Going Green with the Sweet Life

Minty Oreo Cheesecake

Green Desserts for Saturday

Mint Oreo Chocolate Cheesecake

As we are getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day parties, festivals and parades you may be looking for some festive recipe ideas? Here’s a recipe I adapted for a cooking class that’s really green, really fun, and really yummy!  Just in case you haven’t discovered them….But Oreo Cookies now come in mint …. and as far as cookies go… the famous American Oreo is hard to beat?  Now, try combining it with a creamy cheesecake and flavored with creme de menthe?  What’s not to like? Wishing everyone a wonderful and very green St. Patrick’s Day week as we are on the countdown to Saturday!

Here is the recipe…

(Serves 6 in mason jars)

  • (for the base)
  • 18 mint Oreo cookies (crushed)
  • 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter (melted)
  • (for the mousse)
  • 1 ½ tsp of gelatin (1 Tbsp of cold water/2 Tbsp of boiling water)
  • 1 ½ cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 (8oz) packets of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 Tbsp of crème de Menthe (or 1 tsp of mint extract and a few drops of green food coloring)
  • 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar
  • (to garnish)
  • ½ cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • Mint leaves
  • 2 Oreos (crumbled)

How to make it

  1. n a food processor roughly chop 12 of the Oreo’s and stir in the melted butter. Divide the crumble between mason jars and press down with the back of a spoon.
  2. To make the cheesecake mousse beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until light and fluffy and add 1 ¼ cups of powdered sugar. Add the crème de menthe and beat until it has fully incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl whip the cream until stiff peaks appear with the remaining ¼ cup of powdered sugar.
  4. Mix the gelatin in 1 Tbsp of cold water and let it sit for a few minutes and then stir until it has completely dissolved in 2 Tbsp of boiling water.
  5. Gradually add the gelatin mixture to the cream cheese mixture, beating until well blended. Fold in the whipped cream and the remaining 6 Oreo cookies (crushed).
  6. Spoon or pipe the resulting cream on top of the Oreo crumble base and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  7. Just before serving whip the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla and pipe a swirl on top of the mint mousse.  Garnish with the Oreo crumbles and a sprig of fresh mint.

Judie the Irish foodie

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Go Green for March

Irish Kale Salad Recipe

Kale Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing and Crispy Shallots

I don’t know about y’all but all the winter and holiday eating has caught up with me and it’s time for me to Go Green and eat some healthy and ‘in season’ Kale. I mean, the recipe does call for Apple Wood Smoked Bacon and Crispy Fried Shallots, but it sure beats the heck out of Fries and Butter Burgers?  It’s also the month of March where we celebrate our beautiful Emerald Isle and our patron Saint Patrick. So, here’s a healthy Salad with the goal of going green…

…and finally, in keeping with the theme, here’s a verse from one of my favorite artists and songs, written by Johnny Cash and Forty Shades of Green...

“I close my eyes and picture the emerald of the sea

From the fishing boats at Dingle to the shores of Dunardee

I miss the river Shannon and the folks at Skibbereen

The moorlands and the midlands with their forty shades of green”

Hers the recipe…

Kale Salad with a Warm Bacon Dressing and Crispy Fried Shallots

 Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ oz (5 cups) Kale (hard stalks removed and hand torn)
  • (for the dressing)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 5 slices uncured apple smoked bacon (finely chop)
  • 8 Tbsp (1/2 cup) olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • (for the fried shallots)
  • 2 shallots (finely sliced)
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper

How to make it:

  1. Heat oil in skillet and crisp bacon. Remove bacon from the pan and set on plate lined with a paper towel.  Drain bacon fat from skillet leaving 1 Tbsp for a little flavor.
  2. Add chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute to soften but not brown. Remove from heat and add vinegar, (being careful as pan may splutter some).  Gently shake the saucepan to mix.   Use as whisk to mix the mustard, sugar.  Add ground black pepper.  Finally whisk in the olive oil and gently heat on low.
  3. To make the fried shallots toss in the flour. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or fryer to 360 degrees F.  Add the shallots in small batches so they do not stick together cooking for 10-12 minutes until they are really crispy.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.   Season the shallots with a little salt and pepper.
  4. To serve toss the kale in the warm vinaigrette with the bacon.
  5. Serve right away and top each salad plate with a small handful of friend shallots and enjoy!

