Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday Fun #127 - More Eastery Sweetness!

Ok, I've been enjoying hearing from all you 'peeps re: peeps. I knew there were strong opinions out there! Now all this sugary talk has got me thinking about another Easter goodie... the traditional, ubiquitous jelly bean. I myself ADORE the black ones, enjoy quite a lot of the Jelly Belly brands, will eat the more flavored (as opposed to just sugar-tasting) regular ones, but HATE HATE HATE the wrongness of Jelly Belly's buttered popcorn flavored ones*. Just, no. Yick. No.

How about you? Are you a black-jelly-bean-eater, too? Only like the pinks? Adore those disgusting buttered-popcorn* abominations? Make it a habit to eat your jelly beans one color at a time? Grab 'em by the handful from your Easter basket and only pause to pick out the strands of Easter grass that've come along for the ride? Tell us about you and the beans!

*I think it's the texture. Buttered popcorn flavor & squish DO NOT go together! Yuck!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday Fun #126 - Pro or Con?

There are some subjects about which people often have strong opinions. Religion, politics... peeps. To some, they are small, sugary delights, once available only at Easter, now available practically year-round. Sure, their devotees might divide into the stale vs. fresh camps, but that's merely a small matter of orthodoxy. Then you've got the people who find peeps absolutely disgusting and can't imagine why anybody would voluntarily ingest those overly-colored, sugar-coated, marshmallow gut-bombs.

Now, you won't find me bringing up either politics or religion much on my blogs, but yeah, I wanna know what you think about this one...

Manna from Heaven
Tool of the Devil?


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze

Thanks to my wonderful Wednesday Dinner friends, I had corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day last night! The Sexy Blonde made this corned beef dish from Wow. The glaze is amazing, and it all seemed to come together very quickly.

Corned Beef and Carrots with Marmalade-Whiskey Glaze


1 cup sweet orange marmalade
1/2 cup Irish whiskey
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard plus more for serving

1 2- to 2 1/4-pound piece lean fully cooked corned beef
12 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise
Fresh parsley sprigs


Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Boil marmalade, whiskey and nutmeg in saucepan until reduced to generous 3/4 cup, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Mix in 1 tablespoon mustard.

Generously brush corned beef all over with glaze; place in center of prepared sheet. Toss carrots and 1/4 cup glaze in large bowl to coat; place around beef. Sprinkle carrots with salt and pepper. Roast until carrots are tender and beef is golden, brushing occasionally with more glaze, about 35 minutes. Transfer to platter, garnish with parsley, and serve with Dijon mustard.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday Fun #125 - Name Three Irish Beverages

And a happy St. Patrick's Day to ye all! Whether you're wearing the green today or not, I still want to hear from you!

Name (at least) 3 Irish beverages you've had.*

(Not necessarily today... but I guess it might be if you're getting an early start!)

*Ok, to get you started, you've likely had Guinness, but what about any Irish whiskeys? or other Irish beers? or any fizzy drinks there - Cidona or Club Orange? Maybe black currant juice like Ribena? or good ol' Barry's Tea?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday Fun #124 - Hell's Kitchen Review

Welcome to Hell...
Hell's Kitchen is an experience... You enter by descending the stairs under a chandelier made of knives and then are greeted by the friendly staff. That staff is as likely as not to have tats or piercings showing. All this while you are surrounded by Gonzo Art in a place that used to be a fine Italian restaurant but now has all kinds of interesting things written on the wall where the art doesn't hang.

I should probably mention the food eh? Think comfort food with an upscale twist... and they are not shy with the flavorings. You'll recognize many of the dishes but you probably haven't had them this way.

The breakfasts are the thing I first heard about them for and they didn't disappoint. The Huevos Rancheros are awesome and the Corned Beef Hash is really made up of big chunks of corned beef that was cooked in a big chunk in the back... yum. I've been told (not just by the menu) that the peanut butter they make in house is delicious but I haven't tried it yet.

When you order one of the lunch sandwiches that ask if you want fries or Sweet Potato Fries. These are so rich and intense I would say you can't eat that many but I've proven this to be untrue. They are really good. The Walleye Fish and Chips should be called Parmesan Walleye Fish and Chips... they had enough cheese for Pusher... The French Dip and Bison Burgers really worked for me.

I haven't done dinner there before but I really should... then maybe I could get a bit of use out of the huge old bar...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Beef and Guinness Stew

I made this recipe from the current (March 2010) Cooking Light magazine last night. It was good, but I got a little much oil in when I was going to cook the onions, so it was a tish oily. The raisins add a touch of sweetness, I think, but it is a bit of a surprise when you come across one in your stew. I didn't cook it as long as they recommend (and didn't boil the meat at all - doesn't that make it tough/dry?) and it was still great. I like my vegetables not completely mush, so didn't boil the last 10 minutes either. Still, allow for the afternoon to make this, then just turn it down to low and let it simmer 'til you want it.

Also, I'd bet you could saute the beef, then throw it all in the slowcooker & leave it cooking low & slow for a long time. If you try that, let us know how it turns out.

Also, who'd'a thunk my girls would go nuts for raw parsnips! I gave 'em a taste so they could see what it was like & they begged for a bowlful. *shrug* Go, nonstandard veggies! :)

Beef and Guinness Stew

2 Tbl. canola oil, divided
1 Tbl. butter, divided
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 lbs. boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp. salt, divided
5 c. chopped onion (about 3 onions) [I did 2 small-med ones & it was less than 5 c., but fine.]
1 Tbl. tomato paste [Thought I had some in freezer, but couldn't find. Squeezed in a little ketchup instead.]
4 c. fat-free, less-sodium beef broth [For me - 4 c. hot water & ~4 tsp. beef Better-Than Bouillon - it's great stuff!]
1 (11.2 oz) bottle Guinness Draft
1 Tbl. raisins
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 c. (1/2" thick) diagonal slices carrot (about 8 oz.) [about 4 good-sized carrots]
1 1/2 c. (1/2" thick) diagonal slices parsnips (about 8 oz.) [1-2 parsnips, discovered my girls love raw parsnip, so I had less for stew!]
1 c. (1/2") cubed, peeled turnip (about 8 oz.) [1 medium]
2 Tbl. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley [Oh, guess I forgot this one.]

1. Heat 1 Tbl. oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 tsp. butter to pan. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef w. 1/2 tsp. salt; dredge beef in flour. Add half of beef to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 Tbl. oil, 1 1/2 tsp. butter, and beef.

2. Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and beer, sraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return meat to pan. STir in remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, raisins, caraway seeds, and pepper; bring to a boil.

3. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil. Cook 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. [I skipped this boiling step for time & because I thought it would make the meat tough.] Add carrot, parsnip, and turnip. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil; cook 10 minute or until vegetables are tender. [Again, I didn't boil mine as I don't like veg that are completely mushy.] Sprinkle with parsley. Yield: 8 servings (about 1 c.)

Calories: 365; Fat: 19.4 g (sat 6.8g, mono 8.6g, poly 1.7g); Protein: 25.3g; Carb 18.8 g; fiber 3.6 g.; Chol 62 mg; Iron 2.6 mg; Sodium 454 mg; Calc 52 mg

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday Fun #123 - Irish Pubs are Everywhere

Look at me planning in advance for this one! :) I figured, since St. Patrick's Day was coming up, that a few of us might be planning to bend an elbow with a pint or two. And what better place to knock back a Guinness (or a Murphy's or a Beamish or a Smithwick's or a Bulmer's (or Magner's, as it's called around here)), than a good ol' Irish pub.

And Irish pubs are everywhere. I mean, really, everywhere. Now, I've not found anyplace that can complete with an off-the-beaten-track, peat-fire-burning, locals-wonder-who-you-are-when-you-walk-in, fresh-poured-pint-of-Murphy's REAL Irish pub in Ireland, but gosh, don't places try hard to get that atmosphere? In addition to the real deal throughout Ireland, I've been to "Irish pubs" in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Germany, and even Reykjavik, Iceland. (It was a really good one, too.)

So let's hear it from you...

What's your favorite Irish pub and/or most unusually located Irish pub you've been?

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Theme - Everybody's Irish on St. Paddy's Day!

It's a new month, and therefore time for a new theme. Now, unlike last year (and a bit of 2008), when I'd planned out all of the themes in advance, I'm doing these a little more off the cuff. So, you know, if you do happen to have a request for a type/style/sort of food (say, quick & easy main dishes, Asian-style side dishes, stuff that uses cream-of soup, finger foods for a fancy tea party...), please, let me know & I'll happily, happily make it a monthly theme. And probably very soon! :)

March, of course, holds St. Patrick's Day. Which, in this country, is really more of a celebration of Ireland & Irish heritage & anything green. So let's fly with that. Have you got any Irish, Irish-themed, or, you know, green recipes you'd like to share?

  • You could make some of these delicious Orange Butter Scones, which come from a real Irish cookbook, even though they're not a traditional scone at all.
  • This Brown Soda Bread is much more traditional, especially if you do remember to score it deeply into quarters, then prick each quarter with your knife "to let the fairies out."

Ok... is that it? Have we not got any recipes for Lamb Stew or or Shepherd's Pie or Beef & Guinness Stew or anything with Guinness? Well, we'd better fix that, wouldn't you say?! Have at it!