Baking Tip – How to cut the perfect brownie.

I know this sounds silly, but ever since someone told me about this trick, I use it every time. As a parent of a child with food allergies, I always bring the snacks….so I make a lot of brownies. I tend to cook brownies a bit underdone on purpose, which is our family’s preference. The trick is to use a plastic spoon when cutting them. The edges come out perfect and clean and the brownies do not stick to the knife. It is miraculous. Give it a try next time you are making brownies or blondies, you will be amazed.

 

It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life – J.R.R. Tolkein

 

Cooking Trick – Soaking Fish or Shrimp in Milk

My mother Patsy (she hates that name) taught me this trick and it has helped so much over the years. We have all experienced how when you get the fish home from the market sometimes it smells a little fishy. I always smell the fish before I buy it , but occasionally when I get home it still smells. I am not talking, time to throw it out fishy, just a little.

Well if you put it in a bowl and add cold milk, cover it and let it sit in the fridge for about a half hour the smell goes away. Then just rinse it off, pat it dry and cook as you normally wood. I have used this trick on haddock, cod, swordfish and shrimp. I have never tried it with salmon or anything else.

I don’t know why it works, but it does!

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage is that once a year meal I think I don’t like and then I make it and it’s great! I think the problem is, it’s not the prettiest meal to make. But it wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day in this Irish House without it.

 

May you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows your dead – Irish Blessing

 

Ingredients: 

  • Corned Beef- 3-4 lbs in Brine with spices included
  • 4 potatoes, quartered
  • 5 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • One large onion
  • 1 medium size green cabbage
  • Mustard (optional)

Put the corned beef in a large heavy pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Drain off the water and cover it again with cold water. My friend Kristen gave me this tip and I don’t know what I did before. It takes a lot of the salt out. Add the seasoning packet. Bring to a boil again and then lower temperature and simmer for about 2 hours.

Add potatoes, carrots and onions. Bring to a boil again, then lower to simmer for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add the cabbage and cook for about another 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve warm. Enjoy!

Just remember….everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

Additions: Mustard for Corned Beef

Allergens: Gluten Free, Nut free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Peanut Free, Soy free

Throwback Thursday Post: When a restaurant is more than a restaurant. The Chieftain Pub, Plainville Ma.

chieftain

May your heart always be full & May your glass never be empty… Sláinte!

Sometimes you go to a restaurant to get something to eat, but sometimes the meaning is greater. I have always believed that food is memories. When you eat that meal your grandmother always made you are honoring her and remembering her. That is how I feel when I go to The Chieftain Pub in Plainville, Ma. My late father loved this place. He lived about an hour away and it got so the only way he would make the drive is if we promised him that we would take him to “The Chieftain” for lunch. It got so bad, he wouldn’t even come to our house first… “We’ll just meet you there.”

The Chieftain” is an authentic Irish Pub if there ever was one outside of Ireland. The food is wonderful and legit.. from the Bangers and Mash to the two types of hot Irish Bread on the tables. Do not forget to try the Coconut Teriyaki Chicken Wings! Mary and Tom Cahill along with their daughters Olivia and Lynne have brought Ireland to our very own backyard and it is worth the drive.

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The people at the pub are family and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. They came to know how much my father loved the place and embraced it. I even got a delivery of hot Irish Bread to my door on Christmas Eve so my kids could give it to him for Christmas….It was a big hit!

In addition to having great food, they are also very allergy friendly. The gluten free menu is fabulous. I have a child with multiple allergies and they always do their best to be accommodating. The Chieftain Pub is very kid friendly and allergy friendly.

Today on this St. Patrick’s Day, my family and I will go to “The Chieftain” and make a toast to my Dad on our first St. Patrick’s Day without him and I am sure he will be smiling. See you there!

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Spinach, Lemon and Bacon Risotto

My first attempt at Risotto! Do you believe it? I have always been a big fan, but very intimidated to make it. It was so worth it.

No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing – Julia Child

Ingredients:

  • 5 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
  • 4 cups of low-salt chicken broth (plus 1/4 to 1/2 cup for the end)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • Zest of the lemon
  • 1 cup of cooked chicken (chopped)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 3-4 cups of fresh spinach
  • 1 roasted shallot (chopped)
  • 1/2 -3/4 cups of freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large, heavy, oven-safe pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels.

Add the onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook for about 3 more minutes, stirring frequently. Add the lemon juice and 4 cups of the chicken broth. Stirring frequently, bring to a boil. Cover the pot and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and return to stove top over medium-low heat. Now add the spinach, chicken and roasted shallots and remaining chicken broth. Stir for about 2 minutes (until spinach is wilted). Add more broth if needed. Add the bacon, lemon zest and Parmesan cheese and stir until creamy.

Garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

 

Allergens: Dairy

 

Carbonara

When the recipe card is as old and worn as this one, you know it’s good. Not even sure where I got the recipe, but it is a staple in this house. At my bridal shower, oh so many years ago, the guests all brought me a recipe, it might be from there. This is the ultimate pantry meal.

I split this recipe in two and make half with regular pasta and half with gluten free to accommodate my whole family. It is great both ways!

Life is a combination of Magic and Pasta – Federico Fellini

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 lb. spaghetti, cooked (regular or gluten free)
  • 1/3 lb. bacon
  • 4 or 5 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper (I like it spicy, so I add a little more)
  • 1/2 cup white wine or chicken stock
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup boiling pasta water
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • Coarse salt and pepper

Cook pasta Al Dente.

In large skillet over medium high heat. Saute bacon until it browns. Remove bacon and put aside. Drain the bacon oil and then add two tbsp. olive oil, garlic and red pepper. Saute two minutes. Add wine and reduce by half.

Beat eggs vigorously and stir in a ladle of pasta water. Drain the pasta and to bacon pan and remove from heat. Add egg mixture, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper and toss until well combined and cheese has melted. Serve with extra cheese.

Allergens: Dairy, Egg, Wheat (can make gluten free)

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

I am on a journey to bring back the Sunday Dinner. When I was a child, my family had the most fabulous Sunday Dinners! Multiple courses spread out over the whole day. The neighbors would show up, it was wonderful. My dad loved to cook and experiment. Over the years, he became a fabulous chef. But in the beginning, there were some rough days. We had 18 Fettuccine Alfredo’s in a row, before he got it right, then he never made it again!

I did not appreciate these days at the time, but now with my father gone and my children growing up, I want to start them up again. I miss them.

I have realistic goals, I do not expect to do this every Sunday. At this point, I will be happy with a few times a year. A more realistic goal is for my family to eat dinner at the kitchen table together a few times a week.

I would love to share these recipes from our Sunday Dinners and learn more about yours. Lets bring the Sunday Dinner back!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton