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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Easter Food: Bon Appétit

Easter Food: Bon Appétit.

Easter is this Sunday and if you are still planning your menu for the day, Bon Appetit can help you with everything you would ever need for a great feast for this day. They have recipes and ideas for appetizers, entrees, desserts and sides to cover every taste in this Easter guide. Check it out if you need some ideas or just want to try something different.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2013 in Cooking Websites, Holidays

 

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Irish Onion Soup and a Couple of Desserts

Yesterday we decided to make our St. Patrick’s Day dinner instead of doing it today. With that in mind I have posted recipes before for corned beef, colcannon, Irish coffee, Shamrock shakes and other recipes that I picked up while we were in Dublin last year. I did make corned beef and cabbage and boiled potatoes yesterday for them to dinner but I also added a few other items to the meal. One that stands out the most was an Irish onion soup that we made. It was pretty simple to make, didn’t take much longer than an hour to assemble and cook and it tasted great. The recipe itself is pretty simple and you could really make this any time of year not just for St. Patrick’s Day.

Irish Onion Soup

2 tablespoons butter
2 medium yellow onions, have lengthwise and sliced into pieces
3 tablespoons Irish whiskey
1 tablespoon granulated it sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus a pinch
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup dark Irish beer, such as Guinness
6 1/2 cups beef stock or broth
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Day-old baguette, sliced into 3/4- inch slices
Irish cheddar cheese, sliced into 1/4- inch thick slices

in a large skillet set over medium heat melt the butter. Once the butter is melted and the white foam subsides add the sliced onions. Cook using a wooden spoon to stir occasionally, until the onions are soft and gold in about 20 minutes. Add the Irish whiskey. If you have a gas burner, carefully till the pan toward the flame to flambé the onion of whiskey mixture. If you have that electric cooktop, use a long match to flambé the whiskey or you can skip the flambé altogether. Stir in the granulated sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions turn darker shade of brown, approximately 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the pinch of kosher salt, the all-purpose flour, and the finely chopped garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about two minutes. While stirring pour in the Irish beer. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the beer is reduced by 1/3, about five minutes. Add the beef stock, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring the soup to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 20 minutes.

Adjust an oven rack to the upper middle position and heat the broiler to high. Divide the soup among oven-safe bowls and set them on a rimmed baking sheet. To each bowl add two bread slices. Cover each slice of bread with two pieces of the Irish cheddar. Set the rimmed baking sheet on the upper middle oven rack and broil until the cheese is melted, golden and bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

You could certainly use a different type of cheese if you prefer not to go with the Irish cheddar. Personally, I didn’t put any cheese on mine and just had the onion soup itself. The recipe itself makes enough for four servings, but I had a little bit more so we can make it for six people. There were no leftovers it off from what I made.

Michelle made two different cakes for dessert. We actually got the recipes from two different sources. We had seen the recipe for the Fallen Chocolate Cake in the recent Bon Appétit magazine. It sounded really good and it’s basically a flourless cake, so we thought we would give it a try.

Fallen Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup (one stick) butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus more, room temperature, for the pan
3/4 cup +2 tablespoons sugar, divided, plus more for the pan
10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/2 cup marscarpone
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter a springform pan and dust with sugar, tapping out any excess. Combine the chocolate, oil, and half cup of butter in a large heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of slow simmering water and heat, stirring often, until melted. Remove the bowl from the sauce pan.

Separate 4 eggs, placing the whites and the yolks in separate medium bowls. Add the cocoa powder, the vanilla, salt, 1/4 cup of sugar, and the remaining two eggs to the bowl with the yolks and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Gradually whisk the yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture, blending well. Using an electric mixer on high-speed, beat the egg whites until frothy. With the mixer running, gradually beat in 1/2 cup of sugar; beat until firm peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture in 2 additions, folding just until they are incorporated between additions. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Bake until the top is puffed and starting to crack and the cake is pulling away from the edge of the pan, about 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely in the pan. The cake will collapse in the center and crack further as it cools.

For the topping, use an electric mixer on medium high-speed to beat the heavy cream, marscarpone, and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Remove the sides of the springform pan from the cake and mound the whipped cream mixture into the center of the cake.

We found that the cake itself seems to taste awful lot like a really good, thick brownie. The cream used on the top was really great it combined with the cake itself. We were little worried as to how this one would turn out, which is why we decided to make a second cake along with it. For the second cake, we opted to make a Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting. I saw a bunch of recipes on the Internet, but opted to go with this one that I saw at The Procrastobaker.  This one is a more traditional cake, besides the addition of the alcohol.

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

1 1/2 sticks butter
1 cup Guinness Extra Stout
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs

3 sticks butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 to 4 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur

Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan and remove from the heat and whisk in the Guinness, the vanilla and cocoa powder. While the mixture cools slightly, grease and line 2 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Whisk together the sugar, flour and baking soda in a large bowl. Pour the Guinness mixture into the flour mixture and then whisk in the two eggs. When the batter is completely smooth, divide the batter between the two cake pans. Place the cake pans in the oven and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cakes in the pans to cool.

