Beef & Guinness Stew

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Beef & Guinness Stew

Rich and hearty Beef & Guinness Stew served over green onion and garlic smashed potatoes. 

Rich and hearty Beef & Guinness Stew served over green onion and garlic smashed potatoes. 

Sadly, we didn’t get to try Beef & Guinness Stew while we were in Ireland—unless you count the beef stew served on the flight home, and I don’t.

We were back in Texas for just over 48 hours when I decided this was on the menu. I did a bit of research and then headed to the store. The results were tasty and hearty. How is Beef & Guinness Stew different from any other beef stew, you ask? Well, I have a call in to Alton Brown for the molecular difference, but in my non-chemist opinion, the malted barley of that dark and creamy beer adds some legit richness, especially due to the particular approach I took. Add in the fact that Guinness has leprechaun’s gold dust in it and… well, just make it and see for yourself. FYI, I made the stew and served it over smashed potatoes as opposed to including potatoes in the stew. Ingredients and instructions for those potatoes below. 


Beef & Guinness Stew

Makes 6 servings

1-2 TBSP coconut oil

1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat

1/4 cup gluten-free flour

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp cayenne

1 tsp dried ground thyme

1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped

1 1/2 cups carrots, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 pint Guinness—no, another stout won’t do

2 cups beef stock

2 TBSP tomato paste


I served this stew on a bed of smashed potatoes. Here’s what you’ll need for those if you choose to do the same:

4-5 medium-large white, red or gold potatoes, cubed

1 bunch green onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2-3 TBSP olive oil

Kosher salt


Stew Instructions:

Sift flour, cayenne, Kosher salt and black pepper together in a bowl with a lid.

Add stew meat, secure lid and toss to coat each piece of meat in the flour.

Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a heavy stew pot. Add beef in a single layer and brown on each side—depending on the size of the piece, you'll need to turn every 30 seconds to 1 minute. Do this in batches to avoid crowding the meat. Once all the meat is browned, remove to a plate and set aside.

Don't crowd meat when browning it.

Don't crowd meat when browning it.

Immediately add onion, carrots and garlic to the hot pot. Stir to scrape up the brown bits. Cook for 5 minutes or so, until onions become translucent.

Add Guinness. Bring to a simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes, until it begins to reduce and thicken. Sweet nectar!

Stir in beef and cook one minute longer.

Dissolve the tomato paste in the beef stock. Add to pot along with the thyme, stir, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 2-3 hours. The beef should be very tender. Serve as is or over smashed potatoes.

Smashed Potatoes Instructions:

Boil or microwave potatoes until tender then mash and mix in onion, garlic, olive oil and salt. 

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Ireland Part 3: Pubs!

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Ireland Part 3: Pubs!

Guinness. In Ireland, it's what you do. 

Guinness. In Ireland, it's what you do. 

The quintessential Irish experience is having a pint, or two, in a local and authentic pub. This was a must for us on our trip, not only for the Guinness—and it’s true that it tastes better and different in Ireland—but for the immersive experience that it is. We found it simple to strike up conversations and felt right at home in the pubs and bars we visited. As an aside, on our first night, we met a couple that lives less than a mile away from us here in Texas. Small world. However, we wouldn’t have ever known without embracing the pub custom of chatting with your neighbor over a pint.

There are a few criteria to observe when it comes to finding an authentic pub. I discovered them in our travel guide and we found them to be largely true:

1. There should be at least one old man sitting at the bar.

2. The barkeep should be well-dressed, as in wearing a button-down, and pretty clean cut.

3. No piped music—pubs flow to the melody of good conversation.

4. No TV at all or a small one, tucked out of the way and reserved for major national sporting events only (i.e. Rugby World Cup)

We ambled into a few places that didn’t meet all the criteria and everything turned out fine. But, when all the criteria were met, it was a different and more welcoming experience.

Here are the pubs we visited with some brief commentary: 

White House Bar, Kinsale 

I shared info about this joint in my post about restaurants, as we had some pretty tasty food in addition to Guinness and Green Spot. Read about it here

Sam’s Bar, Kinsale

Sam’s is known for having great live music often. Sam’s was our last stop of the night on our second night in Ireland. It was quiet and cozy with a “snug” area. Sam’s also has a heated beer garden area that we did not visit, but I’m sure it’s lovely. Can’t go wrong with Sam’s if you’re in Kinsale and looking to enjoy a pint and make new friends, or just be left alone with your thoughts. They also have Prosecco on tap if you’re tired of beer. 

The Hairy Lemon, Dublin 

We didn't photograph ourselves or our drinks, but we did see this poster with a guy that looks like our friend Chris.

We didn't photograph ourselves or our drinks, but we did see this poster with a guy that looks like our friend Chris.

