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Country Cousin

Irish...

Hi Folks!

The evenings are brighter longer, now that Daylight Savings time is here. The sun stays abed later in the morning (just as most of us would like to) and stays up later at night. Or would, if it ever shines again. We’ve enjoyed some moderate temperatures, but maybe someone could inform the weather man that Spring will officially arrive in just a week, and it’s time for the snow to stop. Wonder how deep we’d be buried if all the precipitation that fell this winter had come down in the form of snow?

Regardless, there surely were enough “snow flurries” to keep the trails in good riding condition most of the time. Quite a change from last year, when riders claimed the entire season offered only nine good days to enjoy their sport!

EGGSPERT ADVICE

Easter is coming on fast, and if you haven’t been blowing out eggs and saving the shells for decorating, you might want to start now.

Just use a sharp object ( like a needle, skewer or pointy-tipped parking knife) to poke a hole in each end of a raw egg, being sure to break the membrane inside. Chip away a bit of shell, apply mouth to the wide end of the egg and blow contents through the hole in the small end into a dish that you have waiting. Blow the eggs one at a time into the dish so you can inspect for bits of shell before adding it to the scrambled eggs or whatever other recipe you are preparing.

They’re lots of fun to work with. Dye them as you choose. Use clear glue to attach sparkles, sequins, rick rack, lace, whatever your heart desires. Glue in pipe cleaner stems and the decorated eggs can be used in floral arrangements. Glue on ribbon ties and/or hooks and use them to decorate a branch that you set up in a flower pot to use as an Easter Egg tree.

Easter decorations made from blown out shells can be safely left out for the entire season, as opposed to hard boiled ones that would surely go bad.

We have even saved our decorated egg masterpieces from season to season with varying degrees of success. Sometimes they break, sometimes they don’t.

This year, we plan to boil some shells briefly to sterilize them, and then fill with Jell-O. For Easter dinner, will shell the Jell-O eggs and arrange artfully (I hope) in a nest of whipped cream.

EYE DROP DANGERS

Know that little bottle of eye drops you keep handy on the bathroom counter, or perhaps in your purse? Never thought of eye drops as being hazardous, but recent reports on the national news scene indicate at least some of them should come with childproof caps.

A man was arrested the other day for allegedly spiking his girl friend’s drink with eye drops. The idea was something of a joke - he supposedly thought the drops would make her talk foolish and then get a case of diarrhea - while aboard an airplane.

That would be cruel, to say the least, but also could have proven extremely dangerous. A check of several sources shows that many brands of eye drops, if taken orally, can bring about a number of very serious, possibly even fatal, side effects - but Montezuma’s Revenge is not among them, despite long-standing urban legends to the contrary.

But consuming even small amounts of those drops can be much, much worse. There have been reports of fatal and near fatal results when youngsters drank as little as half a bottle of drops containing Tetrahydrozoline HCL 0.05% (otherwise known as imidazoline).

The drops, if consumed orally instead of being dripped into the eye, can cause life threatening problems, including severe depression of the entire nervous system, even bring on a coma.

Among effects listed are lowering body temperature to dangerous levels; making breathing difficult or even impossible; causing blurred vision, nausea, or vomiting; causing blood pressure to rise and then fall, and causing seizures or tremors.

This information comes from PubMed Health, a service provided by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Normally don’t like child proof caps because they make life so difficult for older hands, especially when there’s nobody else in the house to help. But side effects from even small amounts of the drops are serious enough to warrant some special attention. Maybe an enterprising drug manufacturer will see fit to market eye drops with two caps, a regular one that comes on the bottle and a childproof one in the box with it, along with a warning to folks with toddlers in the house to use it.

Meanwhile, adults who use eye drops should use extra care to be sure they don’t fall into inquisitive little hands of tikes who might want to see if what’s in that bottle is good to drink. If they do drink some, do not induce vomiting. Call a poison control center immediately!

Kids really do do the darndest things. Recall once a niece mixed up a nice fizzy glass of Draino. Her mom caught her just before she took a swallow. That was a narrow escape!

