Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kiwi Fruit

Lately we've been eating a lot of kiwi fruit and I have noticed it's been on sale at the stores (we've been getting the kiwi with our Bountiful Baskets). I like Kiwi but it's not everyone's fruit and it's a little intimidating to look at. They are little oval shaped fruits covered in a brown fuzz (a cross between peaches and coconuts).
The skins are not edible, making the fruit even less appealing to those not into peeling their food. I have a friend who cuts off one end and eats the flesh out with a spoon, similar to eating a soft boiled egg. I haven't been able to talk myself into trying it that way. I like eating the fruit while reading a book after lunch so the spoon method just seems to be too attention consuming.
At one end of the Kiwi is a hard knob that must be removed with the peel. I cut each end off and then peel with the knife or a peeler.
Kiwi's are rich in nutrients. For their little size, they hold a lot of potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Their seeds are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids but you need to break into them (so no slurping the seeds, must chew). I like the seeds, they have a fun crunch.
The taste of the kiwi is a little sweet and a little tart. The more ripe, the sweeter but they are never really all that sweet. They are quite juicy so you get all that good water with them.
To pick a good kiwi - it should not be soft but should give slightly when pressed. The "fur" should be a uniform brown and should not be dark. The skin should also look firm with no wrinkles. Wrinkles indicate that the kiwi is starting to over-ripen. This is okay for home eating but I wouldn't purchase a kiwi in this condition.
In preparing for this post, I discovered that Kiwi Fruit comes from China. I didn't know that but I am sure they are now grown in the US. There is some research that shows that Kiwi's might be used for medicinal purposes but there is no evidence supporting it 100% yet. I think it's still a good food to add to your diet. It tastes like the best parts of summer but it's still gloomy outside.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sweet and Sour Meat

I opted to title this Sweet and Sour Meat because I make this with pork or chicken. You really could use any meat (or no meat) if you desired. Long ago I used to bread and fry chicken nuggets to serve with this sauce but I really prefer the meat unbreaded and made into the sauce so it absorbs some of the great sweet and sour flavor.
This is one of those recipes that my mom got from the ladies group at church when I was a kid. It was one she made on occassion at home but it was a lot of work frying the chicken (another reason why I don't make little nuggets). Somehow I got the little photocopied booklet and created my own version.
I made this last night with chunk pineapple since the store was out of crushed and it worked nicely. I can't remember the exact size of the can but it's what I would consider a normal sized can (maybe around 14 oz). Also I have found that reducing the vinegar to 1 cup helps cut the bite that my family is not so fond of. I use plain white vinegar but this could be good with rice vinegar.
I serve it over rice with extra soy sauce.

Sweet and Sour Chicken
1-2 pounds chicken or pork, cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion, diced
1-2 green peppers, diced
1 can crushed pineapple with juice
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cup vinegar
4 tbs. soy sauce
2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
4 tbs. cornstarch
1 cup cool water
1 cup ketchup
In a deep skillet or large saucepan (not huge but at about 12 inches across and 5-6 inches deep), heat enough oil to cover bottom of pan. Add meat and brown. Add onions and green peppers. Saute until just tender. Mix cornstarch with cool water until all the starch is dissolved. Add to pot with remaining ingredients. Stir until well mixed and begins to thicken. Remove and serve over rice.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Quick Stir Pitcher

