Mar 9, 2009

My Pre- St. Pattys Day Feast with Friends


This past weekend my husband and I were invited to a friend's place for a St. Patty's Day feast. Because we can't wait for the planets to align to have our schedules line up we had it early. This works out perfectly for you all who have something similar to attend because I have several new recipes for you that will impress anyone. I was told to bring dessert and I had one idea for bread pudding but that isn't always a kid favorite, so I made an additional dessert just in case. Besides that, i wanted to take the opportunity to try making some Irish Soda bread. Good thing too, cause it was delicious!


Besides dessert, I was bringing a hat I knit for their baby son Caiden and I wanted to bring something else for their older son Cedar, who is 7 years old so he wouldn't feel left out of the "gifts." He is fascinated with pirates due to the Pirates of Carribbean madness and so I came up with a 4 leaf clover eye patch for him! I wasn't sure if he would like it, but hey, it's simple and fun. He did like it too, I also made one for his dad so they could match. It was very simple, i cut a 4 leaf clover out of some green felt and sewed it onto some thin elastic, voila! Irish pirate.

eye patch

So this is the first recipe for you. It's a recipe for the traditional Irish soda bread. I've only changed one thing, i added half chopped dates/chopped figs and half raisins instead of all raisins in this bread. I think either way would be delicious. It's very easy, no rising time required. I never made soda bread before, it's a little sweet but not so sweet like a dessert bread. It's dense, moist and surprisingly good!


Helen Doyle's Irish Soda Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
 1 cup raisins
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups nonfat buttermilk
Vegetable cooking spray

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Add buttermilk; stir well until a dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 3 to 4 times. Pat dough into an 8-inch round cakepan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and bread is golden. Let cool in pan 5 minutes; loosen edges of bread with a knife. Remove from pan; let cool on a wire rack. Cut into wedges.
Yield: 12 servings CALORIES 171 (3% from fat); FAT 0.6g (sat 0.2g,mono 0.1g,poly 0.2g); IRON 1.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 1mg; CALCIUM 81mg; CARBOHYDRATE 37.6g; SODIUM 264mg; PROTEIN 4.6g; FIBER 1.5g Cooking Light JANUARY 1995

The second recipe is for Irish Cream Brownies. These are basically regular brownies with some Irish Cream flavor. It's not very strong and tastes delicious, I added double the amount and could just taste it a little bit. This recipe says it make 16 servings, but seriously those would be some tiny brownies. I would cut into 12 servings at most. These are chewy and delicious.

irish brownies

Irish Cream Brownies
For truly fudgy treats, be sure to cook the brownies until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. If you wait until the pick is clean, the brownies will be overcooked. Garnish the plate with a sprig of mint.

1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
Place the chocolate chips and the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 1/2 minutes or until the chocolate chips and butter melt, stirring every 30 seconds. Cool slightly. Add sugar and next 3 ingredients (through vanilla extract), stirring well with a whisk. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until sugar dissolves, stirring every 30 seconds. Fold in the flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spread batter in a thin layer into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 brownie) CALORIES 145 (30% from fat); FAT 4.9g (sat 3g,mono 0.9g,poly 0.2g); IRON 0.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 8mg; CALCIUM 8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 23.8g; SODIUM 93mg; PROTEIN 2.5g; FIBER 1.1g Cooking Light OCTOBER 2006

The last, most awesome dessert is Irish Whiskey Bread Pudding w/ Caramel- Whiskey Sauce. I must say I've never made bread pudding before, but I should have long ago! This dessert was so outrageously yummy I can't believe it. My hosts were raving about it saying this was one of their top 2 favorite desserts of all time. Don't skip the sauce, it makes the dessert. Though I will warn you to watch it and don't stir it just like the directions say after the sugar dissolves. I stirred it and it solidified in the pan! I had to make the sauce twice. Also I cooked it for less time on a lower temperature. Don't expect it to get thick like a store-bought caramel sauce cause it won't. But this taste is super duper yummy. I also added some dates in place of some raisins in the recipe. Sorry I didn't get a picture of this one, we ate it too fast! This recipe is based on a recipe from Cooking Light. 

 Irish Bread Pudding with Caramel-Whiskey Sauce

3 TBLS unsalted butter, melted
1 (10-ounce) French bread baguette, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup raisins (or chopped dates, figs)
1/4 cup whiskey
1 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (12-ounce) can fat free evaporated skim milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground
cinnamon Caramel-Whiskey Sauce (recipe follows below)

Preheat oven to 350°.
Brush melted butter on one side of French bread slices, and place bread, buttered sides up, on a baking sheet. Bake bread at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cut bread into 1/2-inch cubes, and set aside.
Combine raisins and whiskey in a small bowl; cover and let stand 10 minutes or until soft (do not drain).
Combine 1% milk and next 4 ingredients (1% milk through eggs) in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add bread cubes and raisin mixture, pressing gently to moisten; let stand 15 minutes. Spoon bread mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over pudding. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until set. Serve warm with Caramel-Whiskey Sauce.

Caramel-Whiskey Sauce
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1/4 cup whiskey
1/4 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup low-fat cream cheese (ricotta will work in a pinch)
3 TBLS butter

  1. Combine sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Cook an additional 15 minutes or until golden (do not stir). Remove from heat. Carefully add butter and cream cheese, stirring constantly with a whisk (mixture will be hot and bubble vigorously). Cool slightly, and stir in whiskey and milk.
  2. Note: Substitute 1 tablespoon imitation rum extract and 3 tablespoons water for the Irish whiskey, if desired.

Our hosts, being Irish themselves (we do not have any Irish genes), wanted to make the traditional corned beef and cabbage. I don't eat beef so they were SO kind to make a veggie option for me. According to my husband though, the corned beef main dish was very good, and he's very picky! I don't have their recipe for that, but I do have the recipe for the soup they made for me to eat. Although I was not the only one eating it! I thought I should share it in case any of you have the same dilemma. Besides the meal we had Black and Tans to drink. We made them with Guinness and Rogue Kells Irish Lager. The lager was pretty good on it's own too!

Irish Colcannon and Thyme Leaf Soup
This soup reinterprets an Irish classic: colcannon, a dish of mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage. Garnish with extra thyme and black pepper.

2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 1/2 cups diced peeled baking potato (about 14 ounces)
1 cup diced onion (about 4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (or veggie broth for vegetarians)
2 cups water
3 tablespoons water
8 cups thinly sliced savoy cabbage (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add potato, onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook 6 minutes. Add broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until potato is tender.Combine 3 tablespoons water and remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large Dutch oven; bring to a simmer. Add cabbage and thyme. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place half of potato mixture in blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining potato mixture. Add potato mixture to cabbage mixture; cook over medium-low heat until thoroughly heated.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)
CALORIES 130 (28% from fat); FAT 4.1g (sat 2.5g,mono 1.1g,poly 0.3g); IRON 0.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 10mg; CALCIUM 48mg; CARBOHYDRATE 21g; SODIUM 442mg; PROTEIN 4.2g; FIBER 4.5g Cooking Light, MARCH 2007

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