Judie the Irish Foodie

 

Sweet Mince Pies and Snow Storms

We are relishing these rare days of snow in Georgia with 12″ of fluffy white fun falling in Atlanta this weekend!  Our friends and family in Ireland tell us that it’s snowing there also, and we are all dreaming of a white Christmas! -maybe this is the year?

Being Irish, there are certain flavors, smells and traditions associated with Christmas  and one of those has to be warm sweet mince pies.  Whats not to like about melt in your mouth pastry filled with dried fruits, apples and spices (cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg)? I can follow up with a recipe for homemade sweet mincemeat but for now, please allow me to share a recipe for some of the most delicious pies I have ever tasted (from my dear Irish friend Marian Lynch).  Your home will smell wonderful as they are baking in the oven – comforting and delicious

Oh, and you should know, despite the name, there is actually no meat as such in the recipe (but eaten as a traditional part of Christmas from the 16th century, and back then, the ‘meat’ may have just meant the filling part). Today it’s a sweet treat not to be missed this season!

Here’s the recipe

Irish Traditional Mince Pies

  • 18 oz all purpose flour
  • 2 oz powdered sugar
  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 oz unsalted Kerrygold butter)
  • 1 large egg yolk (beaten)
  • 3-4 Tbsp ice water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • (mince meat) homemade or bought

How to make them:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine the flour, salt and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Add in the ground almonds.  Rub in the butter and margarine until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Blend the egg yolk, lemon juice and the water together and gradually add to the dry ingredients, until just enough to hold together.
  4. Turn the pastry on to a lightly floured board and knead lightly. Cover the pastry and put aside in the fridge to relax for at least an hour or overnight.
  5. Roll out the pastry very thin and using a pastry cutter cut in to 2 inch rounds. Spoon 1 tsp of mincemeat on to half the rounds. Brush edges all around with cold water.  Place another on top and press edges together.  Prick with a fork.
  6. Bake for about 9 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes and then place mince pies on a cooling rack.
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

Judith the Irish foodie

 

Southern Greens Thanksgiving Salad

Collards Greens Salad

Thanksgiving Salad

Collard Greens are are a staple thing if you have grown up in the American South, but they get a little bit of a bad wrap…but I want to change your mind! Growing up in Ireland I naturally gravitate to Kale and Cabbage for my Winter Greens, and find some similarities to Southern traditions, so, hey let’s combine the best of both worlds!

The leaves of Collards are hearty and spicy with tough stems, and they make delicious salads. They can stand up to lots of strong flavors such as garlic and do not wilt like other greens when dressed with vinaigrette, which is a huge plus when it’s time to plate the salad.  In fact, if anything, collards do best when they have been resting in a vinaigrette and have given time to break down the leaves and absorb the flavors.

This is the best time of year to enjoy Collards when they have tender and younger leaves because they do tend to be tough when the leaves are mature.  Our family are big fans of marinating our collards and this salad will be gracing our Thanksgiving table this Thursday…can’t wait!

Wishing all my friends and followers a very happy Thanksgiving!