I first saw a self stirring pitcher on a blog about home storage and emergency preparedness. The blog talked about how this pitcher was an absolute necessity for any home. I thought about it but I rarely buy something online, for no real reason except that I hate paying extra for shipping. A month later, I was at an event that had seller's tables set up in the lobby. One table had Pampered Chef items and this pitcher was something new that they were promoting. The Pampered Chef pitcher did come out to be a few dollars more for the actual cost of the pitcher but I was able to walk away with it that day and that's what I really like (I like holding my products in my hand).
At first, it was fine. We used it all summer to make kool-aid but I just didn't get it. I didn't have anything negative to say about it but I didn't love it. When my husband lost his job in December, I felt it was a good time to start using up all those cans of powdered milk or at least make a big dent in them. Over the last 4 months we've found that we tolerate the powered milk just fine. We don't drink it just because but it works fine in cereal and for cooking. What I hate is that this particular brand of powdered milk seems water resistant. The powder hits the water and forms tight little balls that never seem to really dissolve. It's a real pain. Then I re-discovered that quick stir pitcher in the back of the cabinet and thought 'couldn't hurt'.
I, now, understand why that pitcher is a must have. With a little effort (not as much as without) the powder is quickly blended into the water. There are no more lumps (an occassional bit stuck to the side of the pitcher but nothing to worry about). It cleans quickly and fits easily into our refridgerator. I absolutely love it. The pitcher looks like a normal pitcher but has a plunger in the lid but instead of a rubber end, it has a pinwheel like plastic piece. It's not hard work to get the milk mixed. It does create a lot of foam and bubbles so you have to watch over pumping and foaming out the spout but other than that I have no complaints.
I look forward to buying real milk again. Our local co-op now has raw organic milk and I envision my little pitcher turning that milk into a vat of butter with as little effort as it makes my powdered milk. I definetely say this is a must have. Pampered Chef sells it in two sizes but I think the smaller size works just fine. I know that it's out there from other companies so any one should do.

Coming Soon!

Doing the Irish recipes for 17 posts brought a lot of things to my attention. The first was that I realized that I can post here on a more regular basis without much trouble. The weekends are a little chaotic for me but through the week shouldn't be a problem. Also, having a theme made me put other recipes on the back burner leading me to come up with some other ideas of what I would like to share.
This past weekend I volunteered with the Red Cross at a Community Preparedness Fair and got to thinking about household preparedness and sharing some of that information with others. I don't want to dedicate an entire blog to preparedness - not because I don't think it's a viable topic but because there are other great blogs about the topic and I really don't need to add another blog to my schedule.
So I decided to kind of make themed days - Monday, Wednesday, Friday I will post a recipe that I have experimented with. (I want to make it clear that most recipes I play with have come from somewhere else but since I put all my found recipes in a computer file I rarely remember where they came from. I try to credit as I can but most of the time it just won't happen and I apologize for any confusion.)
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I will share something food or household related. That might be a product I found that I can't live without, a tip or technique or anything else I can think of. I will, also, share some food information. If there is a particular fruit or vegetable that you have not tried and would like information about - let me know and I will blog. I think it's important to remember that food is part of a household and part of a life. Eating well on a budget means more than beans and pasta. It's my goal to weed out all the extra expense and still eat well.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Poached Pears

We ended up with some pears that were not very tasty for eating but wanted to consume them anyway. I had always heard about poached pears but never tried them. I looked at a recipe and it seems that poached pears contain alcohol that you light on fire. Being that we had special guests who did not drink alcohol and were eating in my father's apartment I thought it was best to create an alternate recipe. My recipe uses Watkins Mandarin Orange Seasoning and Dip Mix which is still available through Watkins but I think one can substitute orange jello powder. Personally, I love the Mandarin Orange Mix and use it to make a salad dressing I found on the Watkins website ages ago (I am not sure the recipe is still there). This turned out to be really easy and tasted great. Everyone loved them.

Poached Pears
6 ripe pears
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 TB mandarin orange mix (Watkins)
1 tsp Chinese five spice blend
Bring water to boil. Add sugar and let boil until the water has boiled to half or there about. Add mandarin orange mix and Chinese Five spice. Cut pears in half and remove core. Lay pears in 11x13 baking dish, cut side up. Pour syrup over pears. Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pita Bread

Pita bread is actually quite simple. I had a recipe long ago that I am certain cooked the pita in a skillet but this oven recipe worked nicely. This recipe has you raise the pitas after shaping them but I found that it took up too much counterspace and worked fine baking them right after shaping. Also, I skipped the step of placing them in a paper bag or draping with a towel and just stacked them on a plate. After baking you can eat them or cool them, butter and fry in a skillet.

