Friday, March 18, 2011

~St. Patrick's Day At Our House...Vegetarian Style~

 When I think of Ireland, this is what I imagine...

Cottages alongside the ocean...
Breathtaking cliffs...

Ivy covered estates...
Clandestine, magical places...

Cozy, little homes that make you want to warm up by the fire...
And fiery-red-headed women...
Here I am as a fiery-red-headed woman.*laughing*  Attempting a "sexy and serious" look", hahaha. Yes, I've changed my hair color...
In my backyard I found this small "cave".  A fairy residence?  Who knows... *smiles*
In my town we have a tiny drugstore that still has a soda fountain.  I had to run to the store for denatured alcohol for my fondue pot.  Look at this!  I had to snap a pic.
So the final thing that crosses my mind when I think about St.Patrick's day is wearing green (nobody likes to get pinched).  This is my twelve year old, Jordan (he does the cookie of the month part of my blog).

My Irish Roots

I'm Irish.  Well, I'm Irish, French, Native American, Swedish, and Polish (I think that's it).  My grandmother Dollie O'Dell (her maiden name), is now 82 years old and is still a fiery-red-headed woman, even at her age.  She is very dear to me despite the long distance that separates us.  At the present moment, we share gardening stories.  For years she lived in a large, historical home in Columbus, Ohio.  Here, she had a kitchen garden that included her famous tomatoes and hot peppers (famous to us, anyway).  To this day I still remember mom opening up a jar of the hot peppers that Grandma  had sent to us from Ohio.  My mother would insist that I'd " leave those hot peppers alone, or I'd scorch my mouth".  So guess what I did? I grabbed a long, dried and very spicy red pepper from the glass jar  and ran out back to eat it.  I thought to myself, "If I eat the seeds, then I'm sure it couldn't be too bad." Wow...I never came back to our house as quickly as I did that day.

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!
                                                       Live Well,



*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...*

Photo Gallery

Beets with Watercress and Bibb Salad


Serves 8
  • 1 bunch medium red beets, trimmed and scrubbed (4 to 6 beets)
  • 3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch (6 ounces) watercress, tough stems trimmed
  • 1 medium head (5 ounces) Bibb lettuce, leaves torn into 1-inch pieces
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Divide beets between 2 parchment-lined pieces of foil. Fold each in half, crimping edges to seal. Place packets on a baking sheet, and roast until beets are tender, about 1 hour, 20 minutes. Peel, then cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and wedges.
  2. Whisk together vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Add oil, whisking until emulsified. Arrange greens and beets on a platter. Drizzle with dressing, and season with pepper.
From Martha Stewart Living, March 2009

Read more at Beets with Watercress and Bibb Lettuce - Martha Stewart Recipes

I love beets and their vibrant purple color.
Butter lettuce
The watercress that Whole Foods sells comes with the roots still attached.  Just cut the stems and replant.  You too can grow watercress very easily.
Here are the ingredients for the salad, minus the beets.  Jordan told me that If I make this salad more often, he will eat salad everyday.  We'll see about that...
Roasted beets.  I didn't have foil but it still worked with the parchment paper, regardless. 
Roasting the beets.
I went outside to bring daffodil inside to keep me company, hehehe.  Isn't she beautiful?
As I was cooking, Gabriel kept trying to steal the raisins that I needed for the Irish soda bread.  He's being a Leprechaun for sure today.
The roasted beet...
Jordan loves this dressing!
The finished salad.



Serves 4
  • 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


  1. In a medium bowl toss blue cheese, flour, cayenne and dry mustard together; set aside.
  2. 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.
From The Martha Stewart Show, March 2008

St. Agar blue cheese and spices. At nearly $20 per pound, it was worth it!
Start out by adding lager and milk to the pot, then add blue cheese mix and enjoy!



Serves 4
  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Remove from broiler. Place remaining 2 tablespoons butter in well. Serve immediately, spooning melted butter from well onto each serving, if desired.
From Martha Stewart Living, March 2003

                                              Potatoes are sooo good!  Maybe it's the carbs?
Running the potatoes through the ricer...
All done
The leeks
The cabbage-mix with spices
Everything is mixed and ready to broil.
The colcannon

Irish Soda Bread


Makes 1 loaf
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup apple-cider vinegar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and dusting
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
  • 1/4 cup caraway seeds
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) raisins
  • Salted butter, preferably Irish, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Mix milk and vinegar in a small bowl, and let stand until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in unsalted butter with a pastry cutter or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add bran, caraway seeds, and raisins; stir to distribute.
  3. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture; stir until dough just holds together but is still sticky. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat and press the dough gently into a round, dome-shaped loaf, about 7 inches in diameter. Transfer to prepared sheet.
  4. Lightly dust top of loaf with flour. With a sharp knife, cut an X into the top, 3/4 inch deep. Bake, rotating halfway through, until loaf is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour, 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Soda bread is best eaten the day it is made; serve with salted butter.
From Martha Stewart Living, March 2009
Read more at Irish Soda Bread - Martha Stewart Recipes

Mixing the milk and cider vinegar
I love this apple cider vinegar!
More mixing...
Using my pastry blender to mix in the butter.
Adding the wheat germ.
1/4 cup caraway seeds are added.
After resting for five minutes, this is what the vinegar and milk mix looks like.
Forming the bread.
Scoring the bread with my Matfer knife.
All done.
Oh, and you for sure need Irish butter to go with your bread.  Nothing compares to Irish Butter.

