Monday, March 16, 2015

Loaded Irish Potato Pancakes (Boxty)

Boxty are traditional Irish pancakes, different than American style potato pancakes in that they are made from half hash browns, half mashed potato. I prefer them to traditional potato pancakes; something about the mixture helps make them a bit less greasy.

The Irish saying goes, "Boxty in the griddle, boxty in the pan, if you can't make boxty, you'll never get a man!"  Sexism and cooking; a great combination!  Happy St Paddy's Day!

Yield: 4-6 servings

3 cups grated raw potatoes or frozen shredded hash browns
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups mashed potatoes
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
Vegetable or olive oil, for frying

Prepare mashed potatoes using standard methods and set aside to cool (can be made the night before, or used from leftovers).  Toss the grated potatoes with flour in a bowl.  Stir in the mashed potatoes.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk, then add to the potato mixture.   Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil on a griddle or pan, then drop the potato mixture in large tablespoons onto the hot surface, pressing down slightly to form patties.  Fry on both sides until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes per side.  Drain on paper towels and serve while warm.

Note: I turned these into "loaded boxty" pancakes; with sour cream, crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese and green onions. There are a lot of variations on boxty, so if you're in the mood to experiment, search online for more ideas.  In Ireland, these are traditionally served with breakfast or dinner, so there are a ton of ways to serve this recipe.  Enjoy!

Very Berry Muffins

A super easy muffin recipe!   Use fresh berries in the summer, frozen berries in the winter. For this recipe, I used a combination of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, but you could substitute other berries such as blackberry, boysenberry, etc.  These smell great while in the oven and taste even better while still warm!

Yield:  approx 15 small muffins

1 cup brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 cup cream cheese
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup diced strawberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray.  Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add butter chunks and cut into the dry mix with a pastry blender - or, if you're lazy (I like to call it efficient), use an electric mixer to mix until the butter is incorporated into pea sized bits.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.  Pour over the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  The batter will be lumpy.  Fold in the berries and fill a muffin tin or cupcake wrappers about 3/4 full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes longer or until muffins are firm and a clean knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Curried Cauliflower and Potato Soup

The depth of flavor in this soup is amazing, considering how few ingredients are in it, and that it's completely vegan - there is no cheese, no butter, no cream, none of the things that I associate with a really creamy and delicious soup. I almost added some cream at the end, just out of habit, but decided to follow the recipe I had, and it turned out perfectly without it!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced

2 carrots, ends removed, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 large baking potato, cubed
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 cup coconut milk
Salt and pepper, to taste 

Garnish:  Fresh cilantro, if desired

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook onions, celery, garlic, and carrots until soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, then add the cauliflower and potato, vegetable broth, and seasonings.  Simmer until cauliflower and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Stir in the coconut milk and season to taste.

I served this chunky, but for a creamier soup, you could puree the mixture with a food processor or immersion blender.

Garnish with parsley or cilantro and serve, maybe with some crusty bread on the side.  Enjoy!

Note:  You could also make this soup with a brightly colored seasonal cauliflower - a green or yellow cauliflower would pair great with the yellow shade the turmeric adds to the broth.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Meatless Meatballs


I stumbled upon this recipe while trying to make a meal that was both hearty and delicious for a vegetarian friend.  This turned out really nice and the texture is surprisingly similar to a meaty meatball.

One caveat - I tried making the veggie meatballs even healthier by omitting the frying and that version wasn't nearly as tasty, or as textured, as the fried version.  Oil, you win again!  Bake for health or fry for flavor! 

Yield:  about 20 appetizer sized meatballs 

Olive oil, for frying 
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1 medium white onion, finely chopped 
1 pound mushrooms, finely chopped
1 large zucchini, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
1 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped 
2 large eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste

Coat large pan with olive oil and heat to medium-high. Add garlic and onions to hot oil and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms, jalapeno, and zucchini.  Cook until softened, then transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add cheeses, panko crumbs, and herbs to the vegetable mixture and mix until well combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the eggs and stir until the mixture comes together.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

Once the mixture has chilled, form into firm meatballs with your hands or a scoop.  Add more olive oil to a pan, bring to medium-high heat, and fry the meatballs for about 10 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.  For a healthier version, bake the meatballs in 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until brown.

Serve with pasta and marinara sauce as an entree, or try adding a little extra cheese to the top and serving as an appetizer with some marinara on the side.  Enjoy! 

Note:  for a vegan version, simply omit the cheese and substitute an egg replacer so the meatballs hold together