Category Archives: ST. PATRICK’S DAY RECIPES


You’re right. There is no picture attached. That’s because I served these for the first time this past Sunday to our JazzVox* guests, and before I could fetch my camera from the hall closet, half of the brownies were gone! You’d think I had starved our guests to this point, that I hadn’t already served them Spicy Baked Corn Beef with Mustard Sauce, Beer Braised Bangers (Sausages) with Onion Gravy, mashed potatoes, Braised Green Cabbage, fennel and apple slaw, Bread and Butter Pickles, and Light Rye Bread. (BTW, all the dishes underlined are already posted on this site and perfect to serve for St. Patrick’s Day. And yes, St. Paddy’s Day is just around the corner!)

So, for whatever reason, these brownies and the 50 or so White Chocolate Dipped Coffee Bean Shortbread I served during the concert intermission were gone before I could blink an eye, much less take a picture. And if I am to be completely truthful about these brownies, neither Mr. C. nor I even got a taste. (And yes, you’re right.  I said I would NEVER post a recipe I had not tasted.) But who am I to argue with 30 guests and 2 performers who all proclaimed the brownies amazing! I’m not that wretched as to dishonor these intelligent jazz lovers by discrediting their comments. How rude would that be? So take the word of some of the savviest people I know, and give these brownies a try.

And if you are a purest and only make your brownies from scratch, I sincerely offer my apologies. But there are just times when the cost factor outweighs the need to build something from scratch. And when I buy a big old 6 batch box of Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate brownie mix from Costco, I feel good about using our monetary resources judiciously. It’s simply the economically prudent thing to do under certain circumstances. (Not to mention, that even undoctored, the mix brownies are absolutely delicious!)

*for more information on JazzVox home concerts, visit our website

  • 4 T. Irish cream liqueur, divided (I use Bailey’s)
  • water
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1½ tsp. instant espresso coffee, divided (I use Medaglia D’oro) plus more for dusting
  • 1 pkg. chocolate brownie mix (I use Ghirardelli)
  • ½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1¾ c. powdered sugar, plus more as needed
  • pinch of salt

Pour 3 tablespoon of the Irish cream into a 1/3 cup measuring cup. Add water until measuring cup is full. Pour into a medium sized bowl and whisk together with the vegetable oil, egg, and 1 teaspoon of the espresso powder. Add the dry brownie mix and stir until fully mixed. Pour into a lightly greased 9×13-inch pan. Glass pan if you have one. (Even if the mix instructions say to bake in an 8×8 or 9×9 pan use a 9×13.) Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. Do not over-bake. Fresh baked brownies appear under baked but cool to doneness. Meanwhile, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. (Will be a very dry mixture at this point.) In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, remaining 1 tablespoon of Irish cream, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of instant coffee. Add the cream mixture to the butter/powdered sugar mixture. Beat until very creamy and smooth. Add additional powdered sugar as needed. Spread evenly over cooled brownies. Sprinkle lightly with instant coffee. Chill until just before ready to cut and serve.