Pita Bread
1 1/8 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Add yeast to water and let ferment for 10-15 minutes. Mix all remaining dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add yeast water and oil. The dough will be slightly dry but mix well. Knead in bowl or on countertop for several minutes. Let rise in a warm location. When it has risen to twice it's size, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently roll and stretch dough into a 12 inch rope. With a sharp knife, divide dough into 8 pieces. Roll each into a smooth ball. With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 6 to 7 inch circle. Set aside on a lightly floured countertop. cover with a towel. Let pitas rise about 30 minutes until slightly puffy. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C). Place 2 or 3 pitas on a wire cake rack. Place cake rack directly on oven rack. Bake pitas 4 to 5 minutes until puffed and tops begin to brown. Remove from oven and immediately place pitas in a sealed brown paper bag or cover them with a damp kitchen towel until soft. Once pitas a softened, either cut in half or split top edge for half or whole pitas. They can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for 1 or 2 months.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Curried Chicken

This is a great and quick dish. I discovered something called stir fry chicken at our grocery store. It's become my favorite cut of chicken. They also have stir fry pork and beef. The cut is about 1/2 inch strips of meat but they cook really fast making them perfect for rushed dinners.
Curry is often a dish served with a lot of extras. I served this with currants, almonds and lemon slices. You can easily include other nuts, fresh herbs or anything that sounds good (chutneys are often served with curries). I made fresh pitas and will share that recipe tomorrow.

Curried Chicken
1 onion, chopped
2 teas minced or paste ginger
1 head (bulb) garlic, minced or mashed (I often smash the unpeeled cloves under a jar and then remove the peels)
2 teas curry powder
2 teas cumin
2 teas lemongrass paste
1 onion sliced
2 green peppers, chopped or sliced
2 tbs sour cream
Lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
4 3/4 pounds stirfry chicken (this is what I used - feel free to use more or less chicken)
In a blender, puree lemongrass, ginger, garlic, curry powder, cumin and chopped onion until a thick paste. Heat oil in deep skillet. Saute the sliced onion and peppers until they start to soften. Add paste and let brown. Squeeze lemon juice over pan to loosen anything sticking. Add chicken and fry until the chicken reaches 180 degrees. With this cut cooking should take about 10 minutes. Stir in sour cream and remove from heat.
Serve over salad greens on a pita.

*ginger and lemongrass paste can be found in nearly any grocery store produce section. They can come in small jars or plastic tubes. Lemongrass can be optional.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Irish Cream Bars revisited

I was able to find time last week to make this recipe. I changed it and actually found I could make a dairy free version that didn't feel dairy free.
The original recipe is in a post from last week for those who want to look at it.
These are rather simple. I bought irish cream extract from Watkins but it's seasonal so only available in the winter (if they carry year to year). I did find that King Arthur carries irish cream extract but I can't comment on the taste.

Irish Cream Bars
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup nucoa
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
1 12.3 oz block firm tofu
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup non-dairy milk with 1 teas irish cream extract
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
Heat oven to 350ºF. In medium bowl, mix 3/4 cup flour, nucoa, powdered sugar and cocoa with spoon until soft dough forms. Press in ungreased square pan, 8x8x2 or 9x9x2 inches. Bake 10 minutes.
In medium bowl, beat remaining ingredients with wire whisk until blended. Pour over baked layer. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until filling is set. Cool slightly; refrigerate at least 2 hours before cutting.

I used a whisk on the tofu before I added the other ingredients.
I made a double batch in 2 seperate 9x9 inch pans and I noticed that it took longer to cook than the 15-20 minutes and actually having it cook a little longer meant a better texture.
These are better cooked the day before instead of the day of.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I am so behind and really ran out of recipes so much earlier than I expected. I know that Quiche is not Irish but this version has a bit of an Irish flare.
I often skip making Quiche in a crust since my family really doesn't care for it that way but feel free to use a pie crust for your version.

Ham and Cheese Quiche
2 red potatoes, cubed
1 tb dried rosemary
1 cup cubed ham
1 premade pie shell
1 cup shredded cheese
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teas all-purpose seasoning
oven to 400. place potatoes and rosemary in a microwaveable dish. cover with damp paper towel and microwave 2 minutes until almost cooked through. cover the bottom of the pie crust with potatoes, ham and cheese. whisk together eggs, milk and seasoning - pour in pie crust. put in oven for 35-40 minutes until eggs set.

Ham in Coke

This isn't technically an Irish recipe but ham is an alternative to Corned Beed and this method is the only way my family will eat ham (except for the occassional sandwich). Buying a good ham is not as easy as it used to be. Look for a "real" ham and not a processed hunk of pork. Real ham has a lot of flavor - skin on is best with the bone still inside. I found this recipe in a Nigella Lawson book. I have even used Cherry Coke which gives a slight fruity flavor.

