Sunday, July 24, 2011

More Random Things

So as I explained back in April...I am a random person who jumps from obsession to obsession with no apparent line of reasoning.  So I thought I would share (as I promised I would) another list of odd yet intriguing items that have planted themselves in my brain lately. So here is my summer 2011(food related) list in no particular order....

agave nectar, all thing Irish, grilled corn, sherry, spiedies(an upstate NY thing), nutella, ramps, sea bass, lemons, sauces, balsamic, cornmeal, grits, smoked cheddar, roasted onions, iced coffee, warm pudding....

more to come I am sure when the mood strikes....you know how it is....

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Colcannon

I am still in the midst of my 3rd or 4th novel about Ireland (plus 2 non fiction Irish reads) not sure why but I am not going to question it LOL!  So since my family is very Irish and we embrace our emerald roots, I have learned many traditional recipes and thought I would share another...Colcannon!
This dish is very yummy and to eat it like a true Irishman (or woman) you will place a big mound of colcannon on your dish, make a well in the mound and fill with melted butter...then you scoop up the colcannon from the outside of the mound, dip in the butter and enjoy!



Colcannon

3lb russet potatoes
1 small green cabbage
1cup (approx) of boiled milk
sea salt and cracked black pepper
6 tbl butter

scrub potatoes well and bring to a boil in a large pot of salted water. Cook until ALMOST tender...then drain off 2/3 of the water cover and put on a gentle heat and steam until fully cooked and fork tender.  Meanwhile remove the outer leaves from the cabbage, cut in half and core, then cut into very thin slices.  Boil the cabbage in salted water until soft.  Drain and season with salt and pepper and 2 tbl butter.  In a small saucepan heat milk and 2 tbl butter to boiling then remove from heat. When the potatoes are done quickly remove the skins and mash. While still hot, beat in enough boiling milk to make them fluffy.  Then stir in an equal amount of the cabbage and season to taste. Serve in a mound with a well pressed into the top...fill the well with remaining butter(melted).



Here are some Irish cookbooks I like:


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Irish Potato Oaten Cakes (Pratai Coirce)

I am currently in an Irish frame of mind (probably the novel I am reading...I am so easily swayed!)  So I thought I would share this traditional Irish flat griddle cake.  This type of cake or 'farl' are typically shaped like a slice of  pie and cooked on a greased griddle or fry pan. They are very common at an Irish breakfast, eaten hot or cold with butter, or fried in bacon fat. They are often served with bacon and eggs.

Potato Oaten Cake

3/4 pound of warm cooked mashed potato
1 1/3 cups fine oatmeal
pinch of salt
4 tbl butter melted

add enough of the fine oatmeal to the mashed potato to form a soft dough.  Add salt to season along with melted butter to bind.  roll out dough on a counter sprinkled with oatmeal, roll into a 6 1/2 inch circle 1/4 inch deep. cut into 12 farls and bake in a hot greased skillet on both sides until lightly browned.


'Tis but a wee bit o the Irish fer ya te enjoy!!  I not be done wit the novel of yet so ye kin expect another Irish recipe or two I be imaginin'!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Harry Potter recipes a'la A Chaotic Cook! Pt 1








The gang gets ready to eat!
So I admit it, I am a HUGE....(can you say psycho?) fan of the Harry Potter books. I have read them and re-read them, I am not ashamed! Then came the movies...I love them...seriously! The movies actually did justice to the books which is extremely rare. I own them all and have watched them more then once. Then my wonderful, dear, sweet, understanding (he is especially understanding of my insanity) husband took me to the 'Wizarding World of Harry Potter' at Universal Studios Orlando...I was over the moon excited!!! Worse than any kid could ever be. It was wonderful, magical and I will never forget seeing Hogwarts sitting on the hill as we walked toward it...so amazingly realistic. Or strolling through the castle... We rode the ride, toured the shops, ate at the Three Broomsticks n Hogsmeade
Matthew enjoys his pumpkin juice
(voted by the hubby and kids to be the best theme park food).  The excitement for me was also tasting ButterBeer (both regular and frozen)and Pumpkin Juice...both of which are mentioned MANY times in the books but I could never imagine what they would taste like.  Both were delicious!!  Where else can you get these delicious drinks? Nowhere thats where....so we would have to make our own.  The following is our version of Pumpkin juice (Butterbeer will be in another post)  Enjoy!
Noah and his Butterbeer







