Besides raising a glass with friends for St. Paddy’s Day the next best thing to do is eat! Here’s a dinner menu with recipes that’s sure to have your friends toasting YOU!

Corned Beef and Cabbage

1 large corned beef brisket
2 or 3 cans of cheap beer, e.g. MGD
a couple of dried chilies, perhaps serranos
1 or 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 or 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
a few dashes cinnamon
a few dashes of allspice
3 or 4 large potatoes, scrubbed and chopped in quarters
5 or 6 carrots, coarsely sliced
3 or 4 turnips, scrubbed and sliced
1 large cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 lb mixed beans

Buy a corned beef brisket at your local supermarket. In a pot, pour 12 ounces of beer. Add a bay leaf or two, a dried red Chile or two, a teaspoon or two of coriander seeds, a teaspoon or two of mustard seeds, a few dashes of cinnamon, a few dashes of allspice, and all the juice from the corned beef pack. Put the corned beef on a steamer rack in the pot and add water to bring the liquid level up to the bottom of the rack.

Cover the pot and put it on some heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Steam for several hours (it took me five hours for a 4 lb brisket) until the meat doesn’t feel rubbery when you stick a fork in it. Add water or beer or both as needed to keep some liquid in the pot. [I usually steam the corned beef over night.]

Remove the meat and slice. Remove the steamer rack. [I just leave the meat in at this point. It’s in no condition to slice.] Leave all the other stuff in the pot and put in some potatoes and carrots and turnips or whatever. Add water [or MGD!] to cover and boil until the stuff is cooked. Remove all the vegetables and potatoes. [I leave the potatoes, carrots and turnips in.] Put the steamer rack back in and put in some cabbage wedges. Steam them for about five to ten minutes, depending on how crisp or soggy you like cabbage. [I use 15 minutes.] Serve.

Get out some beans which you have thoughtfully left soaking overnight in water (I used white beans, red beans and black beans all mixed up). Drain them and put them in a pot. Cover them with the liquid that you have been using to cook the corned beef and cabbage and potatoes and vegetables. The liquid should be about an inch higher than the beans. Simmer for three or four hours or until the beans are as firm or as mushy as you like them. The beans will not be ready with the rest of the meal but, you can eat them reheated the next day when the flavors have had a chance to “marry”.

Irish Soda Bread

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg, beaten
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup raisins
1 tsp caraway seeds.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan or 1 1/2-qt. casserole dish. Cream butter and sugar, add egg, and blend well. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the creamed ingredients. Mix well. Stir in the buttermilk until blended. Add raisins and caraway seeds. Pour into pan evenly. Cut a bold cross on top of bread (prevents cracking — I always do but the cross thing doesn’t seem to work for me — hope that you all have success). Bake 1 hour until lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Dust with icing sugar. Truly delicious.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Bars
Makes 32 squares

For Cake:
1 pkg Moist Deluxe yellow cake mix
3 eggs
2/3 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
1/3 cup oil

For Swirl:
1 can cream cheese frosting (Vanilla Creamy)
1 pkg white chocolate chips
1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a jelly roll pan (about 15x10x1-inch). Mix cake mix with eggs, Irish Cream and oil. Set aside 1/2 cup of prepared cake batter for swirl. Pour cake batter into prepared pan.

In a small bowl, blend all swirl ingredients. Drop large spoonfuls of this mixture over the cake batter. Swirl with a fork to make a marble effect. Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.