Sunday, March 31, 2013

Homemade Irish Cream - March 17, 2013

For St. Patrick's Day this year, in addition to our home-cured corned beef, I made some Irish cream.  My mom has made this recipe for years, although oddly, usually at Christmas, instead of St. Patrick's Day.  My Irish heritage that I proudly claim every March 17th (and every other day of the year), comes from mom.  She even has a suitably Irish name, Colleen.  Because of this, in my family we refer to this as Colleen's Irish Cream.

This is a full two weeks late, I realize, but you've come to expect that from me by now.  In fact, I'm jumping ahead here, as I still have my Christmas baking to post.  Oh well, this doesn't have to be a one day per year indulgence, although after you see the ingredients, you may want to limit it to that.  Nick's parents and Aunt Judy were visiting us over the St. Patrick's Day weekend this year, so we all enjoyed a glass of this after our dinner.

Here's the recipe straight from Colleen, with a few Jess tweaks:

Irish Cream

4 eggs*
1 15oz  can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/3 C Irish whiskey
1 1/2 C half and half
1/4 C brewed espresso
3 Tbsp chocolate syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

Place all ingredients in blender (warning, this didn't all fit in my blender, so I omitted the whiskey and mixed it in later) and blend to combine.  Place in a bottle and keep chilled.  Shake before serving.

*yes, raw eggs, so use at your own risk.  These help to emulsify all the ingredients and make it thicker and richer, like ice cream.  If you are squeamish about this ingredient, you can omit it and still have a delicious, if slightly thinner, Irish cream. 

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Cowboy Christmas Breakfast

Yeah, that's right.  While other Dinner Clubbers are posting seasonally appropriate dinners, I'm still working on Christmas brunches.  My cooking, and thus blogging, has been frustratingly uninspired of late, the worst kind of writers' block (cookers' block?).  Nevertheless, Jaime's recent posting has guilted me into at least trying to get back into the swing of things.

This recipe is from Gourmet, and we made it back in December, on our holiday visit to Madison.  It need not, however, be reserved for Christmas.  Case-in-point, we also made in on our February visit to Milwaukee to see Dinner Clubbers Matt and Nikki.  It serves a crowd and can be put together the night before, which is a valuable morning time saver.  Possibly a good choice for Easter brunch?  Bam!  See how I brought this old brunch post up to date? 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Moroccan Chicken and Creamy Spice Market Kale - March 23, 2013

Until this moment, I just wasn't on the kale bandwagon. I know it is good for you and very popular, but I had not found a way to prepare it that really made my mouth happy. In fact, I was so sick of it by midsummer last year that I let our then puppy go nuts and eat all of it that I had growing in the container garden to assuage my guilt over not picking and eating it

But this dish has made me a believer! Both elements, the chicken breasts and the kale, are recipes from my new favorite cookbook: Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love To Eat by Melissa Joulwan. Only modifications were to leave out the coconut aminos (not SCD legal) and to roast the chicken in oven rather than on the grill since I didn't feel like going out in the cd.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef - March 17, 2013

Inspired by Jess's home corned beef last year, I decided to try my hand at it this year. I earmarked and hoarded the brisket from our Polyface grassfed beef larder all winter, then mixed up a brine per Michael Ruhlman's directions, and stashed the whole thing in the back of the refrigerator for about a week. It was particularly nice that St. Patrick's Day fell on a weekend this year so I had plenty of time to do a slow stovetop braise.

I have never been much of a fan of cabbage, but I learned this year that it was just because I'd been cooking it the wrong way all my life! Boiled cabbage = putrid. Roasted cabbage = delicious! So delicious in fact, that I had to stop myself from eating it all (and suffering the consequences later... even roasted it still has some "magical, musical" properties). I also roasted a few carrots, since at that point I still wasn't sure I'd like the roasted cabbage and wanted to make sure I had something to eat.

Not pictured are the red potatoes I boiled for Richie, the horseradish sour cream I made from homemade yogurt and Penzey's horseradish powder, and the grain free Irish soda bread that rounded out the meal.

All together it was a delicious meal. I had vague intentions of making some kind of hash with the leftovers, but they didn't make it that long. Next year, maybe I'll order an extra brisket and make two!

Veggies Are HERE! - Jaime's Spring CSA Delivery #1

It is still very cold here in the metro DC area, but spring is truly on its way. Today we received our first CSA share for the spring season! It was actually supposed to start two weeks ago, but a harsher than expected winter delayed it.

The haul included free range eggs, goat cheese, radishes, romaine hearts, spring onions, potatoes, cress, kale, spinach, and beets. The only thing here I'm not familiar with is cress. It is apparently similar to watercress and mustard, and commonly eaten in England, France, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia. I'll be sure to try it the English way on egg salad sandwiches.

I'm pretty sure all of these yummy treats either 1) grew indoors, 2) are actually from last season, or 3) are not really local. But no matter... I'm happy to have a refrigerator stocked with fresh organic goodies from Virginia's Olin-Fox Farms again!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Bolognese Sauce over Spaghetti Squash - March 7, 2013

I need to work on my food photography skills. My problem is that I am just so anxious to start eating the yummy food, that I don't want to take time to stage the shot and get it just so!

This was our dinner tonight and I assure it tasted much better than its pathetic photo. The bolognese sauce recipe was from Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meats with Recipes for Every Cut. I adore this book. It is a fabulous companion to the grass-fed beef larder we got from Polyface Farms last fall and have been steadily eating down all winter.

I made just a couple changes to the recipe. First, I used the food process to very finely chop the veggies so they would essentially disappear into the sauce and leave just their flavor. Second, I forgot to thaw out my frozen beef broth (and I'm currently down to just one pint anyway, so I'd prefer to hoard it for something where it would be more crucial to the flavor) so I just substituted water for that cup of broth. Finally, to make this SCD-legal and keep it lactose free, I subbed coconut milk for the regular milk.

Then I served it over spaghetti squash and topped with aged parmesan  Delish! Richie had his over regular noodles.

This was a tasty dish on a cold winter-ish sort of night. We were supposed to be celebrating the first day of our spring CSA with a fresh meal from that bounty, but unfortunately they had to postpone the first delivery due to a colder than anticipated late winter in the mid-Atlantic.


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