Thursday, March 12, 2009

May the Luck of the Irish Be With You

With St. Patty's Day right around the corner, I thought I would share with you my food and wine newsletter for this week since it deals with this special day.

March 12, 2009
May the Luck of the Irish Be with You


* Irish Whiskey Pick - Tillamore Dew
* Tip - Dry Wines for Cooking


Irish Coffee
Irish Soda Bread
Garlic-Roasted New Potato Salad
Peppered Chicken and Cilantro Sandwiches


Corned Beef and Cabbage Pizza
St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef with Mustard Cream Sauce
Shepherd's Pie
Irish Bread-And-Butter Pudding




Tillamore Dew Irish Whiskey 750 MK Around $20

This has been my long-time favorite Irish whiskey. It is reasonably priced and was recently rated 94 points and best buy from Wine Enthusiast. It is subtle, smooth, with a pleasant malty finish. This is a good pick for your St. Patrick's Day celebration and it won't break the bank..



Tanya wrote me and asked when a recipe calls for dry wine, what kind of wine should be used.

Thanks Tanya for the question. Dry wines are high in acid and not real sweet. Because of that, they pair well with savory food and are often used in recipes. When a dry wine is called for, use any from these lists.

Dry Whites
Sauvignon blanc
French Chablis
Pinot Grigio
Chenin blanc

Dry Reds
Cabernet Sauvignon
Shiraz (Syrah)
Pinot Noir

“Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music.”Julia Child

Irish Coffee, makes 1, shared by Julie

1.5 oz of Irish whiskey1 tsp of brown sugar6 oz of hot coffee (decaf is fine too)Heavy creamPut the whiskey, brown sugar and coffee in a mug and stir. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Then float the cream (your preference on amount) on top. Don't stir. Just enjoy the white moustache while you sip your brew.
Irish Soda Bread with Raisins, shared by Geoff

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups all purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1 cup buttermilk2/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 8-inch-diameter cake pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until coarse meal forms. Make well in center of flour mixture. Add buttermilk. Gradually stir dry ingredients into milk to blend. Mix in raisins.

Using floured hands, shape dough into ball. Transfer to prepared pan and flatten slightly (dough will not come to edges of pan). Sprinkle dough with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
Bake bread until brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Garlic-Roasted New Potato Salad, shared by Jules

1 1/2 pounds small new potatoes, quartered
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp parsley, minced
1 lemon, halved

In a large gratin dish, toss the potatoes, olive oil, rosemary, two thirds of the garlic, and the salt and pepper until the garlic and oil are well distributed. Spread the potatoes in a single layer with the skin sides facing down. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Place the gratin dish in the oven and cook for about 45 minutes, or until potatoes begin to brown. Shake the pan after the first 20 minutes and again after 15 more minutes. Take the potatoes out of the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the pan with a metal spatula to avoid breaking the potatoes and place them in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the remaining garlic and the parsley. Squeeze the juice of the lemon halves into the mayonnaise. Make sure to remove the seeds. Stir until it is smooth. Combine the mayonnaise with the potatoesand serve. The Dean & DeLuca Cookbook
Peppered Chicken and Cilantro Sandwiches, makes 6 servings, shared by Amy

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut in strips
6 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large green bell pepper, julienned
1 large sweet red pepper, julienned
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
6 large sandwich buns, sliced and toasted inside
6 large Romaine lettuce leaves
6 slices low fat Swiss cheese

In small bowl, mix together yogurt, mustard, Romano cheese and cilantro; set aside.In large fry pan, place olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, green and red peppers and onion; stir-fry about 8 minutes or until fork can be inserted in chicken with ease.Brush each side of buns liberally with yogurt-cilantro mixture. Place 1 Romaine leaf on bottom part of each bun; top with slice of Swiss cheese. Add generous amount of chicken mixture and top of bun. Serve hot or wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator to serve cold.


Corned Beef and Cabbage Pizza, makes two 14-inch round pizzas

For the dough:
2 teaspoons sugar
1 package active dry yeast
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl
3 cups all-purpose flour, or 2 3/4 cups plus 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon fine salt

For the toppings:

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
3 cups sliced green cabbage
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon pickling spices, tied securely in cheesecloth
1 large potato, peeled and thinly sliced
Freshly ground pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
6 ounces sliced corned beef

Make the dough: Whisk 1 cup warm water (105 degrees) with the sugar in a bowl; scatter the yeast over the top and set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the olive oil.

Whisk the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients to make a rough, shaggy dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. (Add more flour to prevent sticking, if necessary.) Form the dough into a ball; place in a large oiled bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature until the dough has doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the toppings: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage, season with salt and cook until just soft, about 5 minutes. Add the pickling spices and just enough water to cover. Simmer over low heat, covered, until the cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the cabbage and set aside (discard spices).

