December

December

March 17, 2012

"Cead Mile Failte"....... 100,000 Blessings

May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow.
May the soft winds freshen your spirit.
May the sunshine brighten your heart
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you.
And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love




The giving or receiving of Irish Blessings, Toasts and Prayers are part of an old Irish tradition, and are basically meant to convey feelings of warmth and happiness, amongst both friends and strangers. Full of kindness, caring, and good wishes, you don't need to be Irish to give or receive an Irish Blessing or Prayer, they are for anyone and everyone.




ESTELLE'S CLASSIC SHEPARD'S PIE
Garlicky Potato Topping
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup beef broth
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Filling
4 slices bacon, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pound ground beef
2 to 3 medium carrots, roughly chopped, (about 1 cup)
3/4 cups frozen peas, thawed
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 (12-ounce) bottle light or dark beer
1/2 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Swiss or Cheddar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Prepare potato topping: In a large saucepan add the potatoes and garlic and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain. Transfer the potatoes and garlic to a large bowl. Add the sour cream, 1/4 cup of the broth, butter, salt and pepper, and beat on low speed with a hand mixer until the potatoes are light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. If the mixture is too dry, add the remaining 1/4 cup broth. Do not overmix. Cover and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10-inch round baking dish with nonstick spray.

Prepare filling: Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until browned and almost crisp, about 7 to 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate; set aside. Add the oil to the drippings in the skillet and put over medium heat. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in the sugar, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Stir in the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat, until the beef begins to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the carrots, peas, and garlic and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and flour and cook, stirring, until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the beer, bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes Add the cooked bacon, the broth, rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.


Spoon the meat mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spread the potato topping evenly over the beef mixture. Bake until the filling is hot, the topping is lightly browned and the edges are bubbly, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the cheese. Return to the oven and bake for 10 more minutes. Let rest out of the oven for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.





Shamrock Milkshake Cupcakes
4 egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup green creme de menthe
1/2 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe White Chocolate Frosting
Green food coloring

Allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line twenty to twenty-two 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup combine the buttermilk and the creme de menthe. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to shortening mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until mixture is combined.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out batter in cups.
 Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks.
Divide White Chocolate Frosting between two bowls. Tint one portion with green food coloring. Spoon each frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe white and green frostings onto tops of cupcakes to resemble four-leaf clovers. Makes 20 to 22 (2-1/2 inch) cupcakes!


White Chocolate Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
6 ounces white baking chocolate with cocoa butter, chopped
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar


Place white baking chocolate in a large mixing bowl; set aside. In a small saucepan heat whipping cream just until simmering. Pour over white baking chocolate; let stand, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth; let stand for 15 minutes. Gradually beat butter into melted white chocolate mixture with an electric mixer on medium to high speed, beating until combined. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until frosting reaches piping or spreading consistency. Makes 3-1/2 cups.





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