Ok, St. Patrick has been put to bed for another year, your green cloths are in the hamper, the dishes have almost all been run through the dishwasher, and your recycling bin, full to the brim with empty beer bottles, is at the curb. Congratulations, another successful St. Patrick’s Day dinner has come and gone. But what to do with that small amount of left over corned beef? Well I have the perfect answer to that delightful dilemma my dear reader, and so does my dear friend Jim. The best use for corned beef ever invented (left over or not) is the Reuben Sandwich! There are as many theories as to why this sandwich is called a Reuben, and speculation about who invented it as there are ways in which a Reuben Sandwich is prepared. My favorite account of the creation of this now famous sandwich is as follows:  In 1938, Arnold Reuben gave an interview for the American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940, entitled Reuben and his Restaurant. This is an excerpt from that December 18, 1938 interview with Mr. Reuben: “I’ll tell you about how I got the sandwich idea. I owned a delicatessen on Broadway and one day a dame walks in, one of the theatrical dames, and she’s down and out I suppose, and she asks me for something to eat. Her name was Anna Selos. Well, I’m feeling sort of good, so I figure I’ll clown around for the dame. That’s how it all came about. I’m clowning for the dame. Well, what do I do? I take a holy bread that I used to keep and grab up the knife and, you know, clowning like, I cut it right through on the bias. Then I take some roast beef, I don’t remember exactly what. But, anyway, I figure I’ll put anything on. So I take some meat and cheese and I slap it on, and I put on some spice and stuff and I make her up a sandwich; it was a foot high. Well the dame just eats it, that’s all. She must have been plenty hungry. And when she gets through she says, “Mr. Reuben, that’s the best sandwich I ever tasted in my life.” Well, the idea comes to me in a flash. I’ll call it the Anna Selos sandwich, after the dame. Then, one night, she brings some friends up, you know, stage people and a newspaper man, and this guy he goes right behind the counter and makes himself up a sandwich, and then he tells me why I don’t call the sandwich after celebrities? Like what happened with Anna Selos. Why don’t I call it the Anna Selos sandwich? Well, boys, in a flash, I get the idea. Anna Selos! I’ll call it a Reuben Special.” Regardless of who invented this recipe or why it is called what it is, the actual fact of the matter is that the Reuben Sandwich should be classified as the eighth wonder of the world! The modern world that is! It is simply that different from any other sandwich and a true culinary achievement.

A little Northwest history: When Jim was in 2nd grade (about 50 years ago) his parents started taking him to the Crabapple Restaurant at Bellevue Square in Bellevue, Washington. Those of you who have lived in the Seattle area for some time will probably remember that Bellevue Square was one of the nation’s earliest shopping centers. And the Crabapple Restaurant was one of the first establishments to open in the square. The restaurant was designed with an art gallery motif, and its walls were filled with works by Northwest artists. The owner, Carl Pefley apparently found himself acting as an art dealer, selling paintings and then choosing replacements. Both Carl and his wife Pat enjoyed art shows, so it was inevitable that they would want to form one of their own. In 1947, Bellevue’s Pacific Northwest Arts Fair opened for the first time. It was held for 3 days and attracted more than 30,000 visitors. But what attracted Jim’s family to this amazing restaurant was the Reuben Sandwich. Jim said it was truly the first time he realized that some food is really, really good.  The following recipe is a combination of Jim’s and my thoughts on how to build the quintessential Reuben. The only difference being that Jim uses Maries Thousand Island Dressing and I usually make my own. Huge difference, right? (My recipe included.)

  • thin slices of corned beef, trimmed of any fat (home cooked is the best)
  • sauerkraut (Jim uses S&W canned, I use whatever is in the pantry at the time)
  • Swiss cheese, thinly sliced (Jarlsberg is perfect. And none of that low-fat version. Yikes!)
  • dark Russian rye bread (Brenner Brothers is the best, if you can find it)
  • Thousand Island dressing (either Marie’s or homemade)
  • butter

Place about a tablespoon of water in a lidded non-stick pan and place over low heat. Add the corned beef and warm the meat on both sides. Overlap slices of the meat until it is about the shape of the bread you are using. Add a layer of sauerkraut, as thin or as thick as you prefer. Place 2-3 thin slices of Jarlsberg on top of sauerkraut, cover and cook until all is warmed through and the cheese is just starting to melt. Meanwhile slather Thousand Island dressing on 2 pieces of rye bread. Remove the corned beef from the pan and carefully place it on one of the pieces of bread. Top with the other piece of bread, dressing side down. Add a pat of butter to the pan and heat till bubbling. (Use just enough butter to flavor bread and allow it to brown, but not so much that the sandwich tastes greasy.) Put sandwich in pan, place a small plate on top as a weight, and heat until bread starts to toast. Flip the sandwich and repeat the process. (And don’t even think of hotting the whole thing up in the microwave!) Cut in thirds and serve with potato salad, coleslaw or Jim’s favorite – Tim’s Jalapeno Potato Chips and a good stout beer. (Jim recommends a Guinnes.) Oh yes, another Jim recommendation. Eat the middle third of the sandwich last. I’m not quite sure why that is. But when it comes to food and the eating thereof, I never question the big guy. If you knew him and his cooking, you wouldn’t either!

