Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Enjoy the race; let’s hope Jimmie Johnson can 4-peat!
Chicken and Sauce:
½ lb. chicken tenders
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup 2% milk
1 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
½ cup skim milk
Heat a dutch oven over medium high, add butter and flour, whisk to cook flour, add stock and milk, bring to a rolling bubble. Add in salt and pepper, slide in chicken. Cover and turn to low.
Bring a large pot of water (half full) to a boil.
Combine all dumpling ingredients in a bowl, mix together with a fork. Turn out and roll. Use a pizza cutter and create sugar packet size dumplings. Drop in the boiling water, keep at a high boil (be careful it doesn’t boil over, it will foam) and boil for 10 minutes.
Gently transfer into dutch oven with chicken tenders. Keep on low, uncovered, to thicken and reduce.
Allow it to simmer while preparing other ingredients, taste for seasoning adjustments.
Oven Baked Okra
1 bag of frozen cut okra, thawed
½ cup Italian style breadcrumbs
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, toss okra with breadcrumbs and salt and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.
Sweet Baby Carrots
2 cups baby carrots
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. honey
Place steamer basket in a pot with 1/2” of water. Bring to a boil and steam carrots for 15 minutes.
Take basket out of the pot. Turn heat off. Add the butter and honey to the pot, let it melt and add carrots back, toss to combine.
The most beautiful chicken tenders I've ever seen in my whole life!
Cutting the dumplings to sugar packet size
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Tonight I had planned on making chicken cordon bleu burgers because I ran out of chicken breasts, but had some ground chicken. Then, I realized I didn't have buns, so I made baked potatoes instead and did bunless burgers. I found this pear champagne viniagrette at Trader Joes, and I thought it would be great with spinach. I also threw in some more pear, and some diced brie since I had some left over. It was so delicious! This made 3 burgers, 2 for us for dinner, and one for JJ's lunch tomorrow!
Chicken and Dumplings, Baked Okra, Braised Carrots (Martinsville)
Chicken Cordon Bleu Burgers, Baked Potatoes, Pear and Walnut Spinach Salad
Hotdogs in a Blanket, Cracker Jacks, Chopped Salad (Opening Day)
Stewed Chicken with Rice and Peas (Portugal)
Cold Egg Pie with Peas and Sausage (Portugal), Balsamic Strawberry Spinach Salad
Friday, March 28, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Mary Jane's Killer Pineapple Pie
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine pineapple and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in butter until melted. Add cinnamon and nutmeg, stirring continuously until spices are completely incorporated into mixture.In a separate bowl, whisk water and flour together. Strain if mixture has lumps. Add to pineapple mixture and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly until thick. Pour into a pie shell, cover with another and bake for 45 minutes.
I could have found a few more dinners from Samoa to make, but I decided to just do one, since the dishes from Tongo, The Marquesas, Polynesia and Hawaii will all be similar when I get to them. I am a huge mango fan, so when I read the title for this recipe, I knew I'd be making it. Then, I read it should be served with coconut rice –yum! There were no vegetables in the dish, so I decided to add some bell peppers, since those are my favorite, and they're a common vegetable in Polynesia. I have become a huge Sam Choy fan after reading about him and his cuisine.
For this recipe, I used 2 chicken breasts, and halved the sauce and rice amounts. He warns that the recipe seems very long, but it's all things you most likely have on hand. I used only 1 tbsp. of oil in the sauce, not ½ cup, and used a whole mango instead of half!
Marinade the chicken by rubbing on mixture of sea salt, pepper, garlic, and ginger. Cover and place in the refrigerator for a few hours.