Place a pizza stone in the oven, if you have one, and preheat to 500 degrees. Toss the potato with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a single layer on a baking sheet until golden, about 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll one into a 14-inch round (keep the remaining dough covered). Place the round on a floured pizza peel (if baking on a stone) or a large oiled pizza pan; drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Scatter half of each of the cheeses, corned beef, cabbage and potatoes on top. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully slip the pizza onto the hot stone, if using, or place the pan in the oven. Cook until golden and crispy, 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough and toppings. Recipe adapted from Penguin Pizza, Boston for Food Network Magazine
Colcannon, makes 4 to 6 servings

I originally received this recipe from my friend Sonia a few years ago. These are Sonia's Notes: Colcannon is a very traditional Irish recipe. It was mostly prepared for All Saints Day or Halloween, but the American Irish have used it to help celebrate St. Paddy's Day. Traditionally, charms were put in the colcannon to symbolize different things; if you got the button, it meant you would remain a bachelor, a thimble meant you would remain a spinster for the coming year, a ring was a sure sign you would get married and a coin meant you would come into wealth.

1 pound cabbage
2 pounds russet or Yukon gold potatoes
2 small leeks, green onions or scallions
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons butter
Dash of nutmeg or mace

Core, quarter and shred the cabbage and place in a pan, covering with boiled salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Peel and cut the potatoes into 2 inch pieces and cook in salted water for about 15 minutes in another pan.

Drain the cabbage and chop into very small pieces. Drain the potatoes and mash by hand. Do not use a processor or mixer. They will turn gluey, take my word for it!

Meanwhile, wash and chop the leeks, onions or scallions, using the middle parts, including some of the tender part of the green.

In a pan large enough to hold the cooked potatoes and cabbage, combine the onions and milk and cook over medium heat until they are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, and mace to the onions and milk and stir over low heat until well blended. Add the cabbage and 1/2 cup of butter and stir again to the consistency of mashed potatoes. Mound the mixture in the middle of a platter and make an indentation. Add the remainder of the butter.

Leftover colcannon may be made into patties (no pun intended) and refrigerated overnight. Sauté them in butter for the most delicious potato cakes the next day. It's worth making the whole recipe for these. According to my Brit friend, Glory Denyer who lives in Canada, the English call them Bubble and Squeak. In doing a search I learned the name comes about because of the noise they make while cooking.
St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef with Mustard Cream Sauce

First of all, here is a great recipe for a mustard sauce for the corned beef.
Next: The trick with corned beef is to bring it up to a simmer and keep it at a low simmer until done. Boiling will toughen the meat and make it stringy and dry, even though it is immersed in liquid. The heat drives the moisture out of the meat and tightens the cells so it will not be reabsorbed. See the recipe for corned beef from scratch then go all the way to the bottom to see how to prepare the corned beef itself.

1. Mustard Cream Sauce from Bristol Farms' Executive Chef, Bruce Jacobs.
Here is a simple and delightful sauce created by Bruce Jacobs, Executive Chef at Bristol Farms Markets. He serves it with his St. Patrick's Day corned beef, but the sauce is excellent served with or over ham, chicken, and other meats, as well.

2 tablespoons, butter
2 tablespoons, flour
2 cups, broth from cooking corned beef (see *Cook's Note)
1 cup, heavy (or whipping) cream
1 tablespoon, prepared horseradish sauce
2 tablespoons, whole grain mustard (or add to taste)
2 tablespoons, fresh chives - minced

*Cook's Note: Bruce makes this sauce using the same broth in which his corned beef and vegetables have been cooked. Alternatively, substitute 2 teaspoons of concentrated Better Than Bouillon (brand) Ham Base mixed with 2 cups of water.

To make the roux: Melt the butter in small sautes pan, then slowly stir in the flour and cook over low heat for 15-30 minutes stirring constantly (do not allow this roux to brown your purpose in cooking it is to cook away any raw flour taste). If you do not cook the roux long enough, you will have a strong flour taste in your sauce.

To finish the sauce: In a small pot, bring the stock ,cream, horseradish and mustard to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and slowly add the roux (flour and butter paste), a little at a time, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the chives.
Makes 3-1/4 Cups

2. St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef

Here's the scoop for making corned beef yourself. (It's easy, but it must cure in the refrigerator for several days, so you'll want to start soon.)

This version will surely taste better than the store-bought kind, but, unless you use the optional salt peter (see below) it won't be that bright red color that you find in the supermarket kind. You may adjust the seasonings (except for the proportion of salt, since that is essential to the cure) to suit your personal taste preferences, although, if you've never made this before, I suggest you try the recipe as written, then make changes in future versions.

The most common cut of meat for corned beef is a boneless beef brisket, which is divided into two pieces, and sold two ways: the first or flat cut, and the point cut which is fattier and tastier, as well as more tender. If you decide on the point cut, you may have to ask for it these days the leanest cuts are the ones most commonly displayed. Eye roasts and round roasts are also corned - but the result is dryer and less tender, more like the flat-cut brisket. These leaner meat cuts slice the most neatly, though - so take your choice.

