Slainte and Salute! The great feasts of Patrick and Joseph have arrived!


A statue of St. Patrick stands in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral during the 250th annual St. Patrick's Day parade in New York March 17. CNS photo

Being mainly Irish and Italian (with a dash of Slovak, Scots, Swedish and English tossed in for good measure) the third week of March is always one of the favorite weeks of the year around our house.

Today, of course, we’ll focus in on Patrick’s Day which admittedly isn’t nearly the food fest that St. Joseph’s Day is. But, more on that tomorrow!

Tonight, we’ll be dining at home on corned beef and cabbage. Instead of boiled parsley potatoes or colcannon, however, I’ll be serving up some Potatoes O’Brien.

These wonderful potatoes emerged from the mist of childhood the other night as I was trolling the Internet looking for old cookbooks to order. My mom used to make Potatoes O’Brien as a tasty treat for us all every-once-in-a-while.

I found a recipe for them in a volume entitled “Mrs. Rasmussen’s Book of One-Arm Cookery” which seems to have been a classic during World War II and after and quickly set about ordering it from Amazon where used copies have turned up.

From reading the adverts for the book, it turns out that Mrs. Rasmussen didn’t just have one arm, it was that one arm was constantly dedicated to holding a beer while she cooked. Here’s the very good recipe from the book which was written by Mary Lasswell, creator of Mrs. Rasmussen.

Potatoes O’Brien

Ingredients: 2 medium leftover boiled potatoes or 1 large leftover baked potato cut into 1/2 inch cubes; 1/2 small green bell pepper; coarsely chopped, about 1/2 cup; 2 tablespoons oil; 4 green onions; cut into 1/2 inch lengths, about 2/3 cup; 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped; salt and pepper to taste; 1/3 cup grated cheese

Directions: heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat; add the bell peppers and cook for about two minutes stirring once or twice; stir in the potatoes; green onions, and garlic and season with salt and pepper and cook about three minutes, stirring occasionally. Spread the potato mixture evenly across the skillet and sprinkle with cheese. Cover the pan and cook  5 – 7 minutes longer until bottom of potatoes are browned.

Check out the previous post for a recipe for Irish Soda Bread by Jeanne Scarpato and drop by tomorrow for some St. Joseph’s Day recipes.

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One thought on “Slainte and Salute! The great feasts of Patrick and Joseph have arrived!

  1. Lois, this is a twist on what I’ve done for a while – without the cheese. I’ll try it this way.

    We do St. Joseph’s Day at my parish here in the midwest – but I guarantee it isn’t as good as there! Lots of meatballs and jello dishes 🙂

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