It's Secret Recipe Club time again! This month, I was assigned A Spoonful of Thyme. I enjoyed the story she tells about her grandmother and the pies, and how she talks about mealtime being an important bonding time. I can tell that family is very important to her!
I went in this month with a mission, because I was hosting a game night and needed an appetizer or snack. I considered this Zahtar Flatbread and these Bar Eggs, and was even distracted by a couple of desserts - Coconut Cream Bars and Poached Figs. But in the end it could only be the recipe that hooked me immediately - Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread. I'd seen this floating around the internet and hadn't tried it yet; this was the perfect opportunity!
I ended up going shopping at 1:00 AM (long story) and there was no working the bread counter. So when I saw that all of the crusty breads were pre-sliced, I ended up having to go with a baguette. It worked out okay, but I would have preferred a regular loaf. Anyway, cut the bread in a crisscross pattern (but not all the way through the bottom) and stuff with cheese slices. This is a bit of a process, but I found it relaxing - kind of like meditation.
Tomorrow is St Patrick's Day, hooray! This is not just an excuse to drink green beer, in fact - don't do that, it's gross. It's actually a religious holiday that celebrates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, so show some respect! And definitely don't call it "St Patty's Day": Patty is short for Patricia. If you want to abbreviate, use "Paddy", which is actually short for Patrick (Pádraig).
Moving on! St Paddy's is a great day to celebrate Irish culture and food, so let's take a look at some Irish recipes!
First up - Corned Beef with Potatoes and Cabbage, which can be made in either a slow cooker or a Dutch oven.
In the same post, there is a recipe for Colcannon made from the potatoes and cabbage.
I have been trying to make bread for years. I have tried so many different recipes, and never been happy with any of them. Until Melissa introduced to to this recipe from Alexandra's Kitchen, that is. It's so ridiculously easy - there's no kneading, just mixing and rising - and the texture is amazing. I'm seriously obsessed with it.
First step - activate yeast. And while that is happening, stir together flour, spelt flour, salt, and seeds. Melissa uses 1 tbsp each of quinoa, flax, chia, and millet - I don't like flax seeds very much, so I use 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp each quinoa, chia, and millet.
Then you mix the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and THAT'S IT (at least as far as mixing goes). It's so stupidly easy. Let it rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.
Now that I am settling into my new place, and Melissa has welcomed her baby daughter to the world, we are getting back into our lunch schedule. We started with this gorgeous Spring inspired egg salad. This is really customizeable, and you can add whatever you find fresh in your area.
We started by finely dicing some celery, scallions, chives, parsley, and dill while we boiled some eggs. You can use whatever combination of herbs you prefer. We also separated the greens from a bunch of radishes.
To that, we added chopped eggs and avocado, caper, garlic, lemon zest, mayonnaise, and dijon mustard.
Merry Christmas, y'all! We went on a bit of a crazy roadtrip (which I will tell you about later, because there are restaurants involved) and didn't get back til late on the 22nd, which left us in a bit of a scramble to get ready for Christmas. We managed to get some outdoor decorations up (check out the wreath I made!), but no tree or anything indoors.
We also spent all our holiday money on travel, so no presents this year. But we did have a nice Christmas dinner (I mean, come on - how could I not, right?). Honey Baked Ham (going store bought on the main let me focus on sides); Spinach and Gruyere Strata; Sweet Potato Gratin with Caramelized Onions; and Bacon Popovers.
And a Cranberry Raisin Tart with orange zest and spices for dessert.
Oh yeah, and breakfast! Can't forget Christmas morning sweets! I made these Cranberry Orange Rolls by Smitten Kitchen - yum!
My junior year of college I studied abroad in Galway, Ireland. Well - not so much studied as occasionally stopped by classes. It was an amazing semester and really cemented my love of everything Irish - culture, music, food, beer. So even though St Paddy's isn't as big a deal in Ireland as it is here, I wanted to celebrate it in honor of the time I spent there. And how do I celebrate holidays? Dinner party! So I loaded up a playlist with Flogging Molly, Young Dubliners, and The Corrs, and prepared to have some good craic.
For the main course - Corned Beef with Colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage). The great thing about this is that you can throw all the veg into the pot with the beef and let it all cook together - easy! So I started by putting carrots, celery, potatoes, and an onion into the bottom of the pot.
Mmm - veggies. They can be rough chopped in big pieces because they will be discarded (except for the potatoes). Since I was having people over I ended up doing two briskets - one in the slow cooker and one in a cast iron Dutch oven. Same process, different cooking times.
I laid the corned beef on top of the veggies, pickling spices included. You should be able to find corned beef vacuum packed with pickling spices in your grocery store, especially around St Paddy's. I cut the cabbage into wedges and put them on top/to the side of the beef. That is half of a head in the picture, the other half went into the Dutch oven with the other brisket.
We are finally getting into some Spring weather here but I am way behind on my posts, so I'm sorry if the cold weather stuff drags on a bit! I actually made this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Loaf all the way back in October - yikes! Put it uses canned pumpkin, so you can make it whenever that is available. I found this recipe through Pinterest which advertized only 500 calories for a WHOLE LOAF!(!!!) Oh-em-gee! Can it be true? Delicious and healthy? The unicorn of pumpkin loafs?! EDIT - Well, no in short - it is not. It actually has more than 1000 calories per loaf and it doesn't taste that great. But I will leave it on here in case someone has a use for it. EDIT
Okay, I wouldn't really call it healthy. It's low calorie and low fat due to the use of low-fat cream cheese, egg whites vs whole eggs, and applesauce vs oil. And it uses half fake sugar and half real sugar, but I'd still call that a sugary snack.
As for deliciousness? I'd call it okay. You can definitely taste the fake sugar and it isn't as dense and luxurious as the real thing, but it's a pretty good substitute. So all-in-all I'm going to call this decent but not amazeballs.
Holy Mockingjay, Batman - I am so excited about this post! Food 'n Flix and Cook the Books have teamed up to do a double post for The Hunger Games, with Heather from girlichef hosting! Announcement post is here.
The Hunger Games is the first book of a trilogy about a dystopian alternate timeline where war has reduced America to 12 Districts ruled by a Capital. As punishment for a rebellion, all 12 Districts must offer up 1 boy and 1 girl between the ages of 12 and 18 as a tribute to compete in the Hunger Games each year. These children must then fight to the death in a televised spectacle with only 1 survivor. To make things even worse, all of the Districts are purposefully kept in a state of starvation except for the District of the winner - which is given ample food for a year until the next Hunger Games (hence the name). Food, therefore, is extremely important and a focus throughout the series.
The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is an extremely tough teen who would do anything to protect her family and especially her little sister, Primrose. When Prim is selected as Tribute (a death sentence for the timid 12 year-old), Katniss volunteers to take her place. Before being entered into the death-match proper, the Tributes are primped and pampered and paraded around the Capital. It is here that Katniss experiences luxury and an overabundance of food for the first time in her life.
Her favorite dish is a Lamb Stew with Dried Plums - it is mentioned frequently and even sent to her as a present when she is fighting for her life. I decided that the stew would be the perfect dish to make for this post, served on some wild rice that seemed fitting for the setting. I also served it with goat cheese rolled in herbs (inspired by the cheese that Primrose makes from her prized pet) and rustic seed bread (inspired by Peeta - Katniss's love interest and fellow Tribute, whose family owns a bakery).