MEDICAL MIRACLES

Modern medicine is wonderful, but we can’t expect it to do everything. Seems Sven, a Yooper lumberjack, was busy pushing a tree through a buzz saw when he accidentally sheared off all 10 fingers.

He managed to get to the emergency room at the nearest hospital without bleeding to death.

“Yuck,” the doctor exclaimed, shaking his head as he looked at the nasty wounds. “Give me those fingers and I’ll see what I can do.”

“Fingers?” Sven replies. “Dey’re cut off. Don’t have dem any more.”

“What do you mean, you don’t have the fingers?” doctor insists. “This is 2013! We have all kinds of incredible new techniques. I could probably sew those fingers back on. You should have known that!”

“Doc,” says a furious Sven shaking his bloody stumps in the medic’s face, “How da heck vould I pick dem up?”

COOKIN’ TIME

It’s still Lent, which for some of us means a lot of fish, but can’t resist some good Irish recipes in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, which falls on Sunday, March 17. This holiday, which marks the death of St. Patrick in the 5th Century AD, has been celebrated for more than 1,000 years in Ireland. The old traditional dinner for the day was cabbage with Irish bacon. We American wannabe Irish usually substitute corned beef, but Coddle is a supposedly authentic recipe that includes a healthy helping of bacon and no corned beef whatsoever. Haven’t tried it yet, but it certainly sounds good!

IRISH CODDLE

We can’t just go to the store here and buy Irish Banger sausages, but we can make our own (See recipe below.) Even more simple, substitute ring bologna, Mettwurst or Kielbassa. Might not be authentic, but it will taste good!) incidentally, not sure if this is true, but read that Banger Sausages got their name from the exploding sound they make if fried too fast so the casings split.

1 pound Irish Banger sausage (approximately 5 pieces), cut

into 4 pieces each

1/2 pound thick sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

8-10 med. red potatoes, sliced

2 med. onions, sliced

1 head green cabbage, cored and cut into eighths

1 cup Irish red style beer

Spray a large crock pot with cooking spray and place a layer of the potatoes in the bottom. Place a layer of sausage and bacon followed by a layer of onions. Repeat with all ingredients one more time. Place a final layer of potatoes on top. Pour in the cup of beer. Place cabbage on top and cover. Cook in crock pot for approximately 6 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Crock pot temperatures can vary.

This recipe can also be cooked in the oven following the same layering technique in a Dutch oven or stock pot. Simmer over low heat for about an hour.

IRISH BANGER SAUSAGE

Making your own sausage this way is not at all difficult. If you don’t have a meat grinder, use the food processor. if you don’t have casings or a sausage stuffer, simply form into patties or fat finger shapes (like chubby hot dogs) and cook without the casings.

2 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon mace

3 ounces salt

6 ounces bread crumbs, plain

10 pounds fat pork butt (if lean replace one pound of meat

with a pound of fat back)

2 cups ice water

Grind meat, half of it medium grind, half fine grind. (Use the food processor for this if you do not have a grinder.) Add the spices, water and crumbs and mix very well. Stuff into small casing links or make into compact patties. Refrigerate overnight for flavors to meld before cooking or freezing. Use them in the Coddle recipe, or for a traditional English or Irish breakfast. To cook, just fry until golden brown and done in the center.

CORNED BEEF CABBAGE ROLLS

This version of corned beef and cabbage takes a little more fussing than the original and probably isn’t authentic, but it’s worth it. Recipe makes four to six generous servings. If you cook your own corned beef, do make enough to slice some thin for Grilled Rueben Sandwiches to enjoy another day. Remember, never boil corned beef, just let it simmer slowly to avoid toughening.