To make the buttercream frosting, whip together the butter and sugar until very pale, adding in enough Bailey’s for it to be loose and fluffy. To assemble the cake, level off the cake layers if needed using a serrated knife. Spread roughly 1/3 of the buttercream frosting on the bottom layer of the cake. Top with the second cake layer and wiggle it until the line up correctly. If you wish, you can do a crumb coat by using another 1/3 of the buttercream and spreading a thin layer all over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate to set the frosting, for a few hours or overnight if you wish. Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, spoon the final one 1/3 of  the frosting on top of the cake and spread evenly all over.

Everyone loves the taste of this cake, although we seem split on which cake everyone seemed to enjoy better. For me personally, I preferred the Guinness cake. I like the taste of the buttercream frosting and the cake itself had an awesome flavor to it. Just my personal preference, as I’m not always a big fan of the brownie and the fallen cake seemed to taste more like that to me. However, if you are looking for a gluten-free alternative, the fallen cake is a pretty good choice.

That’s all I have for today. I hope everyone enjoys their St. Patrick’s Day if you are celebrating and have a good time while staying safe. I’ll be posting some of the recipes this week, including one of fish sticks and sweet potato fries that I made. Check back that this week for other recipes. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Irish Food for St. Patrick’s Day Slideshow: bonappetit.com

Irish Food for St. Patrick’s Day Slideshow: bonappetit.com.

Okay, St. Patrick’s Day is just a few days away and it is only a matter of time before we make corned beef and cabbage and all the other traditional parts of the meal. However, if you want to try something different, Bon Appetit has 21 recipes that are Irish-inspired that will be just as great. Check them out and see if you want to give any a try!

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2013 in Cooking, Cooking Websites, Holidays

 

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A Couple of Recipes of Old Favorites

While I have been cooking regularly and keeping up with trying new things, I have been bad about blogging and putting them online. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day to do everything I need to do anymore, which really only gives me the weekends to blog. Hopefully I can get around to more than just that, but we’ll see how it goes.

We did make a couple of things this week that are old stand by recipes that I am sure many people have made before. They are both very simple recipes that are not only easy to make but easy to clean up afterwards and they taste awesome. The first of these I made early on in the week and it was just a simple Shrimp Fried Rice. I love this recipe because it is a great one pot meal to make. If you have leftover rice already, most of the work is already done for you and you can get it done even faster.

Shrimp Fried Rice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 pound peeled and deveined small shrimp, thawed if frozen

8 scallions, whites chopped, greens thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled ginger

3 cups cold cooked white rice

2 large eggs, beaten to blend

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Season the shrimp with salt and cook, turning once, until just opaque in the center, about 3 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a plate.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in the same skillet; add the scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook until the rice is crisp, about two minutes. Push the rice to one side of the skillet; add the eggs to the other side and cook, stirring and working them into the rice mixture, about 1 to minutes. Add the peas, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and the cooked shrimp. Cook, tossing constantly until the shrimp and the vegetables are heated through, about 1 minute. Top with the scallion greens and serve.

I actually added some mushrooms and water chestnuts to this to make it a more filling meal. The original recipe I got from Bon Appetit calls for edamame, which I did not have, but feel free to add it if you like. The great thing about a dish like this is you can really add whatever you want to it to make it a meal. If you don’t like shrimp, add some boneless chicken or pork. You could go all vegetarian and just add some vegetables to it like snow peas, corn, zucchini or whatever you like. Since it is all one dish, clean up is a breeze.

The other recipe for today is one we make once in a while. It is for a simple, quick batch of Banana Muffins. We used Bisquick to make these and we had some overripe bananas on hand already, so it makes baking these quite simple.

Quick Banana Muffins

2 cups Bisquick baking mix

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 1/3 cups bananas, mashed (about 3 bananas)

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

3 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the baking mix in a medium bowl and break up any lumps. Combine the egg, bananas, brown sugar, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract with the mix and stir thoroughly until well blended. Fill paper lined muffin cups of a muffin tray until about 2/3 full. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes before serving.

Of course, these are great for breakfast with your morning coffee or just to have as an afternoon snack. We left the chocolate chips out for ours, but you can use them, or some walnuts or pecans if you like. You can really use other fruit too if you wanted blueberry or some other berry muffin.

That’s it for today. I promise to have some other recipes this week. I have made a bunch of things and have recipes for them, I just haven’t had time to post anything, so I will get to some of them this week for sure. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your Sunday and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2013 in Breakfast, Cooking, One Pot Meals, Rice, Seafood

 

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Weekend Project: Make Your Own Damn Snacks | Food Republic

Weekend Project: Make Your Own Damn Snacks | Food Republic.

I’ve neen a bad blogger lately and have not taken the time to post anything on my blogs. I hope to try and get back to normal this week with some recipes I have made recently, but until then here is a great post from Food Republic about how you can easily make some of your own snack foods this weekend. Any of these homemade are so much better than anything you can get from a store that it is worth the effort you put in to make them. Check it out!

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2013 in Cooking Websites, Snacks

 

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