Country CousinIssue Date: March 16, 2018
Aren't We All Irish?...
The calendar says Spring will be here in less than a week - on Tuesday, March 20. The weatherman and the thermometer seem to disagree. However, that same calendar says St. Patrick's Day will be here on Saturday, March 17. That we can count on, weather or not. Enjoyment of Green Beer and corned beef does not hinge on shirt sleeve weather if you're a true wannabe Irishman!.
That said, maple trees are being tapped, so despite the bitter damp chill of recent days, and the fact that ice is still pretty much everywhere, maybe Spring really is just around the corner.
What do you get when you cross poison ivy with a four-leaf clover?
A rash of good luck.
JOHN KENNEDY WAS HERE
St. Thomas Aquinas Academy in Marinette will hold its 36th annual auction at the high school (formerly Marinette Catholic Central High School and before that Our Lady of Lourdes High School) on Sunday, March 18.
Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. Auction booklets with listings of all oral auction items and a bidding number can be purchased for $10. On-site child care is available.
Among items to be auctioned is "The Kennedy Door," that supposedly was used by then Presidential Candidate John F. Kennedy during a bathroom break while visiting the school during his campaign in March of 1960.
Story goes that the priests in charge of the school did not want to have the visiting dignitary use the public boys' restroom at the school so they took him to the rectory behind the school to use their facilities. The door to that room was saved when the rectory was torn down and it is among items to be auctioned on Sunday.
Also recently learned that a framed photograph of Kennedy getting off a plane at the Menominee airport in March of 1960 while en route to give his speech at Catholic Central will be added to the historic collection displayed at the logging museum adjacent to Stephenson Island in Marinette when it reopens this spring.
The anonymous donor who had the photo in his private collection said Kennedy was in Marinette in response to an invitation from then-Mayor Ed Woleske.
Other auction items include vacations, fishing gear, diamond earrings, Packer tickets, and a money tree. There also will be bucket raffles and regular raffles for cash. Funds raised go for school improvements to classrooms and technology.
LITTLE BIT "O HUMOR
There's a story going round that during his time as President the late John F. Kennedy, who was not only Catholic, but also Irish, visited the Pope in Rome and then stopped to see the Archbishop while in Ireland.
At the Vatican, he noticed a small red phone on the corner of the Pope's desk. He asked what the special phone was for and the Holy Father told him that it was a very special that provided a direct line to God. However, he rarely used because the long distance fee for calls to Heaven was $20,000 a minute.
Some time later, at the archbishop's office in Ireland, Kennedy spotted an identical phone, and asked about it. The Archbishop said it was a direct line to God. Said he used it whenever he had puzzling question or concern, and got to talk to God quite often.
Kennedy asked if that didn't get very expensive, considering that calls to Heaven from Rome on that red phone cost $20,000 a minute.
"Oh, no," the Archbishop assured him. "Here in Ireland, Heaven is a local call."
In 1858, 160 years ago this year, Isaac Stephenson arrived in the Marinette area, where he was instrumental in expansion of the lumber industry. He became a powerful lumberman and financier and eventually, at age 77, became the first United States Senator elected from this corner of Wisconsin.
On the way to amassing a fortune, he suffered great losses in the Peshtigo Fire of 1871, but survived to become one of the wealthiest lumbermen in the area.
He founded Stephenson National Bank and Trust and funded Stephenson Public Library and numerous other public improvements. Stephenson Island in Marinette is named for him. He died 100 years ago this week, on March 15, 1918.
ON THE SOAP BOX KICKING GOD OUT
Friend sent a copy of a "joke" in which a youngster says, "Dear God, Why do you allow the shootings in our schools?", and God replies, "They kicked me out of your schools some years ago."
Now, in action that will be recommended for approval by Marinette County Board at its meeting on Tuesday, March 27, the movers and shakers of Marinette County are planning to kick Him out of the County Board room in the interest of being politically correct.
