Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Late with St. Patrick's Day Dinner plus Pics from Hiking

This last Sunday was hiking at the Mt. Baker National Forest Trail 22 here in Washington state. The weather either out-and-out rained or calmed to a mere drizzle. As the hiking group descended, the drizzle stopped . . . of course =o).Round trip, the hike was 5.4 miles with a destination view of a frozen lake and snow at the top. The trail has old growth timbers, coating of thick moss, waterfalls, rushing rivers and stunning views everywhere we looked.I tested the group's patience for massive picture taking with my Canon Rebel XLR. I think the count was 236 pictures when I downloaded onto the computer.Some were more prepared for the hike then others. The weather may have been drizzly but the temperature was in the mid 50's so no one froze.The whole trail was well maintained.
The last of the huge trees before the scenery starts to change to a rockier terrain.Our goal is only about 15 minutes from this point.From rain to snow and ice. Amazing and Gorgeous! There is a wooden bridge and path around the whole lake and the lake is 50 feet deep in the center.While descending, the river's rush gets so loud, having any conversation is difficult. The hike is one I would love to do again. The drive took about 1 hour and 45 minutes to get to the trail from our house and the hike took the group about 3 1/2 hours. Carpooling was the way to go and pizza afterwards, then home.
Monday night meant dinner catch-up for me. I have been trying to make the St. Patrick's Day dinner since the 17th and defrosted my corned beef 2 days ago. I started doing evening bike rides last week, which threw off my whole schedule. The shortest of the rides was 22 miles. I think I bikes a total of 68 miles during the week. (Uhm, I haven't been on a bike in 19 years and have my father's Fuji racing bike to get accustomed too.)
St. Patrick's Day Menu:
Iced Irish Coffee; Whiskey-Glazed Corned Beef; Sweet n' Sour Cabbage and Guinness Floats
Iced Irish Coffee
(adapted from Cuisine at Home)
Makes: 4 servings (about 3 cups)
Total time: 15 minutes
2 cups ice cubes
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄4 cup hot water
2 cups fresh brewed coffee, chilled
3⁄4 cup Irish whiskey
1⁄4 cup chocolate syrup
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp. sugar, optional
Crush ice in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag using a meat mallet, or use crushed ice from refrigerator door setting if you have one.
Combine 1/4 cup sugar and hot water in a pitcher; stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add coffee, whiskey, and chocolate syrup, stirring to blend. Fill serving glasses with crushed ice, then pour coffee mixture over the ice.
Whip cream and 3 Tbsp. sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form. Top each drink with a spoonful of whipped cream; serve immediately.

Whiskey-Glazed Corned Beef
(adapted from Cuisine at Home)
Makes: 2 lb. beef
Total time: about 4 hours
1 corned beef brisket ( 2- 4 lb.)
1⁄4 cup ketchup 1⁄4 cup whiskey (such as Jack Daniel’s)
1⁄4 cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard
1⁄2 tsp. ground ginger
1⁄4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Submerge corned beef, fat side up, in water in a large pot. Cover and simmer over low heat until beef is tender when pierced with a fork, 3–3 1/2 hours. (If chilling overnight, keep the meat in the liquid. Bring it to a simmer the next day, then continue with the recipe.)
Preheat oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with foil, top with a rack, and coat with nonstick spray. Transfer the cooked beef to the prepared rack, fat side up. Use a knife to trim off the fat—it will be soft and easy to remove.
Whisk together ketchup, whiskey, vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, dry mustard, ground ginger, and pepper flakes in a saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat until thickened, 3–4 minutes. Spoon glaze onto beef, then roast for 10 minutes, or until the glaze is dark and sticky. Remove from oven and let meat rest for 15 minutes.
Transfer to a cutting board, then thinly slice against the grain.

Sweet n' Sour Cabbage
Makes: 4 cups
Total time: 25 minutes
4 strips thick-sliced bacon, diced
1 tsp. all-purpose flour
2⁄3 cup dry white wine
2⁄3 cup apple juice
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1⁄2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 bag coleslaw mix (16 oz.)
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and lemon juice to taste
Sauté bacon in a sauté pan over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; pour off all but 1 Tbsp. drippings.
Whisk in flour; deglaze with wine. Add apple juice, vinegar, syrup, Dijon, and pepper flakes; simmer until slightly syrupy, 5 minutes.
Pour hot mixture over coleslaw and onion in a bowl; toss. Finish with parsley, salt, and lemon juice. Serve Guinness Float
1 scoop vanilla bean ice cream
One 14.9-ounce can Guinness Draught beer
Whipped cream, for topping
Dash nutmeg
Place the ice cream in a large soda-fountain glass. Fill the glass with the beer. Top with a swirl of whipped cream and the nutmeg.

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