our rich heritage.

As for food, I must confess Ireland is one the countries on my “I’d like to visit” lists. My knowledge and experience with Irish foods is strictly Americanized. Still, I do love everything I’ve ever tasted that is said to be Irish and prefer this simple fare to many other cuisines that are more complex and varied. It must be my Irish DNA.

So here, then, is a classic presentation of simple old fashioned Irish foods….none take more than a few minutes to make….that will make your St. Patrick’s Day and the days to follow filled with the joy and satisfactions of my O’Dorrell kitchen.

As a quick bread, they don’t get any faster than an Irish soda bread. It can ready for the oven in just a few minutes. Serve with good butter and jam…yummy!

Irish Soda Bread

1 tbsp. butter, softened

4 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups buttermilk

Brush a baking sheet with softened butter.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a deep mixing bowl. Gradually add 1 ¼ cups buttermilk, beating constantly with a spoon until the dough is firm enough to be gathered together. If dough crumbles beat in up to ¼ cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the flour particles adhere.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and pat and shape into a flat circular loaf, about 8 inches in diameter and 1 ½ inches thick. Transfer shaped loaf to the buttered baking sheet. With the tip of a knife, cut a deep X into the loaf dividing the top of the loaf into quarters.

Bake in a 400-degree oven about 45 minutes or until loaf is well risen and top is golden brown. Serve warm.

As simple as a shamrock, this stew can be put together faster than you can sing “O Danny Boy”. It’s a simple, humble and satisfying soup-stew…and that’s no blarney.

Easy Oven

Baked Irish Stew

6 medium potatoes

4 large onions

3 lb. boneless lamb stew

meat (shoulder or neck preferred)

1 tsp. salt

Fresh ground black pepper

¼ tsp. thyme

Chopped parsley, optional garnish

Peel potatoes and cut crosswise into thick slices. Peel onion and cut into thick slices.

Trim fat from lamb and cut meat into 1-inch cubes.

Spread half of the potatoes on bottom of a heavy 4-5 qt. casserole or Dutch oven. Cover with half of the onion. Top with the meat. Sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt, fresh ground pepper and thyme. Top with remainder of onion. Finish with remaining potatoes. Sprinkle with

½ tsp. salt. Add enough cold water to just cover the potatoes.

Bring the stew to a boil over high heat. Cover tightly. Transfer to the lower third of a 350-degree oven for 1 hour. Take from oven and test for doneness. Add water is liquid seems to be evaporating too rapidly. Cover and return to oven for 30-45 minutes or until meat is fork tender. Taste and adjust seasonings. Thicken, if desired, with a thin flour and water paste. Serve in soup bowls. 4-6 servings.

There are probably hundreds of versions for the Irishman’s classic of Corned Beef and Cabbage. This recipe has been in my collection for many, many years. Unlike others, it features cabbage, carrots and onion…all staples in the Irish countryside for eons.

Corned Beef,

Cabbage and Carrots

1 pkg. lean corned beef brisket

with seasonings

1 lb. small onions, peeled

12 small carrots, peeled

or scraped

½- 1 small head cabbage

Place brisket in a 5-6 qt. casserole. Add enough water to cover by at least ½-inch. Bring a boil over high heat, meanwhile skimming off scum and foam as they rise to the surface. Reduce the heat, partially cover the casserole and simmer for 2 ½ hours.

Cut onions in half. Cut carrots in half. Cut cabbage head into eight wedges ( leave part of the core with each piece so cabbage holds together as it cooks). The add the onion and carrots and cook partially covered for another 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and meat is easily pierced with a fork. Take meat from casserole and cut into thick slices. Serve on a platter accompanied with vegetables.

Lent is a time for fish and seafood. This version is from The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins. It’s light and lovely.

Skewered Shrimp with Lemon, Garlic and Olive Oil

4 lb. fresh large shrimp with

shells on

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 or 4 garlic cloves, to taste,

finely minced

3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

½ bay leaf for each shrimp

¼ cup minced fresh green

herbs such as parsley, basil or


Lemon wedges for garnish

Spread the shrimp out in a shallow glass or ceramic baking dish. Combine the oil, salt, pepper, garlic and lemon juice, beating to mix well. Pour over the shrimp and set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes, turning the shrimp occasionally in the marinade. (Refrigerate the shrimp if you’re holding them longer than 30 minutes.)

Thread the shrimp on skewers, alternating with halves of bay leaves. Lightly oil a grill and set the skewers on a grill. Grill about 3 minutes or each side. (Or, broil on oiled broiler pan 3 minutes on each side.)

“Almost Irish”

Strawberry Trifle

1 12-oz. pkg. pound cake

¼ cup strawberry jam

½ cup slivered blanched almonds

1 tbsp. sherry or l tsp. almond

or vanilla

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tbsp. superfine sugar

2 cups prepared vanilla

pudding, chilled

2 cups fresh strawberries

Mint for garnish

Cut pound cake into slices and coat with jam. Place a few slices in the bottom of serving dish (a glass dish at least 3-inches deep is traditional and works well). Cut remaining slices into 1-inch cubes. Scatter over slices and sprinkle with ½ cup slivered almonds. Sprinkle with sherry or almond or vanilla.

Whip cream until it thickens slightly. Add sugar and continue to whip until the cream is stiff.

Select 8-10 of the best berries and set aside for garnish. Scatter remainder over cake. Spread cooked pudding over berries and top with half the whipped cream. Pipe or spoon remaining whipped cream decoratively around the edge of the serving bowl. Garnish with reserved berries and sprinkle with remaining nuts. Refrigerate at least 1 hours. 6-8 servings.


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