May your troubles be less
and your blessings be more
and nothing but happiness
come through the door. ~ Irish blessing
I have always thought of St. Patrick as a ‘fun’ sort of saint. His namesake day March 17 tends to be associated with pageantry and revelry. Lenten restrictions are often lifted on this feast day of the primary patron saint of Ireland. Thanks to the Irish diaspora, towns and cities all over the world hold parades, children play and adults feast, and sometimes they drink too much. People wear green, to symbolize the 3-leaved shamrock and risk getting pinched if they don’t, as a reminder that leprechauns can see them.
With all the feasting and celebrating, easy finger food is best to feed the lively gathering in your living room, who is getting livelier by the moment. These cucumber rounds with a dollop of spicy cream cheese are a perfect foil to the beer that just might be flowing freely, hmm? So how did ‘Deviled Salmon’ come about? Instead of boring ol’ salmon cream cheese, I added a few dashes of Tabasco sauce. The extra little kick when least expected was just the right counterpoint to healthy amounts of spirits. Dollops of cream cheese are classically served atop crackers and squares. Using cucumber rounds instead adds a pop of bright green (doing my part in remembering St. Patrick!) and the light, cooling crunch pairs well with the spicy creamy cheese. Serve this up at your next party on pretty cheese plates and enjoy with Irish drink of choice – stout!
Lesser known facts about St. Patrick’s Day:
- The tiny British island territory of Montserrat is also called the “Emerald Island of the Caribbean” to commemorate its Irish ancestors who settled in the 17th century, in remembrance of a failed slave uprising in the 18th century, and for a coast line that is similar to Ireland’s.
- Outside of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in 3 other places: Montserrat, Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada.
- The color blue was traditionally associated with St. Patrick.
- St. Patrick did not actually banish snakes from Ireland. Evidence show that there were no snakes in post-glacial Ireland.
- The ‘traditional’ Corned Beef and Cabbage is more American than Irish. In the 19th century, working Irish immigrants in 19th century New York City learned about corned beef from their Jewish neighbors. When cooked, it tastes like pork which was cheap in Ireland but expensive in America.
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- 8 oz cream cheese
- 4 oz smoked salmon, finely chopped
- 1 English cucumber, sliced into rounds ¼" - ½" thick
- 1-2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp dill, finely chopped + a few leaves for garnish
- Hot sauce
- Mix chopped salmon, 1 tsp black pepper and dill to the cream cheese. Taste and add a few dashes of hot sauce. Add more black pepper and hot sauce if needed.
- Spoon a generous dollop of salmon cream cheese onto the cucumber rounds. Top with more dill.
- Serve chilled.
Looking for more ideas?
If you are up for trying your hand at a traditional NYC Corned Beef and Cabbage, this is the recipe that I have been eyeing.
Lemongrass Ginger Patties are another easy finger food with complex tastes – slightly spicy, slightly heady.
Impress your friends with Curry Puffs (the photo from this very old post needs a do-over but the recipe works) and bring a South-East Asian twist to your table.
Or go multi-cultural and make some Siu Mai Dumpings too. They can be made in advance to save time.
We want to see your photos! Share your pictures and comments below or on Instagram. Don’t forget to tag it with #gingerandcilantro.blog! And if you try the traditional NYC Corned Beef and Cabbage, we definitely want to hear about it!