Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A St. Patrick's Day Inspired Meal

I'll have to admit that this time of March can often feel a bit discouraging as winter seems as though it will never come to an end. But this year, with the unreasonably warm weather, blooming apricot trees, irrigation ditches full of new water, green shoots peeking through the soil in the apple orchard and birds singing everywhere, spring is indeed in the air. 

With my Irish roots, I always feel at least in some part obligated to celebrate St. Patrick's day. Granted, the dishes that I am posting are not completely Irish, but they are inspired by the traditional cabbage and potatoes that we are so used to eating on St. Patrick's day here in America. 

I was very happy with the soda bread, which was quite believable as a non gluten free loaf. I used a recipe which I came across on Gluten Free Goddess- I am always satisfied with her recipes for baked goods. They are not too complicated and always turn out quite like their gluten containing cousins :) The salad was a great way to utilize the first of the tender spring peas. A slightly tart and sweet dressing of clementine and honey balanced the bitterness of the radicchio quite brilliantly. 

It is a family tradition to have a grasshopper pie on St. Patrick's day. Yes the recipe may not be the healthiest you have ever seen, but it is one that feels okay to make on the rare occasion. Coconut milk and Earth Balance are used in place of the cream and butter and the variation worked incredibly well. 

After being absent from my blog for quite a long time, it feels a little difficult coming back into it but I hope to return to share some great recipes and photography.

Spring Pea and Radicchio salad
serves 4

juice of 3 clementines
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper
1 small head radicchio, shredded
large handful snap peas, cut into thirds
1/2 cup spring peas
large handful baby pea shoots

In a small bowl whisk together the clementine juice, olive oil, shallot, honey and salt and pepper to taste. On 4 separate plates, arrange the radicchio, snap peas, peas and pea shoots. Drizzle each salad with dressing.

Potato Egg Bake with Herbs
Serves 8 to 10

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 1/2 pounds (6 large) russet potatoes, peeled
5 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, chopped
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup gluten free table crackers, finely crushed

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine 4 teaspoons coarse salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Oil a 2 1/2 quart baking dish and sprinkle bottom with some salt and pepper mixture. Cut potatoes into 1/8 inch thick slices and arrange slices vertically in baking dish. Wedge in shallots and sprinkle herbs throughout. Brush with oil and place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Whisk together eggs, broth and remaining salt and pepper mixture in a medium bowl. Add cracker meal and stir to combine. Pour mixture evenly over potatoes, tapping baking sheet on the counter so that the mixture settles to bottom of baking dish. Cover with a piece of parchment, then with foil, and place in oven. Bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and parchment, rotate baking sheet, and continue baking until potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 40 minutes more. Increase heat to broil and broil until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Garnish with more herbs and sea salt.

Recipe very slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living April 2013

Grasshopper Pie (GF)
serves 8 

25 gluten free chocolate cookies
1/2 cup Earth Balanace, melted
1 container vegan marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup creme de menthe
1 can full fat coconut milk
shaved chocolate

Place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator and let sit overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pulse the chocolate cookies in a food processor until they are finely ground. Transfer crumbs to a bowl and stir in the Earth Balance. Press the cookie mixture into a 9 inch spring form pan. Bake for about 8 minutes, remove from oven and let cool. In a large bowl, whip together the marshmallow cream and creme de menthe until well combined. Take the can of coconut milk out of the refrigerator, scoop the opaque white from the top half of the can and transfer to a medium sized bowl. Whip until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped coconut milk into the marshmallow mint mixture. Whip it together until smooth, then pour it into the pre-baked crust. Spread the filling evenly in the crust, then freeze the pie for at least 2 hours. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.

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