Hey, it worked!

    
A long time ago, my friend J and I were doing a catering gig. He came up with the idea to build the salad in a ring mold to make it a little different. Anyway, good idea, but hard to do for 100+ plates with limited skilled hands. However, if you only have to do four for Easter dinner, it’s a snap!

     
  

I wanted to recreate a carrot cake in my salad for Easter. I know, call me crazy. Not too hard if you take individual components like raisins and pineapple which I used in their original form. I roasted some teeny tiny Peter Rabbit sized carrots with some honey and candied some walnuts in a pan with butter, brown sugar and apple pie spice.

  

I mixed up a dressing of orange juice, ginger, salt and pepper, apple cider vinegar, and creme fraiche to mimic the whole cream cheese frosting of a cake and then I started building. Bibb lettuce (it is a salad after all), then canned chunk pineapple, then the carrots, then ricotta salata cheese that I shaved with a vegetable peeler, then walnuts and raisins.

Then you kinda smush the ingredients down in the mold for a couple of seconds, to give the ingredients time to bond. The key is not to have to move the salad to a plate. Build it where you need it!

I pooled the dressing around the stack and am happy to report it was an all round success!

BONUS ROUND!

  
Here’s my sister’s molded ice cream bird nest dessert. Shredded phyllo wreath with jellied leaves, vanilla and Irish Cream ice cream, an topped with malted chocolate eggs! 

We had the wrap on culinary molds this holiday!

  

What’s in the Box?

Got our bimonthly foodie box this week, featuring items from Portugal!

  
Some really nice items like a pumpkin jam. And personally, I’m dying to try the Jack Mackeral on toast, but I believe the words “cat food” will be tossed at me…no matter, I never met an oily fish I didn’t like.

  
And speaking of fish…I broke out some of the ingredients to make one of the recipes from the box. Two cod filets that the Hubs procured…

  
Topped with chorizo and the bacala (salt cod) seasoning packet.

   
 

Then I added canned tomatoes, chicken broth and chopped Swiss chard. The recipe called for kale, but I had chard in, so that what we used.

Then I forgot to take a picture of the finished dish. The seasoning packet should probably be cooked withe the tomatoes before hand. Things were a little chewy shall we say…and I needed a bigger pan.

All in all a serviceable dinner for midweek!

Five for Friday

  

  
Posted in the Sur la Table kitchen classroom…

  
Tarte it up!

  
It’s a herd of them!

  
The Hubs surprised me with 2 flats of these orange beauties! They are going into pots tomorrow! Just in time to greet the Easter bunny!

  

“All right listen up you guys! Drop the eggs and get out! Don’t dawdle!”

What’s not to like?

  
All butter, all the time…what’s not to like? I spent Saturday morning in the instruction kitchen of Sur la Table, where the very patient Clarissa and Kealy instruct scores of men and women,mothers and daughters, friends, couples of all ages and some go it aloners like myself in the painstaking art of French Pastry*. A month ago it was pate choux and madeleines,but this week it was (insert sound of angels singing) croissants. Also known as butter with a little flour that allows you to get the butter to your mouth…

   
  I mean, look at all that butter…  
    
   
A simple dough and ritualistic bashing of butter and then layering and folding, and layering and folding of the dough, creates these incredibly light but rich, crispy on outside and buttery inside pieces of heaven. They bear no resemblance to the shortening laced, mass produced croissants of airport coffee vendors. Instead, they are a labor of love, produced because who doesn’t love butter?

Note:* I’ve also taken macaron baking, baguette and brioche, basic pasta and French pastry classes. Highly recommended!

Irish Cream…

cream puff 
  
As noted I was in charge of the dessert for the High Holiday, and the Hubs suggested/requested Cream Puffs with an Irish whipped cream. Soooooooooo… Friday night I got home from work and took a little nap. When I woke up an hour later, I was refreshed enough to make a batch of cream puff shells

  
I also made another brown bread, assembled my “by now almost famous Irish Pub skewers”, and as seen above, whipped up a quick Guinness based chocolate sauce for the pastry. Cocoa powder, good quality chocolate broken into small pieces, sugar, vanilla and tiny bit of salt and about 1/2 a cup of Guinness. Just before serving I whipped some heavy cream with confectioner sugar and 2 tbsp of Baileys Irish Cream liqueur. We filled the shells with ice cream and then topped them with chocolate and whipped cream. My nephew, who runs about 6 miles a day, had the luxury of consuming two. Lucky boy….

Think Of it as an Irish antipasto…

I really need to stay off Pinterest…all over it are cute skewers of traditional combinations of traditional Italian antipasto items, like tomatoes, olives and artichokes. Then I found this recipe for an Irish pub version.

  
So I turned out a few for our family High Holiday celebration. My aunt handles the main components but I am usually in charge of appys, dessert, and wine. I cut little gherkins in half, added Dubliner cheddar, sliced corned beef and homemade pickled Brussels sprouts. 

  
I cooked the sprouts till they were just going soft and then iced them to stay green. Then poured a boiling pickling liquid over them and stuck them in the fridge overnite. Then I added them to the “pub skewers” for our pre dinner nosh!

Simple Supper

  
Just like down the pub…brown bread and salmon, hard boiled eggs, creme fraiche, and Guinness of course! Consumed watching the Wisconsin Badgers in a buzzer beater! Go Bucky!

Success! At Last!

  
On my 4th or 5th attempt ( I’ve lost track), and after investing some shekels in postage, I finally hit the jackpot of Irish brown bread! Turns out, as suspected, it’s all about the flour…

   
   

Simple quick bread recipe, the Irish flour, a little sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder, some melted butter and buttermilk. Forty minutes in a 400 oven, and all you need is tea!

Five for Friday

 
  Very considerate of Dove chocolate to make delicious coconut eggs that match my living room so well… 

 Going to the chapel… 

  Gonna get married….( well, Josh and Sina did)
  
A tiny wee cottage in the shamrocks!’

  
Where else would you eat on the High Holuday?