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Sunday, March 11, 2012

“Special Menus Index, Pt. XXXVI: ‘St. Patrick’s Day Menu 2012, Pt. I—the Salad Chef Speaks—two Excellent Irish Salads: Colcannon and Irish Lamb Salad—Unbelievable’ by Chef Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein”



As with the past twelve days, we’ve been presenting the Doors to you for your listening enjoyment and now that we’ve completed their official albums, we enter the realm of the long-lost live treasure trove of albums that was always said not to exist when suddenly, they started coming out!  Their TWENTY-SECOND album—“The DOORS: BOX SET”—was released in 1997 and was another great compilation album by one of rock’s greatest bands which became certified platinum by the RIAA.  Yes, we are backtracking a bit because we overlooked the BOX SETS.  We will make it all right! Anyhow, you’ll want to buy this one NOW!  [Unfortunately, the link may no longer be possible due to the fact that the Amazon.com Associates’ Program’s status is up in the air due to the fact that our home base is in California—you can still go there and BUY it!] Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day.






                                                                               

Here's the countdown to December 21, 2012: from today, we have 286 days to go until the End of Days, the End of Time, Armageddon, and the End of the Mayan Calendar!  Everybody, beware!



                                                                                 



STINKBUG 2012



                                                                             




Chef Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein

END Commentary 03-12-2012

Copyright © 2012 by MHB Productions

Word Count: 2,675.



CULINARY POLITICS



ELEMENTALNEWSOFTHEDAY.BLOGSPOT.COM-STINKBUG—THE HEADLINES

Elemental News of the Day Commentary-Opinion-Sports-Foodservice for Monday, March 12, 2012 by Chef Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein

SPECIAL MENUS INDEX, PT. XXXVI

Special Menus Index, Pt. XXXVI: ‘St. Patrick’s Day Menu 2012, Pt. I—the Salad Chef Speaks—two Excellent Irish Salads: Colcannon and Irish Lamb Salad—Unbelievable’ by Chef Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein



Bakersfield, CA, 03-12-2012 M: Hello, again, my friends, it is I: Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein, notable chef, manager, Mixologist, and foodserver par excellence here to do a week of nothing but St. Patrick’s Day recipes.  Unfortunately, I realize that this week is going to be a bit “mixed up” due to the fact that normally, our Special Menus run a week or two prior to the holiday.  This time, however, I drew the Special Menus’ card from Stinkbug’s hat and I told him that I could easily do a week of nothing but Irish-themed recipes and would be more than happy to put together a menu for this venerated of holidays, St. Patrick’s.  Like Cinco de Mayo, everyone loves getting into the swing of things by putting on leprechaun hats, drinking green beer, and eating corned beef and cabbage.  But once that’s over and done, most of them have absolutely no idea what else our Irish brethren eat on the Emerald Isle.  Granted, due to the influence of the United Kingdom over the course of more than 4-5 centuries, they were unable to follow their own traditions as the Brits did everything they could to eradicate them and to replace them with their own.  That obviously wasn’t a good thing but that sort of stuff went on all of the time as witnessed by the European expansion around the world in the Great Age of Discovery as they first explored and then took over the world’s peoples.  Granted, what happened to the Irish happened even earlier as they were right across the water from Great Britain and they were swamped by a better-situated and better-armed superior power. 

Here’s our menu:

ST. PATRICKS DAY 2012 DINNER MENU

I.                  Colcannon

II.               Lamb Salad

III.           Corned Beef and Chicken Chowder

IV.           Irish Lamb Soup

V.               Corned Beef and Cabbage

VI.           Braised Lamb with Cinnamon-Rhubarb Sauce

VII.        Roasted New Potatoes

VIII.    Buttered Red Potatoes and Rutabagas

IX.           Carrots and Parsnips

X.               Turnips and Peas

XI.           Irish Soda Bread

XII.        Cranberry Scones

XIII.    Apple-Pear Shortbread

XIV.    Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake

******

Today, we will make the two salads on the list. One is a classic that is made with—what else? Cabbage and potatoes! The other is a modern creation featuring ingredients found on the Emerald Isle, things easily found in your local grocery store.  Yes, it’s true, the Irish are big on potatoes, had it not been for their import after the discovery of the New World, the people might have been starved to death.  It’s also true that when the horrible potato blight struck them in the 1800’s, that it was the deaths of more than a million people that propelled them to the Americas in the great wave of immigration that practically swamped our shores.  Like many things the Hawaiians revere, their cherished foods mostly were brought in from the outside and transformed into their national dishes.  Here’s the first:

