Green Beer and Bacon

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Did you know that it officially became a Christian holiday in the early 17th century? Or that the Lent based restrictions on eating and drinking are lifted for the day? No wonder people like it so much.

Me, on the other hand, take almost any holiday as an excuse to make nummy-yummy treats. St. Patty’s Day is no exception! Now, so that I can have pictures to show you all, I made the following deliciousness in advance. On Pi day, actually.

So my plan for my 2015 St. Patty’s menus consists of green beans and bacon (because, yum!), an Irish pub beef stew, and chocolate and mint cheesecake. Plus, I’ll share how you can turn your beer green 🙂

Read on for recipes and pictures.

First up, green beans and bacon! I found this recipe on the Food Network, and then proceeded to tweak it to better match my own tastes.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lbs. green beans (trimmed)
  • 1/2 lb. bacon (roughly chopped)
  • 3-5 green onions (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2-4 tbsp. lemon juice (to taste)
  • seasonings as desired (e.g., salt, black pepper, Greek or Italian seasoning, etc.)

Directions

  1. Boil a pot of water. Add the green beans to the boiling water for approximately 5 minutes (until crisp-tender). Drain and shock in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again.
  2. Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp (approximately 5 minutes). Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Drain bacon grease into a cup.
  3. Add 2 tbsp. of grease back to the pan and saute the green onions until tender. Add garlic and continue to saute for about 1 more minute.
  4. Add the green beans to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes. Return bacon to the pan, add lemon juice and toss. Season if desired.

 

Here is where I found the original Irish pub beef stew recipe. My take is below.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. stewing beef
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 10 1/2 oz. tomato soup (1 can)
  • 10 1/2 oz. water
  • 4 carrots (diced)
  • 4 large potatoes (cut into chunks)
  • 2 stalks celery (cut into chunks)
  • seasonings to taste (e.g., Greek or Italian seasoning)
  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed bay leaf or thyme

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, brown the beef in butter over medium high heat.
  2. Add the soup and water, stir.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Transfer to a large crock pot or dutch oven and cook on High/300oF for 5 hours.

 

image

My camera doesn’t take the greatest pictures, but there is a bowl of stew with a side of green beans. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend mixing them as the lemon and tomato made an… interesting combination.

I loved it, my husband said it tasted “store bought” (but refused to clarify whether that was a good thing or not), and our housemates said it smelt delicious. We didn’t share with them though, as my husband wanted to take leftovers to work for lunch. (So it can’t have been too bad by his standards, right?)

Desserts are much more my forte though. 🙂

For dessert, I made chocolate mint cheesecake bars, which I found over on All Recipes. I made it pretty much exactly as stated on that site.

image          image

 

Now, for the above recipes I tweaked even more as I was cooking. Mainly for simplicity reasons. I doubled the meat and soup base for the stew, and used a bag of mini potatoes rather than getting a full sized one and cubing it. For the cheesecake, I couldn’t find mint chips, and I thought I had a can of cream cheese icing left over but I couldn’t find it. So I had to make some from scratch. And then used semi-sweet, dark, and white chocolate chips on the top (and didn’t bother melting and drizzling extra chocolate because I have a caffeine intolerance, and that’s plenty enough chocolate for me). Also, because I couldn’t find the mix the recipe suggested, I just used a double fudge cake mix and a packet of instant pudding powder. I’d recommend fully melting the butter, because ‘softened’ did not mix in with all the powder very well. Once it was baked it was a nice crust, but I’m more used to it sticking together a bit better to start with.

I also added probably close to 40 drops of green food colouring to get it that green. Next time, I’ll use the Wilton gel colours because they tend to colour things better. 40 drips seems like a ridiculous amount just to make my minty cheesecake feel leprechaun approved.

 

Finally, if you want to drink green beer, you have a couple of options.

You can add 1-6 drops of food colouring to your beer and then stir. This works best for light coloured beers, and if you put the colouring in the cup before pouring a darker beer into the cup, the head should show up coloured green.

If you don’t like the idea of adding all that extra food colouring to your drink (especially after adding some to get the cheesecake bars looking green), then you can try 1 tbsp. of wheatgrass juice, or 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of spirulina. I haven’t tried either of those, but they’re supposed to be an organic alternative to colouring your beer.

Anybody have a favourite green and/or St. Patty’s recipe? I’d love to hear ’em 🙂

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