A Saint Patrick’s Day Canadian Feast

Since I had been going to the store for all the ingredients, I demanded asked very sweetly and politely that my hubby take one for the team and venture out into the abyss that is the store. The sweetheart that he is, he agreed right away to it. I couldn’t help but feel a weight lifted off of my shoulders. I could focus on getting some extra work done before calling it quits and then, we could cook ourselves a Saint Patrick’s Day Feast.

The second he left, I started to feel a tad anxious. Would he know where and how to get everything? Sure. And if he didn’t, all the more fun I’d have writing this post. I smiled sweetly and went back to work.

That’s when my phone buzzed with a text stating simply, “Lost in supermarket hell.”

Not very encouraging…not very encouraging at all…

Maybe I should have gone with him, like true partners in crime.

Needless to say, I was very shocked when he came home with every single ingredient and a smile on his face at that. I never really doubted he could do it after all.

With three recipes to cook, we began our cooking frenzy straightaway. Because we were starving, a latte breakfast/lunch only gets you so far, we are good students.

We decided to start making the meatballs first since they needed to be baked in the oven for 20 minutes. I’d always wondered how in heck you make meatballs. How do you cook it all the way through without it falling to pieces? It’s one of those life mystery questions that goes along with how airplanes really stay up in the air. One of those things you think about but never care to find out either.

We were both ecstatic to be making them. In fact we were so excited, we had to small fight discussion and decided to take turns mashing the meat and stirring the ingredients. But first, we needed to finely dice a sweet bell pepper and grate a whole onion.

I grabbed a flexible chopping mat and began merrily chopping away at my bell pepper while he grated the onion. Every now and then I couldn’t help but hear a noncommittal grunt from his corner. I knew it’d be difficult to grate an onion (it’s not cheese after all) which is why I choose the nice, soft pepper. I didn’t feel guilty at all.

After I had successfully annihilated my pepper, I produced my perfectly chopped plate to him while he showed me the shameful onion mush. I only had one glimpse of it before my eyes started to sting. Onions are bad when you dice them. We had vaporized them this time and we were paying for it.

We blinked rapidly, ignoring the pain, and gathered the egg, bread crumbs, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, peppers, onion mush, and mixed it in with the raw ground beef in a bowl. Then, something happened I never thought would ever. I greased my baking pan with butter and laid my first ever meat cookies on to it. Once the pan was half filled, I let my husband take over so this odd experience would be shared.

Once the meatballs were laid, we put them in the oven, set a timer, and went back to work cutting up our next ingredients. First, we needed to chop up a package of bacon. I choose this opportnity (because it was that or celery) and mistakenly grabbed a steak knife to attempt to cut it. It did not go over well at all. Immediately it began to snag on the meat and my husband jumped in realizing I was torturing the poor thing and offered to “help me.”

Being as stubborn as they come, I shook him off. I can do it. I promise. He nodded not so encouragingly but insisted I use our giant butcher knife.

I never use it. It could perhaps be because if I’m going to lose a finger, I’d rather it over something worthwhile like saving an infant from a car or fighting off a crazed dog. Not “I was chopping bacon, it was hard core.”

But after watching the eyes of my husband dilate with fear as I continued to snag the bacon, I agreed to try the butcher knife and hope against all hope I come out with all ten fingers.

And it was easy. Can you believe that? Simple. In two seconds flat, I was done and it looked beautiful in fact. I  shrugged my shoulders in a “you were right but I was right that I could do it” way and added the bacon to a hot pot on the stove. Next up we needed to dice up some celery, carrots, garlic…and more onion.

As we got to work on this section, the combination of dicing up fresh tasty veggies, beef cooking in the oven, and  fried bacon wafting through the kitchen air was maddening. We were foaming at the mouth like a pair of rabies crazed raccons.

And I mean raccons. The onion odor perforating our burning eyes had caused us to rub them raw in frustration and we both were sporting that beautiful raccony look.

In an order to continue to bring sexy back, I dashed out of the kitchen and ran down the hall for some much needed contact solution. There I was squeezing that little white bottle to death and getting half of it into my burning eyes. The first attempt only made it worse as if the solution was pure salt and had teamed up with the onion to burn me. I gasped in pain and quickly squeezed more solution despeartly at my face eyes. That did it. I was tear free…if you didn’t count the solution tears I was happily blinking…

I came back to the kitchen to find my husband had added the rest of the ingredients to the soup and it was already boiling. Future advice to run away when overwhelmed magically fixed everything = lesson learned and example cataloged.

