Wine Dine and Play: March 2018

The Irish Flag Vegetable Medley

A Wine Dine and Play Recipe

A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes, and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:

By: Sean Overpeck (CFE)


It is almost St Patrick’s Day once again, and time to celebrate the feast of St Patrick (c. AD 385–461), and though it is an official holiday in Ireland, it is celebrated to a greater degree in the United States. The celebrations include lots of drinking at the local Irish Pub, parades, music, wearing the color green, and include dyeing the color of the Chicago River to green for the day. With the celebrations comes the feast from corned beef and cabbage to colcannon and mash, with everything in between. McDonald’s even sells a Shamrock Shake on this one day of the year. This recipe is a lot healthier than the shake and can be cooked at any time during the year, but no matter what time it is still hats off to the Irish. 

This is a very simple recipe for a mixed sauté of vegetables and seasoning, put together in the shape and colors of the Irish flag. According to the 1848 website, the Irish Tricolor flag was first flown publicly by Waterford man and Irish American Patriot Thomas Francis Meagher in his native city at the Wolf Tone Confederate Club at 33 The Mall, Waterford on March 7, 1848. He explained that: The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the ‘orange’ and the ‘green’ and I trust that beneath its folds, the hands of the Irish Protestant and the Irish Catholic may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood…
Working in food service I had come across the term for Irish flag recipes a few times, and one was at a bar where they mixed from the bottom to the top: Green crème de menthe, Licor 43, and Baileys Irish Cream. Your ingredients include spinach leaves, cauliflower, carrots, onion, bacon, olive oil, unsalted butter, cracked black pepper, Himalayan or other pink salt, garlic cloves, crushed red pepper flakes, and mint. If you are in an area where fresh vegetables are harder to come by, then you can substitute for frozen. For equipment to cook this dish you need three sauté pans, three spoons, a chef knife, potato peeler, a green and a red colored cutting boards. As you're cooking this dish the aromas of fresh garlic, the onion and vegetables cooking down in that butter will make you instantly hungry, and want to eat this all for yourself instead of sharing with your family or friends.

The idea for this vegetable medley was for making a full St. Patrick Buffett and wanting more of a vegetable selection outside the many recipes for cabbage. So taking the flag as the theme, this sauté was born.  You can, of course, use other vegetables than the ones I have listed for this recipe, such as substituting asparagus or broccoli for the spinach and so on. Get creative and have some fun. 

First off, get all your ingredients and equipment together in one place, what in the food service world we call the Mis en Place. This way you’re not walking back and forth getting stuff while your food overcooks. The next big thing is food safety, and making sure that you don’t make anyone sick from what you cook. Use the example of the recent example of the Norovirus at the South Korean Winter Olympics where food service workers who failed to wash their hands, made over 300 people sick. Make sure you have a clean work area, and thoroughly wash all your pots, pans, cutting boards, and so forth. Most importantly, wash your hands. 

The next step is to wash all of your vegetables, removing any earth, bugs or if not purchasing organic, to remove any chemicals sprayed on them. The best-recommended method is to wash thoroughly, then sanitize them in a solution of bleach mixed with water from 5 up to 100 ppm (parts per million), then rinse two times to remove the sanitizer. When I talked about cutting boards I mentioned two colors. If your a novice home cook, then most likely all you have is a wood or white plastic cutting board, which will work fine as well. The purpose of different colors is to separate and not contaminate different foods. A green board represents fruits and vegetables, where the red one is for raw meats. Other colors include yellow for cooked chicken, blue for fish, white for bread, and brown for cooked meats. They even have a new purple board for people that suffer life-threatening allergens. 