(#1307) COLCANNON





Yield:  to feed 4-5  / Mis-en-place: 1 hour +/-:




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
1
#
Green cabbage, rinsed 

2
Quarts
Chicken stock

1
Tablespoon
Better-than-Bouillon ham base

1
Each
Bay leaf

1
#
White potatoes, diced 

2
Quarts
Chicken stock

.5
#
Leeks, rinsed, cleaned, and chopped 

2
Teaspoons +
Kosher salt

1
Teaspoon +
White pepper

.5
Teaspoon
Ground coriander

.5
Teaspoon
Ground mace

1
Tablespoon
Freshly minced parsley flakes
Rinsed
.5 +
Cup
Melted butter

1
Cup
Whole milk
HOT
Hungarian paprika

.5
Cup
Minced chives




Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work!

2.      Clean the green cabbage well.  Remove the root end and then the outer leaves but don’t toss the leaves, keep the good ones.  Rinse them underneath cold running water and set aside.  Scrub the potatoes but don’t peel; then, cut them into small cubes.  Have everything else ready.

3.      The Cabbage: heat the first measure of chicken stock in a large pot and add the ham base and the bay leaf.  When it’s boiling, cut the cabbage head in half and drop the halves into it.  Reduce to heat to a very low flame and basically poach the cabbage for 10-20 minutes or until totally tender but not falling to pieces.  As soon as it’s done, remove it and transfer it into a colander to drain.  Reserve the stock as it might come in handy for making an Irish soup or for cooking cabbage for corned beef.  When the cabbage has drained for an hour, place it into a salad spinner and remove any residual cooking liquid—the best you can!—before stopping.  Chop it.

4.      The Potatoes: meanwhile, while the cabbage is being prepared, do the potatoes by heating up the second measure of chicken stock in another large pot and then dropping the spuds into it.  Cook the pieces for 10-15 minutes or until tender but NOT falling apart. When they’re close to done, throw in the chopped leeks.  As soon as everything’s done, pour them into a colander, reserving the liquid (again for soup or whatever) and drain them well. 

5.      The Colcannon: now, place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl and add the seasonings (kosher salt to parsley flakes).  Heat the cabbage in the microwave until hot and then add it to the potatoes and mix well.  Some of the mixture is going to get a bit “mashed” but that’s okay, just don’t try to mash all of it.  Add the butter bit-by-bit as this is part of the binding and then add the milk so that the finished product is sort of like a hot, lumpy potato salad with chunks of potato and bits of cabbage all semi-mashed together.  Add only enough milk to bind the mixture together and then prepare to serve.  Check and readjust the seasonings, if necessary—primarily the salt and pepper.

6.      To serve: take the reserved cabbage leaves and again go over them for any fault(s), trimming it/them off.  Line an attractive serving bowl with the leaves and then scoop the warm colcannon into it.  Smooth it into an attractive mound and the garnish with any remaining warm butter dribbled over the top followed by a few shakes of the Hungarian paprika can and some minced chives.  Then, it’s ready to be taken to the dinner table.

7.      For Restaurants: the colcannon can be kept warm on the steam table and dished up as an accompaniment for an Irish-themed dinner such as St. Patrick’s Day, either as a side dish or as a starter warm salad.  Be creative and see what you can do: all you need to do is to follow the basic steps and adjust and adapt it to your needs.

8.      Leftovers: always chill to below 45°F as quickly as possible.  Never leave out on the counter any longer than necessary and once cooled, cover with plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate.  Potatoes are candidates for possible foodborne illness-causing microbes so always pay special attention to their handling.  Keep for no longer than TWO hours on the steam table; after that—DUMP THEM!

This is a marvelous dish that’s tailor-made for restaurant service as it can be used along with corned beef and cabbage, stewed lamb or beef brisket, poached chicken or fish, and can be very tasty, indeed.  You will find this traditional dish to be very tasty and that leftovers can be transformed into a marvelous soup!

You will enjoy the above dish; it’s sort of like an “Irish potato salad” of sorts.  Anytime one combines cabbage with potatoes, wow! You’d better put a bottle of BEANO on the table!  Okay, here’s our other recipe:

(#1308) IRISH LAMB SALAD





Yield:  4 salads / Mis-en-place: 24-30 hours prep time / serving time: 8-10 minutes. 