Collards and Power Greens with Roasted Sweet Potato and Seed Brittle

2 medium Sweet potatoes (peeled and diced)

2 Tbsp Olive oil

4 cups Collard Greens (hard stalks removed/thinly sliced in ribbons)

4 cups Power Greens (Baby Spinach, Baby Kale)

½ cup dried cranberries

(for the seed brittle)

2 Tbsp Pumpkin seeds

2 Tbsp Sunflower seeds

1 Tbsp sesame seeds

1 tsp Irish Kerrygold butter (melted)

1 1/2 Tbsp raw honey

Pinch of kosher salt

(Garlic Vinaigrette)

3 Tbsp cider vinegar

1 clove of garlic (crushed)

1 Tbsp course Dijon Mustard

2 tsp honey

½ cup of Olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper

How to make it

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the sweet potatoes in olive oil and bake for 15 minutes until they begin to brown on the edges.  Remove from the oven and cool.
  2. To make the vinaigrette whisk the apple cider vinegar, garlic, mustard and honey and then slowly incorporate the olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. To make the harvest seed crunch preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk the melted butter and honey together.  On a parchment lined baking sheet toss the seeds with the butter and raw honey.  Toast the seeds for 10-12 minutes and then stir and bake for a further few minutes until they are golden brown and aromatic. Remove from the oven and allow seeds to cool completely.
  4. To shred the Collards greens remove the hard stalk in the center and then roll in a cigar shape and slice in to ribbons.
  5. Toss the shredded greens in about ½ cup of the vinaigrette and allow marinating and softening the greens for about 10 minutes. Fold in the power greens, cherries, additional vinaigrette and season with a little more kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  6. To serve the salad break up the seed brittle and sprinkle over the top of the greens.

Judie the Irish Foodie

Spooky Chilli for Halloween

Warm Chili

Chill for Halloween

Yet again it’s time for trick or treaters, and for us, we have an annual family tradition to make spooky chili on Halloween night – spooky, but good! . We live in a suburban Atlanta neighborhood and Halloween is actually one of the best times of year for our community to come together. Our little street will be hosting a fun party with many of our neighbors making different types of chili – and it really is very fun. We always have a toppings bar with various options such as cheese, avocado, chopped cilantro,  smoky olive oil and more – and people just love the fun of this – perhaps your neighborhood could too?

The forecast will be chilly (can’t help myself…) so a warm bowl of chili will hit the spot!

This fall I have been making chili for cooking classes and received some rave reviews (not bad for an Irish lass whose only been to Mexico once!) So, here’s my best shot…  Hope you enjoy!

 Grass fed Beef Chili (garnished with Avocado, Cilantro and Olive Oil)

 (for the base)

3 ancho chilies

3 dried chipotle chilies

1 Tbsp Coriander seeds (toasted)

1 tsp cumin seeds (toasted)

1 tsp yellow mustard seeds (toasted)

3 cloves of garlic

2 (14 oz) cans whole tomatoes (drained)

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp coco powder

1 Tbsp fresh oregano (1tsp dried)

(For the chili)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion (chopped)

1 stalk of celery (finely diced)

2 lbs grass-fed ground beef

1 (15 oz) can of chili beans

(for the stock)

1 bottle of Irish Stout (Guinness)

2 cups of chicken stock

(for the garnish)

1 avocado (chopped)

Kerrygold Irish Cheddar cheese (grated)

Juice of one lime

Drizzle of good olive oil

Bunch of cilantro (chopped)

How to make it:

  1. To make the base broil the chili’s on a grill turning until they are charred on all sides. Place them in a zip lock bag for about 10 minutes to sweat until the skins are easy to remove. Using plastic gloves or a zip lock bag turned inside out remove the stem and the seeds (leaving a few seeds will be good).
  2. In a large blender combine the prepared chilies, toasted coriander, mustard seeds, tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, coco powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Add olive oil to a large saucepan and add the onions and beef stirring together until browned.
  4. Pour over the chili base, stock and beer. Season with a little salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hour.
  5. Stir in the chili beans and simmer uncovered for another 30 minutes.
  6. To serve top with freshly chopped cilantro, avocado and a drizzle of Olive Oil.

Happy Spooky Halloween!

Judith the Irish Foodie

 

Irish Barmbrack for Halloween

Irish Sweet Bread

Halloween Baking

Halloween was always one of my favorite times of the year growing up in Ireland, and it should come as no surprise that my best memories are related to home baking and fun traditions shared around the dinner table. My mother would always hide hidden charms in our favorite Halloween baked goods as a tradition, and amongst those treats she always included a wee home made BarmBrack loaf and an apple tart.

