Irish Inspired Dinner & Drinks for Two | New Jersey Photographer | Ashley Halas Photography

March 13, 2018  •  1 Comment

I love St. Patrick's Day! Probably because I adore the warmth and colors of spring just about as much as I love Autumn! For me, St. Patrick's Day marks the first holiday of Spring! The clovers, daffodils and tulips can be found everywhere. A mark warm weather is practically here and anyone who knows me personally knows I love the color green in all forms- from nature all the way down to my natural hair color 😉 

I've always chosen to decorate more for the season incorporating the natural green elements I love. You can find them anywhere- outdoors or in season at your local market. To make it festive I add a little holiday specific elements to bring it all together. My mothers corned beef and cabbage for instance is the main event of this meal (see recipe below) and I wanted to find a way to make use of the outer or as I consider them "dirty" pieces of cabbage I would normally discard. But they’re just so pretty and after giving it some thought I got an idea! (cabbage wrap instructions below) 

Now, just about the only thing I don't like green is my drinks! There's just something about all that food dye that is generally unappealing to me. Thinking along the lines of corned beef & cabbage, Irish, Ireland, rain, rainbows and of course pots of gold I logged into Pinterest in search of the perfect golden cocktail. I immediately came across dozens of recipes but after reading over a few I pulled some ideas from each and created a super golden, and sweet "Pot of Gold" cocktail. (see recipe below)

My husband and I, are trying to save money anywhere we can but enjoy our date nights. So in an effort to keep our dates and still be able to save money we create a lot of our dates at home on our days off together. This time I didn't have to cook since my mother sent my husband home with her annual corned beef and cabbage. I took this opportunity to bring my dining room together for spring and create a sweet early dinner for just the two of us. I felt we needed just a little something fresh to accompany the meal so I shook up a super quick, easy and delicious lemon vinaigrette (recipe below) and poured it over some leftover arugula we had in the fridge, threw a few slices of lemon into the grill pan and topped it off with parmesan shavings, yum! Since I didn’t have to really cook anything I was able to put all my focus on the décor, and keeping in mind we’re on a budget, around the house I went in search of things to match the theme I was going for. Sometimes I can get a little carried away grabbing everything so I tried to keep it as simple as possible so the food and the amazing cocktail could take center stage.

After all it is about gathering together and good food! 

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Cabbage Wrapped Jars

Use outer cabbage leaves / the greenest part of the cabbage
Using a small jar layer each leaf around the jar
Trim bottom so jar can sit flat
Secure it all together with twine
Lasts up to two weeks or more if refrigerated 

Mom's Corned Beef & Cabbage

Bring a large stock filled with water to a boil
Add chopped onion and sliced corned beef to water - Bring to a boil
Add in half of the seasoning packet that comes with the meat
Allow onion and corned beef to simmer for at least two hours; up to 4 hours
Add potatoes, cabbage, carrots, bay leaf, salt & pepper
Serve with pumpernickel bread & butter

Pot of Gold Cocktail
8oz The Knot Irish Whiskey
Juice of 2 lemons
ginger honey syrup (recipe below)
edible gold leaf, garnish
Make the honey ginger syrup. Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice. 
Shake and strain into a glass with large ice cube. Garnish with gold leaf. Serve in gold sugar rimmed glass

Ginger Honey Syrup
4 oz grated ginger
2 cup honey
1 cup water
Add all ingredients into a pot over high heat. 
Bring to a boil and turn to low to simmer for 8-10 minutes. This is what gets it nice and golden. Take off the heat and let cool. Strain into a glass

Shamrock Ice Cubes
Boil water to fill ice trays
Snip a small amount of clover heads 
Drop clover heads into ice cube trays and pour in boiled/distilled water
Allow to freeze at least 6-8 hours

Simple Lemon Vinaigrette
Combine White or red wine vinegar, olive oil & lemon juice and fresh cracked pepper.
Shake well!


Inspired by Ireland this spring I wanted to include a few shots I took while on a trip to Ireland when I was about 18 years old. Enjoy!


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Wow! That corned beef and potatoes look so delicious but I cannot wait to try that cocktail! Homemade ginger honey syrup- yum! Oh, and such a great idea for use of the “dirty” cabbage leaves so pretty!
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