St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

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Spane wearing a "hat" given by Chef Farion

I was so looking forward to putting my corned beef on the Weber, but I got rained out. It didn’t turn out a bad dinner, though. I used the baby Nesco, and that brisket turned out just fine.

Snake Pie

It’s amazing to me that you live with someone for eight years, and suddenly, when you’re sprinkling green sugar on pie crust, your child comes in and says “What IS that?! Is that a SNAKE? I’m afraid of snakes!” Even telling him that snakes are cool, and this was only pie crust, Spane still didn’t come out of the bedroom for a while. I wanted to make it lifelike, but really?

For the past few St. Patrick’s Days, it has been a lovely, warm and sunny day, perfect for firing up the Weber and putting a corned beef brisket on it. No such luck today, but, no problem, there’s still the baby Nesco.

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Kiwi Lime Mini Cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day

Kiwi Lime Cupcakes

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On one of my recent sojourns to the local grocery store, I found dried kiwi fruit. I immediately thought they would make a great decoration for St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes. When I brought Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Dipped Strawberries for my son’s third grade class field trip, one of the girls requested I make cupcakes the next time I brought a treat for the class. So, I’m making mini lime cupcakes with kiwi for Friday since St. Patrick’s day is on Saturday.

I had planned on making these Thursday evening, but decided to do them this morning. Why? Well, let me first say that I love my son’s curiosity and inventiveness. Yesterday, he was tinkering with the alarm clock and mistakenly set the clock ahead four hours. When I got up at what I thought was seven o’clock and drank coffee, it was not until I looked at the cable box that I realized it was only three o’clock. Since I had already had a half a cup of coffee, it was too late to try to go back to sleep, so I’m making cupcakes.

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Oxen Shvantz Suppe – Braised Oxtails

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Ox-tail served over noodles

When I was a little girl growing up in Germany, when we had Oxen Shvantz Suppe it was always a real treat. Braised with wine for hours they are tender and juicy. They are wonderful on a cold, rainy winter day.

What are ox tails, you ask? Well, they are the tail of an ox or steer which is cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces. They are very meaty and make a nice gravy, all on their own. How do you eat ox tails? You get most of the meat out with your fork, then you pick the piece up and suck all the goodness out of the bone. A bone bowl is a good thing to have on the table when you are serving ox tails.

When you go to buy ox tails, be sure and get them from a reputable butcher. The bony part should be bright white, the sinew pink, and the meat should be nice and red. I was lucky, my butcher brought out a tail and cut it there in front of me with his incredibly sharp knife. You can’t get any fresher than that.

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Easy Meaty Chili

Easy Meaty Chili

Chili with fixin's

Sometimes, on a cold day that looks like it might rain, you have to have chili. Usually, I make a big pot of it, and it cooks a long time to let the beans get nice and soft. Sometimes, you just don’t have that kind of time, but you don’t want something that came out of a can.

I don’t buy the Chili mix in the bag. I make my own, and you should, too. It’s very simple, and better because you can control the heat and you know what’s in it. Basically, it’s a mixture of chilies, cumin and a little salt.

If you live in California, you probably have access to fresh Anaheim chilies, if you live in New Mexico, you have the New Mexico chili which is a bit hotter than the Anaheim. Both chilies have thick skin, so they should be charred before use. When making my chili, I charred two nice big red bells peppers as well.

How to Char Chilies

Charring chilies is very simple. You need four things, the chilies themselves, a gas stove top, long tongs and a plastic bag (the one the chilies came in is fine). Put the gas flame up as high as it will go, and just lay the chili on the burner. Use the tongs to turn the chilies as they char. When most of the skin has been charred, put the chili in the plastic bag, close it, and let the chili steam in the bag. When the chili is cool enough to handle, remove the charred skin under running water. Not only is this a great way to skin a chili pepper, it also give the chili a nice roasted flavor. Of course, if you want really smoky flavor, do it on the Weber!

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