Saint Patricks’ Day

Top of the mornin’ to ya!

Mary Pat Cooks

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I love Saint Patricks’ Day! With a name like Mary Pat you can guess I am Irish and proud of it. Our family has a simple two day food tradition to celebrate.  The first day is the obvious corned beef and cabbage, also referred to as a Jiggs dinner in our neck of the woods. I keep it simple corned beef, potatoes, carrots, onions and cabbage. The only trick is not overcooking the cabbage. Plus I have to make twice as much as we could ever eat. Of course it is served with Irish soda bread slathered with butter. Guinness Stout rounds out the meal. This is a good, maybe great meal.

The second dinner is corned beef hash. This is what we really look forward to! I take all the leftovers, including the cabbage and chop them into fairly small chunks. Then I fry it all up in butter and olive oil…

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Artichokes

Looking forward to some yummy artichokes!

Mary Pat Cooks

Artichokes Artichokes

Artichokes are sexy. You eat them with your hands and pull them through your teeth. They are even considered an aphrodisiac by many. In the 1600’s only men were allowed to eat them for fear of how women would react.

Artichokes are the buds of the flower of a plant in the thistle family. The flower if allowed to mature is very large, purple and fuzzy. Kind of sexy. Artichoke are in season from March through May. Most in the United States come from California.

Many people are intimidated by the idea of cooking them at home. In reality they are not difficult. First buy artichokes that are a good green color. The leaves should not look dry and brown. When you squish the artichoke you should hear the leaves squeak.

When you get your artichoke home store it in a plastic bag in the fridge. To prepare for cooking…

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Winter Kale Slaw Endless Ways

The basic slaw unadorned

The basic slaw unadorned

Oh I love recipes that beg to be played with! When I was teaching a knitting class recently one of the students brought  a Brussels sprout and kale salad. I took home the idea and started experimenting. The basic recipe is

Kale any kind ribs removed

Brussels sprouts

Carrots

1. Take these ingredients and chop, food process, cut with mandolin, in any way or shape and combine.

2. Make any kind of vinaigrette or salad dressing your little heart desires and combine with the salad.

3. Garnish and play!

Ways to play!

1. Top with poached eggs. Start with a simple combo and a mild vinaigrette.

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Kale slaw topped with poached eggs

2. To the basic salad add chopped apple, blue cheese and dried cranberries.

3. To a basic salad add orange sections, goats cheese and shallots.

4. Garbanzo beams and grape tomatoes.

5. Grape tomatoes, mixed olives and pepperoncini.

Kale slaw Italian style

Kale slaw Italian style

6. Fresh figs and goats cheese.

7. Make a dressing of fresh ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and veggie oil. Stir in mango and green onions. Top with seared fresh tuna!

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Kale slaw with mango and seared tuna Asian style

8. Make your favorite slaw or ranch dressing. Combine with basic salad. Great with fried fish or any chicken.

9. The ideas are endless …what can you come up with?

 

 

Broasted Lamb Shanks

Broasted lamb shanks with white beans and kale

Broasted lamb shanks with white beans and kale

Lamb shanks are one of my son, Patrick’s favorite meals. I call my method broasting because I braise them uncovered which allows the shanks to brown. I find it impossible to get them browned all over in a skillet prior to cooking, so this is my solution. You will need to turn the shanks a couple of times and keep an eye on the broth level. I serve them with cannellini beans and mushrooms, a classic combo with lamb for good reason.

Broasted Lamb Shanks

4 lamb shanks 1 1/4- 1 1/2 pound each

2 Tablespoons olive oil

3 shallots thinly sliced

2 celery stalks chopped

2 carrots chopped

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

2 cloves garlic sliced thin

1 Tablespoon minced rosemary

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup dry red wine

2-3 cups beef broth

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat wilt the shallots, celery and carrot in the olive oil.

2.Stir in tomato paste, garlic, rosemary and mustard till fragrant.

3. Raise the temp to high and add wine, reduce to about 2 Tablespoons.

4. Add broth and bring to boil. Add the shanks.

5. Cook in oven uncovered for 2-2 1/2 hours turning the shanks 2-3 times to brown.

6. You may cover the shanks with foil on a platter and reduce the broth to a sauce consistency.

Serve with polenta, mashed potatoes or white beans and the sauce.

Curried Split Pea Soup

Curried Split Pea Soup

Curried Split Pea Soup

This is a great soup. Spicy and rich tasting but low in calories. Easy to make too. It can be made thick and served as a dal over rice. Use more or less curry powder depending on taste. I like it with naan, I get frozen at the grocery store. It heats in a minute or two.

Curried Split Pea Soup

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion chopped

2-3 garlic cloves minced

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

2-3 Tablespoons curry powder

1 Serrano chili seeded and minced

2 cups split peas

4 cups chicken stock

1-2 handfuls baby spinach

lemon quarters

1. Sauté the onions in the butter in a Dutch oven until wilted. Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder and Serrano stirring till fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in the split peas and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 35-35 minutes so peas are cooked.

3. Blend to desired consistency with an immersion blender, adding water if needed.

4. Stir in spinach. Serve when the spinach is wilted. Garnish with lemon.

Short Ribs

Short Ribs and Mashed Potatoes

Short Ribs and Mashed Potatoes

Short ribs are one of my all time favorite meals. Not only are they rich and satisfying but it is close to impossible to have them not turn out. The short rib is a fatty tough piece of meat on the bone. However cook them low and slow with a bit of liquid (braise) and the fat melts through the meat into an unctuous, deep,  beefy, fall off the bone richness that cannot be beat. Here I serve them with mashed potatoes to soak up the sauce but polenta or noodles work beautifully also!

 

Short Ribs

Short ribs 1-2 meaty ribs per person

1 onion chopped

2 carrots chopped

3 stalks of celery chopped

1 Tablespoon cumin

Sprig of thyme

2 bay leaves

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

2-4 cups beef broth

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1. Brown the short ribs on all sides in a Dutch oven. Work in batches. Reserve.

2. Add onions, celery and carrots to pan over medium heat. Just sweat do not brown.

3. Add cumin, thyme, bay leaves and tomato paste. Stir until tomato paste turns a rusty color, 1-2 minutes.

4. Deglaze with 1/2 cup of broth. Reduce to 2 Tablespoons.

5. Add ribs and the 2 cups of broth. Bring to a boil. The both should come bout half way up the ribs.

6. Cover and put in the oven. Bake 2 hours, checking occasionally to add broth if needed.

7. Remove the ribs to a plate and cover with foil.

8. Bring the broth to a boil and reduce. Use a immersion blender to blend to a nice saucy consistency. Serve the sauce with the ribs.