This recipe is designed for feeding four people, so starting with one small onion, peel and discard the outer layered skin, and roughly chop into a quarter inch size pieces. Follow this up with the six garlic cloves, peeling the outer layers, then using the side of your chef knife, to smash the clove down, and then dice or mince. The garlic will be divided into three equal parts for the recipe to sauté each vegetable in separate pans. For the spinach, you all you need do is remove the stems. Using the potato peeler, remove the first layer of skin from the carrots, cut it in half lengthwise down the center, then thinly slice. You will need between 4 or 5 medium-size carrots for this recipe, and as I love carrots I say the more the merrier. For your cauliflower, shave the top to remove any brown pieces, then pull part with your hands, or use the knife to cut the stem removing the florets. A two-pound head of cabbage should yield roughly 3 cups (590 g) of florets which should be plenty for four people, but if you want more, then by all means, buy a second one.  Finally comes the bacon, where for this recipe you will need around 10-12 slices, which is just shy of half a pound (237 g). The typical store bought bacon has between 16 and up to 24 slices per pound (1/2 kg).  The average yield per person is three slices. Using the red cutting board for raw meats, roughly dice the bacon sliced into small pieces a little larger than the store-bought bacon bits. As you cook the bacon depending on the fat content, it will shrink slightly in size. If you are vegetarian then you can omit this entire step from the recipe.  If you are vegan then you can also omit the unsalted butter and purchase an Earth Balance Vegan Butter to which they have several varieties from a coconut oil base to a soy free. 

The Spinach:
Turn on your stove top to medium high heat (gas or electric), and place your first sauté pan over the heat to warm up. From the ingredients above, divide your unsalted butter into three parts of 1 tablespoon each (14 ml). When you purchase butter from most stores they come in 1 pound (1/2 kg) increments which is 2 cups (473 g), or 32 tablespoons. Add the butter to the sauté pan followed by 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of red pepper flakes, and two of the six cloves of minced garlic. As you add the butter it will melt fast and start to smoke. While its flavor is highly prized in cooking, there are drawbacks to cooking with butter. For one, it has the lowest smoke point of any form of fat. The smoke point is the temperature at which a fat starts to smoke when heated. Butter starts to smoke at around 350°F (177°C). 

Stir the garlic and pepper flakes around to brown for roughly a minute, or sooner if the garlic starts to brown faster. Red pepper flakes are normally associated with sprinkling on a pizza, but they have many more uses in dishes to enhance flavor and spice. The peppers contain a mixture of any kind of red peppers, like cayenne, Serrano, and bell peppers are all staples, but any hot peppers will work. Expect to need 50+ hot peppers to return 1 cup of crushed red pepper, and like any dried spice, crushed red pepper does lose some of its heat over time. Take a look at the flakes and give them a smell. Depending on the chilies used in the mix, you’ll get a heat somewhere in the range of 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat unit range. That’s 6 to 10 times hotter than a normal jalapeño pepper on the Scoville scale.

From there add the chopped up bacon and onion, then reduce the heat on the stove to a medium to let those items slowly cook in with the garlic. At this point, the aroma in your kitchen will fill the entire house. Salt and black pepper can make or break a dish, and depend on the persons' palette are very subjective on how much you should add. One serving of salt is roughly a pinch or 1/8 a teaspoon (1 g). Then you have to choose if you want to use typical table salt or a better quality type like Himalayan Crystal Salt, according to Nutritionist Dr. Mercola Himalayan Crystal Salt is very special — it is completely pure, having spent many thousands of years maturing under extreme tectonic pressure, far away from exposure to impurities, so it isn't polluted with the heavy metals and industrial toxins of today. And it's minimally processed — hand-mined and hand-washed. Himalayan salt contains 84 trace minerals from prehistoric seas, and its crystalline structure actually stores vibrational energy, which is restorative to your body. When it comes to black pepper I am a big fan and always add more to a dish then is recommended for a recipe, (Health benefits of black pepper). The normal recommended serving per person is the same as table salt, one pinch. For this recipe, double it. For each vegetable add two pinches instead of one. The final step is to add the spinach leaves and stir them in, letting that butter cooked in garlic, and bacon fat mixture into the green and slowly watch it wilt. 