Ham in Coke
4-41/2 pd bone-in ham
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 liter coke
1 TB molasses
2 teas English mustard powder
2 TB brown sugar
Place ham in pot, skin side down if possible. Add onion and coke. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Cover and simmer 2 hours or 1 hour for every 2 pounds. Remove ham from stock. Remove skin. Score fat and dot with cloves. Rub with molasses. Pat on mustard and sugar. Cook in foil-line roasting pan at 500 degrees for 10 minutes.

Save the stock and make:

Black Bean Soup
3 cups dried black beans
Coke stock from above and water
Juice of ½ lime
1 teas cumin
1 teas coriander
Cook beans in stock and water (cover over 2 inches) until tender. Let come to boil and reduce to low – cook 1-11/2 hours. Add lime juice and spices. Serve with sour cream.
-can remove 3 ladles of beans and puree with spices before seasoning if desired (I found this to be a pain so we skip this step).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Irish Cream Brownies

This is another Betty Crocker recipe. I plan on making it without a mix and will post that recipe soon.

Irish Cream Brownies
1 (1 lb. 3.8-oz.) pkg. fudge brownie mix
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon butter or margarine
1.Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 13x9-inch pan. In large bowl, combine all brownie ingredients; beat 50 strokes with spoon. Spread in greased pan.
2.Bake at 350°F. for 25 to 30 minutes or until brownies are set and begin to pull away from sides of pan. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Cool 45 minutes or until completely cooled.
3.Beat 1/2 cup butter in small bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in all remaining frosting ingredients, adding enough milk for desired spreading consistency. Spread over cooled brownies.
4.Place glaze ingredients in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds; stir until melted and smooth. Drizzle over frosted brownies. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm. Cut into bars.
Makes 48 bars

Irish Cream Bars

I was going to experiment with some recipes from Betty Crocker and just didn't get the chance. Here is one I thought sounded good. I promise to make it this week and give some notes. My goal is to make this using Irish Cream extract.

Irish Cream Bars
3/4 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup Irish cream liqueur
1 tablespoon Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream
Chocolate sprinkles, if desired
1.Heat oven to 350ºF. In medium bowl, mix 3/4 cup flour, the butter, powdered sugar and cocoa with spoon until soft dough forms. Press in ungreased square pan, 8x8x2 or 9x9x2 inches. Bake 10 minutes.
2.In medium bowl, beat remaining ingredients except whipping cream and chocolate sprinkles with wire whisk until blended. Pour over baked layer. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until filling is set. Cool slightly; refrigerate at least 2 hours before cutting. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.
3.In chilled small bowl, beat whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Spoon whipped cream into pastry bag fitted with medium writing or star tip. Pipe dollop of cream onto each bar. Top with chocolate sprinkles. Store covered in refrigerator up to 48 hours.
Makes 24 bars

Shepard's Pie

It was my intention to share this recipe on Saturday but it was the weekend of my son's birthday and birthday party and I ended up swamped. I will make up for it though.
Shepard's pie is one of those things I used to make all the time and then it became tator tot casserole. Tator tot casserole is a family favorite which I have shared before.
To make this gluten free - just substitute the mushroom soup for a cornstarch cream sauce with mushrooms.
With the potatoes - through them in a pot of water without any prep and boil. When soft replace the hot water with cold and peel the potatoes - removing any bad spots. This makes the prep quick and easy. For this Russetts are the easiest potatoes to work with but you can use any potato.

Shepard's pie
8 small to medium potatoes (should make about 4 cups mashed potato)
1-2 pounds ground beef (I used 1.8 pounds)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup condensed
1 bag frozen mixed veggies - used a carrot, cauliflower, broccoli blend
Boil potatoes. Cool and mash, adding enough milk to make the potatoes pasty. Brown ground beef in skillet. Drain off as much grease as possible. Remove from heat. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Add soup to beef and mix well. Add veggies. Oil a casserole dish. Dump meat and veggie mix in dish and pat it flat. Top with potatoes, sealing the edges around the dish. If you can not make the potatoes flat then make them higher in the center and smooth.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the top of the potatoes brown (we baked for 30 minutes and then broiled for a couple of minutes to get a nice browning).
You can salt/season the top of the dish if desired. I found the "gravy" made the potatoes tasty without seasoning but you have to dump it upside down on the plate.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Red Cabbage and Apples

