Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Vegetable Stew

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

My sister and I made an Irish dinner tonight to celebrate. However, with a mother who eats little meat, and my sister who has to eat gluten-free, it was a bit difficult to come up with a dish to make. The traditional corned beef and cabbage and cottage pie was out, so some investigating online was necessary.

I was happy with the Irish stew recipe I found on, but I don't think was quite as "Irish" a meal as we had hoped. So, we went to our local Trader Joe's and added Irish sausages and soda bread to the side.

The stew itself was very good, healthy, with lots of cabbage, potatoes and carrots in a broth, and we served it over rice to help soak up the extra broth. I would make this again, it didn't take long, a lot of chopping and simmering mostly.

I'd say this meal worked well for St. Pat's Day, but would be perfect for a cold winter night.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes

I apologize for not updating my blog as much, but I have started graduate school, moved back to Park Ridge temporarily, and am not able to cook as much. However, when I get the chance, I will try to post new things.

This cupcake recipe was used for a "Fat Tuesday" party my husband and I hosted for some church members. I have been in a cupcake mood lately, and as soon as the idea of a party came up, I knew exactly what to make for dessert.

This recipe comes from a cookbook that was given to me by my Aunt years ago, and while I flipped through it often, I had never used it until now. The cookbook, Cupcakes!, by Elinor Klivans, is an excellent guide to cupcake baking. It begins with the necessities for baking cupcakes, and the author gives a lot of advice on how to bake, store, and frost your cakes. There are basic recipes for vanilla (which I made) cupcakes, sour cream chocolate cupcakes (which I also made but do not have a picture of), and simple frostings. Being pressed for time, I have to admit I used store-brought frosting.

The author also includes many unique cupcakes, such as upside down pecan cupcakes, peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes, and a poppyseed cupcake.

You can find the recipe for her vanilla cupcakes here.

What I loved about these cupcakes was that with the addition of sour cream, they were very moist and stayed like that for a few days after baking. Do be sure you cool your cupcakes completely before frosting though- and have some fun and add sprinkles or sugar for an extra sparkle!