Saturday, March 29, 2008
I've decided to finish up with the focus on vegetables. I know I've covered the more "Irish" types (potatoes, cabbage and parsnips) but today we're talking about Baby carrots, Brussels Sprouts & Cauliflower. Even though Ireland is really known as a meat and potato country, veg plays a big part. Today I'm going to spice them up a little to make them a bit more interesting.
Baby carrots: I use these all the time and love the sweetness. You just want to trim the stalks and rinse them. Don't peel them as you'll loose too much. All I did was cut the very thick ones in half lengthwise. You want to keep them all the same size/length so they cook evenly. Toss them in 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. ground cumin, S&P and a drizzle of honey/agave. Pre-heat oven 375 and roast for 20 mins. approx or 'til tender. I like them to have a slight bite when they come out of the oven as they'll keep softening a little once free from the heat.
Brussels Sprouts: Not exactly indiginous to Ireland. They actually get their name from the origional place they were cultivated as opposed to being really popular in Brussels. They come from the cabbage family which I suppose if you look at them you can see that. When cooking them, peel off the outer layers and cut a cross in the stem which helps get the heat into the stem. Cook them in boiling salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool. To finish cut them in half lengthwise and in medium hot saute pan, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and saute 'til golden. Season with S&P. To finish squeeze fresh lemon juice.
Cauliflower: Another vegetable not originating in Ireland but one you'll find on almost every dinner table. They come from the same species as cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli and collard greens and are very nutritious. My preferred technique is to roast them. Pre-heated your oven to 375 degrees and cut the cauliflower into florets. In a mixing bowl add 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. curry powder, S&P, and a drizzle of honey/agave. Place on foiled sheet pan and roast in oven for about 20 minutes, approx. or until tender. They'll stick a little to the foil but once cooled a little they'll come right off. These taste amazing and work great with fish as well.
And then there's the chicken. This is pretty straight forward but you'll have to watch the webisode to see how to do it.
So we'll tuck away March Madness until next year. Just think, Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner...
Thursday, March 27, 2008
1 medium white onion - sliced
1 garlic clove
1 green cabbage/Savoy cabbage - cored and roughly sliced
1 1/2 lbs. white potatoes (yukon gold) - chopped in small chunks
1 quart (4 cups) vegetable / chicken broth
2 springs of thyme
In medium hot soup pot saute the onions for 3-4 mins in 1 tbsp olive oil. Add in chopped garlic and cabbage. Stir and cover for 8-9 mins. or until cabbage begins to soften. You don't want too much color on the onions as they'll give the soup a dark color when finished. Once softened add chopped potatoes and thyme and mix everything together for about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups broth, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for about 20 mins. approx or until potatoes are cooked. Once ready begin to blend in batches. DON'T OVER-FILL THE BLENDER AS HOT LIQUID EXPANDS. IT WON'T BE PRETTY! Add 2 more cups broth to batches while blending. Return blended soup to clean pot, taste and season.
To see my video on making this soup visit my online cooking show on youtube.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
2 lbs. chuck steak (stewing beef, pref grass fed) - cut 1" dice
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bayleaf)
1 garlic clove - peeled
1 medium white onion - thinly sliced
2 carrots - peeled & cut into 1/4" slice
1/2 lb. mushrooms - sliced
4 cups beef broth
1 cup Guinness
S&P to taste
Preheat saute pan on med-high heat. Season flour with S&P, coat the beef shaking off excess. Saute the beef in 3 batches adding 1 tbsp. oil each time. Once beef is browned, set aside. Using same pan, add onion & carrots and garlic, saute for 3 mins. Add mushrooms and continue to saute for an additional minute. Add in tomato paste and stir constantly for 1 minute. Pour in 1 cup guinness and scrape all carmelised bits from bottom of pan. Add beef and veg mix together into large stock pot along with herbs and remaining liquid. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer covered for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hrs. approximately. It's ready to go when the beef is fork tender. Serve with soda bread and a good pint o' Guinness. Slainte!
To view the instructional video click stobhach
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
It's a classic Irish dish that I grew up on. I think a lot of people assume that shepherds pie is made with either beef or lamb whereas shepherds pie is only made with minced or diced lamb and a cottage pie is with minced or diced beef. The process and ingredients are the same apart from the meat. Generally agreed it originated in the North of England and Scotland where there are large numbers of sheep--hence the name, it's thought to have been invented in the 18th century by frugal peasant housewives looking for creative ways to serve leftovers to their families. Presently, shepherd's pie and cottage pie are usually made from the leftovers of Sunday lunch. I remember we would have roast lamb, carrots, gravy and potatoes on Sunday which (if there was any leftover) would be turned into a pie for Monday.