Qty.
Measure
Item
Other
Lamb Rack Marinade:
1.5
Cups
Apple Time apple juice

5
Tablespoons
Freshly minced garlic

1.25
Cups
Orange juice

1
Each
Orange, sliced

5/8
Cup
Worcestershire sauce

1
Each
Lemon, sliced

1
Tablespoon
Whole rosemary

1.5
Teaspoons
Whole marjoram

The Lamb:
2
12-16-ounce
Lamb racks, trimmed of fat, bones scraped

Kosher salt and pepper

The Salad:
10
Ounces
Mixed salad greens (romaine, red leaf, and Mesclun)
6
Ounces
Marjoram Vinaigrette (Recipe #455)

2
Ounces
Glazed walnuts

12-16
Each
Croutons 

1
Ounce
Golden raisins

1
Ounce
Black raisins

1
Ounce 
Dried pears

1
Ounce
Craisins

The Finish:
8
Each
Green leaf lettuce leaves
Rinsed 
4
Large
Strawberries, fanned
Rinsed
1
Tablespoon
Freshly minced parsley

4
Each
Sprigs fresh parsley
Rinsed
4
Stalks
Fresh marjoram
Rinsed



Method:

1.      Mis-en-place: have everything ready with which to work! Prepare the lamb racks by removing excess fat and then removing the fat, gristle, and other scrappy parts from each bone down to where the meat begins.  Clean the bones using a piece of steel wool after having used a sharp paring knife to get them as clean and as white as you possibly can.  This is a tiresome, time-consuming process but it’s imperative that the lamb racks be prepared as professionally as possible. 

2.      Make the Marjoram Vinaigrette the night before, too, following the recipe.  It is important that the mixture have time to develop its flavor.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature for this dish’s preparation; otherwise, it would be kept refrigerated.  What we want to do is to develop maximum flavor.

3.      Combine the lamb racks’ marinade using an electric mixer equipped with a whip attachment and then transfer to a baking dish.  Place the lamb racks within the marinade and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 24 hours and at least 1-2 times during this process, turn them over so that both sides are soaked in the liquid.

4.      The next day, do two things: (a) fire up your broiler—whether it be a Jenn-Aire Range, an overhead oven broiler, or a professional broiler—and get it good and hot.  The other thing (b) is to prepare the salad ingredients and garnishes.

5.      When the broiler’s ready to go, remove the meat from the marinade and transfer it to a cutting board.  Dump the marinade—it’s unwise to re-use it for the sake of preventing the spread of foodborne illness.  Rub the racks with the kosher salt and pepper seasoning and then throw them onto the fire, meat-side DOWN on the flame.  Broil the racks, moving them around on occasion to get a good mark on the meat-side and then flip over and let the flames lick the undersides.  Cook the meat to about 135°F, lamb should ALWAYS be prepared RARE.  When it’s removed from the heat, it will continue cooking for a few minutes so get it a little bit rarer than you would.

6.      Transfer the racks to a clean cutting board and once there, separate the individual chops using a Chinese knife or a scimitar steak knife.  Place them into a baking dish or some other container and move to the refrigerator—chill them.

7.      Now that you have the dressing done, the lamb cooked, and the salad ingredients ready, all we have to do is to put the salads together when it’s time to serve them.  Bring out four large salad plates.  Set before you.  Line each one with TWO good-sized green leaf lettuce leaves. 

8.      Meanwhile, combine the ingredients listed underneath the salad in a large stainless steel mixing bowl.  Add as much dressing as you think you need and toss it.  When well-blended, tong out four portions onto the lettuce-lined salad plates.  Bring out the chilled lamb chops and place 3-4 upon each one, bones fanned out.  Do this so that the chops are placed in a way with the bones all facing in the same direction like the spokes on a wagon wheel.  Make it look like a pinwheel. Then, top each one in the center with a fanned strawberry opened as wide as possible and sprinkle with freshly minced parsley flakes.  Garnish each one with a fresh parsley sprig and a stalk or two of fresh marjoram across the top.  Serve with additional dressing in goosenecks or ramekins.

This is an amazingly good salad that is a must for events like St. Patrick’s Day.  Lamb-lovers go nuts over dishes like this and the good thing about it is it’s a meal all in itself or can be used as a starter course.

