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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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A Taste of Dublin, Part 2

To pick up where I left off yesterday, we did not really have a dinner that first night in Dublin. We were so tired we had slept right through dinner and just went downstairs to the bar in the hotel to see if we could just get a drink and relax. When we arrived there, we found out that we could still order things off the var menu. Neither of us was tremendously hungry, but we did want to have a little something. We each decided to order the lemon tart with raspberry sorbet and an Irish coffee. I can tell you, all three things tasted fantastic. While I did not get the exact recipes for the lemon tart and the raspberry sorbet, I did find some recipes that I think will bring you the same tastes that we had that night.

Lemon Tart

1 fully baked warm tart shell, 9- to 9 1/2-inch (you can buy a store-bought shell if you want, or I will post  the recipe for the pastry shell following)

7 large egg yolks

2 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2/3 cup lemon juice from 4 to 5 medium lemons

1/4 cup grated lemon zest

Pinch table salt

4 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces

3 tablespoons heavy cream

Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the tart pan with the shell on a cookie sheet.

In a medium non-reactive bowl, whisk together yolks and whole eggs until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk until just combined, about 5 seconds. Add lemon juice, zest, and salt; whisk until combined, about 5 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a medium non-reactive saucepan and add the butter pieces, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until curd thickens to a thin sauce-like consistency and registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour the curd through a single-mesh stainless steel strainer set over clean non-reactive bowl. Stir in the heavy cream; pour the curd into the warm tart shell immediately.

Bake until the filling is shiny and opaque and until the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Remove the outer metal ring, slide a thin metal spatula between the bottom crust and the tart pan bottom to release, then slip the tart onto a cardboard round or serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve.

Tart Pastry

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon table salt

8 tablespoons butter (1 stick, very cold), cut into twenty-four 3/4-inch cubes

1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour for dusting

Whisk together the yolk, cream, and vanilla in a small bowl; set aside. Pulse to combine 1 1/4 cups flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over the flour mixture; pulse to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With the machine running, add the egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together, about 25 seconds. Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Unwrap the dough; lightly flour a large sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap and place the dough in the center. Roll out  the dough and line the tart pan. Freeze the dough 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, adjust one oven rack to the upper-middle position and the other rack to the lower-middle position; heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the chilled tart shell on a cookie sheet; press a 12-inch square of foil inside the tart shell and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake on the lower rack for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. Carefully remove the foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. Transfer the cookie sheet with the tart shell to the upper rack and continue to bake until the shell is golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.

Both of these recipes come from America’s Test Kitchen, but of the ones I looked at, these seemed to be the ones that would produce the results closest to what we had. For the raspberry sorbet, I looked around all over the place to try to find one that I thought would be close to what we had when I came across this one.

Raspberry Sorbet

1 pint fresh raspberries

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

Wash the raspberries well. Dissolve the 1/2 cup of sugar into the 1/2 cup of water. Combine the sugar-water mix and the raspberries in a blender (optional you could strain out the raspberry seeds at this point if they bother you. A lot of people don’t like them). Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker. Freeze as for making ice cream. It takes about 30 minutes in a 1 quart gel canister ice cream maker. Let the sorbet harden for an additional 30 minutes in the freezer. (Don’t leave the sorbet in the freezer too long, or it will be hard to scoop and have the texture of a popsicle.)

That’s all there is to it. It’s a pretty simple recipe that I think will produce results just like what we had. Here’s a picture of what we had at the Brooks Hotel;

The Irish coffee we had I thought would be similar to what I make but it did taste different. I have posted my recipe before if you want to see how I make it, but I watched the bartender make hers and she did it somewhat differently.

Irish Coffee

1 teaspoon light brown sugar

1 1/2 ounces Irish Whiskey

6 ounces fresh brewed coffee

Clotted cream

Pour hot water into your coffee glass. Allow the glass to get warm and then dispose of the hot water. Add the sugar and whiskey to the glass. Pour the hot coffee over the whiskey and sugar. Top with clotted cream and serve.

