Stepping Out

Donning some green in preparation for spring

Get your Irish on for St. Patrick's Day


With the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, spring can’t be far behind (or so we hope). So throw on some green, enjoy a parade or two and salute the Old Country, this weekend and next.

And be sure to bring some Patrick’s Day into your home. Favorites include corned beef and cabbage, of course, along with Irish stew and soda bread.

Among these quintessential foods, Irish Soda Bread is a tasty quick bread that everyone enjoys and is quite easy to make. It gets its name from the baking soda used as a leavener, instead of yeast. While traditionally made with only flour, buttermilk, salt and baking soda, there are all sorts of modern takes on this delectable bread that are worth trying.

Irish Soda Bread

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cold butter, cut into chunks

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup currants or raisins

Heat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Combine all ingredients except buttermilk and currants in bowl; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk and currants just until moistened.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead gently 10 times. Shape into ball. Place onto prepared baking sheet. Pat into 6-inch circle. Cut 1/2 inch deep “X” in top of dough with sharp knife.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm — with hot tea and organic jam, Irish stew, traditional Irish cabbage dishes, or enjoy on its own.

American-Irish Stew

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 ¼ pounds beef, top round, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

2 medium parsnips, cut into large chunks (optional)

3 cups low-fat, reduced-sodium beef broth

4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 leek, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In large pot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add beef and garlic. Cook, gently stirring until meat is evenly browned. Season with salt and pepper.

Add onion, carrots and parsnips. Cook 3-4 minutes. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 75 minutes, or until meat is tender.

Stir in potatoes and simmer another 30 minutes. Add rosemary and leeks. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender. To avoid potatoes falling apart, do not overcook.

Everyone loves a parade: A St. Patrick’s Day tradition

It’s been said that Irish descendants in the U.S. put on a noisier and bigger St. Patrick’s Day celebration than their brethren in Ireland. Whether you get on the train and head into Manhattan or stay local, these parades are sure to bring out the Irish in everyone.

New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The granddaddy of them all, Manhattan’s parade is more than a tradition. The grandest of parades, it has been marching up 5th Avenue for 255 consecutive years. The 2017 edition marches, clan by clan, from 44th to 79th Streets, past St. Patrick’s Cathedral, on Friday, finishing at 4:30 p.m. Millions line the streets annually to see the some 150,000 marchers in this lively, boisterous celebration.

Marching in Glen Cove

The 29th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, on Sunday, March 19, is not only the largest annual parade in Glen Cove, but a joyous civic celebration that is eagerly awaited by residents — on both the North Shore and South Shore — each year. Sponsored by the Glen Cove Hibernians, it regarded by many as Long Island’s premiere St. Patrick’s Day celebration and one of the most colorful in the country — featuring a large number of pipe bands, marching bands and other attractions.

The heart of the parade, as always, is its exciting mix of marching groups who participate in the jubilant spectacle. A true community event, antique cars, motorcycles, twirlers, Scouts, and Irish dance academies, and costumed performers, along with fire and police units, also take part. The parade forms behind the Finley Middle School on Forest Avenue.

John O’Connell, the former executive editor of Herald Community Newspapers, and a national board member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (the oldest and largest Irish Catholic organization in America) knows quite a bit about this popular North Shore parade.

“The St. Patrick’s Parade in Glen Cove is unique for its hometown, family feeling,” O’Connell told the Herald.

“I’ve been to a great many parades honoring the Patron Saint of Ireland, and they’re all great. Rockville Centre’s parade, the Irish-American Society’s one in Mineola, many in Suffolk and the famous one up Fifth Avenue in Manhattan are all joyous and fine opportunities to show Irish pride. But for a happy day of community and family fun, Glen Cove’s march is the place to be.”

“I was honored to be the grand marshal of Glen Cove’s parade a few years back, and I’ve been marching in it for 20 years, so I know the tons of work that members of Division 8 of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Ladies AOH put into organizing this parade for the Glen Cove-area communities every year. Enjoy all the parades as I do, but know there is no more genuinely nice and heartwarming parade than the Hibernian parade in Glen Cove.”

Led by Grand Marshals Julie Albin and Christopher Albin, accompanied by Aides to the Grand Marshal Sophie McCabe and Fred Hill, the parade begins to form up at 12 p.m. in the area of the Finley Middle School on Forest Avenue. It steps off at 1 p.m. following the usual route through downtown Glen Cove to St. Patrick’s Church. Ample parking is available in the municipal garages and at the end of the parade route. Shuttle buses will run between the parking areas and the formation area.

If the weather cooperates, two to three thousand spectators are expected. For more information, visit or call (516)-782-7494.

Irish pride in Rockville Centre

Now in its 21st year, Rockville Centre’s St. Patrick’s Day parade brings out South Shore residents for a joyous salute to Irish traditions. The Rockville Centre Parade Committee’s motto “The Parade That Cares and Shares “ reflects its commitment to not just only celebrating the community’s Irish heritage, but to philanthropy.

With Grand Marshal Malverne Mayor Patti Ann McDonald, at the helm, the parade steps off at noon, on Saturday, March 25, at corner of Maple Avenue and North Long Beach Road, finishing near St. Agnes Cathedral — its traditional end point.

“We are proud and fortunate to have Patti Ann McDonald lead the 2017 Rockville Centre St. Patrick’s Day Parade as our Grand Marshal,” says Rockville Centre St. Patrick’s Parade Committee Co-chairperson Bonnie Dreska, in a letter posted on the parade’s website.

“Patti Ann, a native of Rockville Centre, is an inspiration. She is an exceptional woman who has done and will to continue to do so many things for our communities. Her gentle display of faith and humble life of service has touched many people. For the past 10 years Patti Ann has served the Village of Malverne as their Mayor. She is the varsity tennis coach at her alma mater, Sacred Heart Academy, and has served on innumerable boards and committees through the years. We can not think of a more appropriate individual to lead us in our 21st celebration of our community, our Irish culture and heritage.”

“What makes the Rockville Centre parade most unique is that the fact that is “The Parade that Cares and Shares”. We believe that this is the first parade of its kind in the United States with the goal of raising money for worthy charities. During the past 20 years our parade has supported and donated over $1,008,00 to 61 charities.”

Three charities have been designated as the beneficiaries of this year’s parade — the Backyard Players & Friends, Breathe Believe and Pieta House.

For more information on the Rockville Centre parade, visit