2 cups basmati rice
Sparkling Guava Punch
Combine the juices and sugar, chill. Before serving, fill pitcher withice, pour in juices, zest, and ginger ale. Stir to combine. Garnishglasses with lime slices.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Chicken Marsala is one of my favorite dishes. There are so many ways to prepare it, and so many methods, but I love the way Carrabbas makes theirs. They grill the chicken, then cover it in the Marsala sauce. My mom makes hers by pan frying the chicken, then slicing it and letting it simmer in the sauce. I like it that way, but coating the chicken and frying it first doesn’t add much flavor, but does add calories and fat (even though she uses olive oil). So I decided to make my favorite Carrabbas dinner, including delicious roasted garlic mashed potatoes. I often find whole roasted cloves of garlic in the potatoes when I’m eating them there – delicious! However, the garlic can be left out, or less can be used and mashed really well. Carrabbas uses new potatoes, I believe, because sometimes there’s a bit of red skin in the potatoes. I like Yukon Gold potatoes the best though, so I’m using them. Also, I get either a Caesar salad or the broccoli with my dinner, so I made broccoli with this.
Monday, March 24, 2008
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp water
squirt of fresh lemon juice
For the Flan
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1-1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a roasting pan or a 9-x-13-inch baking pan with a double thickness of paper towels. Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat.
Put a metal 8-x-2-inch round cake pan-not a nonstick one-in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel.
To Make the Caramel: Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice together in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Put the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar becomes an amber-colored caramel, about 5 minutes-remove the pan from the heat at the first whiff of smoke.
Remove the cake pan from the oven and, working with oven mitts, pour the caramel into the pan and immediately tilt the pan to spread the caramel evenly over the bottom; set the pan aside.
To Make the Flan: Bring the cream and milk just to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a 2-quart glass measuring cup or in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar. Whisk vigorously for a minute or two, and then stir in the vanilla. Still whisking, drizzle in about one quarter of the hot liquid-this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the hot cream and milk. Using a large spoon, skim off the bubbles and foam that you worked up.
Put the caramel-lined cake pan in the roasting pan. Pour the custard into the cake pan and slide the setup into the oven. Very carefully pour enough hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. (Don't worry if this sets the cake pan afloat.) Bake the flan for about 35 minutes, or until the top puffs a bit and is golden here and there. A knife inserted into the center of the flan should come out clean.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven, transfer the cake pan to a cooking rack and run a knife between the flan and the sides of the pan to loosen it. Let the flan cool to room temperature on the rack, then loosely cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve, once more, run a knife between the flan and the pan. Choose a rimmed serving platter, place the platter over the cake pan, quickly flip the platter and pan over and remove the cake pan-the flan will shimmy out and the caramel sauce will coat the custard.
Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
If you like your pears more cooked, you can add them with the onion so they’re soft in the finished product. I like mine with a little more bite, so I added them near the end to keep them al dente.
This is my final recipe from my week of Ireland. It's by no means a traditional Irish dessert, but it contains Baileys Irish Creme. It was delish!
8 oz. white chocolate
½ cup butter
3 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish Crème
3 egg yolks
1 tbsp. honey
2 cups flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 stick of cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg yolk
2-3 tbsp. ice water
½ tsp. salt
To make pastry, combine flour, sugar and butter ina food processor. Pulse until it resembles crumbles, add yolk and water, process until a soft dough forms, wrap in a ball in plastic, chill for an hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roll out dough and press it into a tart shell. Cover dough with aluminum foil. cover with pie weights and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven, reduce to 350.
In a small saucepan over medium, melt chocolate and butter. Stir in Baileys, remove from heat, and cool for 20 minutes. In a large bowl, beat eggs, yolks, and honey until light and fluffy, whisk into chocolate mixture.
Pout into the shell, bake for 30 minutes until golden on top.
Recipe taken from
The Irish Spirit, Margaret M. Johnson. Chronicle Books, San Fancisco: 2006.
1 rolled-out round of tart dough (below)
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
2 tsp. Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
1/2 cup apricot jam
Fold the dough round in half and carefully transfer to a 9 1/2-inch tart pan, preferably with a removable bottom. Unfold and ease the round into the pan, without stretching it, and pat it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim off any excess dough by gently running a rolling pin across the top of the pan. Press the dough into the sides to extend it slightly above the rim to offset any shrinkage during baking.
Refrigerate or freeze the tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F.
Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or raw short-grain rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then lift an edge of the foil. If the dough looks wet, continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes, until the dough is pale gold, for a total baking time of 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the weights and foil. Continue to bake until the shell is golden, 7 to 10 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Mix in the orange zest and Cointreau. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange the strawberry halves, overlapping them, in concentric circles on top of the cream cheese, completely covering the surface.
In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the apricot jam until it liquefies. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer set over a small bowl. Using a small pastry brush, gently brush the strawberries with a thin coating of jam. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Makes one 9-inch tart.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Pie & Tart, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2003).
Basic Tart Dough
1 egg yolk
2 Tbs. very cold water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into
In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolk, water and vanilla; set aside.
To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.
To make the dough in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and beat on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the egg mixture and beat just until the dough pulls together.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. Use the dough immediately, or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 30 minutes.
To roll out the dough, on a lightly floured board, flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out until the dough is about 1⁄8 inch thick. Use a small, sharp knife to cut out a round or rounds 2 inches greater in diameter than your tart or larger tartlet pans. Use a small, sharp knife or a cookie cutter to cut out rounds 1⁄2 to 1 inch greater in diameter than your miniature tartlet pans. If using a rectangular tart pan, cut out a rectangle 2 inches larger on all sides than the pan. Makes enough dough for one 9 1⁄2-inch tart, six 4-inch tartlets, twelve 2-inch miniature tartlets or one 13 3⁄4-by-4 1⁄4-inch rectangular tart.
I was in charge of bringing desserts to Easter, and I knew my sister would not let me go without a rich, dark chocolate dessert. I thought this would be perfect, and it was. It's by far my favorite Dorie recipe yet. My younger sister speaks French, and I thought gateau was a fancy word, but it's just cake. So if you don't want to sound pretentious (like Kristine said my gateau was) then just call it a fudge cake, but if you want to be fancy, tell people you're bringing a Gateau!
For the Glaze (optional)
Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the chocolate, sugar butter and coffee. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted; the sugar may still be grainy, and that's fine. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let the mixture sit for 3 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, stir in the yolks one by one, then fold in the flour.
Working with the whisk attachment of the mixer or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until the hold firm, but glossy peaks. Using the spatula, stir about one quarter of the beaten whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest. Scrape the butter into the pan and jiggle the pan from side to side a couple of times to even the batter.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake has risen evenly (it might rise around the edges and you'll think it's done, but give it a few minutes more, and the center will puff too) and the top has firmed (it will probably be cracked) and doesn't shimmy when tapped; a thinn knife inserted into the center should come out just slightly streaked with chocolate. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Run a blunt knife gently around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Carefully turn the cake over onto a rack and removethe pan bottom and the parchment paper. Invert the cake onto another rack and cool to room temperature ride side up. As the cake cools, it may sink.
Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.
Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave oven - the chocolate should be just melted and only warm, not hot.
Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small sauce pan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in the corn syrup.
Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth the top with a long metal icing spatula. Don't worry if the glaze drips unevenly down the sides of the cake - it will just add to its charms. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature or, if you're impatient, slip the cake into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
I can't go home for a weekend empty handed, so I made some chocolate chip cookies for the family. I have a giant bag of bittersweet chocolate chips, and there was a recipe on the back of the bag. It's also online here.
Yield: 18 cookies
23 ounce(s) 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1 1/4 cup(s) butter, softened
3/4 cup(s) brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon(s) vanilla
3 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon(s) baking powder
2 cup(s) walnuts, chopped (optional)
DirectionsPreheat oven to 350°F. Place 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips in a bowl and set aside. Place another 1 1/3 cups of chocolate chips in a large bowl and microwave on HIGH power for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. If not melted, microwave for additional 30-second increments until smooth. Stir in butter with a wooden spoon until blended. Add brown sugar and stir. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir flour with baking powder in a small bowl; add to chocolate mixture and mix slowly until blended. Fold in reserved chocolate chips and nuts. Place bowl in refrigerator for 5 minutes. Drop by heaping tablespoon onto an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 12 – 14 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to wire rack.