Now I add extras to my Irish coffee, but I have to say it tasted great this way.You could get a good taste of the Irish whiskey and the clotted cream, which we don’t really do, tasted great. We each had Irish coffees on several nights and noticed that different bartenders make it different ways at the same bar. The first bartender we had mixed the whiskey and sugar before putting the coffee in. She also topped the cream with a single coffee bean, which I thought was a nice touch. The second bartender told us when he served it that he did not mix the sugar into the whiskey and gave us spoons to do it. He said some people don’t like the sugar mixed in, so he leaves it up to the customer. You could certainly taste the whiskey more in the second bartender’s version, but both were pretty good. Here is a picture of the one we had on the first night.

Michelle liked that served each one with a piece of Irish chocolate too :). They also left a piece of chocolate on our pillows every night.

I was going to include the Irish breakfast in tonight’s post, but this one is already running long so I think I will include it in tomorrow’s post instead. It was quite a full breakfast, and unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of that one, but it was good and I’ll fill you in on all the contents tomorrow. We’ll see how long tomorrow’s post goes and what I’ll include or maybe I’ll just wait until the next day. Keep checking back to see what shows up. until then, enjoy the rest of your evening and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Beverages, Dessert, Eating Out

 

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A St. Patrick’s Day Feast

Okay, so here we go with today’s menu. I do tend to go a little bit overboard on St. Patrick’s Day, but that’s okay. We have a lot of recipes to use today so let’s get right into it. I am making two corned beefs today and am going to make each a different way. The first one will be made in the pressure cooker and done in 45 minutes, while the second will be slow cooked in a low temperature oven for 4-5 hours.

Corned Beef  and Cabbage in the Pressure Cooker

1 (4 to 5 pound) corned beef brisket, rinsed

4 cups water

1 head of cabbage, cut into 4 wedges

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

Place the corned beef in a pressure cooker and cover with 4 cups of water (or more if needed). Allow the pressure cooker to come up to pressure, and then cook at full pressure for 25 to 30 minutes. Bring the pressure down; after the pressure has come down, open and add the cabbage and carrots. Cover and return to full pressure and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until the corned beef is fork tender. Remove the meat from the pressure cooker and allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the vegetables and transfer to a serving platter. Slice the corned beef across the grain and serve.

I always make corned beef in the pressure cooker since it allows me to cook it in under an hour. This way I can cook one whenever I feel like it instead of just one day a year, or to make one to use for corned beef hash (tomorrow’s recipe). The next method is a little closer to traditional, although I personally have never liked just cooking corned beef in a pot on the stove. The meat comes out salty and dry and with not much flavor to it (that little flavor packet they give you does nothing to add flavor) and the vegetables, when cooked with it are usually very mushy. This method in the oven works better and tastes better, and it allows you to cook potatoes, cabbage and carrots in stages in the same pot while the meat rests after the fat has been strained from the cooking liquid.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

1 (4 to 5 pound) corned beef brisket, rinsed, fat trimmed to 1/4 inch thick

4 cups chicken broth

4 cups water

8 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 onion, peeled and quartered

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

1 teaspoon whole allspice

3 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes

1 head green cabbage, cut into 8 wedges

Pepper

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Combine the beef, broth, water, 4 chopped carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme and allspice in a Dutch oven. Cover and bake until a fork slips easily in and out of the meat, about 4 1/2 to 5 hours.

Transfer the meat to a baking dish. Strain the cooking liquid through a strainer into a large bowl, discard the solids, and skim the fat from the liquid. Pour 1 cup of the cooking liquid over the meat. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and let it rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, return the remaining cooking liquid to the Dutch oven, add the butter, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and simmer until they begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the 4 remaining chopped carrots and the cabbage, cover, and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter and season with pepper to taste. Transfer the beef to a carving board and slice. Serve with the vegetables.

Two quick points about this recipe: use a flat-cut corned beef, not a point-cut; a flat cut is more uniform in shape, cooks more evenly and isn’t as tough a cut as a point-cut. Second, when you cut the cabbage into wedges, leave the core intact. This will keep the cabbage from falling apart while it cooks.

Another side dish for corned beef that incorporates cabbage and potatoes is the traditional dish of Colcannon. it’s an old Irish peasant dish that literally comes from the Gaelic word for white-headed cabbage. In an old Irish custom, the cook would bury charms or coins in the dish, foretelling good luck or wealth, probably in a way to get the children to eat their vegetables. I’ll skip the burying of the coins and charms and just cook the dish myself.

