A few days ago, Grandma told me that she has been thinking about me (her Plant Princess) as she perused her seed catalog. Although she is no longer able to garden since moving to the elderly home, she still daydreams of her garden. Grandma Dollie asked me what I plan on growing this year. Well, Grandma, you can bet that I will continue to grow everything under the sun with as much zest and gusto (even if it nearly kills me) just as I did the year before. I can't help it. It's in my genes and besides, harvesting home-grown food has to be one of the best feelings in the world to the home chef. Among the heirloom, organic vegetables that sprawl across my back and side yard, this year I'm planting some hot peppers for the first time. As I plant, nurture and harvest my veggies I will be thinking of my Grandma Dollie and her Irish strength. She raised three children on her own, had a garden and remained filled with a strong and warm heart. You may have a woman like this in your life. Count her as a blessing! And remember to bloom where you're planted, as the saying goes!
*Some of you fellow vegetarians might have wondered what to serve on St.Patrick's Day. I know I did. Without the good ol' fashioned corned beef, what are we supposed to eat? *giggles*. Mmmm...just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
I decided to make the Irish blue cheese fondue for our main course. I certainly didn't feel deprived of the corned beef. Although, the Leprechaun's are probably snickering at me because I was left to eat almost the entire fondue by myself! Nobody else seemed to savor the flavor of the blue cheese quite like I did. Oh well...*
Beets with Watercress and Bibb Salad
- 8 ounces Cashel blue cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 3/4 cup Irish lager, preferably Kells brand
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- Coarse salt
- Sliced apples, for serving
- Bread cubes, for serving
- Steamed broccoli, for serving
- Red and yellow peppers, for serving
- In a medium bowl toss blue cheese, flour, cayenne and dry mustard together; set aside.
- Place lager and half-and-half in a fondue pot over medium-high heat; stir to combine. Bring liquid to a simmer and slowly stir in cheese mixture; continue stirring until cheese is completely melted. Season with salt. Serve immediately with apples, bread, broccoli, and peppers.
- 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
- 1 savoy cabbage, trimmed, pale-green leaves finely shredded (4 cups)
- 1 leek, pale-green and white parts only, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 cup milk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Coarse salt
- Preheat broiler. Peel and quarter potatoes, and place in a medium saucepan; add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to saucepan. Mash with a potato masher or pass through a ricer; cover pan to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, in another saucepan, combine cabbage, leek, milk, 2 tablespoons butter, and nutmeg; season with salt. Cover, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cabbage and leek is soft but not browned, about 15 minutes. Stir into potatoes.
- Spread mixture in an 8-inch square baking dish. Make a small well in the center, and place under the broiler until lightly browned on top, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from broiler. Place remaining 2 tablespoons butter in well. Serve immediately, spooning melted butter from well onto each serving, if desired.
Mixing the milk and cider vinegar
I love this powdered sugar. Cupcakes just taste so different with organic powdered sugar...try it and you'll see!