A Taste of Ireland: St. Patrick's Day Recipes
Celebrate with these healthy versions of comfort-food classics
St. Patrick's Day isn't just about wearing green. It's the holiday when many
Americans make an extra effort to eat like the Irish. It may be the one time a
year when we sit down to a corned beef and cabbage dinner.
When we think of "Irish food," we often think of the irrepressible potato.
But the potato actually wasn't brought to Ireland from the New World until
about 300 years ago. Besides potatoes, beef and dairy farming are strong in
Ireland. But the most popular meat to serve at the big Sunday meal is
(drumroll, please) ? pork!
Wheat and barley crops have been growing in Ireland for about 5,000 years,
and oats and rye became staple cereals about 1,500 years ago. You'll find these
smart carbohydrate-rich cereals in many an Irish recipe.
Speaking of recipes, I thought you might be
in the mood for a few fun Irish dishes. These are lighter renditions of the
original Irish recipes, and each includes journaling suggestions.
Mini Potato Cakes
The original potato cake recipe calls for making a large, skillet-size
pancake and dividing it into 4 wedges once it's browned. In this rendition, we
cut out the dough into 3-inch-round mini cakes instead.
3/4 cup unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons butter, chilled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (leftover mashed potatoes work great)
1 tablespoon fat-free half-and-half or low-fat milk (if needed)
Canola cooking spray
About 1 tablespoon canola oil (optional)
- Add flour to medium bowl. Using a plastic knife, cut the butter into small
pieces and add to the flour. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the
flour until granules have formed. Measure the salt and baking powder and add to
the flour mixture; stir well with fork.
- Measure and mix in mashed potatoes. Knead mixture in the bowl with your
hands, incorporating as much of the flour mixture into the mashed potatoes as
you can. Add a tablespoon of fat free half-and-half or milk, if needed, to make
the mixture into a dough.
- Roll out the dough on a floured board, using a rolling pin, till about 1/2
inch thick. Cut dough into circles using a 3-inch round biscuit or cookie
- Heat nonstick griddle or skillet over medium heat. Lightly grease bottom of
pan with canola oil (or canola cooking spray). Add potato cakes to pan,
spraying tops with canola cooking spray. When bottoms are nicely browned, flip
cakes over with spatula to brown other side. (If you want to add cheese on top
of the cakes, do it now.) When the underside is browned, remove cakes to
Serving suggestion: Although it's not called for in the original recipe,
these cakes are delicious when you sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over the top
while the second side is cooking. By the time the second side has browned, the
cheese is melted!
Makes 10 mini cakes (about 5 servings).
Per serving (without cheese): 132 calories, 3 g protein, 19 g
carbohydrate, 5 g fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 261 mg
sodium. Calories from fat: 35%.