Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day Aftermath / Sunday Early

Ugh. Feeling like crap.
Yesterday Max and I went out for Mexican food. It was nice, the food was great and the conversation was fun. Lots of laughing. Max forgot his ID, so I was the only one who had a margarita... yum. We were enjoying the theme of the place. They had posters on the wall that were western or Mexican theme. One poster in Spanish on one side and a truly old poster for the Grande Ol Opr'y from 1953. Patsy Cline, Loretta, Hank Williams, etc. all smiling down on us. Max is too young to recall them. But I enjoyed it.

While there we talked about diner. Max's favorite meal is corned beef and cabbage and our tiny market that never gets corned beef in except for ST. P's day actually had it. So we decided to make it an Irish/Mexican Valentine's Day. Why not? Off to the store on the way home and then home to cook... in more ways than one. I don't drink very often, or at least I never used to but lately I have been having a drink here or there. Alcohol can really creep up on me fast.

So I trimmed all the fat off the corned beef, put it on to boil with half of the spices in one packet. I always make two corned beef slabs at one time. (If I don't make two Max eats all of it the first day.) If I use more than half a packet of spices, even with two slabs, I'll puff up like a banana fish. Then I set about making margaritas and that was where I went wrong... I over-cooked myself and crashed out very early on in the evening. The boys dad had to walk home. The driver... me... was down for the count. Don't worry, the boys are grown up now. No neglected children while mommy gets too deep in the cup.

But I did stay alert long enough to slather mustard all over the corned beef, coat it in fresh cracked pepper and put it in the oven to bake the fat out of it. While that part bakes, I fill the juice in the pot with red potatoes, skins on, cut in quarters, a carrot sliced, and a head of cabbage chopped into bite sizes and let that boil together. The end result was perfect. A good rich broth, firm but cooked potatoes and delightful cabbage. I slice the corned beef thin and people add as much corned beef as they want to their bowls.

I'd like to say it's a lot of work, but really it isn't at all. It's one of those dishes you can ignore and do other things while you cook it and the end result is amazing. Same with red beans and rice. My mother used to say they were wash day dishes, meaning that you were busy washing clothes by hand on that day and needed to make food for the family that could mind itself while you worked... back when women were insanely busy just being wives and mothers.

Before I get myself into trouble I know that women are busy now... still insanely so, just in a different way. We aren't often making our own bread by hand for the day or washing on a scrub board in a tub on the kitchen table. Women now can run by a fast food place and grab a quick diner for the family and avoid that whole thing. We don't do that because we don't have fast food here. None. Not a bad thing either. Fast food is killing us. Children are getting adult onset (Type2) diabetes... how crazy is that? So I collect foods that are healthy and can make themselves while I do the other things that I do.

Corned beef is not the most healthy. But if you trim all the fat off it can be healthy enough for the occasional meal. Especially if you bake it and let the remaining fat cook out. The mustard keeps the meat moist as well as adds that divine flavor. It's like other things. Chicken is only healthy for you if you don't drench it in fat. We do not fry anything at our house. There is bake, broil or grill. Max and I mostly eat fish and chicken. Squeaky has rules and eats very differently from the rest of us. Their crabby old father gets fed whatever he wants... because it makes my life easier. He does not live with us, but he eats with us. Our arrangement is very weird but works for us. He is there for family time with the boys. We kept our family life and got rid of our marriage life. It's hard to explain. But I have to say, being able to load him into the car and take him to his place... and leave him there when I want or need to... is very handy. No fights.

I hope that you had a wonderful Valentine's Day. I hope you did not do like me and over-cook your brain on margaritas. Cause I really do feel like crap today. Oooooo


  1. I've never had corned beef and cabbage.

  2. I used to like corned beef (back when I was still eating red meat) but never made it. But I am all for misxing cultures when I'm cooking. It's a small world!

  3. i lost my taste for beef after spending time in a slaughter house.