Thousand Island dressing recipe:

  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • ¼ c. ketchup
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. creamy horseradish
  • dash hot sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 T. finely minced dill pickle
  • 3 T. finely minced black olive
  • 1 green onion, finely minced
  • 1 T. minced fresh parsley

Combine all ingredients and serve on Reuben Sandwich or any time a Thousand Island dressing is required.





Since I am getting close to the end of my St. Patrick’s Day recipe series, I thought I better include a recipe for scones. Now, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think these scones would actually qualify as Irish.  They are just a little too healthy to be categorized as such. But before you abandon this recipe because of what it isn’t, first let me tell you about what it is! First of all, these scones are delicious! When I first bit into one, I thought I might have made a mistake in not using more sugar; that the scones weren’t sweet enough. I also found the scone to be a bit on the heavy side because of the whole wheat flour; not as tender as most of the scones I prepare.  But the more I chomped away, the more I began to enjoy actually being able to taste the whole wheat flour and the lovely tartness of the fruit. By the time I had finished my scone, I was hooked. The scone was actually sweet enough and the complimentary tartness of the fruit was refreshing. And because these scones are prepared with less sugar than most, and contain at least some whole wheat flour and fruit (don’t forget we are supposed to eat several servings of fruit a day), they are in general healthier for us than some varieties. And yes I know no scone is the embodiment of nutritional virtue. That’s a given. But some scones are inherently less harmful to our bodies than others. (That’s my justification for eating these scones, and I’m sticking to my guns with reduced capacity ammunition clips on this one!) Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ c. unbleached white flour
  • 6 T. sugar
  • 5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 10 T. unsalted butter, chilled, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries   
  • 1/2 c. diced candied orange peel
  • 2/3 c. half and half
  • 2 T. orange juice
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • milk
  • course white sugar, opt.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and allspice. Take about a quarter cup of the flour mixture out and combine it with the dried cranberries and candied orange peel in a separate bowl. Set aside. (Coating sticky fruit with part of the flour in a recipe helps ensure that the fruit doesn’t clump together when you add it to your batter or dough.) Add the cold butter pieces, and using your fingers, rub the mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the reserved fruit. In a separate bowl, whisk together the half and half, orange juice, and egg. Add the liquids to the flour mixture and stir till the dough just comes together. (I use a plain table knife for this purpose. It does a wonderful job without over-mixing the dough.) Transfer the dough to a thoroughly floured work surface, knead it a couple of times, and shape it into a 9 ½ x 11-inch square. Cut the square into 24 scones. (The best implement for this task is a bench scraper.)  Transfer the scones to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sugar, if desired. Bake the scones in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until they are a nice golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature unadorned or if you are feeling particularly worthy, with a smearing of unsalted room temperature butter and a dollop of honey. Life is good my friends, life is good!



There is just nothing better than apple pie.  Apple pie is delicious, relatively inexpensive to prepare, and by golly, it’s American! But Apple Pie Bars, an Irish favorite, are simply amazing too and take about half the time to prepare. All the lovely spiced apple flavor we so dearly love is right there in this dessert. Then to make matters even more delectable, and decadent I might add, we take the whole dish over the top by adding a *cognac flavored whipped cream. (I don’t know if a liquor enhanced whipped cream is Irish or not. But when Mr. C. and our good friend Mr. H. recommended the use of cognac when I approached the subject of adding some type of booze to the whipped cream for this dessert, it sounded perfect to me. It turned out so amazing, that if the Irish don’t add liquor to their whipped cream, they sure as heck should be!)