1 pound cooked corned beef, diced in 1/4-in. pieces

1 large head cabbage, steamed with leaves removed (about

12-15 leaves)

1 pound carrots, diced in 1/4-inch pieces

4 large potatoes, diced in 1/4-inch pieces

Cooking spray

2 tablespoons canola oil

salt and pepper

8-ounce container sour cream

4 tablespoons horseradish

1/2 teaspoon dry dill weed, crumbled

Either purchase the corned beef fully cooked, or cook your own in advance of preparing this recipe. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put diced carrots and potatoes in roasting pan sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle with oil, salt, and pepper, tossing well. Bake approximately 40 minutes, stirring a few times, until the veggies are caramelized. Remove from oven and stir in the diced corned beef. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Allow to cool about 10 minutes. Take the partially cooked cabbage leaves and carefully cut out the “V” shaped tough “vein” on each leaf. Put about three tablespoons of the meat/veggie mixture on each leaf and roll up. Place seam side down in casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat until all leaves are filled. Spoon on just a little of the cooking broth over all or add two tablespoons of water. Cover with foil or a tight fitting cover and heat in oven for 30 minutes at 300 degrees. While cabbage rolls are heating, make sauce. Combine sour cream, horseradish, and dill. Remove from oven and serve with sauce spooned over the top.

IRISH STEW

8 small lamb chops

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon parsley

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon rosemary

1 pound potatoes

2 cups finely shredded cabbage

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large leek, sliced thin

12 small white onions

1 1/2 cups diced celery

1 1/2 cups peas

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley (or one teaspoon, dried)

Season chops with salt and pepper. Heat oil in saucepan wide enough to hold all chops in a single layer. Brown on both sides. Spoon off any melted fat and add enough water to cover chops. Bring to a boil and add parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme and rosemary enclosed in cheesecloth. Lower heat and simmer. Meanwhile, peel 3 to 4 medium potatoes and shape into bite sized rounds. (Just cut into chunks if you aren’t worried about being fancy.) Chop trimmings from potatoes into small pieces. Add potatoes, trimmings, cabbage, onion, well-rinsed leek, white onions and celery to chops and liquid. Simmer 20 minutes then add peas. Add a little more water if needed during cooking. Simmer 10 minutes more or until potatoes are tender. Correct seasonings. Garnish with parsley and serve.

BLARNEY CROWN CAKE

For this recipe, substitute six ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips if you don’t have block chocolate to chop and melt. To avoid alcohol abuse, drink the rest of the beer, give it to a willing assistant, or use a cup of it in the Irish Coddle recipe above.

3/4 cup milk

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/3 cup Guinness beer

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

4 large eggs

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 pinch ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon Irish Creme liqueur (Buy this, or make your

own, see recipe below.)

1 tablespoon Irish whiskey

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a Bundt pan with cooking spray. In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine milk and chocolate; stir until chocolate has melted. Remove from heat. Add Guinness. In a large bowl fitted with an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and frothy. Add 1/2 of the chocolate/Guinness mixture. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after the addition of each and scraping down the sides of the bowl. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the remaining half of the chocolate/ Guinness mixture; add vanilla extract, mixing well. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until the cake is set and a sharp knife point or toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a platter. Cool and then drizzle on the following glaze.

IRISH COFFEE GLAZE:

In a small mixing bowl combine confectioners sugar, Irish Creme, and Irish Whiskey. If necessary, add more Irish Creme (or confectioners sugar) to get desired consistency. Glaze cake with this mixture. Then garnish with things in a darker green (for example mint sprigs, Irish flags, or green gumdrops or gummy candies cut into the shape of shamrocks.)

IRISH CREME LIQUEUR

1 3/4 cup Irish whiskey

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup heavy cream

4 eggs

2 tablespoon chocolate syrup

2 teaspoon instant coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Combine all ingredients and mix in blender. Put into a fifth bottle. Keeps refrigerated up to 1 month. Stir or shake before serving and serve over ice, if desired.

Thought for the week: Passing along this Irish Prayer in honor of the much loved St. Patrick and the good-natured folks of of the Emerald Isle who generously let all of us us share their holiday:

“May there always be work for your hands to do;

“May your purse always hold a coin or two;

“May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;

“May the hand of a friend always be near you;

“May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.”

May God Bless you and hold you in the palm of His hand, on St. Patrick’s Day and every other day of the year as well.

(This column is written by Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz. Views expressed are her own and are in no way intended to be an official statement of the opinions of Peshtigo Times editors and publishers. She may be contacted by phone at 715-927-5034 or by e-mail at shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo. com.)

COUNTRY COUSIN


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