  Shamrock Vanilla Cupcakes...for dessert!



Makes 24
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In another mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated and scraping down sides of bowl, beat in vanilla.
  2. Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl to assure the batter is thoroughly mixed. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling papers about 2/3 full. Bake on the center rack of the oven until tops spring back to touch, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Read more at Vanilla Cupcakes - Martha Stewart Recipes

Simple Buttercream


Makes 2 3/4 cups
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. In a mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on high speed 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
recipe from

I love this powdered sugar.  Cupcakes just taste so different with organic powdered sugar...try it and you'll see!
Sifting the sugar.
Mixing and blending, and piping happen and then you get...
Yummy Shamrock Vanilla Buttercream Cupcakes

The finale
Sarah is proudly wearing her little princess *big smiles*.
The runs on denatured alcohol.
Gabriel said, "oh wow mom, this is incredible." I am totally serious...he is my little food lover.  Gabriel watches everything that I do in the kitchen.  He notices every smell and food item that's cooked in my kitchen and he always has something to say. 
Sarah really liked the roasted beets.  Here she is tasting them. 
Mmmmm... the fondue was really good with the apples especially.
Jordan was so in love with the meal.  I think that I surprised him.  He was looking at me like, "don't bother me!"
Mom and daughter celebrate their Irish ancestry together.

Morgan's Minute

So, how did I do it?  It was just me today.  Well, check this out!

Here is just a little of what the house looked like after I cooked.  This is reality cooking with toddlers.  Perfection might be achieved in the kitchen, while disaster is taking place elsewhere.  If you have toddlers and struggle with dinnertime I hear you!  Just accept that everything can't be perfect...after all we are only human.  Well, it does help if you have a fellow Leprechaun on your side :)  For those of us who don't, just remember to breathe.

~Dinner Was Served~


Anonymous said...

Ah! Top 'o th' mornin' to ya! You Celtic lass you.

Yes you have Irish green in your veins. But do not overlook the English in you from your maternal Great Grandmother Elmore, my mother's mother that had Scots-Irish, Native American, and German in her as well.

My mother's father Henry (aka, Henri) Kindorf came, as a very young child, directly from the ethnically German region of Eastern France, just across the Rhine from Germany, in Alsace. Germans usually consider the Alsatians too French to be German, and the French think of Alsatians as too German to be French.

Then your mother's father, Blake Fiedler, was entirely German, while his mother was entirely Swedish. Your paternal Great-Great-Grandmother, your Great Grandmother Phila May's mother, was Polish and married a German, Phila's father. She was, of course, my father's mother.

But the Irish in you stands out! It brings out the fairy in you. Perhaps your gastronomic interests come from the French in you, your sweetness and Viking love of adventure come from the Swedish in you, your scientific proclivities from the German in you, your love of nature come from the Native American in you, and your sense of justice and fair play come from the English in you.

Anonymous said...

Your Irish St. Patrick's Day feast was a wonderful blog! The food is looks so good. The kids seemed to really enjoy the whole production of prep, cooking, and eating.

And the Irish Soda has to be the most delicious bread I have ever tasted, i mean EVER! And with that delicious, rich, powerfully flavored and natural, real Irish butter on it...just heaven! More like cake than bread, in a way. I could eat that daily and NEVER complain! What a treat.

The Green Mama said...

Dad- Wow, where do I begin? Thank you for the beautiful posting (and I mean all of them). Since starting my blog, I've felt a deeper, stronger connection with you (I guess the father-daughter bond can also be strengthened in the kitchen). Your passion for cooking has now become mine. Over the years I would watch you work wonders in the kitchen after mom left. You made sauces for our veggies, wonderful salads, boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin and more! These days, as I do the same in my kitchen, I am constantly reminded of your words of wisdom, Martha's Good Things, and Julia's humor. Through your commentary, we have been linked together even more, although time and distance often separate us. I appreciate our closeness deeply and value your verve and intellect. Those qualities I will forever hold close to my heart. It is you that helped shaped who I am today. You always have been, and will always be my hero. You are a man that knows how to live well. I love you, dad.