Happy St. Patrick’s Day Readers….The Irish have been observing this holiday for a thousand years. So, how did we come to celebrate this holiday you may have wondered? It seemed that when the Great Potato Famine hit Ireland these hard working proud people immigrated to America. The newspapers portrayed them as been inebriated most of the time and also made them out to be the lesser race. During this time the Irish soldiers were serving in the English military so they banded together, played their bagpipes, their drums and to the rhythm of their music marched up and down the streets to reconnect with their roots. That’s all it took!
In 1937 the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in the streets of New York City. Chicagoians dyed the Chicago River green, which they still do today using vegetable dye. In Dublin parades, concerts, outdoor theatre productions and fireworks rejoice that St. Patrick drove the snakes form Ireland.
Today the tradition continues from all heritages. We wear green, eat Irish foods and attend parades. But I bet you didn’t know that the leprechaun, a character known for trickery, is an American invention based on the Walt Disney film, “Darby O’Gill and the Little People!” And the shamrock you wear is a sign of the sacred plant symbolizing the rebirth of spring which represents emerging Irish nationalism.
There is not a St. Patrick’s Day that goes by that I do not recall the years I lived in New York and watched the city come alive with floats, uniformed bands marching in unison up 5th Avenue, rows of firefighters, policemen on horseback and foot, emigrant societies and various clubs, led by local politicians, confetti falling from skyscraper windows marching with the pride of the Irish. And of course once the parade was over there was nothing like ending the day drinking green beer and eating corned beef and cabbage with my friends as we paid our visits to the many Manhattan taverns!
I discovered cheesecake while living in New York. One bite and I was hooked. Since then I have been experimenting with many different types and toppings. Here is my favorite cheesecake for St. Patrick’s Day.
Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake with Chocolate Crumb Crust
1 ½ cups chocolate wafer crumbs
¼ cup melted butter
Mix all the ingredients together and press into the bottom of a 9” spring form pan. Set aside.
¼ cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
1 ½ cup chopped chocolate pieces
2 Tablespoons butter
½ cup sugar
Cup sour cream
2- 8 oz. packages cream cheese
Cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons sugar
Place the Bailey’s, butter and chocolate in the top of a double boiler and cook until melted. Set aside. Beat the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl with a mixer on medium speed until they are a golden color. Add the sour cream and mix again. Add the cream cheese in batches and mix until smooth. Gradually add the chocolate mixture and thoroughly combine. Pour over the crust and bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes. Increase the heat to 350 degrees while the cheesecake is resting. Carefully spread the topping over the cheesecake and return to the oven. Keep It Sensuously Simple (A food tip from Jenny) Pile the sour cream mixture in the middle of the cheesecake. Push out from the middle towards the sides using the back of a tablespoon. Use the back of a teaspoon to smooth the edges of the cheesecake. Bake five more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. Serves 12
Irish Cream Chocolate Sauce
½ cup Bailey’s
1/2 cup light corn syrup
6 oz. chopped chocolate pieces
Place all the ingredients in a pan and melt over low heat stirring until the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool. Store at room temperature. Drizzle over the chilled sliced cheesecake.
.My Father was Irish and Scotch and each St. Patrick’s Day I remember how he would make a long distance call, using an old rotary dial phone and no area code, to each of his five brothers and two sisters ending each call with a different slainte (toast).
My favorite slaintes to this day are: “May you get all your wishes but one so you will always have something to strive for.” “May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and the road downhill all the way to your door.” And “May you live to be one hundred with an extra year to repent.”
Well. It’s thyme to go