Here’s another fun fact you might not know about me, I LOVE St. Patrick’s Day. As a lifelong Chicagoan I have spent more years than I can remember celebrating this day on the calendar. Part of it has to do with the fact that my birthday is just around the corner from March 17th and this holiday has always been the kicking off point for my own birthday festivities.
Whether we are in Los Angeles, Chicago, Stuttgart or Bucharest, very few things can stand in the way of me getting my St. Patrick’s Day on.
This year was no different. My in-laws got to enjoy their first ever vegan St. Patrick’s Day meal.
You’ll notice the bottle of Jameson Black Barrel in the background, which was a nice little birthday gift from the hubs!
We’ll keep this simple because this meal is super easy to cook but it does require a little bit of prep work. The potatoes need to be parboiled or pre-cooked if you don’t want to spend all day with the oven roaring and heating up the place. I added fresh rosemary, lemon zest, garlic granules and pink sea salt. They were cooked on the stove for about 10 minutes and then popped into the oven for another 30.
Where flavor is concerned, don’t skimp on the fresh rosemary. It not only tastes delicious but it also will give your house a homey herb-y scent that you won’t be able to resist.
The cabbage is even easier. Chop the onions, fennel, carrots and bell peppers, saute for a few minutes with a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and then slowly start to add the cabbage in batches. You’ll have to add some water to the pot to help along the steaming of the cabbage but do it slowly. This is cabbage with other veggies, not a cabbage stew. It’ll take 15 to 20 minutes total but it’s worth it.
Be sure to add seasoning several times, a little at a time, and taste it as you go.
Now I know you’re wondering where is the vegan corned beef, right? Yeah well there aren’t a lot of vegan options here in Romania so you have to improvise where you can. For this particular dish I took a brick of smoked tofu and sliced it into thin strips until it was crispy on all sides and added 6 cloves of garlic until they were slightly charred out on the outside. This adds a smoky, fatty slightly bacon-t taste to the dish that will give you cabbage just like granny used to make. (Not my granny but I’m sure there are some vegan grannies out there who know what to do with a good brick of tofu!)
This part might take some time but trust me when I say its well worth it.
When the cabbage is done, toss the tofu and garlic and serve.
This dish came our really well, if I do say so myself, but you’ll notice Tabasco sauce in the background which was put there as a precaution. I love hot sauce on my cabbage (maybe its a Chicago thing) but strangely enough this batch didn’t need it.
Since this is a holiday celebrating Ireland and Irish-Americans you can’t consider your meal complete without a shot of Jameson and a bottle of Guinness.
And just because I was feeling particularly homesick, I also added a stout cake to the day which I’ll share with you…another time.