This is the other cabbage recipe I promised. This is a nice easy recipe because it's cooked in a crockpot. Feel free to switch the cabbage to green cabbage. I am patiently waiting for the cabbage price to drop for the holiday. Some stores are already having St Patrick's day sales but starting Tuesday/Wednesday is when the best sales should start - can't delay though or there won't be anything left.
Red Cabbage and Apples
1 small head red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
3 medium apples, peeled and grated
¾ cup sugar
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup crisp-cooked and crumbled bacon
Fresh apple slices (optional)
Combine cabbage, apples, sugar, vinegar and cloves in slow cooker. Cover; cook on HIGH 6 hours, stirring after 3 hours. Sprinkle with bacon, if desired. Garnish with apple slices.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cabbage Wedges with Tangy Hot Dressing

One year I hosted a huge St. Patrick's Day party and made a beautiful spread for the meal. I discovered 2 new cabbage recipes that year. Cabbage is one of those things that I absolutely love. There is no such thing as a bad cabbage dish but I am still one who makes the same few recipes over and over again. When cabbage goes on sale, I buy at least 10 pounds. Cabbage stores wonderfully in the fridge (often for a couple months) and is very versatile. I often chop it up and fry it with bacon.
Anyway, this recipe is one that is simple and offers a slight alternative to the every day cabbage.
Cabbage Wedges with Tangy Hot Dressing
1 slice bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2/3 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/4 cup cider or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
1 green onion, thinly sliced
½ head red or green cabbage (about 1 pound), cut into 4 wedges
Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to paper towel; set aside. Meanwhile, dissolve cornstarch in apple juice in small bowl. Stir in vinegar, brown sugar and caraway seeds; set aside. Add onion to hot drippings in skillet. Cook and stir until onion is soft but not brown.
Place cabbage wedges, flat side down, in skillet. Add cornstarch mixture to skillet. Cook over medium heat 4 minutes. Carefully turn over cabbage wedges. Cook 6 minutes or until cabbage is fork-tender and dressing is thickened.
Remove cabbage to cutting board; carefully cut away core. Transfer to warm serving plates. Pour hot dressing over cabbage wedges. Sprinkle with bacon pieces. Garnish as desired. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


This may not be exactly Irish but it's one of my favorite "tea" recipes. Scones are great with a Sunday tea. They are best served with butter and a variety of toppings. We always get out some fancy jams (last time was apple pie jam which I will post here later in the month), curds (lemon, lime or orange) and creams. Devonshire cream is a whipped topping for scones and desserts.

1 2/3 cup self-rising flour
4 tbs. butter
2/3 milk
Cut butter into flour until resembles cornmeal. Mix in milk. Drop onto baking sheet and bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Can roll out and cut into shapes.
Sweet - add 1/4 cup sugar
Fruit - add 1/3 cup dried fruit and 2 tbs. sugar

This is an Americanized version of Devonshire Cream.
Devon Cream
1 package cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tbs. sugar
Beat ingredients until smooth. Chill before serving.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sausage and Potato Coddle

This is a strange dish. It seems normal but the casserole thing is a bit weird. It had really good flavor but I think that this would be a recipe that I would do on the stove instead of the oven.

Sausage & Potato Coddle
1 pound pork sausage links
1/2 pound thick-sliced bacon, cut in 2" pieces
4 large potatoes, (2 pounds)
2 large onions, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups water
In a skillet cook the bacon pieces until they turn golden, and then drain on paper towels. Brown sausages (prick in several places with fork) in bacon fat; drain on paper towels and slice into 1/4-inch pieces. Peel and slice potatoes about 1/4-inch thick. In a casserole dish, alternate layers of bacon, sausage, onion, and potato, seasoning the potatoes with salt and pepper. Sprinkle each layer with a little parsley. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet. Add water and bring to the boil. Pour over the potato casserole. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes, until the top is browned and potatoes become tender.