I chose this week’s country challenge winner because I just wanted to make one dish since it’s a short week. I found Sam Choy’s Polynesian Cookbook and I fell in love with it. He is so passionate about the cooking in that region of the world. His recipes are all delicious and authentic, which is exactly what I was hoping to find with every country chosen!
I learned so much about Samoa that I didn’t know. The Samoa Islands (formerly the Navigators' Islands) are located in the central South Pacific, part of the Polynesian region. The population is about 214,000. There are two parts of the Samoan islands. Samoa, called Western Samoa or Independent Samoa and American Samoa, a territory of the United States, also called Eastern Samoa.
I wondered why Samoa was ever found to be so important to many European shippers. I found that the French, British, German and American forces used Samoa as a refueling station for shipping. The Germans were interested in the Samoan Islands, so United States claimed. Britain also sent troops, and an eight-year civil war followed, with each country supplying troops and supplies to the Samoan parties.
In July 1997, Western Samoa changed its name to Samoa, which it had been designated by the United Nations in 1976 after joining. American Samoa still goes by Eastern Samoa.
About the cuisine: popular ingredients from Samoa are copra-dried coconut meat, cocoa, and bananas. Pineapples grow well in Samoa, but beyond local consumption have not been a major export. Having large pig roasts is also popular in Samoan cuisine. Chicken and pork are also popular meat choices, and rice is a popular grain. Fruit grows abundantly in this region.
I hope that you enjoy my choice for Samoa! I’m pretty sure I’ll never go there, as it’s pretty much in the middle of the ocean and to me, that’s terrifying!
This week's Country Challenge Winner: Samoa
Mango-Spiced Chicken, Coconut Rice, Guava Punch
Chicken Marsala, Garlic Broccoli, Garlic Mashed Potatoes
BBQ Meatloaf, Sweet Potato Fries, Green beans
Chicken Sausage, Asparagus, Pear and Brie Risotto
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I found a bunny head shaped cookie cutter, and knew I could get creative with it. I wanted to incorporate carrots somehow because of Easter. I've never seen a rolled carrot cake cookie, so I decided to make something up and take a chance. I had no idea how these would turn out when I was adding ingredients. They came out kind of like a biscuit, not overly sweet, and pretty puffy. It was good the cookie wasn't too sweet, because the buttercream and coconut are! I tried to use as many elements of a carrot cake without making the cookies too moist and un-rollable. They came out pretty much how I wanted them to!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I wanted to have something light for dinner tonight, I found these three recipes and I thought they'd all pair really well together, and they did!
For this week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, Brioche Raisin Snails were chose. At first, I didn't think I was going to make them because the brioche contains 3 sticks of butter! I'm sticking with this though, so I decided to make them anyway, and just eat one. I liked them, but they weren't as great as I thought they would be since I worked on them for a day. The recipe is long, and seems tedious, but it really wasn't bad at all (thanks to ms. kitchenaid).
Brioche Raisin Snails
1 cup moist, plump raisins
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 recipe for Golden Brioche Loaves(page 48), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating overnight)
1/2 recipe Pastry Cream (page 448)
For The Optional Glaze
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
About 1 teaspoon water
Drop of pure vanilla extract
Getting Ready: Line one large or two smaller baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Put the raisins in a small saucepan, cover them with hot water and let them steep for about 4 minutes, until they are plumped. Drain the raisins, return them to the saucepan and, stirring constantly, warm them over low heat. When the raisins are very hot, pull the pan from the heat and pour over the rum. Standing back, ignite the rum. Stair until the flames go out, then cover and set aside. (The raisins and rum an be kept in a covered jar for up to 1 day.)
Mix the sugar and cinnamon together.
On a flour dusted surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 inches wide and 16 inches long, with a short end toward you. Spread the pastry cream across the dough, leaving 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Scatter the raisins over the pastry cream and sprinkle the raisins and cream with the cinnamon sugar. Starting wit the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it up to 2 months; see Storing for further instructions. Or, if you do not want to make the full recipe, use as much of the dough as you'd like and freeze the remainder.)