Pumpkin Juice for 6

In a blender combine (Important for all ingredients to be cold!)
6 tbl canned pumpkin pie mix (not JUST canned pumpkin!)
5 tbl Simply Fruit Apricot preserves
2 tea brown sugar
3 cups apple cider
3 cups apple juice
1/4 tea roasted cinnamon
4 ice cubes

Puree all and serve immediately ....the juice will separate if it sits to long so re-blend if you are not serving right away.
Sarah and Jacob at the 3 Broomsticks

Me, my cornish (savory) pasties and my yummy Butterbeer!


Another treat Harry Potter and his friends enjoy are pasties (both sweet and savory). An English dish, these semicircular pastries are filled with just about anything.  The Pasties below will remind you of tiny pumpkin pies! Yummmmmmy

Pumpkin Pasty


1/2  of a 1 lb can of pumpkin pie mix(again NOT just canned pumpkin!)
1 egg
3 tbl brown sugar
1/2 can evaporated milk
pinch salt
2 pie 9 inch pie crust (home made or store bought)

combine everything except the crusts in a bowl. whisk well. pour into a greased baking dish and bake 35 minutes at 425 degrees or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.  Cut crusts into circles (I do 3 - 4 inch circles but you can make these ANY size you want)  spoon some cooled pumpkin into center of each circle and fold circle into a half moon shape over the filling. seal edges and lay on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake in the 425 oven for about 10 minutes or until browned. Cool.  Serve plain or with a glazeor sprinkle of 10x sugar.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I haven't forgotten you all!

So sorry I have not posted in awhile.  I am working on several recipes...I just want to tweek them a little bit more before I post. I am hoping to have one up tomorrow or Thursday. I am actually working on a couple of special HARRY POTTER inspired treats to celebrate the Final movie premiering this week. I am an unashamed Harry Potter fanatic!! So I hope you will enjoy the recipes I post.  They would be great fun for a Harry Potter Party or for a pre or post movie treat!  I am thinking this should be a regular thing for the blog....movie or book inspired recipes.  Let me know what you think of this idea.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A feast from Italia!!

My daughter returned home this week from almost 6 weeks studying abroad in Italy.  It was an amazing experience and she wanted to treat us all to a bit of the Italian experience. So she treated the family, including grandparents, to a multi course Italian feast. She shopped and planned and cooked...it was fantastic! We even had a lesson in wine tasting with wine from a chianti vineyard she visited on her trip.
The first course was bruschetta (olive, tomato, roasted red pepper/eggplant), and fresh veggies dipped in olive oil and balsamic then dipped in salt seasoned with rosemary and lavender(again brought from Italy).
We then got a lesson in wine tasting...even her younger brothers had a taste...much to our laughter at our youngest face when he tasted the wine.
The second course was the traditional pasta course. She made homemade pesto for one of the pasta choices, and tomato with capers and wine for the other.
We enjoyed both of the pastas dishes quite a bit...we could not wait for the next course!  The next course was a delicious chicken cutlet with a rich mushroom cream sauce. It was super yummy...the boys could not get enough.  We were all starting to get full now but there was more to come....we moved on to the fruit course(in Italia the last course before dessert is either fruit or salad!)  We enjoyed a platter of grapes, watermelon, and peaches.
After the fruit course was complete, we all sampled Limoncello. Limoncello is traditionally served chilled as an after-dinner digestivo. To settle the stomach and help digestion. Next was dessert and coffee.  We had Limoncello Semifreddo with a strawberry sauce and biscotti.
It was so delicious...not a single slice of semifreddo was leftover.  The semifreddo was layered with crushed biscotti,almond, and white chocolate....lovely!


Next was stories, photos, and gifts!!
Thank you Sarah for my Italian Apron!!