A Nod to My Irish/Italian Heritage

While scanning the grocery flyers last weekend, I was inspired by the offering of a seasoned corned beef brisket for St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  As I may have said on this blog before, I grew up in an Irish and Italian household.  Most of the food we ate was Italian, but my Mom frequently made some of my Dad’s Irish favourites.  My Dad never did any cooking, but was definitely an enthusiastic diner of all my Mom’s dishes! He was effusive in his praise and you always knew how much he enjoyed the food and the company.  As a kid, I can’t say I enjoyed the corned beef and cabbage, but I did learn to appreciate it once I was an adult.  It’s been a long time since my Mom has made this, and I had never made it on my own before, so I was inspired to try it this past weekend.  I didn’t love the idea of boiled cabbage because I don’t find the flavour to be that interesting, but I do love when my Mom makes her Italian Style Sautéed Cabbage, so I decided to combine the two.

Corned Beef and sauteed cabbage March 2018
Corned Beef with Italian Style Sautéed Cabbage

I did the seasoned brisket according to the directions provided, which were to simmer the brisket in boiling water for 2 to 3 hours!  (It’s a good thing I read the directions when it came home from the grocery store so that I could plan enough time to have it ready!)  Preparing the cabbage is much simpler!   Just add the chopped cabbage and minced garlic to a little bit of heated olive oil and stir for a few minutes on medium heat.  Once the cabbage is coated and slightly cooked, I add a splash of water to allow it to cook to tender crisp and not have the pan dry out.  If you add more oil, the cabbage will be too greasy.  Add salt and pepper to taste, stir and serve.  Cabbage has many health benefits and is a versatile vegetable to use in cooking.  This side dish recipe is quick and easy and you can change up the flavour by using spices that suit your taste and the flavour of your main dish.  Sometimes I use smoked sea salt instead of regular sea salt for a more intense flavour. This simple Sautéed Cabbage Recipe can be used with many dishes. You can also finish with chopped fresh herbs, if you like.  We also added a green salad made by my hubby to our meal.  The meal was a departure from the things we usually cook and was a tasty, unexpected treat for our St. Patrick’s Day meal.

All my life I have met people who have said, “Wow, Italian and Irish!  That must be quite a combination!”  It certainly is, and it’s not uncommon where I come from.  And we are in good company…I recently read Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, “Born to Run” and discovered he is also from an Italian/Irish house!  There are lots of us out there!  There was always lots of love, fun, laughter, family, passion and great food in our house!  And, my love of cooking, enjoyment of food and getting together with family and friends, has evolved as it has because of those wonderful experiences.  Leave a comment and let me know about your favourite family recipes…Happy cooking!


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