Cauliflower and Carrots
Prepare two more sauté pans over the medium-high heat on the stove top. Meanwhile, you can reduce the spinach pan heat to low. Put the two remaining divided pieces of butter into each pan along with 1 tablespoon (14 ml) divided of extra virgin olive oil. From there add the divided 4 cloves of minced garlic and brown for one minute. Add the carrots to the first pan, and the cauliflower to the second, along with a pinch of Himalayan salt and black pepper allowing it to all sauté for 7-9 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning or popping. If needed then reduce the heat to medium until your comfortable cooking foods at higher temperatures. Did you know that the most common color for cauliflower is white, but there are also purple, orange, brown, yellow, and green varieties. It originated in Anatolia, also known as Asia Minor, Asian Turkey, or the Anatolian peninsula. China is the largest producer of cabbage in the world. Continue to cook the vegetables until they are at a temperature of 130°F (54°C). 

From there, assemble the vegetables onto a serving plate, or if making a larger portion for a buffet then line the vegetables in a hotel pan like the Irish flag. Place the spinach on the left, cauliflower in the center, and the carrots on the right side. For garnish, you can add a single dollop of mint sauce or fresh mint leaf to each plate. This dollop represents the four leaf clover on the center of the flag pictured above. The taste of the spinach with the bacon and onion added will be fantastic. Mix the other vegetables in with it, and it will pair perfectly with the corned beef as your entree. 

Share this recipe on Yummy

The Irish Flag Vegetable Medley

Recipe Information:

Servings: 4 Ready In: 30 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cuisine Origin: Irish / European
Cook Time: 20 minutes Cuisine Category: Sides / Vegetables
Inactive Time: 0 Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate

Amount in Imperial
Nutritional Information
Equipment and tools needed               (Mis en Place)

Unsalted Butter divided
Amount Per Serving:
1 cup
Cutting boards[1] 
(green, and red)
Red Pepper Flakes
15.5 g
Chef knife
Garlic Cloves divided

Total Fat:
7.4 g
Potato Peeler
Bacon slices

Total Sugars:
5.1 g
Measuring spoons
Yellow or Red Onion, small

574 mg
Measuring cup
Himalayan Salt
332 kcal
3 Wooden / metal spoons
Black Pepper
12.7 g
3 Saucepans / Saute pans
Spinach Leaves
Cholesterol (HDL):
222 mg
Digital Thermometer
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
Dietary Fiber:
5.4 g

560 mg

Carrots, medium

Vitamin A %DV.

Mint Leaves or Mint Sauce

Vitamin C %DV.

 7.2 g

Nutritional Recommendations:

*The % daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general advice.

*The red items above indicates a danger, and to watch your intake to avoid possible future health issues

*The green above indicates that these are healthy things your body needs
NOTE: The nutritional information shown above is an estimate based on the ingredients and preparation of this recipe. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

*do not exceed the daily nutritional recommended amounts of protein 

These nutritional guidelines listed above, meet the criteria in accordance with the FDA food code regulations (21 C.F.R. Part 101 et seq.) established in May 2017

Notes for Preparation

Ratio of 1 pound of spinach = 1 cup cooked
* See the Notes for Preparation section (to the left) for vegetables and meat cuts in this recipe  *   
Wash, sanitize[2], and rinse the onion, garlic, spinach, cauliflower, and carrots to clean thoroughly. 
In the first sauté pan, add the butter, garlic clove, and red pepper flakes over medium-high heat, stirring until the garlic is lightly browned. Add the bacon, onion, salt, and black pepper, cooking for an additional 5-8 minutes. 
Peel and rough chop the onion on a green cutting board.[1]
Reduce the heat to medium-low then add the spinach leaves, stirring occasionally to incorporate.
Peel and mince the garlic cloves on a green cutting board.[1]
In second sauté pan add butter and extra virgin olive oil with the garlic cloves over medium-high heat until garlic pieces are browned.
Shave the top to remove brown pieces, cut the stem to release the florets. 
Add the cauliflower florets and sauté, mixing frequently for 7-9 minutes, reducing the heat to medium. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste.
Remove stems from the spinach.
In the third sauté pan add the butter and extra virgin olive oil with the garlic cloves over medium-high heat until garlic pieces are browned, just like the cauliflower pan.
Peel the carrots, then cut diagonally down the center, and thinly slice.
Add the carrots and sauté, mixing frequently for 7-9 minutes, reducing the heat to medium. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste.
Roughly dice the raw bacon slices into bite-size pieces on the red cutting board.[1]
Remove all three pans from the stove top once internal temperature reaches 130°F (54°C) on a digital thermometer. 

