A Bit of the Irish in my March Kitchen

I have a lot of green in my kitchen any time because I collect Jadeite and Depression Green items.  Some things I bring out especially for St. Patrick’s Day.

Some pieces were bought on a trip to Ireland …

Many items were gifts….


Most of the pieces are handmade ….






I even have special potholders for the occasion…

I have a very thin line of Irish in my ancestry, but I raised four very Irish children, so St. Patrick’s Day is a major holiday in this house.

Irish Brown Soda Bread and Colcannon

I have a very slim Irish line in my ancestry, but I married a man who was was fiercely proud of his Irish lineage.  Frank used to take off work on St. Patrick’s Day so he could grab his green derby and head for the nearest pub to spend the day.  One St. Patrick’s Day, he showed up on the evening news coverage at Hap’s Irish Pub with his derby slightly askew,  surrounded by his cronies, waving a big mug of beer and bellowing out, “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”.  His mother said, “Jesus, Joseph and Mary, I’m mortified to death” that her friends saw him in such a state, but this is the woman who was doing the Irish jig for her grandchildren well into her 80s and who said her grandmother washed her clothes on the banks of the river Shannon.

So, I raised four mostly-Irish children and celebrate St. Pat each year with some Irish food.  My oldest daughter was in an Irish dance group and I loved going to the competitions and the annual Feis.  In 1990, they had a food competition and I entered the Scone, Soda Bread and Brown Soda Bread contests.  I won a first-place gold medal in each of the divisions.  I was particularly pleased because the judges were some visitors from Ireland.

IRISH BROWN SODA BREAD

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tblsp. dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tblsp. softened butter
  • 3/4  cup raisins
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Lightly grease a flat baking pan

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Cut in the softened butter until mixture looks like fine crumbs.  Add raisins.

Add buttermilk, mixing with a fork until dry ingredients are absorbed.  Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently until smooth, adding flour as needed (about 1/2 cup).  Dough will still be slightly sticky.  Shape into a ball and place on the greased baking pan, forming  into a 7 x 1-1/2 inch circle.  Press a large floured knife into the center of the loaf almost through to the bottom.  Repeat at right angles to divide the loaf into quarters.

Bake @ 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until top is golden and loaf sounds hollow when tapped.  Remove to wire rack to cool.  Brush top with melted butter. 

Makes one loaf.  From a cookbook published by the Cincinnati Hoxworth Center called Adventures in a Culinary Vein.

The recipe for Colcannon comes from a cookbook my daughter brought back from Ireland, A Taste of Ireland by Theodora Fitzgibbon.  I adapted the recipe by using half of the butter and cream it called for.  Having tasted Ireland’s wonderful butter and cream, I can only imagine how rich the original dish is.  My family likes this version with a little less fat.

COLCANNON

  • Servings: 4-6 servings
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  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 green onions with tops
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • Grindings of black pepper
  • Pinch of mace
  • 1/4 cup butter, divided

Cook cabbage until tender.  I like to steam it for approximately 20 minutes.

Cover potatoes with cold water and cook on medium high heat for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are done, then drain.

While potatoes are cooking, cut up the green onions in small pieces.

Place in a small saucepan and cover with cream (about 1/4 cup).   Simmer on low until onion is soft.

Beat drained potatoes with 1/2 tsp. salt, grating of black pepper, mace, 2 Tblsp. butter and green onions with cream.  Add additional cream to get desired consistency (about 1/4 cup).

Place cooked cabbage in a large pot, add 1/2 tsp salt, grating of black pepper.   Add the mashed, seasoned potatoes.

Mix well and turn into a large serving bowl.  Make a well in the center and place 2 Tblsp. butter in the cavity. 

Serve piping hot.

I started making this dish in 1993.  The cookbook suggests frying leftovers like potato pancakes in bacon fat or butter.  I haven’t tried this because we never seem to have leftovers.

HAPPY ST PATRICK’S DAY.

P.S.  I came out to the kitchen this morning to find two handmade gifts from my daughter.