*Some interesting information about cognac. According to the Cognac Expert web site “cognac is a type of blended brandy (distilled wine) that most commonly is produced in 3 different grades – V.S. (Very Special – aged 2-5 years), V.S.O.P. (Very Superior Old Pale – aged 5-10 years), and X.O. (Extra Old – 10 years and beyond). Blending different ages of cognacs is what determines the grade and quality of the finished product. And it doesn’t matter in what proportion these cognacs are blended, it’s the youngest one in the blend that determines the grade. So, for example, you might find that a large producer blends a few drops of a very, very old and rounded cognac with a small amount of middle aged Cognac, and then fills the bottle with seven year old cognac. They would still only be able to market the bottle as V.S.O.P. because the youngest member of the blend was within the 5 to 10 year guideline for V.S.O.P.” As with other fine liquor, aging time is often a consideration in both quality and price. So obviously an X.O. cognac is going to be considerably more expensive to purchase than a V.S. For cooking purposes, I use a V.S., whereas for sipping, Mr. C. prefers a V.S.O.P. (Of course he does.) A little hint regarding the use of cognac in cooking: I love good gravy, and in my humble opinion, I make one that’s fairly decent. (Our good friend Jim swears it’s only because I have the “grandma” gene.) But I have a secret. I often finish my gravies with a teaspoon or two of cognac. There is just something about the flavor of cognac that blends beautifully with the richness of the meat juices, especially in turkey gravy. You don’t even really taste the cognac. It just helps ramp up the other flavors. So give it a try next time you fix gravy. Just go easy, you don’t really want your family or guests to learn your secret. Just let them think you possess a “gravy” gene too. It’s more fun that way!

  • 2 c. + 1 T. flour
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. chilled butter, diced
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 3 large semi-tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon + more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T. powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. cognac or spiced rum or 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Whisk the 2 cups flour, granulated sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (I use my fingers.) Stir in egg yolks with a regular table knife. (The dough will be crumbly.)  Remove 1/4 of the mixture and set aside. Press remainder onto bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, remaining 1 tablespoon flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg; add prepared apples. (See tip below.) Place apples on crust, and top with reserved crumb mixture sprinkled evenly over top.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes or until top is a light golden brown and filling is bubbly around the edges of the pan. Meanwhile whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. Add powdered sugar and cognac and whip again just until combined. Serve bars warm or at room temperature dolloped with whipped cream and sprinkled lightly with cinnamon. Absolutely delightful served with a nice hot cup of coffee or a cold glass of milk. (Tip: cut your apples ahead of time if you want, but don’t add the brown sugar mixture until just before you are ready to bake. If the sugar mixture is added ahead of time, osmosis (the tendency of liquid to travel) will occur and just that little bit of excess liquid can make the shortbread crust soggy. This same principle also applies when baking fruit pies. Regardless of whether you are using apples, berries, or any other type of fruit, don’t add the sugar mixture until just before you place the mixture on the bottom crust. (I even go so far as to have my top crust all ready to go before I add the filling.) Believe me, the fruit will still give off plenty of juice while it is baking, but you have a better chance of your pie crust not getting soggy if you start with as little liquid as possible.)




Boy howdy, if you are looking for a recipe for really rich stew bursting with flavor, have I got a deal for you! I could not believe how delicious this stew was when I took my first “official” bite last evening. When I say “official bite”, I’m talking about my first bite from my serving bowl at the dinner table. Of course I had made several “quality control” bites during the cooking process (actually more than were absolutely necessary) so I had an idea of the pleasure that lay ahead. But when paired with a chunk of crusty bread and a lovely glass of Cabernet Sauvignon to compliment the richness of the stew, even I was impressed with my version of the lamb stew recipe I found posted courtesy of the Food Network Kitchens. You know, there are just times when you have to pat yourself on the back. And in all modesty (or at least as much modesty as I can muster on this one), you too are undoubtedly going to be pretty darned impressed with me. But be forewarned, this stew is rich! Not just a little rich, or kinda sorta rich, but full blown “Puttin’ on the Ritz” rich. (For those of you unfamiliar with the expression/song “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, please refer to the quintessential version of the song performed by Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle in the movie Young Frankenstein.  Ya just gotta love those boys!) You’re also going to fall in love with this fancily dressed up stew, especially when you learn how easy it is to prepare. It’s not a terribly economical dish to make, because lamb isn’t cheap, but a small serving is quite sufficient. For a more formal dinner, along with the chunks of crusty bread, I would serve a fairly simply dressed green salad. Nothing too elaborate. No goat cheese for example. There is more than enough richness happening in the stew itself. To my thinking there’s only one way in which too much richness is desirable, and that’s in an abundance of good friends. In that regard, I’m as rich as Rockefeller!

