Monday, March 9, 2009

St Patty's Sweetness!

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Okay, my kids are glued to the tv, so I guess that means I have a few quality minutes to spend with this blog. I have been so busy lately between the sick kids, the sick husband and now my own fever and headache that I haven't had much time to think. Its been like a week since my poor family has had a home cooked meal. Right now I am also deeply involved in the planning of my son's second birthday party (more on that later) so that has added a whole extra level of craziness to my days. But despite that, my daughter has also recently developed this need to entertain and has decided that we need to host a gathering for St. Patrick's Day. Ok, I thought, no problem. We can throw a pot of corned beef together. "Corn WHAT?" she asked me in horror. "I don't know what that is but it sounds YUCKY and I don't want to eat that!". Super. So of course, my initial thought is, basically, too bad, that's what we're eating....but then S forwarded me some recipes from the National Honey Board and I thought, "Jackpot!". How good does this food look and sound? And my favorite part? Its not green! Totally festive, sweet and easy. So this St. Patty's day, pick up your favorite green beer and invite your friends over. Dinner's on you. Here are the recipes:
Irish Honey Pot Roast (Makes 8 to 10 servings)
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
4 to 5 pound pot roast (7-blade, rump, or top round)
2 tablespoons oil
1 14-ounce can beef broth
1/2 cup honey
1 cup Irish ale*
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 cups each chopped carrots, potatoes, parsnips, and leeks
1/2 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper. Dredge roast in flour mixture, coating all sides. Reserve remaining flour mixture.In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the roast and sear sides first until well browned. Next sear and brown the top and bottom of the roast, about 4 to 5 minutes each. Add broth, honey, ale, garlic and thyme. Cover and roast in oven for 1 1/2 hours.Add vegetables, cover and cook 1 hour more, or until meat is fork tender. Remove meat and vegetables to a platter and keep warm.To prepare gravy, add cold water to reserved flour mixture. Whisk water flour mixture into remaining juices in Dutch oven pan. Place Dutch oven over medium-high heat and bring mixture to a boil. Continue to stir and cook until thickened. Season to taste and serve with meat and vegetables.
Note: If desired you may slow cook the roast in a crockpot. Follow directions above through browning of pot roast. Place vegetables in bottom of crockpot and place meat on top, cutting as necessary to fit. Add remaining ingredients, except water. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours. Prepare gravy as above.
*Substitute apple cider, if desired.
Irish Honey Soda Bread (Makes 1 loaf)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup golden raisins
2 tsp. caraway seeds
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp. milk
Preheat oven to 325°F.
In large bowl, combine flours, baking soda and salt until thoroughly mixed. Cut in butter until mixture resembles small peas. Mix in raisins and caraway seeds. In separate bowl, whisk together yogurt and honey; blend into dry mixture. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface; knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape dough into a ball. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut a shallow "X" on top of round. Brush top with milk. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown and crust is firm. Cool before slicing.
Irish Coffee Cheesecake (Makes 8 to 10 servings)
2 1/3 cups (about 10 ounces) shortbread cookies, crushed
2/3 cup oatmeal
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons Irish whiskey, or milk
1/4 cup powdered French Vanilla coffee drink mix
2 tablespoons flour
4 eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Irish whiskey, optional
1 tablespoon powdered French Vanilla coffee drink mix
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine crust ingredients in a large bowl, mix well and pat into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add honey, whiskey, coffee powder, and flour; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time and beat just until blended. Pour mixture into crust.Place cheesecake on a cookie sheet, and bake 40 to 45 minutes until cheesecake is puffed and center is set. Turn oven off, and allow cheesecake to cool for 15 minutes with door ajar. Remove cheesecake to a cooling rack and cool 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around sides and remove the pan.Allow cheesecake to cool 30 minutes more; then place in refrigerator to chill. Meanwhile, make topping by whipping cream until thickened. Add honey, whiskey, and powdered coffee, and whip until peaks form. Pipe or spread on chilled cheesecake and serve.For a fun St. Patrick's Day twist, drizzle green crème de menthe over whipped cream just before serving.


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