Special Occasion

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Root Vegetables

Posted by on Mar 14, 2016 in Meat, Special Occasion | 0 comments

Photo Source: www go-today.com

Wide is the door of the little cottage.

My mom always made a big pot of Corned Beef and Cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day; and so it has for me the last 45 years.  The aroma of long-simmering salty, briny pickled brisket evokes all kinds of food memories, including March 17, 1972 when I was a pregnant shade of green.

As it is said, we all become Irish for a day, celebrating at parades with bearded trickster leprechauns, shamrocks, and hopefully; a bubbling pot of the Irish-American dish.


My recipe evolved from potatoes and carrots to the addition of rutabagas and turnips which I adore, especially when the baby varieties spring up at the market.  Since the meat shrinks significantly, consider cooking two pieces and load up on the vegetables.  Leftover bits and pieces reign superior on their own.


Simply place the meat and pickling spice packet


 (I use extra spices),

peppercorns, and bay leaves in a large Dutch oven with celery stalks and a peeled onion studded with whole cloves; cover with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook the meat 50 minutes per pound.


The meat should be fork tender but not falling apart.  Remove the celery and toss.  You may discard the onion too, but we like it.


During the last 20-30 minutes, layer the potatoes into the pot; then the remaining veggies cut into uniform pieces.


These turnips were such dolls; I left them whole with their cropped green hats.


Add cabbage wedges when the vegetables are nearly done, and cook covered another 5 minutes or just until the leaves are wilted.  Remove the meat and slice across the grain.


Load a heated platter with sliced meat and piles of grouped vegetables.  Dress them all up with chopped fresh parsley and a few ladles of aromatic broth.  Serve with English-style mustard and good sweet butter.  I go BIG, and stir a heaping spoonful of extra-hot creamed horseradish sauce (to taste) into newly whipped (unsweetened of course) heavy cream seasoned with freshly ground pepper as a foil for the corned beef.


Irish Soda bread or cornbread with honey?;

Creamed Corn Cornbread, please!

Corned Beef and Cabbage with Root Vegetables


  • 6-7 pounds corned beef
  • 1 onion stuck with 8-10 cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4-5 celery ribs with leaves
  • 2 teaspoons peppercorns
  • 1-2 Tablespoons pickling spices
  • 1 ½ pounds carrots, peeled
  • 1 ½ pounds small white rose potatoes, peeled
  • 1 ½ pounds rutabagas, peeled and quartered
  • 2 bunches baby turnips
  • 2 large cabbages, wedged
  • Chopped parsley


  1. Place corned beef, onion, bay leaves, celery ribs, peppercorns, and pickling spices in a large stockpot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 50 minutes per pound, about 3-4 hours or until meat is tender but not falling apart. Add carrots, potatoes, rutabagas, and turnips. Cook vegetables 20-30 minutes more. Add wedged cabbage and cook 5-7 minutes more. Arrange vegetables on a platter with sliced corned beef. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with English style mustard and creamed horseradish sauce.
  2. Serves 8-10
  3. © Copyright 2015 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  4. All Rights Reserved
  5. http://cococooks.net/


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My Beautiful Soft Buns

Posted by on Jul 2, 2014 in Special Occasion | 1 comment

Traditionally, everyone grills something on the Fourth of July. Right?  If you are planning burgers or sliders, why not make your own Beautiful Burger Buns.








The recipe is courtesy of King Arthur Flour, soft and vaguely sweet but as you might have guessed, I tweaked it ever so slightly—and they make even a sandwich sing the Star-Spangled Banner!








I proof my yeast when making bread or pizza dough in 3/4 to 1 cup of water.  The lesser amount works during the summer months or in humid weather.











Mix the butter (I used coconut oil), salt, sugar (I used only 1 tablespoon), egg with the flour. With the mixer on low speed, add the yeast mixture around the edge of the bowl.  If the dough doesn't come together-- add more water a tablespoon at a time.








The dough comes together easily.


















Round out the dough and place it in an oiled bowl.








Cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 2 hours).








Gently deflate the dough,








and divide into 8 pieces (I weighed each portion and got 9 3-ounce pieces).








I skipped the additional butter topping and used an egg white and sprinkled the tops with black sesame seeds.







For smaller buns divide the dough into 12 pieces or even smaller 3-inch "slider bun"s.  Allow them to rise, covered with a light towel, for about an hour.








They really are the best soft buns ever!












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A Land Flowing with Milk and Honey

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Salad, Special Occasion | 0 comments

Passover is a Jewish memorial feast of great rejoicing to celebrate the deliverance of the Israelites’ from their bondage in Egypt.  The Seder meal is accompanied by narrative, and prayers placed throughout the dinner.  Many Christians celebrate the Passover Seder in connection with Lent and Easter not only in a common spirit of gratitude for our own Jewish heritage, but Jesus’ Last Supper table with the disciples.  Ritual food steeped in tradition symbolizes the story of the flight of the Hebrews.  Seder menus may have evolved in modern times to embrace new lighter and more colorful tastes—with honor and love for the ritual and classics.