Barmbrack is a traditional warm and spicy fruit loaf that is absolutely delicious hot from the oven with loads of creamy Irish butter – and of course, apple tart is an apple pie here in America! So now you know!

So, here is it to share  – my family recipe that’s enjoyed in Ireland this time of year.

This name “brack” comes from the Irish word “breac” meaning speckled (the speckles are the fruits and candied peel baked in the bread).  I used to be so excited to wrap tiny items in silver foil for my mother to hide in the sweet bread.  All of the items we would bury in our baking had a hidden meaning, for example a ring (for love), money (for good fortune), a button (bachelor), a thimble (spinster), rag (poverty). I always wanted to get the ring for love and was devastated if I had the slice with a rag or thimble!  It was all in good fun and made great memories shared together around the kitchen table. Hope you enjoy this recipe and maybe even event  your own ‘lucky charms’

  • 4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp of salt
  • ½ cup soft brown sugar
  • 4 ½ tsp of dry active yeast (2 packets)
  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cups of warm milk
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 cup of golden sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 1 cup of dried currants
  • ¼ cup of candied orange or lemon peel (finely chopped)
  • (for the glaze)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp warm water

How to make it

  1. Butter a 9’ round cake pan and set aside.
  2. Measure and combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl including the flour, spices, salt brown sugar, dry active yeast and the dried fruits and candied peel.
  3. Combine all the wet ingredients in electric bread mixer including the warm milk, melted butter and egg. Slowly add the dry ingredients 1 cup at a time and mix to combine.
  4. Transfer the sticky dough into the prepared pan and pat the dough in place. Cover with a clean dish towel and set aside in a warm place for about an hour for the dough to rise.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and then bake for about 30 minutes (to test the bread insert a skewer in the center and should come away clean).
  6. Dissolve the sugar in boiling water to make the glaze and brush over the bread. Return the bread to the oven for a further few minutes until the loaf is glistening.
  7. Transfer to a rack to cool and serve with Irish creamery butter.

Judith the Irish foodie

Goodbye Summer, hello Fall!

Today is the first official day of Fall (also known as the equinox). Its the astronomical start of fall in the Northern hemisphere, and Spring in the Southern Hemisphere. The earth is in alignment with the sun directly above the Earth’s equator which means equal day and night…it’s still hot here in Hotlanta, but the promise of cool, fresh fall is in the air (hopefilly!!)

It’s also time for fall festivals and home baking with our favorite recipes, using pumpkins, squashes and apples – which makes this a favorite time of year for me. So, to celebrate I thought to share one of my favorite recipes (shared by a friend when I first came to the American South).  Hope you enjoy! Happy Fall baking….  Let the season begin….

Pumpkin Bread (makes 2 loaves)

  • 3 1/2  cups all purpose Flour (sifted)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp fresh nutmeg (or ½ tsp ground)
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger or 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature and beaten)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin (or cooked fresh pumpkin)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (8 fluid oz) vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 large size loaf pans.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and ginger (unless you are using fresh ginger).
  3. In a large cake mixer or bowl beat the eggs and sugar. Add the pumpkin, oil, beating well to combine.  Slowly add in the remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Pour batter in to prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour in the center rack in the oven or until skewer inserted in the center of bread comes out clean.
  5. Cool slightly before removing bread from tin and finish cooling on a wire wrack.

Judith the Irish foodie

 

 

 

Roasted Beet Salad for the 4th!

Happy birthday America! – my adopted home, and land of liberty…we love celebrating the 4th of July every year with special friends, fireworks and festivities and great food – as always – and this year I wanted to share with you one of my favorite summer salad recipes, my Roasted Beet Salad with Crème Fraiche, Sunflower Seeds and Parsley

Enjoy the fun and spectacle of the 4th in style…

What you’ll need…

1 ½ Lbs Beets (6 medium size beets)

1/2 red onion (thinly sliced)

½ cup Crème Fraiche

2 Tbsp Lemon juice (and zest)

3 Tbsp parsley (chopped)

3 Tbsp sunflower Seeds (toasted)

Drizzle of good olive oil

Freshly ground pepper and sea  salt.

