Engagements and Irish Beef Stew

Our engagement was almost ruined by the Russians.

We were on a trip to Ireland as a very belated birthday present (we tend to get each other experiences as a gift, and mine was a round trip airfare to Europe). That morning, we had raced through the streets of Galway to make sure that we made our scheduled bus trip to the Cliffs of Moher. I’ll be honest- I sort of thought that something was coming, since he had insisted on bringing his backpack (when I already had a purse that fit everything we would need, including 2 jackets) and was chugging water like a champ.

We started hiking along the Cliffs (which, by the way, some of the path is absolutely terrifying since you’re literally right along the end of a mountain) and fairly soon found what we thought was decently quiet place to sit down.

Then we were joined by a family of Russians. By “family”, I mean about 10 people of assorted ages who were all yelling and cursing at each other. They sat down RIGHT next to us and promptly started a food fight.

You read that right. A food fight on the side of a cliff.

We managed to get up, duck the flying sandwiches, and not fall off the side of the cliff (though most of the food did go over the side).

The next place we found was decidedly safer, and I said yes.

 

Irish Beef Stew

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You won’t want to throw any of this around.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef, cut up
  • 3 pieces bacon, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 can tomato paste (4 oz)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 can mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bottle Guinness or similar stout
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 c frozen peas
  • 1 c frozen corn

How-to

  1. Saute bacon in a large dutch oven or similar pot. When cooked, removed bacon with slotted spoon, reserving fat.
  2. Dry off beef with a paper towel, then season with salt and pepper. Add to pot and brown on all sides, approximately 3-5 minutes. Don’t crowd the pan- if you don’t have enough room, do this in a few steps!
  3. Removed beef from pan, leaving fat behind. Add carrot, onion, celery, mushrooms, and garlic. Season again with salt and pepper. Saute until soft.
  4. Stir tomato paste into vegetables and cook until the tomato paste gets slightly brown. Add tomatoes.
  5. Slowly pour in bottle of stout, stirring constantly. Pour in beef broth.
  6. Bring stew to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 1-2 hours, until vegetables are soft and meat is tender (cooking time will vary based on your size of your ingredients).
  7. Turn off heat and mix in frozen vegetables. Cover for 5 minutes.
  8. Serve over Colcannon or Mashed Potatoes.
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Competitions and Colcannon

St. Patrick’s Day can be a wild holiday. Especially with pride on the line.

Back in college, I made the *wise* decision of coming to Chicago with my on-again, off-again boyfriend (we were off-again at the time). It was St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and we went out to a large Irish bar for the evening.

It was there that the competition started.

Since we were “off again,” somehow we decided to see who could pick up the hotter girl first. (A number of lemon drops- part of the reason why I haven’t done shots since- did influence this decision.)

Next thing I know, I’m chatting up a Brazilian girl (whom I had decided was the hottest girl in the bar). We started dancing (some other things might have happened, too…), and then that’s where some deleted scenes occur (I know that I was found dancing upstairs with her, but the rest of that is a little bit hazy, especially after I saw some of the pictures that I really don’t remember taking all that well).

The next morning, I had this text in my phone.

“I had a great time last night. Call me sometime. -Camille.”

Let’s just say I won.

Competition Worthy Irish Colcannon

Colcannon

perfect for your St. Patrick’s Day throw-down (or when you’re recovering the next day)

Ingredients

  • 5 large russet potatoes (about 3-4 lbs worth)
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 + 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 small head cabbage
  • 1 c fat-free greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c fat-free sour cream
  • 1 c fat-free half-and-half
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How-to

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Wash and peel potatoes (or you can skip the peeling part if you have a food mill). Cut into large cubes. Boiled in salted water until easily pierced with a fork.
  3. Cut off the ends of the leeks. Slice in half (nearly down to the root) and rinse in cold water. Slice thinly.
  4. Saute leeks in 1 tbsp butter and olive oil until soft. Set aside.
  5. Remove outer leaves from cabbage. Cut into quarters, then slice thinly. Boil in the plain water until tender (this took about 8-10 minutes). Drain.
  6. Slice the green onions thinly.
  7. Drain the potatoes. Mash until very smooth (or use that food mill). Add the butter, half-and-half, greek yogurt, and sour cream.
  8. Add the leeks, cabbage, and half the green onions.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve with reserved green onions on top.

This makes a LOT of potatoes (so perfect for your get-together), but if making for a smaller crowd, it can easily be halved. Though it does warm up perfectly in the microwave if you’d rather just have leftovers.