Once meat mixture is cooled, layer mash potatoes on top.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Combine the flours, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Make a well in the center of mixture. Add buttermilk to flour mixture; mix with your hands until blended (dough will be sticky). Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface. Knead lightly 4 to 5 times. Shape dough into an 8-inch round loaf; place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400 and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Colcannon is an Irish dish that is rich in tradition and history. Traditionally it's made on All Saints Day or Halloween, though it's a perfect food to warm you up on cold nights. Back in the day, some families would leave out a plate of it, with a lump of butter in the center for the fairies and the ghosts. Another old Irish Halloween tradition was to serve colcannon with prizes of small coins concealed in it. Traditional charms were put in the colcannon that symbolized different things. A button meant you would remain a bachelor and a thimble meant you would remain a spinster for the coming year. A ring meant you would get married and a coin meant you would come into wealth. Start your own traditions--Gather the family together and make this simple, but fun recipe for dinner!
3 cups yams or sweet potatoes, grated
3 cups parsnips, grated
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp thyme
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp. olive oil
S&P to taste
Servings: 10-12 individual pancakes
In a large bowl combine potatoes, parsnips, green onions, flour, thyme and beaten eggs. Season with S&P. Toss with your hands making sure the egg is blended well and evenly distributed in the vegetables. Preheat a skillet or saute pan on med. heat with 1 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil. Add the mixture in individual pancake size portions, patting down to make even. Brown for 3-4 minutes. Check to see if crispy, then drizzle olive oil over the top (so it won't stick) before flipping. Turn over and brown other side for another 3-4 minutes. That's it!
NOTE: Make sure your saute pan isn't too hot or the pancakes will brown too quickly and the veg. won't be cooked.
This is a great brunch idea and you'll definitely impress you're friends. It is not only delicious, it makes a great healthy alternative to fried potatoes. Even the little ones will like it because it's sweet and has the name Pancake. You can always trust an Irishman. We think of everything!
Monday, March 10, 2008
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Saturday, March 8, 2008
1 med. leek - white part only, washed and chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
3 med. parsnips - peeled, coarsely chopped
4 1/2 cups chicken or veg broth (organic if poss.)
small bunch fresh thyme
2 gala apples (or Fuji, red)-peeled, chopped
S&P to taste
Start by sauteing the leeks in olive oil for 5 mins. on low-med.heat. DO NOT BROWN. Add parsnips and saute for additional 5-10 mins. or until they begin to soften. Add in 2 cups broth and thyme, bring to a boil. Once boiled reduce to a simmer and partially cover with lid for 25 mins. Check to ensure parsnips are cooked with a fork. Remove thyme sprigs and discard.
Blend in batches along with apples. NOTE: Don't over-fill blender with hot liquid as it will expand when blended. Puree the soup with an additional 2 1/2 cups of broth until smooth.
Taste & season with S&P.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
3 parsnips - peeled & chopped
3 carrots - peeled & chopped
3 tbsp. broth
1 tbsp. olive oil
S&P to taste
This couldn't be easier. Boil the parsnips & carrots together and when cooked, mash. Add in your broth & olive oil to smooth. Taste & season. I like to keep it a little chunky but if you prefer a smoother consistency you can puree it.
Welcome to Sunday lunch.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Olive Oil vs. Butter: it's true parsnips love butter but your arteries and arse may not appreciate it as much. Olive oil contains the "good fats" and works just fine on those taste buds.
Honey vs. Sugar: parsnips are also partial to sugar but as we all now that's a no-no as much as possible. Lean towards honey, agave, or even pure maple syrup to get the effect but without using refined sugars. Parsnips tend to be sweet on their own so you'll be amazed how easy it will be not to use sugar.
Curry Powder: bloody good stuff on 'em!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Monday, March 3, 2008
On the board this week:
Ya, it's all about parsnips! The lovely parsnip...a staple in all kitchens growing up. Don't know much about them? Here's what's not on the box;
The ancient veg is thought to have originated around the eastern Mediterranean region and believed that the Celts brought them back from their forays to the east. In Medieval Europe sugar was rare & honey expensive. Moreover the starchy potato had not yet arrived; the only alternative was the sweet, starchy parsnip. Introduced to North America by early settlers they were used as a sweetener until the development of the sugar beet in the 19th century. In Italy, pigs bred for the best quality Parma are still fed on parsnips.
Parsnips are richer in vitamins & minerals than cousin carrot and are sweeter & almost nutty in taste. They are packed with fiber, offering more than that found in many ready-to-eat cereals. They are low in calories, but that depends on how you cook them, of course. Though they get along famously with butter and honey I've got some tricks to cook them without adding all the extra calories while keeping all the flavor. Thanks to Wikipedia and Innvista.
Now that I've introduced you to Sir. Parsnip, stay tuned all week to see the recipes!