This year a nontraditional salad is part of the menu reminiscent of the foods MP and I enjoyed in Israel-- a land of cucumbers and tomatoes.

Because the ingredients are, humble and few, use the best ones available.  These tomatoes are the winter salad variety grown in Carlsbad, California.  I get them from Chris at the Thursday Farmers' Market (Costa Mesa Fairgrounds) or Saturdays at the University Marketplace, Irvine.








Begin by peeling strips from the cucumber lengthwise before slicing.  This is the small thin -skinned Turkish variety.








Sprinkle the cucumbers with salt and refrigerate at least 30 minutes; then drain and add 3 tablespoons of the dressing.








Likewise cut the tomatoes into wedges and sprinkle with salt to drain (do not refrigerate tomatoes).








Prepare the dressing.








Dijon, garlic, and capers are crushed to combine.








Whisk in fresh lemon juice and then, the olive oil








one tablespoon at a time; adjust seasonings.

Just before serving, add the drained tomatoes with the sliced cucumbers; add torn mint leaves to the vegetables. Tumble the salad onto a platter and pour remaining dressing over all.  Top with crumbles of Feta.







Enjoy this salad during the Passover and Easter holidays and it makes a great potluck dish all summer long.


Israeli Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Feta and Lemon Vinaigrette


  • Salad:
  • 1 pound small Turkish cucumbers (about 4), sliced
  • 1 pound medium tomatoes (about four), cut into wedges
  • 3-4 ounces crumbled Feta cheese,
  • Fresh mint, to taste
  • Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon capers, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (to taste)


  1. Prepare cucumbers by peeling wide lengthwise strips alternately leaving some green parts. Slice the cucumbers into a bowl and salt them. Chill the cucumbers for at least 30 minutes. In the same way, cut the tomatoes into wedges and salt them. Let the tomatoes stand at room temperature. This step allows the vegetables to release juices.
  2. Meanwhile, add the garlic, Dijon, and capers to a small bowl. Crush the capers into the Dijon; add the lemon juice and slowly whisk in the oil in a steady stream until emulsified. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
  3. Drain the cucumbers and toss with some of the dressing. Drain the tomatoes and combine with the cucumbers. Toss the vegetables with 3-4 tablespoons fresh torn mint leaves (to taste). Place the salad on a serving platter and drizzle with remaining dressing. Garnish with Feta.
  4. Serves 6-8
  5. © Copyright 2014 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  6. All Rights Reserved
  7. http://cococooks.net/





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Morel Madness

Posted by on Oct 21, 2013 in Special Occasion | 0 comments

The garage sale was over.  The haul to Salvation Army was in process.  I wanted the day to be over and done.  We wanted to go to the sea.

When I was cleaning and organizing the "lighter leaner" cabinets I remembered two food gifts yet appreciated. 








A lovely box of saffron threads from my cooking friend, Linda (she walked the Camino de Santiago last spring).








Then there was nearly an ounce of dried morels waiting patiently for a spectacular duet, a gift from Todd, also known as the Orange County Cheese Guy. 








MP filled in the blank with ten soft fleshy sea scallops.








I wrote the chorus, hummed it a few times and the verses sang along in time.

Risotto is one of those dishes that soothes my soul.  There is no actual recipe.  It begins with a tentative map then transcends when it is ready.

Until then, stir, stir, and stir.








Begin by reviving the morels in 2 cups of boiling water.








A little browned compound butter and olive oil ready for the shallot and first addition of salt and pepper.  Remember to taste and season each layer.








Saute the shallots until they are sheer; then add 1 cup carnaroli  or arborio rice.








Let the stirring begin-coat all the grains well before








adding a glug of white wine.  It will begin to release a fantastic smell as it is absorbed.

You are adding enough liquid to be absorbed-- just to keep the rice from drying out-- before adding another ladle.  Have ready 2-3 cups more boiling water or stock to add when the mushroom liquid is gone.








Drain the mushrooms and begin adding the strained soaking liquid ladle by ladle.















This slow selective method is what creates the creamy texture.  The gentle simmer and stirring causes a friction between the grains.  Which is the reason you stand there lovingly for nearly a half an hour.








When the risotto is cooked, slice and stir in the prize plumped mushrooms and the saffron threads.








Behold the exotic~ you are almost there.








Stir in Parmesan or  Pecorino and chopped chives.  Stud the risotto with seared scallops and grab a fork and a fine heirloom napkin (the kind you have to iron).







Rich fancy woodsy mushrooms, plump rice, and mild star struck shellfish.

Phil Collins testified,

“Every heart that’s been broken

Knows these things must not go unspoken

Giving yourself, giving each other

The strength to lean on each other

I’ll be there for you; you’ll be there for me.”



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