With a chef's knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends if they're ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into rounds a scant 1 inch thick. Put the snails on the lined baking sheet(s), leaving some puff space between them.
Lightly cover the snails with wax paper and set the baking sheet(s) in a warm place until the snails have doubles in volume--they'll be puffy and soft--about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Getting Ready To Bake: When the snails have almost fully risen, preheat the oven: depending on the number of baking sheets you have, either center a rack in the oven or position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the wax paper, and bake the snails for about 25 minutes (rotate the sheets if you're using two, from top to bottom and front to back after 15 minutes), or until they are puffed and richly browned. Using a metal spatula, transfer the snails onto a cooling rack.
If You Want To Glaze The Snails: Put a piece of wax paper under the rack of warm rolls to act as a drip catcher. Put the confectioners' sugar into a small bowl, and stir in a teaspoon of water. Keep adding water drop by drop until you have an icing that falls from the tip of a spoon. Add the vanilla extract, then drizzle the icing over the hot snails.
Golden Brioche Loaves
2 packets active dry yeast
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 3/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm
For The Glaze
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.
Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)
Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.
Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature
Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk-- this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.
Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly--as I always do--put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.
Monday, March 17, 2008
I have been wanting to make beef stew this whole winter, but I never got around to it. When I saw this recipe in The Irish Spirit, I decided this is my chance to finally make a beef stew. I was immediately drawn to it because it had dark beer, which I love, and a cheddar cobbler on top. I usually serve my beef stew over egg noodles, but I liked how this almost became a pot pie. As I was browsing through the Irish cheeses, I found an Irish Whiskey Cheddar, which sounded interesting and delicious. I decided to use that instead of the Kerrygold Cheddar the recipe called for.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! I saw this dessert in The Irish Spirit cookbook, and I thought it would be a great use of the rest of my Brown Soda Bread, as well as a nice, healthy dessert.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
As a result of the American Revolution, Tennessee is known as the “Hogs and Hominy” state. The hominy was prevalent, as was ham. Hominy is corn without the germ. It can be found whole or ground, often used to make grits. After researching hominy, I found that it was often served for breakfast with maple syrup, used in a stew called posole, or formed into cakes and browned. I decided to bake it with a little rosemary and parmesan, like I would make a potatoes or rice.
For the “hogs” part of the meal, I bought a quarter ham sliced for tonight’s meal, and one later in the night. I found a recipe that I thought would be interesting, Cola-Baked Ham with Cherry Orange Glaze. It’s an Emeril recipe found here. Obviously, I didn’t make a whole ham. I arranged the slices in a baking dish, cooked it with the cola, and then glazed it every 10 minutes for an hour.
I didn’t find any specific vegetables mentioned for Tennessee, so I went with steamed broccoli.
Cola-Baked Ham with Cherry Orange Glaze:
1 (12 to 15-pound) fully cooked bone-in ham
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Trim rind and excess fat from the ham, leaving a 1/4-inch thick layer of fat. With a sharp knife, score the fat in a diamond pattern. Place the ham in large roasting pan and sprinkle with the allspice. Pour the cola into the pan and bake uncovered 1 hour and 15 minutes, basting every 15 minutes with the pan juices.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the cherry preserves, orange juice, and liqueur over medium heat and cook, stirring, until melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove the ham from the oven and brush the top and sides with the cherry glaze. Return the ham to the oven and bake, brushing with pan juices and glaze every 15 minutes and tenting the ham with foil if browning too quickly, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of ham without touching the bone registers 140 degrees F, about 15 to 30 minutes.
Remove the ham from oven and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour before slicing.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake. The consistency is different from others because it contains mashed potatoes as well as grated potato. This makes the cake a little denser; it almost reminds me of fried mashed potatoes, as I’m used to my mom’s German potato pancakes, made of only grated potato. I wanted another vegetable besides the mushrooms in the sauce, so I just steamed some green beans.