Colcannon

2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

3/4 cup milk

4 bacon slices, cut into a 1/2-inch dice

4 shallots, thinly sliced

1 large leek, white and light green portions, halved lengthwise, rinsed well and thinly sliced

1 bunch curly kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped

1 small head napa cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped

1/8 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

Put the potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover the potatoes by 2 inches and generously salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain well in a colander.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and milk and heat until the butter melts and the mixture is hot, 8 to 10 minutes.

Set a potato ricer over a large bowl and press the potatoes through in batches. Fold in the milk mixture in two additions. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and set over a large saucepan of barely simmering water to keep warm.

Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.

Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat from the pot. Return the pot to medium heat, add the shallots and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the kale and toss just until wilted but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and toss until tender-crisp, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with the mace and the bacon, and season with salt and pepper. Stir the potatoes into the cabbage mixture and serve warm.

I always serve corned beef with some mustard, and I found this recipe for Guinness mustard at Bon Appetit’s website. It sounded really good, so I am giving it a try.

Guinness Mustard

1/2 cup coarse-grained Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons regular Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons Guinness stout or other stout or porter

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 teaspoon golden brown sugar

Whisk all ingredients in small bowl to blend. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Now, on to some dessert. I don’t make dessert often, but this recipe for Grasshopper Pie sounded perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. There’s lots of mint in this one, so I think it will be a good one.

Grasshopper Pie

16 Oreo Mint n’ Creme cookies (with filling), broken into rough pieces

3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

3 large egg yolks

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream

Pinch table salt

1/4 cup green creme de menthe

1/4 cup white creme de cacao

For the crust, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grind the cookies in a food processor to fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with butter, and toss well. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate and refrigerate the crust until firm, about 20 minutes. Bake the crust until set, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For the filling, beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Combine the gelatin, sugar, 1/2 cup of cream, and salt in a medium saucepan and let sit until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Cook over medium heat until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture is very hot but not boiling, about 2 minutes. Whisking vigorously, slowly ass the gelatin mixture to the egg yolks. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the creme de menthe and creme de cacao. Pour into a clean bowl and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until wobbly but not set, about 20 minutes.

Beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream with an electric mixer to stiff peaks. Whisk 1 cup whipped cream into the gelatin mixture until completely incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold the gelatin mixture into the remaining whipped cream until no streaks of white remain. Scrape the mixture into the cooled pie shell, smooth the top, and refrigerate until firm, at least 6 hours and preferable overnight. Serve, topped with chocolate curls.

Okay, we have had corned beef and cabbage, side dishes, and dessert. Now how about some beverages? There’s two that I really like any time, not just St. Patrick’s Day. I make my own version of Irish Coffee and I think it tastes pretty good, so we’ll go with that first.

Irish Coffee

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 shot Kahlua

1 shot Jameson’s Irish Whiskey

8 ounces hot coffee

Whipped cream

1/2 teaspoon green creme de menthe (optional)

Fill an Irish coffee glass or coffee mug with hot water to warm the mug. Empty the water, then place sugar, Kahlua and Jameson’s in the glass. Pour coffee into the glass and gently stir. Top with whipped cream and creme de menthe, if desired.

Traditional Irish coffee doesn’t use the brown sugar, Kahlua or the creme de menthe. I like the flavor the brown sugar adds over white sugar and the Kahlua adds a nice toasted coffee flavor to the mix. The creme de menthe is really for show more than anything else.

Another favorite, of course, is the Black and Tan. There’s really no recipe here; you can use any stout and ale you like. I choose Guinness and Harp or Guinness and Bass Ale all the time, but take what tastes best to you. Just pour in the ale and float the stout on top, and you’re done.

Last, but not least, you need a drink for the kids (and some adults too) and what’s better than a Shamrock Shake? Well’ a homemade one is much better than the sweet one you’ll find at McDonald’s.

Homemade Shamrock Shake

1 pint mint chocolate chip ice cream (you can use vanilla if you want)

1 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon mint extract (a little goes a long way, don’t use a lot)

3-6 drops green food coloring (same with the food coloring, don’t use too much)

Mix all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Other than having some Junior Mint cookies along with dessert (thank you Girl Scouts!) I think you’re probably all set. I hope everyone enjoys their day, no matter what they are doing, and plays safely. Enjoy your day and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2012 in Beef, Cooking, Dessert, Dinner, Potatoes

 

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