St. Patrick’s Day – Preview Day, sort of

Unfortunately, I will be out of town for St. Patrick’s Day this year as I have been in several other years and it makes me sad. St. Patrick’s Day was our first date – ish. I do not think the MotH planned it as a date, but I think it was inevitable and now it is probably the second most important date for us – the wedding date being the most important. Or maybe the other way around. Interesting, that both days were really just amazingly relaxed. Guess that is just us. I think that may be what happens when two adults realize they have found the right person for them.  Okay – I shall stop now because that sounds too sappy. I do seem to do that on occasion.

So back to St. Patrick’s Day, since I will not be around in my kitchen, I will replay some of my favorites for you to enjoy. I guess I need to figure out when St. Andrew’s Day (November 30th) is as he is the patron saint of Scotland and I am Scottish on both sides of my family. You do not look like me or like the Boy without some Scottish in you. When I think back, my father really had the look about him, but I just did not recognize as I do now in hindsight. I guess I have to figure out Scottish food, but I’m not entirely sure that will be a good thing. ?

Reuben Casserole – as I have said, not pretty, so not pretty, but pretty amazing.

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Guinness Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s like looking at a really good pour of Guinness. That is something that has to be done correctly and it takes time – just wait, it will be worth the reward.

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Guinness Brownies – I do not like brownies at all. But the first time I made these, well, hell, in small doses they were amazing. And I think the Boy liked the idea that there was stout in his brownies made him happy. Can not say that I blamed him for that.

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Butter Usage – by month – March 2016

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Meyer Lemon Bars

8 March – 16 Tbs – Raisin Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

11 March – 6 Tbs – Guinness Brownies

11 March – 16 Tbs – Pie Crust

12 March – 8 Tbs – Apple Walnut Pie

20 March – 13.5 Tbs – Walnut Muffins

24 March – 11 Tbs – White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

25 March – 16 Tbs – Meyer Lemon Bars

86.5 = 10.8125 sticks = 43.25 ounces = 2.703125 pounds

Not embarrassing, to say the least – in the butter use department. And I have to say that butter pie crust was so amazingly good. Now I am feeling slightly guilty about knowing the source for it. Will dig through lots of papers to figure it out.

January – March 2016 – Food “Holidays” Recap

Super Bowl – February 7

Spiced Pecans * Roast Beef Horseradish Sandwich * Bacon-wrapped Fruit Bites * Buffalo Rolls * Proscuitto Fontina Pinwheels * Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Torte *

Mardi Gras Pot Luck – February 9

Mardi Gras Sugar Cookies *  Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Torte *

Margarita Day – February 22

Leap Day – February 29

Apple Carrot Cupcakes *

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Apple Carrot Muffins – slightly amazing. And, no. I’m not bragging.

Pi Day – March 14

Apple Walnut Pie *

Butter Pie Crust *

St Patrick’s Day – March 17

Guinness Brownies *

Easter – March 27

Not sure yet, but I have a few days to sort it out. Yikes.


Guinness Brownies

As I have mentioned about a million times, I am not a big chocolate person, but I am a huge fan of Guinness. It was the first beer I really drank (huge story here) and I love it still. It is like having a meal, so I don’t drink it too often. The MotH likes Guinness too and the Boy love brownies, so this just makes sense. I use a Guinness stout, and maybe drink one, the MotH gets the rest, and the Boy gets brownies, and now at his age, a Guinness for himself too. It is a win all the way around.D&D_1246

4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar, superfine*
8 ozs bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 ozs white chocolate, chopped
6 Tbs unsalted butter
3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup Guinness Stout**
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray with cooking spray, an  8 x 8 baking pan, line with a parchment sling and spray that as well. Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together the flour, salt, cocoa

In a stand mixer, combine sugar and eggs and beat until light and fluffy.

In a microwave bowl,  melt chocolates and butter in 30 second bursts, and stir until smooth. Cool slightly, and mix into egg mixture.

Add flour mixture to egg mixture and beat until smooth.  Whisk Guinness into batter. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 –  25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Might be longer than you think – it was for me).

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Remove from pan using sling, cut into very tiny squares and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Source: Grace Neill’s A New Irish Table

*Take granulated sugar and whir it in a food processor and then measure out 3/4 cup. Or just use regular granulated sugar, I have.  It does not seem to matter.

**Pour the stout and let the foam settle before measuring.

These brownies are pretty much like fudge. Please cut them in little tiny pieces.

1 March 2003 – SR/ER loved them, so very chocolate w/out being too sweet.

16 March 2003 – for the office

5 November 2006 Guy Fawkes

26 March 2011

 

Guinness Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Guinness is the first beer I ever drank as a regular grown-up thing. I was not a beer drinker, with a few exception of quarters in high school (I was terrible and everyone knew it – surprise?!), until I was in my 30s and then not so much beer drinker until I visited England for interviews and realized EVERYBODY (mostly) had a beer w/lunch and my beer stout of choice was Guinness – hell, that’s a meal in itself. Right?

