Friday, March 14, 2008

Three Important March Holidays this week

St. Patty's Day is Monday!

Wait, I must back up. Tomorrow, Saturday, March 15 is the Ides of March. This is the darkest day of the year, and incidentally, the last day Julius Casear called Brutus his good friend. Wear black on March 15 to commemorate this day.

Sunday, March 16th is St. Urho's Day. Wear purple. No, I'm not sure where the purple comes from, but you can look into the history behind the little-known excuse for drinking strong spirits and trying to slurp up ropy spoonfulls of viili.

Ok, they don't traditionally eat viili at their St. Urho's Day festivities, but years ago my mom went to a local Finnish festival in the nearby town of Oulu (it's just down the road from the small town of Ino. Don't blink!) At this festival she had a cup of viili. (It may have been called sylta, but a look-up of sylta recipes calls for veal or pork, and viili is more like yogurt.) Viili tends to get ropy when stirred, and this was definitely stirred. Mom had a hard time keeping the glob on the spoon to get it out of the cup and into her mouth. She's scoop it up on the spoon, then lift it to her mouth but the viili would slide off the spoon and end up back in the cup. Kind of like the green slime that I had in 4th grade (circa 1976). Only you weren't supposed to eat that stuff.

She ate her cup of viili... as best as she could.

I think.

Anyhoo, here are two sites you can visit for more info.
To find out the legend and the alleged true story about St. Urho's Day, visit
Also don't forget to visit the official St. Urho site.

"Heinasirka, heinasirka,
mena taalta heiteen!"

(Finnish for "Grasshopper, grasshopper, go away!")
But I digress. The whole point of this post is to share some Irish recipes with you that were emailed to me from a local foodie friend. For St. Patrick's Day. You can make them ahead of time and start enjoying them on Sunday.

I may have to review this before doing our weekly shopping this weekend. Beer potato soup sounds good with Irish soda bread, then Poached Salmon with Irish Butter Sauce (this is Oregon, after all. We have to have our salmon.) Of course, Chocolate Stout Pie would make a great dessert. (Ooh, or Brownies with Irish Cream Frosting.) Living close to Portland has got me appreciating beer more than when I lived in Wisconsin. Did you know the city of Portland Oregon has more breweries than Munich, Germany? I checked Portland and found that Portland has "28 breweries within the city-- the largest concentration of breweries of any city in the US" but somehow in the last couple months I remember reading there were over 35 within the city limits. Anyway, no offense to Guiness, Killian's and Harp, we'd have to use local beer for all the Irish cooking.

Here's the email & link:

Hi Pam,
Thought you might like this site. Has TONS of recipes!!
Black Velvet
Home Made Irish Cream Liqueur
Irish Coffee
Hot Whiskey Punch
Beer Cheese Bread
Irish Bread
Irish Scones
Spotted Dog
Stovetop Potato Irish Soda Bread
Beer Potato Soup
Irish Lamb Stew
Poached Salmon with Irish Butter Sauce
Pan-Fried Salmon with Sorrel, Apple and Scallion Relish
Pan-Seared Loin of Pork with Derry Apple Relish
Potato Bread (Traditional Version)
Potato Bread (Bread Machine Version)
Dublin Coddle
Irish Champ
Irish Potato Pie
Old Fashioned Corned Beef & Cabbage
Corned Beef & Cabbage with Horseradish Sauce
Crusty Roast Lamb
Ham Steaks with Irish Whiskey Sauce
Baked Irish-Style Parsnips
Bubble & Squeak
Irish Cream Cheesecake
Chocolate Stout Pie
Brownies with Irish Cream Icing
Irish Coffee Balls
Irish Coffee Pudding
Bailey's Irish Cream Cake
If you would really like to use Irish beer in these recipes, let Epicurious help you figure out the best one to choose.

Be sure to check Pam's Inbox for today's giggle:
Pam's Inbox

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