  • 2 T. olive oil + more for roasted veggies
  • 2 lbs. lamb cut into bite size chunks (I use boneless leg of lamb and cut off as much fat and silver skin as possible)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • ½ c. unsalted butter
  • 1 bottle amber or black ale
  • 3 c. beef stock
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 3 small parsnips, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/8-inch rounds
  • 2 medium unpeeled potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 8 (4-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 1 tsp. chopped

In a heavy covered pan, heat the 2 tablespoos olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the lamb which has been seasoned with salt and pepper and fry until dark brown. (You will probably have to fry the meat in 2-3 batches.) Remove the meat as it browns and set aside. When all the meat is brown the bottom of your pan should be really dark too. That’s what you want! Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and allow it to melt. Whisk in the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook the roux until it is brown, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the beer and stock. Add the canned tomatoes and the reserved lamb; bring to a simmer, reduce heat slightly and cover. Simmer for 90 minutes, stirring periodically. Meanwhile, place the parsnips, carrots, potatoes, and rosemary sprigs on a shallow roasting pan. Toss with just enough olive oil to lightly coat veggies. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the vegetables in a pre-heated 400 degree oven. Roast for 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and starting to brown. Remove the vegetables from the oven and strip the rosemary sprigs. Discard the stems. When the meat is tender and the gravy is good and thick, add the roasted vegetables to the lamb mixture. Cook for 10 minutes to blend flavors and textures. Add the chopped rosemary and adjust the seasoning. Serve with crusty baguette pieces, a simple green salad with a piquant dressing, and a full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon or other hearty red wine of choice.




While researching and writing this series on food to serve for a typical Irish-American St. Patrick’s Day dinner, I found it almost impossible to locate recipes for salads and veggie side dishes. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of recipes for side dishes that included cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions, and garlic. I even found an occasional nod to tomatoes, but nary a mention of vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, or eggplant. And even the number of different ways to prepare meat dishes was pretty limited. (Corned Beef and Cabbage, Bangers and Mash, Irish Stew, and Shepherd’s Pie being the prime examples.) So, I readily came to the only conclusion a reasonably intelligent person could come to, and sorry all you Irish food lovin’ folk reading this blog, but in my humble opinion, Irish food is never going to be considered a top world cuisine. Way too limited in its scope. (An amazing realization, right?) However, in defense of Irish food, the dishes that I did try, all modified to reflect my personal taste of course, are really over the top delicious. This perfectly lovely way to serve a simple sausage, aka banger is a great example of Irish food at its finest. And again, I have to ask forgiveness from those of you who are Irish food connoisseurs and possibly Guinness lovers. Most of the recipes I found that called for beer as an ingredient, including this one that I modified from a recipe I found on the Closet Cooking blog, listed Guinness instead of amber or black ale. So call me a wuss (I’ve been called worse, by the way), but I think Guinness has way too strong a flavor and is too overwhelmingly bitter to blend well with the other ingredients in most of the dishes I tried. I know I’m probably in the minority on not preferring Guinness, so if you simply must be as traditionally Irish as possible, go ahead and substitute Guinness any time you read beer in my St. Patti’s day meat dish recipes. Just don’t blame me if the bitterness from the Guinness overpowers the rest of the subtle flavors in the dish!  Tomorrow’s recipe – Irish Lamb Stew with Roasted Root Vegetables. Yet another recipe I butchered modified that originally called for Guinness. At least I’m consistent. Ya gotta give me that!

  • 1 t. oil
  • 1 lb. sausages (I use bratwurst because actual Irish “bangers” are too hard to find)
  • 1 lg. onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1 bottle beer (recommend amber or black ale)
  • 2 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T. brown sugar (light or dark)
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt

Pour oil into a medium sized covered fry pan. Add sausages when oil is hot. Cook sausages until they are browned on all sides. Remove sausages from pan and set aside. (They won’t be cooked all the way through at this point.) Reduce the heat and add the sliced onion; sauté until tender and just starting to brown. Add the garlic and fresh thyme and sauté until garlic releases its aroma, about 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook for about a minute. Add the beer, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and salt, along with the browned sausages. Simmer covered over low heat for about 20 minutes or until the sausages are cooked through and the gravy is thick. Stir a couple of times during this cooking time to prevent the gravy from burning. Serve sausages nestled on top of Champ or simple mashed potatoes.