Drink Recommendations For This Dish

Recipe Assembly
Potable Water, Juice, Soda, etc.
Place the vegetables on a plate in the shape of an Irish flag starting with the spinach on the left.
Guinness Beer 
Add the cooked cauliflower to the center of the dish

Add the carrots to the right side of the dish

Finish with a garnish of mint leaf or sauce over the center of the cauliflower.

Serve immediately 

For steaks and Chops:

38-43 oc
Pittsburg (B&B)
46 oc
Medium Rare
Medium Well
Well Done
Recommended Guidelines For Cooking:

Seafood / Shellfish
Roast Beef / Pork 
Ground Beef  / Pork

Notes and Other Citations:

  1. One of the most common causes of food-related illness (a.k.a food poisoning) is something called cross-contamination, (transfer of harmful bacteria from one food product to another) by way of contaminated tools. Cutting boards are a prime culprit. Using separate, color-coded cutting boards for ingredients is a great way of preventing illness. The colors help you keep track of which cutting boards are reserved for which types of foods so that you don’t cut lettuce on the same board you used for cutting raw poultry. The green board is for cutting fruits and vegetables, and the yellow board is for cutting up raw poultry.
  2. In accordance to food safety regulation (21 CFR Part 173) specifies two conditions for the permitted use of hypochlorite solutions (bleach) in washing produce: The concentration of sanitizer in the wash water must not exceed 200 ppm (Parts Per Million). The produce must be rinsed with potable water following the chlorine treatment. 
  3. Visit the Grand Food Dictionary Online to read more about other food and wine terms.


Other recipes and food articles on Wine Dine and Play:
Afghan Cuisine Recipes, culture history and future of food - A culinary tour of Afghanistan during the war
Ají Verde Sauce A traditional Peruvian green chili sauce recipe served with chicken dishes
Chicken Stock Basic chicken stock recipe with a small twist
Chupe de Camarones A thick hearty chowder made with shrimp, potato, and legumes in Peru
Limean Carapulcra A Peruvian pork and potato stew recipe
Lomo Saltado A Peruvian chifa beef stir fry with potatoes and soy
Papa Rellena Peruvian fried stuffed potatoes recipe
Peruvian Cuisine Andes, Amazon, and Lima - A culinary tour with recipes and history
Peruvian Rice (Arroz Peruano) Long grained rice seasoned with lemon juice, & Ortega chilies
Pollo a la Brasa Peruvian blackened chicken or rotisserie chicken with chili sauce marinades
Row 11 Red Wine Demi-Glace Classic French mother sauce is prepared with a California Pinot Noir 
Suspiro a la Limeña Silky Peruvian dulce de leche custard with Port meringue dessert recipe
Thanksgiving in Antarctica An American tradition with turkey and football at the bottom of the world
The United States Marine Corps Birthday 2013 at the US Consulate in Herat, Afghanistan

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary


The worlds best restaurants is a subjective list of who is writing it and changes on a regular basis. The Wine Dine and Play best experiences are based on my highest rated stared restaurants, meaning that the visit was an outstanding or extraordinary experience. From cafés, chains, mom + pops, hole in the walls, to fine dining including a few Michelin spots. Visit the Top 100 page to see the entire list.

A few to tease you with…
Eclectic and Innovative New Zealand cuisine
Christchurch, New Zealand
A classy southern seafood eatery house
Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Waterfront upscale new American cuisine
Sanibel Island, Florida, USA

Who is John Galt?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

You may also like:

Popular Posts: