Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Irish potatoes

This is the other thing I made for St. Patrick's day dinner. My friends Mother-in-Law told me how to make Irish potatoes, although the very first time I ever had them was at Connie O's in Greenpoint on St. Patrick's day. I still have my hat from that day. I had tried to figure out how to make them on my own but it took three years and one Irish MIL of a friend later for me to learn the art. It is actually quiet simple.

First you want smaller potatoes usually red or yukon. You need to cook them skin on and keep them just barely at a boil, never a hard boil. Then you skin them and fry them in lots of butter. They are so good.

As an added bonus I have included boiled cabbage in this recipe, that's all it is. Boiled cabbage with butter and salt and pepper. It is super simple and super yummy. If you haven't ever made it, make it now. I just boil my cabbage in the same water I used for my potatoes, so by the time I cool them enough to skin them and then fry them the cabbage is ready also.

potatoes, butter, salt, pepper, oil

add water to cover potatoes and keep just under a boil until potatoes are cooked through

remove potatoes from water and let cool slightly

add cabbage quarters and salt to the water and keep it simmering

peel the potatoes with a knife, remove all the bits and nubs

toss in some salt

melt 'butter' in oil (next time I am using real butter, the margerine wasn't as good)

fry potatoes flipping occasionally

meanwhile drain cabbage and toss with 'butter', salt, and pepper

potatoes should be brown and crispy on the outside

drain on paper towels for a minute or two

then serve with cabbage, veggie rashers, bread, and guiness

see here we are post irish potatoes and beer circa 2006


Friday, May 9, 2014

Ice cream cake

This year for my husbands birthday I decided to make him an ice cream cake as a surprise. Since he is dairy free he hasn't had an ice cream cake in who knows how long. It is pretty simple to make with store bought ingredients and just as easily made with dairy.

I made my chocolate cake from scratch, but I only made half a recipe, so if you use a box mix, you will only need half. You can use any type of cookie, but I went for the Trader Joes vegan Joe-Joe's. This is one time when making a cake that you want to be sure to use parchment paper so that you can easily invert the cake into the assembly pan. You will need two pans the same size. You also need to keep the cake frozen as you assemble it.

I like to use the tall half gallon of ice cream and it needs to soften for about 15 minutes before you add that layer, not much longer or it will melt too much and you will end up with ice when it refreezes. You will need to take the cake out of the freezer 10-15 minutes before serving in order to cut it the first time.

ice cream, cookies, cake, and frosting (not made yet)

crush cookies on the bottom of assembly pan

squeeze the ice cream out and slice it thinly, but two layers thick

invert cake on top of ice cream layer and push down firmly all over, then freeze at least 30 minutes

make frosting or use store bought, then frost cake

and decorate and refreeze until time to serve

serve and enjoy

store the rest (and we had a lot) in the freezer

Happy Birthday Husband!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Shepherd's pie

This is a favorite of mine, so much so that sometimes I make mashed potatoes for dinner one night just so that I will have leftovers to make shepherd's pie with. Making fresh mashed potatoes is an option, but somehow it tastes better with potatoes that have sat in the fridge a day or two.

I like mine with a little cheese on top, so do the kids. But my potatoes are always vegan due to hubbies allergies.

veggie meat, onion, garlic, peas, leftover potatoes, oil, salt, pepper, and cheese (optional)

saute onions, garlic, and veggie meat in oil until smeat is browned

pack into the bottom of an oiled casserole

add a layer of frozen peas

then cover with mashed potatoes and smash down tightly

add cheese to half and bake until bubbly and browning on top

enjoy as a one-pot meal


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Soda bread

The next few recipes are all going to be St. Patrick's Day related, only because I remembered to document when I was making food that day. The first up is the classic soda bread. We like our soda bread sweet and with raisins. The first time I made it, I used currants which is more traditional, but my kids hated them. So now we just use raisins.

I followed a basic recipe by Ina Garten, but did not use orange zest, used raisins instead of currants, coconut milk instead of dairy, coconut oil instead of butter, and I added way more raisins and a bit more sugar than the recipe called for. It was super yummy.

Next time I will make it into two loaves so it cooks even faster. In our new house the oven tends to make breads super crusty, so cutting the baking time should help. That is why you put an X in the bread by the way, to help heat reach the inside and the bread to rise since it is a no yeast bread.

If you want to make it vegan, just add a 1/4 cup more coconut milk and a dash more baking soda.

flour, milk, raisins, salt, sugar, baking soda, coconut oil, and an egg

mix some flour and sugar into your raisins

mix dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, baking soda

cut in coconut oil, or shortening, or butter

make a well and add wet ingredients: egg and milk

mix well, it will be wet-ish, then gently stir in raisins

form into a round and mark with a deep X

bake in a moderate oven until it sounds hollow

serve with other yummy foodstuff


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Where have I been

I haven't been cooking recipes that is for sure, but I have been cooking. In fact I have been relearning how to cook. Our electric stove caught on fire in our new (to us) house. Clearly the stove was not new. It was a rather exciting day. I emptied an entire fire extinguisher on the stove and it wouldn't stop smoking and sparking and the stove wasn't even on when it caught fire. The motor started to make weird noises and sparks arced across the kitchen and it smoked and smoked and smoked. I gave up and called the professionals.

Instead of paying the same amount to replace the electric stove with another electric stove, we decided to have a gas line put in and replace it with a gas stove. This was in our long term plan, but things happen, and that changed. Now, the long term plan also include remodeling the kitchen so I wasn't going to buy a nice new fancy stove, which we also can't afford right now. Having the gas line put in wasn't very expensive as it only needed to be extended 10 feet from the gas already in the laundry room. Finding a replacement stove was a different story. I needed to find a replacement that would also just drop into our 30" downdraft counter top hole which is sort of a very unique type of stove. That took about a month. I scoured craigslist, ebay, sears outlet, all the discount stores in the area and finally we found someone selling a used one that needed a replacement part, but it would fit in nicely. Now I have a nice gas stove and can start cooking again.

So what did I do for a month without a stove. I learned how to cook lots of things in the oven like oatmeal and rice, in fact I really like oven cooked oatmeal way more than stovetop cooked. We also made good use of our family size broil king griddle. That thing can handle a lot. I could fit 3 pots on it. The only thing it couldn't do well was boil water and keep it boiling (we are at altitude) to make pasta and whatnot. We did not eat a lot of pasta the last month. We did however survive and manage to eat well, we just ate a lot of staples and to be honest we did eat out more than usual.

That is where I have been, and hopefully with the new year and the newish stove I can pick up again trying to get through my recipes. Apparently it is going to be a two year resolution. If not more.

yep, that fire truck is for us

they had to rip out the old stove, since it wouldn't stop smoking and sparking

the last meal we made on our broil king

fire - so pretty

first full meal I made on the new stove

Yay for finally having a gas stove again after 5 years without!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Tomato sauce (sunday)

Now that I have all these canned tomatoes, I get to use them all year long. This is my version of a Sunday sauce where you simmer the ingredients all day long as opposed to a fresh sauce that comes together quickly.

My dad used to make a Sunday sauce and his dad and our Uncle Bill used to fight over who made the better Sunday sauce. I even vaguely remember a sauce off in my grandparents kitchen when I was a child. My dad always served his with homemade meatballs, fresh pasta, and garlic bread. For my kids, just the garlic bread and some frozen veggie balls. One day fresh pasta, but making pasta and sauce on the same day still intimidates me.

canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, oil, and salt

simmer onions and garlic in oil until soft

chop most of the basil and oregano saving some for later

remember you need a bay leaf, and some dried porcini for flavor

quick work of the porcinis

stir it into the onions

then add your canned tomatoes and sauce

let simmer all day, stirring occasionally

then I add more fresh basil right before serving, remove the bay leaf

blend it all together

simmer a little bit longer

finish your pasta in the sauce

and serve with veggie balls, grated cheese, and pepper flakes