Side Dish Suggestions: Champ (or simple mashed potatoes), Braised Green Cabbage or Coleslaw and Soda Bread

Beer Pairing: Amber or Pale Ale (Guinness if you must!)




I love quick breads because they are well, quick. (The department of redundancy department is going to love that sentence!) And this lovely bread is my “go to” bread when I don’t have time for a yeast bread to rise. (Darling little yeasty beasties take time to work their magic, after all!)  And since you were wondering why that is, I thought I’d offer you a brief explanation of how leavening agents work. (Think of this as really simple baking chemistry 101.) Active Dry Yeast (a living microscopic fungus) is activated by giving it a nice warm bath and then something yummy to eat. (Sounds like the start of my day, but without the coffee!) Yeast works as the leavening in bread dough by eating the sugars (sucrose and fructose) or by converting the starch in flour into sugar. The byproduct of all this sugar being gobbled is CO2. When CO2 is released it is trapped in the bread dough’s elastic web of gluten, in much the same way air is trapped when a balloon is inflated. And although yeasty beasties are hungry little cuties, they can only eat so fast! Thus the time it takes for yeast bread to rise. In this recipe I am using 2 other types of leavening agents, baking soda and baking powder. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is alkaline in nature, and when combined with an acid and a liquid, in this case the acidic buttermilk, it creates carbon dioxide bubbles, giving rise to the dough. Baking powder, which is basically a blend of an acid like sodium acid pyrophosphate and an alkali (sodium bicarbonate – baking soda), produces the same chemical reaction when added to a liquid. Again, carbon dioxide is the byproduct. The interesting part about baking soda when mixed with an acid liquid, and baking powder when mixed with any liquid, is that in both cases, gases begin to be released immediately. (No waiting time required.) And in the case of Double-acting baking powder (which is mostly what you find in your average grocery store), it releases leavening gases on contact with moisture and again during the baking process. A double whammy of leavening action! When a recipe calls for both baking powder and baking soda, like this recipe does, the baking powder does most of the leavening. The baking soda is mainly added to neutralize some of the acid and to help ensure a tender crumb. Note: baking soda and baking powder are not considered interchangeable in a recipe. Bottom line (and what would be on a pop quiz if I were mean enough to give you one): Yeast takes time to release enough gas to raise dough. Baking soda, a simple alkaline, has to be paired with an acidic liquid to begin its task of immediately releasing leavening gases. And baking powder, since it is a combination of both an acid and an alkali just requires liquid to start its gaseous behavior.  Whew – that hurt my brain! So now that you know more about leavening agents than you ever wanted to know, give this bread a try. It’s delicious, even if it does contains bicarbonate this and acidic that.

  • 2 c. flour
  • 4 T. sugar + 1 tsp. for sprinkling
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • 3 T. cold butter
  • 1 c. buttermilk

Whisk together the flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Using your cheese grater, grate the butter on top of the flour mixture. (Butter right out of the refrigerator is at the perfect temperature for grating.) Then using your hands, gently squish the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make a well in the flour and add the buttermilk. Gently mix the buttermilk into the flour. Do not over mix. (I find the best implement for mixing soft, sticky dough like this one is a regular table knife.) Gently scoop the dough into a lightly greased 9-inch cake pan. Don’t bother smoothing out the dough or trying to make it pretty in the pan. As it bakes it will smooth out and look lovely. Sprinkle the dough with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before transfering to a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.






I just can’t begin to tell you how wonderful cabbage is when it is braised with carrots and onions. All three veggies lose their own distinct powerful flavor and become this lovely amalgam that is ever so delicious. And then when served as an accompaniment to corned beef, with maybe a side of Champ (mashed potatoes with green onions), you have a meal fit for the loftiest Irish dignitary (the President) to the most mischievous leprechaun and everyone in between. So do yourself a favor this St. Patrick’s Day, plan a meal that will bring out the Irish in your family without having to spend a pot of gold. But don’t be surprised if a little old bearded man, clad in a green coat and hat shows up at your door. If that happens, by all means invite him in. Wishes are his specialty.

