Everyone is familiar with the revelry associated with St. Patrick’s Day, but not everyone knows St. Patrick was a real person who was the patron saint of Ireland. Born in the Roman-controlled part of Britain, he was kidnapped at age 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave, according to Britannica.com. He escaped but returned years later to convert the country to Christianity. Numerous legends surround St. Patrick, including one about his driving snakes out of the country (there are no snakes in Ireland). Today, St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of all things Irish. No get-together is complete without ample offerings of green food because, after all, everyone goes green on St. Patrick’s Day.
Pesto is about as green as you can get and is a wonderful condiment that can be used in a variety of ways. For instance, mix some into your deviled egg recipe (substitute for the mustard), toss cooked shrimp in it or use it as a spread for cheese on a charcuterie board. Thread fresh mozzarella pearls with cherry tomatoes and salami slices on a skewer, then drizzle with pesto. Toss it with warm pasta and fresh grated Parmesan cheese for a quick dinner. You also can top a block of cream cheese with pesto for a tasty dip.
Cucumbers are a green veggie with a lot of uses. Spread your favorite cracker with cream cheese, minced cucumbers and feta cheese crumbles. Drizzle with some balsamic vinegar just before serving. Cucumbers also can be turned into pickles. Drain a 46-ounce jar of whole dill pickles, cut them into thick slices and put back into the jar. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 cup white vinegar with 1¾ cups white sugar. Cook to boiling, then pour over the pickle slices in the jar. Cover and refrigerate. The dill pickles will become sweet pickles, and the longer they’re in the fridge, the crispier they become.
Spinach is a great ingredient for your green theme. Toss it in a salad or on top of a pizza. Saute it with some crumbled, cooked bacon, then add it to some warm pasta. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and top with fresh Parmesan. Another idea is to combine chopped spinach with 4 ounces softened cream cheese, ¾ cup minced chopped onion, ½ cup crumbled, cooked bacon and ½ teaspoon salt. Stuff into chicken breasts sliced horizontally. Season as desired and bake at 350 degrees until done.
For dessert, try lime options — lime sherbet topped with whipped cream and green sprinkles or lime gelatin in your favorite poke cake recipe. Or use green-colored frosting on cookies or a cake. For drinks, put some fresh mint in your iced tea or lemonade or drop cucumber slices and fresh basil leaves into your water.
No matter what food you serve, just remember the day is about celebrating and having fun! Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!
– Tiffany Hughes is an Acworth resident and works for the Booth Western Art Museum. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• 4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
• 4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
• 4 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
• ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• Fresh ground black pepper
• Fresh lemon thyme, to taste
In a food processor, combine basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic and salt and puree. While the motor is running, drizzle in olive oil until incorporated. Season with pepper and lemon thyme to taste. Store in refrigerator in a glass jar with plastic wrap laying on top of the pesto to prevent discoloration. Note: If lemon thyme is unavailable, use regular thyme with some lemon zest.
Greek Spinach Frittata
• 8 eggs
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon oregano
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
• 8 ounces frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Preheat broiler. In a large bowl, whisk eggs with salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano and set aside. Drizzle olive oil in a medium ovenproof skillet. Add spinach and saute on medium-high until reheated. Add egg mixture and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low then top with olives and feta. Cook until edges are set, about 3-4 minutes. Place skillet in oven and broil until top is golden-colored, about 1-2 minutes.
• 1 can black-eyed peas, drained
• 1 can black beans, drained
• 1 large cucumber, chopped
• 1 cup corn
• ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 8 ounces salsa verde
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Top with feta cheese, if desired. Serve with fresh veggies or tortilla chips, on crackers or in tacos.
Marshmallow Key Lime Pie
• Graham cracker crust
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened and divided
• 1 can sweetened condensed milk
• ½ cup Key lime juice
• Zest of 1 lime
• Dash salt
• One egg yolk
• 2 cups miniature marshmallows
• 5 tablespoons butter
• ½ cup heavy whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat 5 ounces cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, zest and salt until well blended. Add egg yolk and mix on low speed just until combined. Pour into crust and bake 15-20 minutes or until center is set. Cool on wire rack. While pie is baking, melt marshmallows and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour mixture in a large bowl, along with whipping cream and remaining cream cheese. Blend on low until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. When the pie and marshmallow mixture are sufficiently chilled, beat marshmallow mixture on medium-high until light and fluffy. Spread on pie and serve.