For a 4-6-pound beef brisket or other cut (as above)
1/2 cup, kosher (coarse-grain) salt
1 tablespoon, black peppercorns - coarsely cracked
1 tablespoon, brown sugar
3/4 tablespoon, ground allspice
1 tablespoon, dried thyme
1/2 tablespoon, paprika
2 bay leaves - crumbled
3 cloves, garlic - minced
optional (for red color): 1 tablespoon, sodium nitrite* - dissolved in 1/2 cup, warm water. *sold in pharmacies or order from butcher shops]
[Vegetables, as desired to serve with corned beef : see last paragraph]

Mix kosher salt with all other seasonings (but not saltpeter) in a small bowl. Pierce the brisket several times on each side with a skewer or heavy fork. (NOTE: this piercing step may be eliminated if meat is cured for 10-14days, instead of 5-7 days, before rinsing and cooking.)
Rub both sides of meat evenly with salt/spice mixture. Place meat in heavy, 2-gallon size plastic zipper-lock bag, squeezing out as much air as possible before closing bag. [Pour over dissolved saltpeter in water, if using, before sealing bag.] Place bag with meat in a pan large enough to hold it, cover with another pan of similar size, and weight the top pan with two bricks, or with two heavy cans from the pantry.

Refrigerate for 5-7 days, turning bag once each day.

When ready to cook, remove corned beef from bag, and rinse the meat thoroughly under cold running water, to remove excess salt, and large spice pieces. Place the rinsed corned beef in a large, heavy pot, adding cold water to cover the meat by one inch, and bring water to a boil, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface. When water begins to boil, immediately lower the heat, and cover the pot, carefully checking frequently to be sure that the water only simmers (and never boils - which will toughen the meat).

Simmer for about 3 hours, or until a skewer, inserted in the thickest part of the meat, slides out easily. Allow meat to cool in its liquid for at least 20 minutes.

*If vegetables are to be added, remove the meat to a baking pan, ladle some broth over it, and cover the pan, keeping it warm in a very low oven, while cooking vegetables in the remaining broth in the pot. Simmer carrots, potatoes, onions and other firm vegetables (cut into pieces, as desired) for 10 minutes in broth, then add cabbage (cut in wedges) and continue to simmer until all vegetables are tender (about another 10 minutes). Slice the corned beef and serve on a platter, surrounded with the vegetables.
Shepherd's Pie, makes 4 servings

Place in a large pot of cold water over medium heat:

1 1/2 pounds all purpose potatoes, quartered and well-rinsed (peeling optional)

Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher, adding the cooking water along with:

1 T butterSalt and ground white pepper to taste.

Beat with a wooden spoon until fluffy.

Preheat oven to 400 -

While the potatoes are cooking, heat in a medium skillet over medium-low heat:

2-3 T vegetable oil


1 medium onion, chopped1 carrot, chopped1 celery stalk, chopped

Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and add:

1 pound ground lamb

Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Spoon off any fat. Add:

1 T all purpose flour.

Cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add:

3/4 beef stock
1 T chopped fresh thyme, or 1 t dried
1 T chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 t dried
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of ground nutmeg

Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove to a 9’ pie plate or baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top, making irregular peaks with the tines of a fork. Scatter over the top:

2 T cold butter, cut into small pieces

Bake until the potatoes are browned and the dish is heated all the way through, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve directly from the baking dish.
Irish Bread-And-Butter Pudding, serves at least 10

My friend Barbara made this dessert for our St Patrick's theme dinner group get-together a few years ago. It's delicious and a bread pudding I continue to make.

1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup Irish whiskey
5 large eggs
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
8 to 9 slices firm white bread, crust left on
4 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
Custard Sauce or Irish whiskey Sauce

In a small bowl, combine the raisins and whiskey and let soak for 1 hour. Butter a 9-inch square glass baking dish. (I let the raisins soak for 2 days) In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the vanilla extract or split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and drop them into the custard.

Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Cut the slices in half diagonally and arrange half the bread, overlapping the slices, in the bottom of the baking dish. Drain the raisins and sprinkle half over the bread. Repeat with remaining bread and raisins. Pour the custard over the bread and let soak for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the baking dish in a large baking pan. Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the pudding is set and the top is golden. Remove the baking dish from the water and let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm with a chilled sauce, if desired. (I made a recipe and a half to fit the 9 X 13 inch pan). This is good with a little of both sauces served on top.

Custard Sauce
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla
5 large egg yolks1/2 cup sugar

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, cream, and vanilla. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to simmer. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Stir into the cream mixture and cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Strain into a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Can be refrigerated for up to 14 hours. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Irish Whiskey Sauce
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup Irish whiskey
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 T water
1/4 tsp. cornstarch

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, whiskey, sugar, and vanilla. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to simmer. Mix the water and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth. Add to the cream mixture. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. Can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Makes about 1 cup.

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Until Next Time, Have Fun in Your Kitchen!
Buon Appetito!

1 comment:

AmericanKnitter said...

Oh, Irish Soda Bread.

That sounds like JUST the think I need.

Yum! I'll get right on it!