Proposed changes in wording of County Board were approved by the Executive Committee at a meeting on Tuesday, March 13. One of those changes will, if approved by the full board, eliminates the very inoffensive "moment of silent prayer" that currently comes right after the meeting is called to order in favor of a "moment for silent reflection."
Cannot understand the problem with allowing time for prayer. No one is even saying prayer to whom, just asking for help from a Higher Power. For those who don't believe in a higher power, what's the problem? How can you possibly be offended by a prayer to an entity that you do not believe exists?
Maybe it's time for those of us who do believe in God to stand up for Him!
Love ideas that make something useful out of garbage. Know that banana peels are good fertilizer for some plants, but here's another use for them. With Spring nearly here, you might want to think about sprucing up your regular leather shoes so they're ready to wear when you put away your boots.
After you've eaten your banana or used it in whatever dish you're making, rub down your shoes with the inside of the banana peel. Let that soak in a little, then buff clean with a soft cloth or paper towel. Chemicals in the banana peel not only shine the leather, they condition it, so it will forgive you for making it sit through a long dry winter.
Remember when fashion prohibited women and girls from wearing dark colored shoes after Easter? Had to be white, unless of course they were black patent leather Mary Janes. Also, the well dressed woman always wore a hat and white gloves when she went to church or some other dress-up affair.
Am told on very good authority that if you want to make brownies (from a mix) and find out you're out of eggs, substitute a mashed banana for each egg that you should have but don't.
If you're passionate about not using chemical cleaners, or if you need to run the dishwasher and find out you're out of dishwasher detergent, make your own. Just mix 1 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of washing soda, 1 cup of regular salt, and 3 packages of unsweetened lemonade. Use 1 tablespoon of this mixture for a regular load, or two tablespoons if the dishes are particularly dirty. You can also sprinkle on some of this mixture to scrub out a frying an. Sprinkle in, scrub with a paper towel, moisten, scrub again. Toss the towel and rinse the pan thoroughly with clean water.
St. Patrick's Day is a grand excuse to eat wonderful wholesome cabbage and meat dishes, and to enjoy Irish Soda Bread, which is really something like a biscuit.
Start this early in the day, because it takes a long, long time to cook. But it's worth it.
1 pound bacon, cut in small pieces
6 Bratwurst sausage (not patties)
8 cups Irish potatoes, sliced in 1/2 inch slices
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 large yellow onions, sliced
10 cups cabbage, sliced into 1-inch wedges
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup of beer or 1 cup of apple juice
2 tablespoon cider apple vinegar
When preparing the cabbage, remove most of the core, but leave enough of it for the leaves to stay together as wedges. Set aside. If not all of them stick together, that's okay. In a hot skillet, cook the bacon until crisp and the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon and place it on a paper towel to drain. Leave the bacon fat in the skillet. In that, brown the Bratwurst, not until done, just until brown. Remove the Bratwurst Sausage to a plate and set aside. Pour 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat into a heavy Dutch oven, making sure the bottom is completely covered. Place the sliced potatoes on top of the bacon fat in the dutch oven. Sprinkle with pepper. Place the onions into the hot skillet with the remaining bacon fat and sauté them just until they start to brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on top of the potatoes. Put the cabbage wedges into the hot skillet with the bacon fat and cook until the cabbage is wilted. Place the cabbage on top of the onions in the dutch oven. Then make the sauce. Start by mixing the chicken broth, beer or apple juice and apple cider vinegar together in a measuring pitcher. Set aside while you brown the flour lightly in the fat left in the skillet in which you browned everything. When it gets nice and bubbly, pour in two cups of that liquid mixture and stir until it boils and thickens. Pour this over the top of the cabbage in the Dutch oven and sprinkle the crisp bacon pieces on top. Add the Bratwurst. Pour the remaining liquid around the edge of the dutch oven, cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees and cook for 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
CABBAGE CABOODLE CASSEROLE
This probably isn't an authentic Irish dish, but does incorporate cabbage, so it's sort of half corned beef and cabbage. This recipe supposedly was made regularly by a friend's Irish grandmother and it is quite easy to make and very, very good to eat. Incidentally, am told that the Irish folks didn't really eat corned beef back on the Auld Sod - they made their version of the dish with a type of cured bacon.Corned beef they learned from their Jewish neighbors after moving to America.