  • 1 medium sized green cabbage (about 2 lbs.)
  • 1 lg. yellow onion, cut in half and then sliced into thick half moon pieces
  • 2 carrots, cut into ¼-inch rounds
  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • Fleur de Sel or coarse sea salt


Remove any bruised outer leaves from the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into 8 wedges. Keep the core attached so the wedges stay intact during the long cooking process. (Don’t worry; the tough core will get super tender too.) Place the cabbage pieces in a single layer in a lightly greased 10×16-inch gratin or baking dish.  (A 9×13-inch pan will work. A little overlap is okay.) Scatter in the carrot and onion pieces. Drizzle veggies with the oil and stock. Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt, pepper, and the pepper flakes. Cover tightly with foil or lid, and bake in a pre-heated 325 oven for 1 hour. Remove pan from oven and gently flip the cabbage wedges with a pair of tongs. Return to oven and bake for another 30 minutes or so until cabbage and carrots are very tender. Just before you are ready to serve, remove the foil or lid, turn the heat up to 400 degrees, and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the cabbage is just starting to brown. Serve hot or at room temperature lightly sprinkled with Fleur de Sel or any other nice finishing salt. Fabulous served with corned beef.



There are few adult beverages that can warm the cockles of your heart better than a really delicious Irish Coffee. (You may recall that Sweet Molly Malone once wheeled her wheelbarrow through Dublin’s fair city, crying “cockles and mussels, alive, alive oh!” Makes me hope her own “cockles” were occasionally warmed by “a wee bit of the Irish” too?) But, and this is important, so pay careful attention to my next statement; any good coffee drink must start with really good coffee. In just the same way you use decent wine in cooking, good coffee is of equal importance when making a fine coffee beverage. So, keeping that in mind, I have a huge treat for you. We have a good friend who small batch roasts his own coffee beans. And marvel of marvels, he then sells his freshly roasted beans for a reasonable price to those of us lucky enough to know about this marvelous product. Larry’s Coffees are “Specialty coffees”, the term used by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) to refer to “gourmet” or “premium” coffee beans. According to the SCAA, in order for beans to be graded as “specialty”, a score of 80 or above is required. (The highest score being 100.) Beans classified as “specialty” are grown in ideal climates, and are distinctive because of their full cup taste and few to no discernible defects. The unique taste is a result of the individual characteristics and composition of the soil in which the beans are grown; the terroir as the French are fond of saying when speaking about wine. Aside from the fact that the beans Larry chooses are from some of the most respected coffee growing areas in the world, his roasted beans are about as fresh as you can get. If you wonder why that matters, roasted coffee beans reach their peak in both flavor and aroma about 48 – 72 hours after roasting (depending on the coffee). This rest period is not actually required but is preferred by true coffee aficionados. This resting time allows coffee beans to fully develop excellent taste and aroma by allowing excess CO2 to dissipate and the bean chemistry to stabilize. (Analogous with letting cooked meat rest before slicing or red wine breathe before drinking.) In the case of Larry’s coffee, the good news is that this rest period often occurs while the beans are being shipped. Because Larry generally roasts beans to order, you usually receive the beans when they are at their peak. How cool is that? For more information about our favourite coffee bean purveyor, please visit Larry’s website And if you live in our vicinity and can’t wait the short time it takes to order and receive your own package(s) of beans, stop on over and Mr. C. will make you an espresso drink featuring one of Larry’s offerings. Mr. C. loves to fire up our espresso machine. Your visit would provide him with yet another good reason to enjoy a little cuppa. (Like he really needs a reason, but you know what I mean!)  So for “those who love coffee” or abakundekawa as they say in Rwanda, give both Larry’s coffee beans and this recipe for Irish Coffee a try. You won’t be disappointed with either.

  • 1 c. hot strong coffee
  • 1 tsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 oz. Irish whiskey
  • whipped cream (heavy cream, powdered sugar, and a wee splash of more Irish whiskey)
  • chocolate covered coffee bean, opt.

Combine coffee, powdered sugar, and Irish whiskey in a mug or glass. Dollop with whipped cream and top with a coffee bean.




