Barefoot in March

Son #2 showing off his muddy hands in the middle of March. We are loving this gift of amazing weather.

As a Minnesotan, I am obsessed with weather. It is who we are. I think it comes from being cold for 6 months of the year and waiting for a beautiful day. We Minnesotans know how to enjoy ourselves once the nice weather arrives. What a strange March we are in! It is basketball tournament time, and normally we brace ourselves for a blizzard. This year in this week of 70 degree weather, we are grilling and bike riding and walking and going to parks and eating outside. I’m doing all I can to restrain myself from planting my entire garden. I have decided I’ll allow myself to plant some lettuce, just to see what happens. If a cold snap ruins them, I won’t be too upset. But if I have lettuce in April, it will be amazing!

Seriously, I could go on and on about this weather. We are all in awe here. I’ve been walking around barefoot and eating in my yard with Son #3 who is enamoured with the idea of eating outside and wants to invite everyone he knows to have a picnic with him. The strangest part of the weather was picking up my last box of veggies from my winter CSA while wearing a tank top, shorts and flip-flops. Who wants to eat turnips and rutabagas when it is 75 degrees? Not this girl.

Then St. Patrick’s Day arrives. We reached an all-time record of 80 degrees. I ran a 7k race in a t-shirt and shorts and was sweating. I had decided to combine a local food meal with St. Patrick’s Day. I came across a recipe for Colcannon and realized I could make it with all local ingredients. Before I made it, I sent a message to my only “real” Irish friend and asked her 1) is Colcannon a traditional Irish meal? and 2) would it be strange to add ham? She confirmed it was truly Irish, but her mom didn’t ever make it, and yes, I could add ham if it was to be the main dish.

My version of Colcannon for St. Patrick's Day. Some recipes call for kale, but I had cabbage available locally.

Speaking of ham. I don’t eat ham. I haven’t liked it since I was about 12 years old. So when I called my mom and said “I have a funny question for you. How do I bake a ham?” She laughed pretty hard, not because I had to ask her, but because I was actually considering making it. The ham came in a recent meat combo pack I bought from a local farm. I usually give the ham away, but thought this would be a good way to try it. Guess what? It was pretty darn good. And so was the Colcannon. This link is similar to how I made it, but I sautéed cabbage and a diced onion instead of boiling the cabbage. I also cut down the amount of butter and used some cream with the milk. It was a hit with half of the family. Son #4 enjoyed the mashed potato part. He’s become somewhat of an eating machine in the last two weeks. Son #1 loved it, and Sons 2 and 3 mostly cried about having to eat it (except for the ham).

Our homemade Shamrock Shake. It may become a St. Patrick's Day tradition around here.

After the traditional part of the meal was over, I decided an American take on St. Patrick’s Day would be fun. Who doesn’t love a Shamrock Shake? I made homemade shakes with vanilla ice cream, milk, a dash of mint extract, and a couple drops of green food coloring. I’ll never purchase a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s again. This was so much better! Plus I think the new fake whipped cream and cherry thing just ruins it.

Anyway, a belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all. Get out there and enjoy our early bit of summer. It only comes around about every 120 years in Minnesota.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Tammy said,

    I laughed out loud at your description of yourself and ham. That pretty much sums up my relationship with it also. I still have a recipe for colcannon setting here on my desk and intend to make it this weekend. We still have abundant cabbage!

  2. 2

    […] Patrick’s Day meal with the Challenge. And it’s a good one–a traditional Irish Colcannon, and a homemade, local Shamrock Shake. And I totally don’t see why you couldn’t have […]


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