I recently read on NOLA.com that New Orleans ranks second in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. This was according to Fodor’s, who sums up our week (that’s week, not day) of frolicking as “a mad mix of Mardi Gras and Irish-inspired brouhaha.” Well, I couldn’t have described it better myself! It really is a fun time to be in the City, even if you’re not Irish. And from my perspective, there are two main ways to partake in the festivities. If you’re looking to celebrate the occasion with “big people,” a block party is the way to go. Parasol’s and Tracey’s, two restaurants/bars located in the Irish Channel neighborhood, host the best and the biggest. At either one, you’ll find loud music, eager dance partners, plenty of green beer and good grub. They’re lots of fun but get a little too crowded and crazy for the kiddies. If you’re wanting to spend St. Paddy’s Day family-style, then one of the many St. Patrick’s Day parades will fit the bill. These parades are major productions just like our Mardi Gras parades. They include many beautifully decorated floats, marching bands and dance teams. But unlike Mardi Gras, they also include walking clubs (groups of men and women dressed in costumes who give out flowers, beads and … kisses) and unique throws (I’m talking cabbages, carrots, onions, potatoes and even packages of dried beans). If you’re not in New Orleans or are looking to tip your hat to St. Pat in a more low-key way, then consider making my Corned Beef and Cabbage Mini Melts. These Irish-inspired finger foods are hearty and creamy, crunchy and cheesy. Enjoy them on St. Patrick’s Day with a pint or two of Guinness or any other day of the year with any other type of beer!
Until next week …
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15 slices cocktail-size pumpernickel bread
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 10-ounce package angel hair coleslaw
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 pound deli corned beef, shredded
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place bread on a large baking sheet, spread butter on each slice and toast in the oven, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, thyme and cayenne pepper. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Add coleslaw and jalapenos; stir until thoroughly combined. When bread is done, remove from oven. Place equal amounts of corned beef on each slice and top with a heaping tablespoon of the cabbage mixture (you may have some leftover). In a small bowl, combine cheeses. Sprinkle a generous amount of cheese on each sandwich. Return to the oven and bake until cheese is melted and sandwiches are heated through, 8-10 minutes. Makes 15 mini melts.