Irish Lemon and Blackberry Sponge Pudding

My oldest daughter made several trips to Ireland and always brought back an Irish cookbook for me.   In May of 1987, she brought home a copy of Irish Country Kitchen and on June 17, I made this wonderful sponge pudding for the first time.  We were living then in rural Blue Jay, Ohio, on the Indiana border, and every day I went to our back yard and picked a big bucket of wild blackberries.  I made several kinds of pie, jam, jelly, preserves and was running out of ideas when I tried this recipe.  It took a little adapting because of conversions and size of baking pans, but became a favorite.

This is a simple, light dessert of blackberries with a light sponge cake on top – just right for a summertime meal.

IRISH LEMON AND BLACKBERRY SPONGE PUDDING

  • 2 cups fresh blackberries*
  • 2 Tblsp. butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 Tblsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven @ 350 degrees F

Have at hand 4 individual casserole dishes.  Mine measure 4-1/2″ diameter across the top and are 2″ deep.

Have a large pan with sides in which you can bake the 4 casseroles.

Heat water for the pan in which casseroles are baked.

Place about 1/2 cup of blackberries on the bottom of each of four individual ungreased baking dishes and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.  Add the lemon juice and lemon peel, beating to blend.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and the flour.  In another container, mix the two egg yolks and milk.

Add the dry ingredients to the lemon mixture alternately with the egg mixture, beginning and ending with the dry.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Fold into the batter.

Pour the batter over the berries (about 1/2 cup per serving).

Place the puddings in a flat pan with sides holding 1″ of hot water.  Bake the puddings @ 350 degrees F for approximately 30-35 minutes until tops are golden brown and gentle pressure with a finger tip leaves no impression.

Carefully remove pans from hot water and place on a rack to cool. 

*I can’t say whether frozen blackberries would work in this dish or not.  The original recipe called for fresh and that’s all I’ve ever used.

We like this dessert slightly warm or at room temperature.

We used to love this as our dessert after having a supper of a serving of meat and multiple servings of vegetables fresh from the garden (like new potatoes, peas, tomatoes, zucchini, green onions, leaf lettuce, radishes, etc.).

Lunch with an Irish Theme

I was trying to think of something Irish to have for lunch this Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day.  My family doesn’t care much for corned beef and cabbage, but I thought, sauerkraut is a form of cabbage and combined with corned beef and Swiss cheese on rye bread it becomes something my family does like – what my youngest daughter calls “O’Reubens”.  So, we had these sandwiches (see recipe here)

along with a Bailey’s Marbled Cheesecake (see recipe here)

and a bottle of Guiness for those who wanted it.

Bailey’s Marbled Cheesecake

irishkitchenHappy St. Patrick’s Day with a view of an old-fashioned Irish kitchen.  This picture was snapped on a visit to a Folk Farm cottage in Ireland.

I was looking for a recipe for something extra-special for St. Patrick’s Day and found it on Razzledazzle Recipes.

I love Bailey’s Irish Cream and when I saw a cheesecake that included 3/4 cup of this lucious drink, I knew I had a good choice for a St. Paddy’s Day dessert.  The cake is large, thick, rich and can feed a big group, depending on the size of the slices.  The only change I made from the original was to use unsweetened chocolate squares because I didn’t have any semi-sweet on hand.  The cake turned out wonderful.

BAILEY'S MARBLED CHEESECAKE


Preparation time:  About 30 minutes

Total baking time for cheesecake:  1 hour, 5 minutes

Cooling time:  2 hours, 45 minutes

Butter bottom of 9″ springform pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Chocolate Graham Base

  • 4 Tblsp. butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 9 full graham crackers, crushed

graham1

Combine butter, sugar and cocoa powder in a small bowl.  Stir in graham cracker crumbs.  Press evenly over bottom of buttered 9″ springform pan and bake @ 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Remove pan to rack to cool for a few minutes, then butter the sides of the pan.