This wonderful recipe is from my good friend Jim. (I refrain from using last names of the people I mention on this site because I don’t want them to lose points with their family and friends because of their relationship with me.) Anyway, this is Jim’s family recipe for Corned Beef with Mustard Sauce and his story.

Jim’s family has been enjoying corned beef at family gatherings for as long as Jim can remember (and Jim ain’t no spring chicken).  Sorry bud, but it’s true!   And throughout the years (over 50) Jim’s family has purchased their beloved corned beef for this recipe from Market House Corned Beef (MHCB) in Seattle. Along with selling corned beef, MHCB also offers fabulous deli sandwiches (corned beef/pastrami/roast beef) with accompaniments like potato salad and pickle spears. According to Jim, the corned beef from MHCB is the only corned beef he and his family will use. The beef is sold in vacuum sealed packages containing large or small pieces which will happily reside in your refrigerator for up to 3 months or for a year in the freezer. (Jim prefers center cut pieces with lots of fat for this recipe.) For convenience, Jim cooks the beef in disposable lidded foil steam table liners that he purchases quite inexpensively from places like Cash and Carry. For big pieces of beef he uses the full size deep liners, and for smaller pieces, the half size deep liners. (BTW, steam table liners are also wonderful to use when you are preparing a crowd size lasagna, macaroni and cheese, or any dish with ingredients that tend to fall in love with their baking container. Just toss the liner at clean up time and save yourself an amazing amount of effort.) For more information about Market House Corned Beef call 206.624.9248 or visit them at 1124 Howell St. in Seattle. Please note: they have very limited hours. 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Monday thru Friday; closed Saturdays and Sundays. To top his corned beef, Jim uses the mustard sauce recipe his mother received from a friend more years ago then anyone can remember. According to Jim, this sauce would make even the bumper off a 57 caddie taste good. I’m just going to take Jim’s word on this one, and I would suggest you do the same!

Corned Beef:

  • corned beef, as little or as much as you need
  • Coke Classic soda (no substitutes please)

Place meat in pan or steam table liner, fat side up. Pour any juices left in the bag over the meat and sprinkle with the spices that came with the corned beef. Fill pan ¾ up the side of the beef with Coke. Cover and place pan in a pre-heated 275 degree oven for 3-4 hours for a small (regular Costco or grocery store sized corned beef), or about 6 hours for a large piece of corned beef. Beef should be very tender when it is done and the Coke will appear clear. (Jim doesn’t know where they got the idea for using Coke as the liquid for this recipe, but it works. So why mess with perfection?). Please note: If you are using a foil pan, before adding corned beef and Coke, place the foil container on a sheet pan. This will make it easier and safer to get the meat in and out of the oven. Additional note: meat will happily rest in the oven to stay warm. Just don’t forget to turn the oven off. When ready to serve, cut the meat against the grain into ¼ to 3/8-inch slices. An electric knife works great for this purpose. Serve beef with Mustard Sauce. As accompaniments to the beef, Jim likes to serve scalloped potatoes and grilled asparagus. Many thanks Jim for sharing your treasured family recipe with us.  And on a personal note, special thanks to both Jim and Margo for your friendship lo these many years. Mr. C. and I love you guys and value our close relationship more than you will ever know.

Mustard Sauce:

  • ¼ c. dry mustard (Coleman’s is the best)
  • ½ c. sugar
  • kosher salt
  • white pepper (or black if you don’t have white)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ c. evaporated milk
  • ½ c. apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar, if necessary)

Whisk together the dry mustard, sugar, about a half teaspoon of kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of white pepper in the top of a double boiler or Pyrex bowl. Whisk in the eggs and evaporated milk and place over the bottom of the double boiler or pan containing simmering water. (If you are using either a double boiler or a regular pan for your simmering water, don’t let the simmering water be deep enough to touch the bottom of the top container with the sauce.) Cook until the sauce thickens whisking the entire time to prevent the eggs from curdling. When thick (about the same consistency as a thick gravy), slowly whisk in the vinegar. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature. Recipe doubles or triples beautifully. Serve with corned beef or other baked or broiled meats and as a delicious spread for sandwiches.