Just in time too, the timer was wailing and the meatballs were done. We quickly pulled them out of the oven, closed our gaping jaws at the dreamy site of them, and added beef stock, honey, corn starch, and some Tabasco sauce to a skillet. Two minutes later, it had thickened into a hearty glaze that the meatballs jumped into and soaked in.

In order to appear remain civilized we dished the meatballs onto two plates instead of eating all of them right out of the pan and devoured all of them whole.

Y-U-M-M-Y. That’s all we have to say. The meatballs were so good, we wished we had boiled some egg noodles as the recipe had suggested and ate it just for dinner. Forget about the soup. What could be more heavenly?

Although we could barely walk after filling up our stomachs with meat, the soup was ready. I have to admit. I had no hope at all for it. It didn’t look creamy. It looked, pardon the irony, soupy…and not all like what I expected. Just veggies and broth. What’s so special about that anyway?

Let me tell you. While it boiled, something magical happened to make it taste like beef vegetable soup (perhaps it was the two cups of beef stock we added after our chicken stock ran short at 6 cups?) whatever it was. It’s the best soup I’ve had in a long time and I can’t believe I wasn’t at a restaurant or purchasing Progresso. Damn it all, it tasted amazing…and we had a small serving of it even though we were full.

In order to let our hearts, coranaries selves breath, we watched a movie. After it was over, I was ready to finish Canada with a bang and cook our Maple Sugar Pie. Everything had turned out so well, I wanted to double down and push our luck as far as it would go. I had to convince my husband it was a good idea and would be simple. The recipe looked very simple in fact. It was from About.Com under “French Cooking.” If we couldn’t make it work, I had severe doubts about our standing in the evolutionary chain.

It was that simple. At least it seemed. All we had to do was combine flour and light brown sugar (could not find any maple sugar), and then mix in pure maple syrup and heavy cream…until it’s a gooey carmel paste. And it to a “baked pie.”

That’s right. It wanted us to lay down a pie crust in a pan and cook it for 15 mintues before adding the carmel paste and baking for it for 40 more minutes. I had an instant mistrust for this recipe. It seemed too easy for starters. Like using Wikipedia for a term paper. You just don’t do it…unless your desperate and know nothing. Since there were little parallels here, obviously, we went ahead and listened to it.

I was certain the pie crust would come out black and burnt. Who pre-bakes pie dough? My husband, who was optimistic to balance us out, felt this step was probably important. We baked the pie dough for 15 minutes. At 10 minutes, we checked on it. The pie bottom was rising to to the top and refusing to stay flat. We quickly whipped out a fork and punctured it’s little hopes and dreams right away. 10 minutes later, the pie dough was lightly brown. We added the mixture to it and I said my goodbyes as we put it back in the oven for another 40 minutes. I was sure we had sent it to its death. A hot, fiery death. What a horrible way for dessert to go…

When the time was up, I couldn’t look at it. I hung back as my hubby excitedly pulled it out of the oven. It wasn’t until he exclaimed that it wasn’t burnt, that my curiousity became to much and I joined him in the kitchen.

It didn’t burn. The edges were dark but not black. But it was a low-rising pie that looked very deflated, dark, and bubbly. Like it had sold it’s soul to the dark side while it was baking.

This was a pie?? My mind screamed as I eyed it skeptically.

We sat down, ice cream at our side, and took a bite out of it. Then, we were promptly smacked over the heads with a state of euphoria from the pure caramalized dream we were eating. It was so good. The closest resemblance that can be made would be a bold pecan pie that kicked it’s nutty friends to the curb and went to bed with vanilla ice cream.

After we had fallen in love with it, we couldn’t believe we had ever called it ugly (or at least I couldn’t, the thing was beautiful to us now and held a new state of reverence) Without further ado, here is our prize winning Maple Sugar Pie.

And 3 seconds later…it was gone.

Find the recipes here: Speedy Split Pea Soup with Bacon, Honey Garlic Meatballs, Canadian Maple Sugar Pie.

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4 Responses to A Saint Patrick’s Day Canadian Feast

  1. Bobbi says:

    Ahahaha, sounds like an amazing dinner and adventure! Looks Yummy too. Can’t wait to see what you cook up next. Great job guys

  2. Krista says:

    The meatballs look amazing! My husband would probably die for some of your Maple Sugar Pie!

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