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  Top o´ the mornin´ to ya´,

Can you tell I'm getting into the spirit of St. Patrick's Day? Speaking of our old buddy Patrick, would you believe that his real name was Maewyn? I´m not making this up! Check it out! It seems young Maewyn was born an Irish pagan in AD 385. After an eventful (if you call being stolen and sold into slavery eventful) youth, Maewyn turned to Christianity and attended a monastery in Gaul (that's France to you and me). He adopted the name Patrick, and eventually was sent back to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish Druids. And very good at it, he was. Apparently the Druids were always after poor Patrick´s hide, but he escaped them every time and served 30 successful years as Bishop of Ireland.

St. Patrick died in County Down on March 17, AD 461 and St. Patrick´s Day has been celebrated on that date ever since. Ironically, the holiday was originally a religious observance but the American version today bears little resemblance to the original intent.

Well now that you know more than you ever wanted to about St. Patrick's Day, how about a traditional Irish recipe (below) to cheer on the day?

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  Corned Beef & Cabbage

3 lb corned beef brisket with spice packet
5 carrots, peeled and julienned
10 small red potatoes
1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges

Place corned beef brisket in large Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer about 50 minutes per pound or until tender.

Add carrots and whole potatoes, and cook until vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove meat and let it set for 15 minutes.

Place vegetables in a large bowl and cover. Add as much broth (cooking liquid reserved in the Dutch oven) as you want. Slice meat across the grain. Serve with plenty of mustard or horseradish if desired.

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