1-1/2 pounds of ground chuck
8 cups fresh cabbage, sliced in half-inch strips
3 cups cooked rice
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups spicy tomato juice, like V-8 Spicy
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste
10 slices of meaty bacon, optional
Fresh parsley for garnish, optional
Cook the rice and set aside. Remove the core and slice the leafy part of the cabbage. Set aside. In a heavy skillet, brown the ground chuck, add the onions, bell peppers and garlic, cook until the onions are clear. Season with 1 teaspoon nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. With a slotted spoon, letting the fat drain back into the skillet, spoon the meat mixture into a 9 X 13 baking dish, spread it into an even layer. Next layer the cooker rice on top of the meat mixture. Lightly salt and pepper that layer. In the skillet that you cooked the meat and vegetables in, sauté the cabbage in the remaining fat and seasonings. When the cabbage is just beginning to wilt, remove it from the skillet and place it on top of the rice and salt and pepper it lightly. Pour the Spicy Tomato Juice over everything. Cover the baking dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs in honor of the Wearin' O' the Green if you like.
IRISH SODA BREAD
Make this to go with your stew - or with the more traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage if that's on your St. Patrick's Day menu. Also very good with butter and jam.
4 cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
In a large mixing bowl mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Blend the butter into the dry mixture, until it has been fully blended. Make a well in the center of the dry and butter mix then add the buttermilk. Gradually mix the buttermilk thoroughly into the dry mixture. Turn the dough out on a floured dough board and knead until a uniform ball can be formed. It should be a little more moist than regular biscuit dough. Place the dough ball in a well buttered iron or other heavy skillet that can go into the oven. Score the top of the dough. (Might be cute to cut a shallow shamrock shape on top.) Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, then cover the bread with foil and continue to cook for 15 more minutes, until the center is fully cooked. Remove from skillet immediately to prevent the bottom from burning. Best served warm, but can be reheated (in oven or toaster oven, but not the microwave) if necessary.
IRISH BREAD PUDDING
For the pudding:
5 to 6 cups Irish Soda Bread bread, cut or broken into 1-inch cubes
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup whole milk
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon set aside
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup raisins or currants, optional
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cinnamon to sprinkle on
For the sauce:
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
To make the bread pudding, cut or break bread into 1-inch pieces and fill a well buttered 2-quart casserole. Toss in the raisins if you're using them. In a medium bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, milk, egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla, and salt. Pour over the bread cubes and let sit 20 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the milk mixture. Sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon and the remaining tablespoon of sugar over the bread pudding. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and the center is set. When it is done baking, the outside should be set and pressing on the center should not release any liquid from the bread pudding.
To make the sauce: In a small saucepan, heat half and half over medium-low heat until bubbles form around the edges, about six minutes. You do not want the cream to come to a full boil or even simmer. While the cream is heating, whisk egg yolks, vanilla and sugar together in a small bowl until combined. Once the cream is heated, whisk it into the eggs, starting with a tablespoon at a time, to temper the yolks. When about half the cream has been added, pour the entire mixture into the pan with the cream and continue to heat and stir over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Can be made a day ahead. Transfer to an airtight container to store. Serve over warm bread pudding. (Have seen (and tasted) recipes where a bit of Irish whiskey, just enough to not make it too thin, is added to this sauce. Pretty good, but not for kids.)
Thought for the week: Don't know who wrote this old Irish blessing, but do love its message and want to send it along to all of you:
"May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.
(This column is written by Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz. Views expressed are her own and are in no way intended to be an official statement of the opinions of Peshtigo Times editors and publishers. She may be contacted by phone at 715-291-9002 or by e-mail to email@example.com.)
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