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Guinness Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

But I have learned over the years that Guinness is great in lots of dishes. Beef stew (yeah!), brownies  – totally not kidding, and cake. Guinness has that chocolate / coffee thing going on – if I were some food channel person, I would say, “a depth of flavor.”  And that really fits. Need to make the brownies again – both the Boy and the MotH like them. I’m not a brownie person, but I like to make things for the men in my life and make them happy which makes me happy too. I’m a huge fan of buttermilk or sour cream in a cake – it makes for a tender cake.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup Guinness
1/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 9 inch springform pan.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
In a large measuring cup, mix together oil, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Add to dry mixture and combine. Add Guinness and buttermilk and whisk until combined. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes clean or with only a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in the pan before unfolding it on to a cake plate.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ozs cream cheese, room temperature
1 – 7 oz. container marshmallow cream*
2 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and marshmallow cream. Beat with a mixer at high speed for 2-3 minutes, until very smooth and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, if using (what – must use). Spread onto cake or cupcakes. Frosts 12 cupcakes or one 9 inch cake.

Source: Baking Bites with some adjustments.

* I am not sure I understand the difference between marshmallow cream and marshmallow fluff – but for my fluffer-nutter** it was always marshmallow cream. So I’m going with that.

** A favorite school room sandwich, but it was always a bit of a mess – sticks to the sandwich bag.

Food Event Calendar

I’ve mentioned this previously in my post on Super Bowl planning, but wanted to elaborate further. You can go basically all year long planning for the next “food event.”

We’ll start at the beginning:
Winter – in general – root vegetables and even better, citrus!
Super Bowl – it’s sort of an appetizer version of Thanksgiving in early February.
Valentine’s Day – a stupid holiday created by Hallmark, but still another excuse to cook, usually sweet thing that make me slightly sick. Can you tell, I’m not a fan??
Mardi Gras – this is our regional thing, but I’m not one to turn down King Cake. Did you know that it was Mobile, AL thing before a NOLA thing? Shout out to the Moon Pie!Moonpie2-336x221
(Margarita Day is February 22nd – and this is important to me. Although, I must say, this is too early in the year. Margarita Day should be in August when we’re all hot and miserable – that’s when that particular drink makes lots of sense. And salt is required.)
St. Patrick’s Day – bring on the Guinness and whatever else you would like that might be remotely Irish. We all want to be Irish, even though I am Scottish.
Spring – in general – time for asparagus, fresh peas, you know – green stuff that’s good for you. Should be boring, but it isn’t.
Easter/Passover – again, peas, asparagus, eggs, and ham. I know I’m not a good mom since The Boy has never dyed eggs at home.
Mother’s Day – take someone out for a mimosa for brunch, You wouldn’t catch me dead at this experience because this is, yet another, another holiday created by the card industry. It also tends to screw up my birthday plans – ugh.
Memorial Day – it’s the beginning of summer – picnics, backyard grilling, and beer. An extra day off work. What more do you want?
Summer – in general – salads, lemonade, more grilling and if applicable end-of-year school parties.
4th of July – picnics, again, yet more grilling, finally some decent tomatoes and hot peppers, and the basil should be coming along nicely at this point
(Regional) Blue Angels’ Weekend – the above, but at the beach.
August – no one eats in August, it’s just too damn hot. And we are tired of salads and grilling.
Labor Day – the last hurrah of summer, grilling, really good tomatoes, and more peppers and basil.
Fall – in general – fall is strange in NW Florida. Advertisers try to make something out of fall, but really, it’s still just summer mostly.
Halloween – all kinds of sweets that make my teeth hurt to think about, and pumpkins and other assorted squash. But another excuse to make something different and it might just be cool enough to do some real work in the kitchen.
Thanksgiving – the food holiday to end all food holidays. A couple of weeks planning, and then you still make the same damn thing you always make. Sweet Potato Casserole anyone? It is excellent and that is true.
Christmas Eve – easy appetizers for Christmas Eve night. Last few years, this is fondue night – it really works for Christmas Eve – at least for me. One of our favorite things ever. Bread and Cheese – yep I’m there.
Christmas Day – depending on where we are, this can be a mini Thanksgiving or something totally different.
New Year’s Eve – Again, just an appetizer event – my favorite kind of meal.
New Year’s Day – Eggs Benedict for brunch and then left overs for lunch/dinner. And mimosas – you know – it’s the new year.
 and then we start all over again, if we’re very fortunate.