                                      ---------------------------------------------                                     

As always, we have a great time around here and that is why we want all of you to become a part of the organization by submitting articles to us for inspection and full-credit.  It is a great thing if you would do this as it’s a symbiotic relationship: we give you the space to share your recipes and in return, you send us more and more people who will hopefully become dedicated followers of the END.  In this day and age of multi-diversity across the Internet, it is important that the voices of more and more people from all walks of the foodservice profession are heard—join us. We urge our readership to write to us and leave comments and if there are any of you, who would care to write an article for us, please get in touch via Magnolia Hilltop Brewers, P.O. Box 20669, Bakersfield, CA 93390-0669.  We obviously don’t pay anything but you will be given a full byline and that’s worth its weight in gold.  We want as many people who want to write to be able to do so and we believe that by presenting a forum for our fellow chefs, we are doing something for our beloved industry.  We love diversity and hope to add new and different authors to our pantheon of chefs, food and beverage directors, and culinary professionals.  Come on and join us, it’ll be fun! Expect that when all of us have run through our cycle, we will be introducing some brand-new talent or so I’m told.

Please remember to avoid doing business with AARC Technology in Bakersfield, CA.  These people don’t care about the small customer anymore but instead put all of their attentions onto their corporate customers. It’s sad to not remember why one has the success they do or from where it came.

My friends, I realize we have a bit of a conundrum here what with our St. Patrick’s Day Special Menu running until the day after the holiday but that’s how it came up.  Originally, we were going to do a week of Coffee Shop Specialties in which the recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage would have been presented either the day before or the day of the holiday; instead, I told Stinkbug that I could do an entire week of St. Paddy’s Day recipes so he gave me the Green Light (fitting, don’t you think?) to go ahead and run with the series.  Besides, if there’s not this year, there’s always next year and if you want my opinion, these recipes are good anytime of the year, not just on St. Patrick’s Day.  All you need to know is that we’re going to have a lot of fun this week and that I am so glad to be here.  As previously mentioned, it’s been quite awhile since last I was here so I’m going to make the most of it and doing a St. Patrick’s Day menu is not only fun—it’s great!  Not a lot of people know much more about Irish cuisine once you move past corned beef and stout ale so we’re going to have fun learning all sorts of different things.  Stick around; tell your friends, family, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers, the Elemental News of the Day is growing day by day!     

 Anyhow, let us close with this impassioned plea—please leave some comments and/or become a follower and why not spend some money and purchase an album by the DOORS and/or buy a cookbook from Amazon.com—we want to make some money here so help us out by buying something!  We are allied with them and are pleased to market their merchandise! See you next time around! Bye!  

Thank you!

Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein

The Chuckster
Restaurant Manager, Mixologist, Foodserver, and Cook


This is a photo of me back in 1973 while being the Food and Beverage Director at one of the hotels in Bakersfield, CA, located on Union Avenue. I was in my late 30's at the time. I am still working at one of the local hotels in the nearby town of Delano, CA, a place that’s been my home for the past 10 years. Our city has experienced marvelous growth and is fast-becoming a player in county politics.

---30---

END Commentary for Monday, March 12, 2012 by Chef Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein.



Please note that everyone who writes for the Elemental News of the Day is their own person entitled to their own opinions, attitudes, and insanity so does not necessarily speak for all of us.  Thanks, Stinkbug.

REFERENCES:

This original essay was written by the one-and-only Chef Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein.



Recipe created by Chef Charles “the Chuckster” Smithenstein on March 10, 1979 in Bakersfield, CA.

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This is #1387 a 12” x 15" original oil painting by Beverly Carrick entitled, “Oh My Gosh.’" It's among her more beautiful works and is available for sale. You can see much more of her work at her Website, located at http://www.beverlycarrick.com or at Brian Carrick's Facebook page. At her Website, you will see not only more original oil paintings but also lithographs, giclees, prints, miniatures, photographs, and even her award-winning instructional video entitled, "Painting the Southwest with Beverly Carrick." Beverly has been painting for more than 60 years and is known around the world. Her work hangs in private and public galleries and is followed by a great many fans that circle the globe. We urge you to go to her Website NOW and view her work. It's possible that you will find something you like and will want to buy it for yourself, a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor! You will not be disappointed so please: do yourself a favor and go there IMMEDIATELY! Thank you, the Elemental News of the Day!

Web Pictures VII
                                                                                     

MARCH 17 IS ST. PATRICK’S DAY!



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