I think next time I will boil the potatoes until mostly tender. Then fry the bacon and sausage (we use breakfast sausage since there was no distinction). This version did not seem to lose the water so everything was a little soggy. So after cooking the bacon and sausage I would fry the onions and add the potato slices. Mix everything together in a deep skillet and call it dinner. We served the coddle with shredded cheese which was nice but I think the dish needed something to give it a little punch.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

I still struggle with getting a great loaf of Soda bread. Yesterday's batch was really tasty but I think I overmixed it making it slightly tough.
Soda bread is not really a "bread" but more of a large scone (not like those dry scones you get in the US but more biscuit-y).
They are super easy to make but you need to treat the batter a little more gently. I added the currants after I mixed the dough and I think it would serve better to add them in before adding the liquid.

Irish Soda Bread
2 cups flour
2 TB sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda (fresh and not clumpy)
3 TB butter or margarine
1/3 cup currants
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk (I used plain milk)
opt - 1 tsp orange extract
Mix together flour, sugar, and baking soda. Cut in cold butter until resembles corn meal (not really as much butter as a normal biscuit so it may not exactly resemble corn meal but shouldn't have any chunks of butter). Stir in currants. Make a small well in center of flour and add egg and milk (and extract if using). Stir until just moistened. Knead gently 4-5 times and pat into a round loaf. Bake on greased baking sheet at 375 for 30-35 minutes.
Note: some citrus extracts work better if blended into the egg before adding to the batter. Could be good with lemon extract.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bubble and Squeak

I am not certain that this is Irish but it's something that makes me think of Irish foods and is a recipe we make often. Now if you look up the recipe I am sure you will find many varieties and this may not be one. This is what my family makes and loves.
Bubble and Squeak actually comes from the sounds the dish makes as you cook and eat it.
Bubble and Squeak
1/2 cabbage (or more)
1/2 pd bacon
onion, chopped

I use scissors to cut the bacon into 1/2 inch slices and drop them into a hot skillet (use a fairly deep skillet). Fry until it's cooked but still soft. Add chopped onion. Fry until onions are starting to be translucent. Chop cabbage into bite sized pieces or so and add to the skillet. Fry until cabbage is coated in bacon grease and top with lid to steam the cabbage cooked. All in all this recipe should take about 15 minutes to cook - the cabbage should be firm but cooked.

Potato Candy

This is a fun recipe for kid's parties. You can use potato flakes if you don't want to boil a potato. Make fairly small balls because it is really sweet.
Potato Candy
1 large potato - peeled
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
4-5 cups confectioner’s sugar
5 cups sweetened coconut flakes
Boil potato until soft Mash until smooth and add butter. Let cool completely. Mix in vanilla and slowly add sugar. (if the potato is still warm it will melt the sugar so make sure it is cool). Add sugar until you have a stiff dough. Knead in half of the coconut. Roll the dough into small balls and roll in remaining coconut. The dough gets soft when warm so may have to refrigerate it to make it workable.
Can add green food coloring with the vanilla.

Friday, March 4, 2011


The recipe for Colcannon we used for years had leeks and when leeks became harder and harder to find, I stopped making it. I have since lost the recipe but I can give you the gist. I tried looking up a similar recipe and discovered that there are so many variations that I was stunned. I think I am going to pull this out again and try making it with onions instead of leeks.

This one from is quite similar to what I used to make.
1 pound cabbage
1 pound potatoes
2 leeks
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch ground mace
1/2 cup butter
In a large saucepan, boil cabbage until tender; remove and chop or blend well. Set aside and keep warm. Boil potatoes until tender. Remove from heat and drain.
Chop leeks, green parts as well as white, and simmer them in just enough milk to cover, until they are soft.
Season and mash potatoes well. Stir in cooked leeks and milk. Blend in the cabbage and heat until the whole is a pale green fluff. Make a well in the center and pour in the melted butter. Mix well.

Note: if you use leeks, wash them very well. Do to their design leeks gather dirt in between their "leaves" and can ruin a great dish.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Irish Bread Pudding

Years ago, a local tv station had a mid-morning news show that I loved. Once a week, a woman from the Heart Institute would share a recipe. I was so sad when the show stopped airing but this recipe that she shared will always be a favorite. It's a heart healthy version of bread pudding which I had never made until this recipe. I am shocked at what a "real" bread pudding looks like - some recipes have a dozen eggs in them. I sometimes omit the raisins and just pour a little whiskey over the batter to infuse that flavor (I really dislike raisins). Also, I don't use low fat versions of the ingredients unless that is what I have on had. When we were gluten free - we just didn't eat this recipe. It is not one I have made allergy free but if anyone has any suggestions let me know.

