Tuesday, March 18, 2014

On cooking a corned beef meal: A Lesson in Living

     Timing is everything, whether you are cooking a corned beef meal or living a wonder-filled life.  Some things require patience and a gentle simmering.  Good corned beef is not to be rushed.  Put your corned beef in a pot, cover it with water, add some extra bay leaves and Italian seasoning and let it gently simmer 50 minutes per pound.  Know that the corned beef that you started off with will shrink but do not despair, it is part of the process.

     When the interminable period of simmering is over, remove your corned beef and let it rest for at least 20 minutes.  Sometimes, when you neglect to observe the rest period, things are torn asunder.  Patience has a purpose.

     While the corned beef is resting, add your cabbage wedges, chunks of potatoes and carrots, and a couple of Portuguese sausages in the water the corned beef was simmered in.  The resultant flavors will seep into the gently simmering vegetables.   The sausage will be bursting with flavors.  Give things a chance to meld and metamorphasize.  Just about the time the vegetables are tender, your corned beef is ready to be sliced.  Knowing the character of things will help to guide when things should be added to the mix.  If you put your vegetables in too early, you will end up with an overflowing pot with a pile of overcooked vegetables.  Everything has a point at which it will be at its best.  Know what you are dealing with and prioritize your actions.

     Arrange your corned beef, sausages, and vegetables attractively on platters.  Choose a variety of really tasty mustards to spice up the corned beef.  Sweet and hot, coarse brown mustard with mustard seeds, sweet honey mustard, yellow mustard...flavors for every palate.  Allow diversity to meet the needs of people.  Challenge people to try something new.  The more they grow, the more interesting they will become.

     Encourage your guests to serve themselves and pass the platters of food to their seat mates.  Cooperation and sharing are always important ingredients to healthy relationships.  Eat slowly...enjoy the food--its pungent smells, its visual arrangements, its flavors.  All these things make for a great experience for all.


1 comment:

  1. My sister-in-law is Irish so we try to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. My favorite is Cooks corned beef, but I haven't been able to find it lately.