New Castle News

March 1, 2014

Culinary Conversation: Take the cake and pass the pie

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — It’s a new month. And it’s time to be thinking about replacing the snowblowers with lawn mowers.

But March can be brutal. There’s a saying that in western Pennsylvania, we can’t breathe easier until we get past St. Patrick’s Day.

Still, I’m thinking positively and considering all things new.

In terms of Culinary Conversation, we’re looking for new recipes. Whether you have a just-tried success you want to share with us, a St. Patrick’s Day recipe you love or something that signifies spring is near, we want to hear about it. Sharing is one of the best parts of Culinary Conversation and we have had some must-try contributions in the past.

Included today are recipes for St. Patrick’s Day and a salad, tossed in for good measure. Potatoes are always associated with Ireland, along with corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew and colcannon, which is mashed potatoes mixed with greens and scallions. Lots of butter and cream make it a rather decadent dish. I’ve also seen recipes for colcannon patties, which are fried from the leftover colcannon. Traditionally, to serve colcannon, one makes a depression in the middle of the mashed potatoes and puts a dollop of butter in it. To eat, you dip a forkful of the potatoes in the melted butter.

It doesn’t get much better than roasted new potatoes. Simple to make, this is a great side dish enhanced with rosemary, one of my favorite herbs.

Speaking of roasting, so many vegetables can be roasted. Tossing cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, zucchini or a combination of your favorites with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roasting at a high temperature until the veggies are tender and somewhat caramelized brings out flavors you may be unfamiliar with. If you haven’t tried that recently, put it on your to-do list.

On a different note, you never hear much about Irish desserts. Aha, I dug deep and located Bailey’s Irish Cream cupcakes. I can think of no reason not to try these.

And just to lighten things up a bit, the salad recipe sounds refreshing and flavorful.

What are you cooking? Share your recipes with Culinary Conversation. It’s a tasteful place to be.

Roasted New Potatoes

Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450. Place potatoes in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle on salt and pepper. Add olive oil, rosemary and garlic. Toss until potatoes are well coated.

Spread potatoes on a single layer of a baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through and browned. Serve immediately.

Colcannon

Put the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by at least an inch. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes are fork tender (15 to 20 minutes). Drain in a colander.

Return the pot to the stove and set over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the pot and once it’s hot, add the greens. Cook the greens for 3 to 4 minutes or until they are wilted and have given off some of their water. Add the green onions and cook 1 minute more.

Pour in the milk or cream, mix well and add the potatoes. Reduce heat to medium. Use a fork or potato masher and mash the potatoes, mixing them up with the greens. Add salt to taste and serve hot with a dab of butter in the center.

Crock Pot Corned Beef and Cabbage

Combine ingredients in crock pot with cabbage on top.

Cut meat to fit, if necessary.

Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours or on high for 6 to 7 hours.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350. Line 18 muffin cups with liners.

In bowl, mix cocoa and hot water until dissolved; reserve.

Melt 6 tablespoons butter; reserve.

In bowl, mix flour with next five ingredients.

Whisk in buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and cocoa mixture. Stir in chips.

Divide among liners. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Transfer from pan to racks; cool.

On medium-high speed, beat remaining butter until fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until blended. Add liqueur; beat until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Beat with 1/8 teaspoon food coloring until blended. Pipe or spoon frosting over cupcakes. If desired, decorate with shamrocks.

Salad ‘n Fruit

In a large salad bowl, place mesclun and fruit. Toss lightly to combine.

For dressing, in a screw-top jar, combine oil, vinegar, herbs, sugar, garlic, mustard and pepper. Cover and shake well. Pour dressing over salad; toss lightly to coat.

Divide evenly among salad plates. Sprinkle each serving with nuts and cheese.

(*Most recipes have not been tested.)