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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

St. Patrick's Day: A Recipe for History

This St. Patrick's Day the Irish and just about everyone else will celebrate the day wearing, eating and drinking something green.

A lot of people probably don't know where or how St. Patrick's Day originated but the celebrations will be plentiful.
They probably don't know that Patrick was not born Irish but born in Britain around 390 A.D. to wealthy parents and although his father was a Christian deacon, there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family.

That at the age of 16, Patrick was kidnapped and taken to Ireland. Although there seems to be a dispute as to where he was taken, everyone seems to agree that the young Patrick found religion during his captivity. Alone and afraid, tending sheep somewhere in the mountains, it is believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish to Christianity during his captivity.

After escaping, whether by pirate ship or by walking - as both stories have been told - Patrick returned to Britain, where after years of training was ordained a priest and then made his way back to Ireland.
With a reported small number of Christians already in Ireland when Patrick arrived, his mission was to minister to the Christians already there and to convert the Irish. According to National Geographic, St. Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Christian holy trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

While St. Patrick’s Day occurs on what is believed to be the advent of St. Patrick’s death, March 17, 491 A.D., it also occurs during the Catholic religious season of Lent, which spans from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. 

And so begins the traditions of Corned Beef and Cabbage, green beer and the 3-leafed clover.
And what's a St. Patrick's Day celebration without a few good recipes.

McCormick's, known for their flavor expertise, spices, seasonings and flavorings; offer these simple recipes to make your St. Patrick's Day experience - a "lucky" one!

Slow Cookers Hearty Beef Stew

2 pounds beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 package McCormick® Slow Cookers Hearty Beef Stew Seasoning
1 1/3 cups water
Slow Cookers Hearty Beef Stew/Photo courtesy of McCormick
1 1/4 cups fresh cut-up carrots
1 1/4 cups fresh cut-up celery
1 1/4 cups fresh cut-up onions
1 1/4 cups fresh cut-up potatoes

  1. Place beef and vegetables in slow cooker.
  2. Mix Seasoning Mix and water until blended. Pour over beef and vegetables; toss to coat well. Cover.
  3. Cook 8 hours on LOW or 4 hours on HIGH. Stir before serving.

Green Ombre Cake 

Green Ombre Cake/Photo courtesy of McCormick

1 package (15 ounce) white cake mix
2 tsp McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
McCormick® Green Food Color

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 tsp McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
1 package (16 ounce) confectioners' sugar
2 tbl milk

McCormick Green Food Color
  1. Prepare cake mix as directed on package, using whole eggs. Stir in vanilla. Divide batter evenly into 3 bowls. Stir 50 drops (about 1/2 teaspoon) food color into one of the bowls, tinting batter dark green. Stir 15 drops food color into another of the bowls, tinting batter medium green. Stir 2 drops food color into last of the bowls, tinting batter light green.
  2. Pour each bowl of batter into a greased and floured 8-inch round cake pan.
  3. Bake as directed on package. Cool cakes on wire rack.
  4. For the Frosting, beat butter and vanilla in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating well after each addition and scraping sides and bottom of bowl frequently. Add milk; beat until light and fluffy. Place dark green cake layer on serving plate. Spread with 1/3 cup of frosting. Top with medium green cake layer. Spread with 1/3 cup of frosting. Top with light green cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting.

These cheesecake bars — with contrasting layers of green, white and black — get a hint of sophistication from rich dark chocolate and refreshing Pure Peppermint Extract.

Green with Envy Cheesecake Bars

Green with Envy Cheesecake Bars/Photo courtesy of McCormick
1 1/2 cups of chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about 30 cookies)
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp McCormick® Pure Peppermint Extract
1/2 tsp McCormick® Green Food Color
3 eggs
2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix cookie crumbs and butter. Press firmly onto bottom of foil-lined 9-inch square baking pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream and peppermint extract; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour 1/2 of the batter over crust. Tint remaining batter green with food color. Pour over batter in pan.
  3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely on wire rack.
  4. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Lift out of pan onto cutting board. Cut into bars. Drizzle bars with melted chocolate. Store leftover bars in refrigerator.
For more St. Patrick's Day recipes visit offers this recipe for those who want to add a little "Irish Whiskey" to their St. Patrick's Day celebration.

Whiskey Walnut Mini Pies

1 box Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tbl whiskey
1 tsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 24 mini muffin cups or mini tart pans with cooking spray.
Remove pie crusts from pouches; unroll on lightly floured work surface. Using 3-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter, cut 10 rounds from each crust. Reroll scraps and cut an additional 4 rounds. Press rounds in bottoms and up sides of muffin cups.
In medium bowl, mix corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs, whiskey, butter and salt with whisk until blended. Add walnuts; mix well. Spoon 1 tablespoon filling into each crust-lined cup.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is set. Serve warm or cool.

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