St. Patty’s Dinner: Asian Remix

Healthy enough to be a prep meal.
Healthy enough to be a prep meal.

I was in Ireland a few short months ago watching a grown man dance and sing in his underwear at 3:30 p.m. It was glorious and I was inspired to do whatever I want even more than usual. You be you Mr. Tighty-Whites!

I’m proud to be one quarter Irish. It helps solve the mystery of why I like to imbibe. Asians aren’t really known for that. So my hypothesis is that my Asian half took over externally and my Scotch-Irish side took over internally.

I love the Irish people! Always smiling and kidding around. Cute accents. Their food though, well, it can be a little boring. I’m no food snob. I’ll eat almost anything. To shake things up this year I took my half-Asianess and infiltrated the typical boiled corned beef, cabbage and potatoes and came up with something that is clean and about one hundred times more tasty. The four components are the corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and sauce.

First the corned beef. You still have time. Go buy one in the package at the grocery store. It’s already in a brine, has been lightly seasoned, and comes with a seasoning packet. Let’s do this.

Asian Inspired Corned Beef

Total Time: 4 hours | Total Active Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 5

Ingredients

3 large cloves of garlic, peeled (smashed is okay too)

10 peppercorns

3 pieces of star anise

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

4 pound corned beef

Steps

1. Fill half of a large pot (one you know can handle the corned beef being fully immersed) with water and add the garlic, peppercorns and star anise. *Optional: Let this set overnight and until about four and a half hours until dinner time. Or, you can just skip letting the water soak in all that flavor.

2. About  four and a half hours before you want to eat it, add the rice vinegar to the pot and fire up the heat.

3. Take the corned beef out of the packaging and rinse it off. There will be a fat cap on it. Cut that fat off. We don’t need that. Now put the beef into the pot, add the contents of the spice packet (if there is one) and bring the water up to a boil. Then cover and lower to a simmer. The beef will need to cook about 50 minutes for each pound. I let my four-pounder go for four hours.

4. When time’s up, remove the beef directly onto a large piece of tinfoil. Wrap it and let it sit for 30 minutes.

5. Unwrap the beef and slice, against the grain, and now it is ready.

So yummy, but none of that nasty limp fat hanging all over the place.
So yummy, but none of that nasty limp fat hanging all over the place.

Next order of business is the sweet potato. Might as well get some low glycemic nutrients and flavor out of this meal!

Anise and Ginger Mashed Sweet Potoato

Total Time: 60 minutes | Total Active Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 5

Ingredients

5 sweet potatoes

1 teaspoon ginger powder

1/2 teaspoon star anise powder

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Steps

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Score the sweet potato skins four or five times down the length. Like lines of longitude assuming the potato/Earth axis extends the longer length. (Did I just geek out?) This will make the peeling of the skin so much easier.

3. Wrap each scored potato tightly in tinfoil.

4. Place the wrapped potatoes on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for 45 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and let them sit about five minutes, still wrapped in the foil. You may see some sugary marks on your baking pan if you didn’t wrap them tightly enough.

6. Unwrap the potatoes. They are still hot so I just grab a corner of foil and jerk it around until the potato comes out onto the baking pan. They will be soft, smell like heaven and look like this:

Scoring the potatoes before cooking makes them very easy to peel.
Scoring the potatoes before cooking makes them very easy to peel.

7. Carefully grab the ends of the peels and pull them off. Should be a very easy process. I save the peels in a bowl and eat them later as a snack. That may or may not be normal; I don’t care.

8. Put all the potato into a large bowl, add the ginger, anise powder, white pepper and coconut oil and either mash/smash or get out a mixer and whip them up. Salt if you’d like (I do not like).

celtic-shamrock_17-630042836

Cabbage is next. This is easy as pie.  I love that cabbage is filling, takes on any flavor its presented with and is very low calorie.

Spicy Steamed/Sautéed Cabbage

Total Time: 60 minutes | Total Active Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 5

Ingredients

2 tablespoons coconut oil

one cabbage

1 cup stock (I used he chicken stock I made a few days back. If you don’t have stock use broth or water.)

2 tablespoons rice vinegar (I use brown rice vinegar, just don’t use the “sweet” rice vinegar)

1 tablespoon red peper flakes

1 teaspoon ground pepper

2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce (or liquid aminos, which I use instead of soy)

1 tablespoon fish sauce, aka nuac cham (aka my lifeblood)

Steps

1. In a large wok (a large pot works too, but we’re cooking Asian here!) heat coconut oil on medium heat while you slice the cabbage to your preference. I slice it about a half inch wide.

2. Add the cabbage to the wok and stir around in the coconut oil. Then add the stock and vinegar and toss everything together.

3. Cover and let it cook/steam for 30 minutes.

4. Uncover and toss/stir everything thoroughly. The volume will have gone down considerably.

5. Continue to cook, but raise the heat a little because you want most of the liquid to boil off. Add the chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce and mix thoroughly.

6. Cook 20 more minutes uncovered, tossing the cabbage every few minutes. Ready for service!

celtic-shamrock_17-630042836This is a bonus, but French culinary school ingrained in my brain that I need to have a sauce for the meal to be complete. This one was easy and my taster almost had a conniption fit over how good and gingery it tasted.

Sriracha Ginger Sauce

Total Time: 15 minutes | Total Active Time: 3 minutes | Serves: 5

Ingredients

2 tablespoons Sriracha

1 inch chunk of ginger (about .4 ounces) If you love ginger, go crazy!

2 tablespoons raw coconut sugar

1 tablespoon soy (or again, as I use, liquid aminos)

1/2 cup stock

1/4 cup of the broth left over from the corned beef (If you don’t have stock on hand, I’d just go half cup of the corned beef broth)

Steps

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender (Ah, I love my Vitamix. Even raw ginger becomes liquified, no fibers or anything!) and blend until smooth.

2. Transfer to a small sauce pan and simmer while you assemble plates. This is where stock comes in handy because it has a thickness to it (the gelatin). If you don’t want your sauce too watery because you didn’t have stock, you can make a small slurry of cornstarch and water, add it to the simmering sauce, bring it to a quick boil while whisking, then reduce the heat. Boom. You have a thickened sauce.

celtic-shamrock_17-630042836

So there you have it.

Moxie says, “Happy St. Patty’s Day and may the luck of the Irish be with you!”

What a princess!
What a princess!

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