Irish Bread Pudding With Caramel-Whiskey Sauce
1/4 cup light butter -- melted
1 (10 ounce) French bread baguette, cut into 1-inch thick slices
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup Irish whiskey
1 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated skim milk
2 large eggs -- lightly beaten
cooking spray
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Caramel-Whiskey Sauce:
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup light butter
2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel) -- (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup Irish whiskey
1/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brush melted butter on one side of French bread slices, and place bread, butter sides up, on baking sheet. Bake bread at 350 degrees for 10 min. or lightly toasted. Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes, and set aside.
Combine raisins and whiskey in a small bowl; cover and let stand 10 min. or until soft (do not drain).
Combine 1% milk and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add bread cubes and raisin mixture, pressing gently to moisten; let stand 15 minutes.
Spread bread mixture into a 13x9" baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over pudding. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. or until set. Serve warm with Caramel-Whiskey Sauce.
For Sauce: Combine sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan over med-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Cook an additional 15 minutes or until golden (do not stir). Remove from heat. Carefully add butter and cream cheese, stirring constantly with a whisk ( mixture will be hot and bubble vigorously). Cool slightly, and stir in whiskey and milk.

Note: the best Irish Whiskey is Bushmills. A bottle is a little pricey but between this and the Irish Whiskey Pie - it is put to good use (and only using the whiskey for those makes the bottle last a couple of years). If you are worried about the alcohol - it's all burned off in the cooking process so the finished product is alcohol free and safe to serve children.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Corned Beef

I got to thinking last night - with St Pat's coming up I could do 17 days of Irish recipes. We're not super traditional in our house but St Pat's is one of the few holidays we go all out on. Some years I have even over-decorated our house with shamrocks and Irish flags. It gets us in touch with our heritage especially since we're not that many generations in America on my dad's side (well on my mom's side too but that's her German side, her Irish ancestors have been in America for a long time).
Corned Beef is something that is synonymous with St Patrick's Day. For many years, it was something we tolerated for the holiday but we didn't really like it until I tried this crockpot recipe. There's something about it that makes the meat incrediably tasty. I cook the meat alone starting the night before. In the morning I drain off the water and cook the veggies in that water in another crockpot or on the stove. Then I glaze the beef (sometimes I skip the glaze and we eat it after warming it in the oven).
Glazed Corned Beef
5 pound corned beef
2 bay leaves
3 tbs. melted butter
1 tbsp. prepared mustard
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
3 tbsp. vinegar
3 tbsp. water
Place meat in crockpot, cover with water and bay leaves. Cook overnight on low (6-10 hours).
Drain off liquid (can reserve for veggies). In saucepan heat glaze ingredients, stirring until well blended. Pour over meat. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
Do be careful - the glazing process can dry out the meat so watch it carefully.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Irish Whiskey Pie

St Patricks Day is a big deal in our house and has been for years. One of my family's favorite part of the meal is this pie. It's not one I can figure out how to make dairy free (or haven't really tried) but you can easily make it gluten free by taking gluten free chocolate cookies and making a crust. Over the years I started omitting the food coloring - feel free to omit it yourself. What you get is a lighter green that's not as pretty but it gets eaten just as fast.

Irish Whiskey Pie
1 chocolate graham cracker ready-to-use pie crust
1/4 cup Irish whiskey
1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
1 tbsp. mint jelly
2-3/4 cups whipped topping
2 tbsp. sugar
2 eggs, separated
Green food coloring
2/3 cup light cream
1 dash salt
Combine gelatin, 1 Tablespoon sugar, and salt in saucepan. Beat egg yolks lightly. Add egg yolks, cream and whiskey to gelatin mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens slightly. Stir in mint jelly. Chill until mixture begins to thicken. Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Beat in remaining sugar until mixture holds a stiff peak. Fold meringue and 2 cups whipped topping into custard mixture. Add green food coloring to desired shade. Turn into crust. Garnish with remaining whipped topping and refrigerate until firm. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours before cutting.