Tuesday, March 19, 2013

St Patty's Boiled Dinner at Rancho Winslow Fabuloso

Rancho Winslow St. Patty's Boiled Dinner

The Irish Cream Cake, Soaked in Baileys

I’ve seen “boiled dinner” on many an old historical menu and it always disgusted me just a little bit, to think of good food boiling away in some pot, getting mushy and devoid of nutrients; for the dentally-challenged it might be a good thing. Well, I’ve changed my mind.

I was issued an invite to a St. Patty’s Day dinner at Rancho Winslow for last Sunday, the menu for which was basically the old boiled dinner concept: a long simmering pot with corned beef, and towards the end, in go the onions, carrots, and spuds. Corned beef is merely a brisket that is brined with pickling spices and salt, before it is slow simmered in water or stock (it makes its own stock actually).

Princess Di trimmed the new potatoes “oreo-style”, with the white stripe around the middle, in honor of fancypants restaurants and Jack White. The carrots and onions were left deliciously chunkified. I was handed the cabbage to cook, since it wouldn’t have fit in the braising pot (thankfully). I plopped it shredded-up into a big skillet with some olive oil and lots of butter, a liberal sprinkling of granulated roasted garlic, and some black pepper; simple and effective.  Cooked minimally it comes out sweet and mild; proclaimed by more than one as the best cabbage they had ever eaten.

So that was the scene: sliced corned beef, braised oreo spuds, carrots, and onion, and sautéed cabbage with butter. CBoy was sucking down some Guinness, Di wine, Jules Diet Coke, and restorative seltzer water for me. Princess Di had also made a deliriously good Irish Cream Cake, loaded with chocolate chips, and 2 cups of Baileys in the cake and the frosting. It reminded her of the time she was making a rum cake and put so much rum in it that it ended up exploding-open her oven door after she started it cooking; that story sure caused some giggles. Somebody ate my big piece of cake right off of my plate, forcing me to get another.

Once I sliced the beef and Di had whipped up a sour cream horseradish and tarragon sauce for it, the eating commenced. I’ve never heard quite as much moaning and groaning during a meal. Everything was fantastic, and in between bites, full-mouthed mumbles were addressed to the Blarney Stone, and leprechauns, the lack of snakes, and St. Patrick his own self back in AD 385–461 (who knew it was that long ago?). I never thought that much about St. Patty’s Day before, but I’ll remember this one.

My FIRST plate, with a cup of the boiling broth.....

Mick Vann ©   

Plant Pics 3192013

I have had it with Facebook not letting me post photos unless I delete Adobe from my desktop. Do that, and everything works fine, reinstall Adobe so I can read PDF's and Facebook has a hissy fit. I can live without Facebook, and will just post the plant pics on my blog.

This a big huge Tilandsia fasciculata, or Giant Airplant, from Central America, about 3 feet across.

Euphorbia cylindrifolia, from Madagascar. Small blooms about ½” across. Looks like a pile of green beans; it is not.

Big puffy eupatorium or ageratum-like pom pom blooms of Bartlettina sordida, from the high misty forests of Southern Mexico down to Guatemala. AKA “Purple Torch” and Blue Mistflower” it gets 10-12’ tall in the wild; 4½ feet in my greenhouse. The blooms smell like cotton candy.

Brugmansia in full-on bloom, earlier this month on the east side of the greenhouse.

A double spray of the Phalaenopsis hybrid that refuses to quit blooming.

It’s Amaryllis time! These scarlet trumpets are huge: 7” across. Double stems, 4 blooms each, simultaneous.

This is a nice little orchid from Costa Rica labeled Aspacia lunata by the post doc that had it in his research plants. Only problem is, the genus is spelled Aspasia, and A. lunata looks vaguely similar, but it looks MUCH closer to Aspasia epidendroides. This one smells exactly like a sweet combination of vanilla and chocolate. It’s a reliable little bloomer.

The yellow form of Crown of Thorns, Euphorbia milii forma lutea.    


Mick Vann ©