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Brush beets with olive oil and wrap in tin foil and set on a baking sheet to roast for 40 minutes .
  2. While the beets are roasting combine the Crème Fraiche, Lemon juice and zest together.
  3. Allow the beets to cool, slice and toss in the Crème Fraiche dressing. Stir in the chopped red onion, 2 Tsp of the parsley and toasted sunflower seeds and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  4. To serve drizzle with olive oil and the remaining parsley.
  5. Enjoy!

Rise Up Atlanta! – Hot Wings, Irish Style…

superbowl-wings-2017

The last time the Atlanta Falcons were in the Superbowl, our eldest son was a babe in arms, and today he’s getting ready for college…so, it’s been a looong time y’all!

So, we are celebrating, whatever happens, but rooting for an Atlanta win with some really good food in the shape of hot wings marinated and glazed with my secret Irish beer and garlic hot sauce (well, secret, but recipe is below….just for you!)

So, Rise Up Atlanta, and enjoy!

Hot Wings (Rise Up Atlanta Wings)

(for the marinade)

  • 3 Lbs of chicken drumsticks and wings
  • 1 bottle of Harp Irish Beer (12 oz)
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp freshly grated stem ginger
  • 1/3 cup hot sriracha chile sauce
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • (for the glaze)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup spring onions (thinly sliced)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chili (finely chopped for garnish)

How to make them

  1. Marinade the wings in the beer, garlic, ginger, sriracha, lemon juice, olive oil and soy sauce for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade (and reserve).
  4. For a crispier skin sear the chicken meat side down for a few minutes first in a skillet to help render the fat and then transfer with tongs to a large roasting pan for about 12 minutes.
  5. While the wings are in the oven transfer the marinade to a small saucepan and reduce it by at least 50 per cent. Whisk in the honey and half of the spring onions.
  6. Remove the wings from the roasting pan and transfer to a warm platter. Toss the wings in the glaze and sprinkle over the reserved spring onions and fresh chili.

Judie, the Irish Foodie

An Irish Spring Blessing Tea at Salud!

In the past, an Irish blessing was spoken without being considered religious, but as a way of life – no one thought to question them. Here, in the American South, southern belles proclaim  “Bless her heart” just as in Ireland we would often say “God Bless you” or “God rest your soul” and as such, many of these spoken habits from the past have survived, though their use is diminishing. The Irish wit of telling jokes, making toasts and speaking blessings holds true to the richness of family and friends, so, I thought to harken back to a more gilded age this past weekend and I hosted an Irish afternoon tea party at the Wholefoods Salud! Cooking School  where we not only enjoyed delightful treats but used and highlighted spoken Irish Blessings with each tea pairing!  It was a joy, and put a spring in our step this Spring! Yes, it was a blessing!

Here is our menu…

Peach Sparkle (Sparkling Wine with a hint of Peach)

Menu

Savories: Irish smoked Salmon Moose on Potato Boxty with Dill, Open Ham and Guinness Red Onion Soda Bread Sandwiches, Irish Spring Onion Soup shots, Second Breakfast Sage and Onion Sausage Bites

Served with Irish Black Tea

Scones and Breads: Irish Blueberry and White Chocolate Scones with Lemon Curd and Clotted Cream and buttered Earl Grey Tea Bread

Served with Earl Grey Tea

Sweets: Shamrock and Peach Macaroons, Irish Butter Fudge with a Chocolate Swirl

Served with Honey Vanilla Nectar Honeybush Rooibos

…and let me  conclude this post with an Irish Blessing or two, just for you…

“May you life as long as you want and never want as long as you live”
“May springtime never be far from you”

Joy in the Journey!

Judith the Irish foodie