On March 17, people of Irish descent -- and those who, like me, consider themselves Irish for the day -- will gather to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
It is a great time to learn about another culture.
To make sure I don't get pinched on St. Patrick's Day, I am taking time to put a little green everywhere. I begin in the kitchen, where there are green placemats with cloth napkins to match. Such an easy and festive thing to do.
"Savannah Entertains," a cookbook published in 1996 by Martha Giddens Nesbit, features recipes, party ideas and table decorations for social gatherings with the spirit of Savannah in mind.
In the late 1800s, Savannah was made up of great many community-minded, fun-loving Irish people. The annual parade in Savannah is one of the biggest in the United States.
The "luck of the Irish" is a celebration to behold. Join in with a Savannah-inspired meal before or after the parade.
SPINACH AND APPLE SALAD
Makes: 8 servings
4 bunches fresh spinach, washed, dried and stems removed
1 cup red onion rings, thinly sliced
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
Place spinach leaves on plates and top with red onion rings, pecans and apple slices. Whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over all.
MR. ROBERT'S IRISH STEW WITH SHAMROCK TOAST
Makes: 8-10 servings
2 pounds leg-of-lamb meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch squares, bone reserved
2 whole onions, quartered
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
3 ribs celery, halved
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and pepper
2 quarts water
1/4 cup Canola oil
1/4 cup olive oil
6 celery stalks, chopped, including tops and leaves
2 large Spanish onions, chopped
2 cups chopped leeks
4 cups finely chopped cabbage
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained, juice reserved
8 large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
Spring garden peas to garnish
FOR SHAMROCK TOAST:
Use any homemade bread. Slice about 1/4-inch thick. Make cutouts with shamrock cookie cutter. Toast lightly.
Heavily salt lamb chunks and place in covered glass dish overnight in refrigerator.
For stock: Combine stock ingredients. Allow to cook, without lid, several hours, until flavor is rich, and liquid is reduced to about 1 quart. Remove bone and vegetables. Strain stock for stew.
For stew: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large Dutch oven, saute lamb chunks in canola oil and set aside. Add 1/2 cup olive oil and saute celery, onions, chopped leeks and cabbage. Add seasonings, tomatoes and potatoes. Return meat to pot. Add 3 cups stock. (Freeze remaining stock for another use.) Cover and bring stew to a boil, then place in oven for 1 1/2 hours, until meat is tender.
Remove meat from stew and set aside. Puree remaining ingredients and return to pot with meat. Bring to a boil again. When serving, top with spring garden peas and shamrock toast on the side.
Lemon and sugar
1/2 to1 ounce Irish whisky
1/4 to 1/2 cup hot, strong black coffee
1-3 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons lightly whipped cream
Rub lemon slices around the rim of glass mug. Dip sugar to coat rim of glass. Pour in coffee. Add sugar and stir. Add whisky. Slide whipped cream off spoon so it floats on top of coffee.
Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at email@example.com.