4 chicken breasts, butterflied
4 oz. Cashel Blue Cheese
½ cup flour
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. milk
½ cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. canola oil (omitted)
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. minced shallot
6 oz. white mushrooms
2 tbsp. Irish whiskey
¼ cup half and half (I used fat free)
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut cheese into 4 pieces; stuff one in each chicken breast
Dredge the chicken in the flour; dip in egg wash, then in breadcrumbs.
Heat a large skillet to medium and add canola oil (I used olive oil). Cook the chicken for 5 minutes on each side, transfer to a casserole dish and bake for 10 minutes while preparing the sauce.
In another skillet over medium, add olive oil and the shallot and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the whiskey and cook for 3 minutes. Add the half and half, season with salt and pepper.
Place chicken on a plate and spoon the sauce over top.
Recipe taken from
The Irish Spirit, Margaret M. Johnson. Chronicle Books: San Francisco, 2006.
1 cup raw potato, grated
1 ½ cups cooked mashed potatoes
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 egg1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons Kerrygold Irish butter
Grate the potato into a bowl, and pour the buttermilk over it to keep it from turning brown. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat the egg in a mixing bowl. Add the sifted dry ingredients, grated potato, buttermilk and mashed potato, and mix well. The mixture should be the consistency of thick pancake batter. Add more buttermilk or sifted flour as needed. Melt the butter on a griddle over medium heat. Drop spoonfuls of the batter onto the griddle. Brown cakes on both sides.
(Traditional Recipe, no source)
I always bake cookies for whatever holiday it is to give to friends and family. I've become pretty awesome at the spritz cookie gun, and I noticed it had a shamrock plate. I took Wilton's basic spritz cookie recipe and changed it a bit to make these. I used Bailey's instead of milk, and I used only the egg yolk rather than the whole egg (like my mom's recipe).
After trying the baked cookies, I felt like the Bailey's flavor wasn't strong enough, so I decided to make an icing/filling for them. I used a basic buttercream recipe, again subbing Bailey's for the milk or water.
1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
3 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ tsp. salt
Food coloring, optional
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Thoroughly cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolk and Bailey’s; beat well. Stir together flour, salt and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing to make a smooth dough. Chill for an hour. Place dough into cookie press and press cookies onto cold, ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes; remove cookies from sheet; cool on rack.
1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup Baileys
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream together butter and Baileys, add salt, slowly add powdered sugar until it reaches desired consistency (I made this stiff to hold the cookies together).
Lately on the weekends, JJ and I are out running errands, and stop at Panera or McAllister's for soup and a sandwich. After I found this recipe, I decided I'd make it today rather than going out to lunch. At first I didn't think about French Onion Soup in an Irish Cookbook, but then JJ said isn't this French, not Irish? No worries, the author took a French soup and used all Irish ingredients and flavors to really make this a delicous Irish Onion Soup!
I've never really looked for Irish ingredients before, so I don't know that Kroger always carries them, but since it's St. Patrick's week, I had no problem finding Kerrygold Irish Butter, Kerrygold Swiss Cheese, and Murphy's Irish Stout. However, you could easily substitute regular butter and swiss, and another dark beer. (I don't know that the butter tasted any differently, but it was $3.99/half a pound! Land 'O Lakes butter was only $2/1 lb.)
The recipe doesn't call for any bread or croutons on top, but any French Onion Soup I've had always does. I used the Brown Soda Bread to top this!
Murphy's Onion Soup
2 tbsp. Kerrygold Irish Butter
3 yellow onions, sliced
2 red onions, sliced
4 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
3 cups beef stock
1 cup Murphy's Irish Stout
Salt and Pepper
1 cup Kerrygold Swiss Cheese
In a large saucepot over medium heat, melt butter, add onions and garlic. Saute' for 12-15 minutes until softened, but not brown. Add in the seasonings and beer. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, add stock and simmer for 30 minutes.
Heat the broiler to high. Ladle soup into ramekins, top with bread then cheese. Broil for 2-3 minutes, until cheese is melted and brown. Serve immediately.
The Irish Spirit, Margaret M Johnson. Chronicle Books: San Francisco, 2006.
I was in tears, but I made it through all the onoins and garlic!