Tonight there is a veritable state of emergency in New York and Connecticut. High winds are ripping down trees, power lines, signs on the highway, and even street lights. While the drive home from work was reminiscent of some of the milder scenes in 2012 I did make it home unscathed. A tree almost fell on my car and my pants were soaked but not an ounce of scathe got me. I'm just slippery that way.
With St. Patrick's Day just around the corner it was time to get into the spirit of this holiday that, up until starting this blog, I pretty much despised. I'm not a big fan of a holiday that makes people claim they are a nationality that they are not just so that they can drink beer (see also: Cinqo de Mayo). However, I am a fan of a holiday that gives you an excuse to make foods that there is actually no restriction from making year round.
This year Saranac made a "Limited Edition" Irish Stout. I figured this would be a perfect excuse to make lamb and Guinness stew but with a
Here is where my computer (and all of our power) kicked off and our 48 hours of hell (but mostly boredom) kicked in. We had no electricity, hot water, or heat. Here is where I picked up around 4:00 PM today when I returned to our home, newly restored with electricity.
Okay. So while I wrote this the computer cut off mid sentence. I figured that the power would just be out for a few minutes but that turned into more like two days without power.
Right before the power went out I had journeyed out in the pouring rain to obtain some Irish Whisky. It wasn't really a necessary item but Jen had a great idea to rehydrate the raisins for the soda bread she was going to make along with whisky rather than water. I loved this idea as one of the things that was beaten into me at culinary school (literally, not figuratively) was that you should never use water for anything in any recipe if there is an alternative option available that actually has flavor. This is a maxim that Jen tends to live by when she considers drinking anything.
The soda bread went into the oven while we still had electricity but came out, just as the stew did, by the light of one scented candle.
The stew came out pretty well considering the obstacles. I had planned on thickening it a bit but by the time it was done and out of the oven the challenge of cooking in the dark was enough to prevent me from trying anything else too clever.
I made it with broned lamb stew meat, beef stock, garlic, onion, celery, carrot, potato, and rosemary. I served it over barley which Jen was very skeptical about but it turned out it wasn't the worst thing in the world after all.
The soda bread came out great! We enjoyed it with some Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter. What makes it Irish? I believe it's the fact that it's made in Ireland. Apparently Irish cows make some delicious butter. In fact most European cows do. There is nothing quite like a high fat European butter to make you appreciate the fact that regular butter, which you may have always thought was delicious, is actually not good at all by comparison.
Saranac made another limited edition beer this year with its Irish Red. I had been excited to try this beer but my excitement turned into extreme grumpiness as I realized that the power was likely not coming back on while we were awake. This turned the sweet beer bitter in my mouth.
I'm looking forward to trying it again tonight with my favorite accompaniment: electricity.
I had the brilliant idea to empty as much of my fridge and freezer as I could and taking it with me to work to freeze and refrigerate to save it. Sadly, this is what I could not salvage. As someone who prides himself in using all the part of the buffalo it was extra painful throwing this all into the garbage.
What I thought would have been several days of St. Patrick's Day cooking turned into mostly scrambling around to try to salvage food. But tonight we're back! We've minimized our losses.
Now it's time for St. Patrick's Day madness to continue! Bring it on, Mother Nature! It'll take a lot more than that to stop me from preparing half-assed meal celebrations of holidays that I don't really care about! My devotion to such time-wasting nonsense is stronger than your piddling "winds" and "rains" and "70 mph winds."
Culinary tomfoolery will prevail.