One day a year--ST. PATRICK'S DAY-- I think about corned beef and cabbage, Guinness and of course IRISH SODA BREAD.
The traditional recipe is a simple, heavy loaf-- just flour, baking soda, buttermilk and salt. Although I start with those basics, that’s just the beginning for me.
I always add butter, sugar, an egg and some kind of dried fruit.
Here, I’ve added
DRIED CRANBERRIES and taken it one step further
with some GRATED ORANGE PEEL. Although
it’s a REALLY, REALLY EASY recipe, it’s also
REALLY, REALLY MESSY.Soda bread is a very wet dough, more like a batter. In most traditional recipes, you’re instructed to dump the dough onto a board/counter covered with alot of flour,
kneading that flour into the dough before placing it onto a baking pan. Believe you me, it's am almost IMPOSSIBLE TASK....
I MADE MOLLY'S BEEF STEW.
I knew it would be REALLY GOOD! It was a Molly O’Neill recipe after all.
But, I didn’t expect to have to stop and swooooon over that first bite!
My recipe box is springloaded with a bunch of stew recipes. And I have my own tasty version. But
THIS ONE WINS HANDS DOWN. It’s got a
BIG BEEFY FLAVOR, and the red wine that it braises in adds tons of richness. Now
the stroke of genius for me here is
that splash of red wine vinegar that adds such a surprisingly bright note.
being me, I had to GILD THE LILY just a bit….
As far as I can tell,
THERE ARE 2 TYPES OF PEOPLE WHO VISIT INDIA.
Some love it there, revelling in the chaos, the beauty and the daily desperation.
Others, like me, are excited to go, but are just as excited to leave.
I AM NOT A THIRD WORLD GIRL!!
I've been lucky enough to tour there twice with a rock and roll band, called the Dharma Bums. Once
WE WERE EVEN GUESTS OF THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT, treated to a myriad of tours and Indian banquets.
I ate ALOT of traditional Indian food on that visit.
A little history here....
COOKIES! I LOVE COOKIES! Even though I own a cupcake shop and I'm pretty much swallowed up by those little cakes on a daily basis, I never seem to give in to them the same way I do cookies. When that cookie jar is staring me in the face, especially when I'm working the shop, I just can't say NO!
Seems that I'm always stuck between healthy and not so healthy. Can't ANYONE out there come up with a way to make broccoli and chicken taste like cookies?? Well, these flourless ones will not win any "healthy" awards. But they do eliminate that nasty white flour that everyone seems to be avoiding of late. And, I promise, you won't ever miss it.
I'M NOT SURE WHY I SO LOOK FORWARD TO ALL OF THOSE FOOD MAGAZINES that arrive weekly in my mailbox.
I'M SO EAGER TO FLIP THROUGH THOSE PAGES, just waiting for something delicious to surprise me on the next turn.
But lately, I'm ALWAYS disappointed. Should I keep all of these subscriptions going?
Another one just arrived,
the Jan-Feb. 2017 issue of Cooks Magazine. I did my usual scan and
"WEEKNIGHT BOLOGNESE" caught my attention..
this sauce takes HOURS to make. But
THIS VERSION CUT IT BACK TO a very serviceable 60 MINUTES.
IT'S THE FIRST WEEK AFTER THE BALL DROPPED heralding in 2017, and as usual, I'm still back in 2016 somewhere, maybe October. In reality, it's January 5th , --the 12th Day of Christmas. When you count off the days, you have to start with the 25th of December to get there. Going back even before medieval times in Europe, the 12 days of Christmas have been a significant time of feasting, signaling the end of "winter" which traditionally started on All Hallow's Eve.
Although the first 11 days have pretty much been forgotten, TWELFTH NIGHT for many IS STILL A CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION. Certainly that was the case when I lived in a small town on the Jersey Shore. Across the street from me, my neighbor Alice, a respected mechanical engineer in professional circles, was A BIT ECCENTRIC when it came to the neighborhood. She had a penchant for doing a lot of unusual things, not to mention--hanging lots of CD's from her second story porch as a squirrel repellent,
December 19, 2016This is about....
THE HOLIDAYS AND GINGERBREAD ARE SYNONYMUS as far as I'm concerned. Even if you don't make anything gingerbread yourself, you can find it everywhere, along with those fruitcakes that everyone seems to re-gift.
FOR YEARS, I MADE A BIG GINGERBREAD HOUSE covered flaunting tons of candy decorations, piped designs around the windows and doors, and a vat of pure white royal icing poured over the entire roof to look just like snow. It was set on a plot of more colorful candies, more icing, with trees and a fence made out of even more gingerbread. Starting the day after Thanksgiving--it was no small feat to get it done, along with all of the other holiday baking I did. But I liked doing it, and it lasted forever. ONE YEAR, IT UNBELIEVEABLY SAT IN THE DINING ROOM UNTIL EASTER! when you could finally hear pieces of it falling off and shattering on the table. At that point, it was TIME FOR THE TRASH, which was A SAD AFFAIR, after all the work that went into it. But, next years was always right around the corner.
December 5, 2016This is about...a favorite Christmas cookie.
For years I was OBSESSED WITH CHRISTMAS COOKIES. I'd start the day after Thanksgiving making thousands of them, at least span 15 different kinds. Every year, my reputation preceded itself in that friends and family would start asking me as early as Halloween about when their present from "Santa" would be arriving. It was a lot to do, but I always loved it. This is one of my ALL TIME TOP 3. I 've been making them for so long now that I barely remember where the recipe came from. I know I originally saw it in a Family Circle magazine from what I think was the late 70's. It's simple and addictive, beyond being ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! I usually can't help myself when it comes to tweaking recipes, but with this one, I didn't need to change a thing. It's perfect, just the way it is.
I cut them into diamond shapes, but you can cut them into squares or any size and shape that you like. These are very rich. So don't be surprised if you find yourself eating a bunch of them in one sitting. Happy Holidays! PEACE, LOVE AND JOY TO YOU, YOUR LOVED ONES AND THE WORLD!
November 21, 2016This is about...
CrustLESS Pumpkin Pie!---YUM!
CRUSTLESS PUMPKIN PIE? Well,
if you eliminate that flakey custard holder, you get
a holiday slice that WEIGHS IN at AT A VERY RESPECTABLE 160 CALORIES, instead of 350.
That's cutting the count pretty much
BY HALF! And,
it leaves a little GUILT-FREE WIGGLE ROOM for some WHIPPED CREAM on top.
Now it is THANKSGIVING, so if you want to go for the whole mogilla, I say go for it. But, if the stuffing and the mashed potatoes have already packed on a lot of FAT POTENTIAL, then
why not SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH FINALE with A LITTLE LESS MORNING AFTER REGRET.