Turn oven heat up to 450 degrees F

Filling:

  • 24 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 2 one-oz. squares of unsweetened chocolate, melted

Beat cream cheese until smooth.  Gradually beat in sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Blend in Bailey’s Irish Cream.

mixingPour one cup of the filling into a small bowl and stir in the melted chocolate.

chocPour half of the plain filling mixture into the prepared pan on top of the baked crust.  Dot with half of the chocolate mixture.  Repeat with the remaining half of filling and half of chocolate mixture.  Make a marbled design by gently swirling the batter with a knife.

Bake @ 450 degrees F for 10 minutes.  Lower heat to 250 degrees F and continue baking for 55 minutes.

Remove pan to rack and allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the cake and loosen the sides of the pan.  Allow to cool an additional 30 minutes in pan with sides loosened.  Remove from pan and cool about 2 more hours before serving.

onrackDelicious at room temperature or chilled.  Refrigerate leftovers.

servingMy oldest daughter brought me three gifts for St. Patrick’s Day – one of her hand-crocheted doilies, a tiny needle felting Irish cottage and a vintage Scottie planter in my favorite shade of green.  What a nice St. Patrick’s Day!

scottiedoily



Irish Apple Scone Cake

bakedck

I first saw this recipe on Joy of Baking last summer and bookmarked it as a nice St. Patrick’s Day breakfast item.  The original recipe is here.  The only changes I made were to use thinly sliced apples and to omit an egg used to brush the top of the cake.  Please note that this is a quick bread, not a cake.  It is best when served warm from the oven.  Leftovers can be reheated in the oven.

APPLE SCONE CAKE

  • Servings: Makes one 9-inch cake
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  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Filling:

  • 1 lb. Granny Smith apples (about 3-1/2 cups of peeled, thinly sliced apples
  • 3 Tblsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Topping:

  • Granulated sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Butter a 9″ pie pan

From the 1/2 cup of milk, remove 1 Tblsp. for brushing cake.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Blend the butter into the flour mixture until mixture looks like coarse crumbs.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg, the remaining milk and the vanilla.  Add to the flour mixture, stirring with a fork just until the dough comes together.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead gently four or five times and then divide dough in half.  Pat one half of the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan.

In a separate bowl, toss together the apple slices, sugar and cinnamon.  Spread the apples evenly over the bottom  of the dough in the pie pan.

filled

Roll the remaining dough into a 9″ circle on a lightly floured surface and gently place the dough over the apples.  Seal the edges of the top and bottom crusts with your fingers.

Brush the top of the dough with the reserved 1 Tblsp. of milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Cut a slit in the center of the dough to allow the steam to escape.

slitcrst

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes until pastry is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Place the cake, still in the pan, on a wire rack to cool slightly.  Serve warm – clotted cream would be nice with this. 

saucer

When my daughter and I were in Ireland in 1995, we visited a Folk Farm where two ladies were demonstrating making a huge apple dish and now I wonder if it might have been a large version of the Apple Scone Cake.

irishapple1

St. Patrick’s Day Decorations

With the help of my daughter, I have a good display of St. Patrick’s Day/Irish items.  She is good at so many things like decorative painting……

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She painted a wooden plate with a scene inspired by a photograph taken when we were in Ireland and she added our favorite border collie.

I smile to myself every time I see the plate and remember the farmhouse and those wonderful dogs herding the sheep.

She is also skilled at collages and made this one up using some unusual items.  There is some very nice fine hand quilting on this piece.

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I have a quilted wall hanging that I made, also remembering our trip to Ireland.  At a country farmhouse, women were making a huge apple tart.  In this case, I scanned a photograph and printed it on fabric.  The block is Wonderful World from Judy Martin’s Stars & Sets CD.

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Many years ago, when my daughter and I had a booth at a craft mall, I designed a scene with an Irish piper, dancers and a small brown dog.  I used the design many times on decorative painting items and tried my hand at using the design in a fusible applique picture. 

piper1.jpg

Happy St. Patrick’s Day