When we arrived in Dublin we had just a bit of time to kill before heading to our cooking class, so of course we scrambled to find a pub for Guinness and chips. Pubs are in no short supply, obviously, but we still managed to over think the decision. We wound up in a great spot, though. The Hairy Lemon might be a bit on the modern side, but the bartender was friendly and offered up several suggestions for our trip, the pints poured were excellent and the chips were hot and crispy. We intended to visit again for a full meal, but too many options and not enough time prohibited it.

The Long Hall, Dublin

This place, unbeknownst to us, was on Anthony Bourdain’s list and across the street from our guesthouse. It’s rumored to be a favorite hangout of Bruce Springsteen’s, as well. It’s a cool atmosphere—with sort of a 19th century San Francisco saloon feel. The bar staff was friendly and knowledgeable and the pint was poured well. No food, though, but that’s okay. Jack of all trades…master of none.

Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin 

You should never get your pint of Guinness in under a minute. 

You should never get your pint of Guinness in under a minute. 

A view of Dublin from Gravity Bar.

A view of Dublin from Gravity Bar.

Okay, so not technically a pub, but pretty cool. The Guinness Storehouse is a 7-level shrine to all things Guinness. It was seriously cool and informative and you get a free pint with your admission ticket, which you can enjoy in the Gravity Bar with a million of your closest friends while overlooking Dublin.

Jules, Dublin 

Also not a pub. It’s a wine bar, but this is a food and wine blog. To be completely honest, we only stopped in here because I really needed to use the restroom. After that, we felt obligated to stay for a glass of wine, but I’m so glad we did! We sat at the little bar lining the front window directly across Dame Street from the entrance to Dublin Castle. The bar is also next door to Olympia Theater. It was excellent people watching, and excellent Bordeaux.

Mac’s Bar, Enniskerry 

At Mac's.

At Mac's.

This was the real deal and my favorite pub experience from the entire trip. Joel and I decided to get out of Dublin for the day and headed to the Powerscourt Gardens south of town. The gardens were lovely, and afterward, we needed a snack…and a pint. We drove into nearby Enniskerry, a tiny Irish town, and found Mac’s, which I’ve since learned is a part of the Powerscourt Arms Hotel. Mac’s met all pub criteria. No piped music. Small TV in corner. Well-dressed barkeep. And the best part? Two old men sitting at the end of the bar. The barkeep told us they always stop in when their wives send them into town for milk. They left a few minutes before we did and as we walked out we saw a quart of milk sitting on the bar—insurance for a return trip, no doubt.

Stanley’s Restaurant & Wine Bar, Dublin 

I know. But…this place is awesome. Even from the street it oozed a Hemingway-esque sophistication that I couldn’t forget, which is why I remembered to go back and find the joint two days later. Joel and I found a cozy corner booth and each had a glass of 2008 Nieport Vertente. We were stuffed from dinner so couldn’t partake of the food, but they do have a very nice menu and friendly staff, too.

 

 

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ireland part 2: a culinary melting pot

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ireland part 2: a culinary melting pot

Our time in Ireland was spent in Kinsale, Galway and Dublin. Our middle stop was shorted a little bit so while I’d love to share stories about rich seafood in Galway Bay, we seriously underestimated the time it would take to travel from Kinsale to Galway on Ireland’s charming and beautiful, but narrow and twisty roads. Plus, at least one of us was sick while actually in Galway, so our culinary adventure was curbed a bit. However, we had the good fortune to eat well in every place we visited and were pretty surprised by the variety and quality everywhere.

The biggest takeaway, though, was Dublin’s worldliness. I am still dumbfounded by the concentration and diversity of food in that city. Within one block of our guesthouse was cuisine from every continent, if not every country (well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point). We were craving, and expecting, some Irish staples such as boxty, lamb stew and fish and chips, but had a hard time staying focused on that goal with all the many tempting options surrounding us. Of course, the pubs were plentiful and Guinness and chips were in no short supply, but we could also have pointed to a world map while blindfolded and then feasted on the cuisine of that country or region with no effort—Spanish tapas, French pastries, Indian curries… so many delicious options. Nonetheless, we found and enjoyed our Irish staples, but stumbled into a few other exciting places along the way. Below I share places where we enjoyed meals throughout the country. The pubs we visited will come in another post. 

The Pantry, Kinsale 

This adorable deli and bistro provided our first Kinsale breakfast, as we overslept and missed breakfast at our bed and breakfast. The Pantry’s pastry selection has that “I’ll have one of each” effect, but we exercised self-control and opted for a chocolate and crème-filled croissant with berry compote and a sausage-stuffed croissant. The deli case was full of tantalizing meaty treats to be enjoyed in the bistro or for takeaway. If I lived in Kinsale, which I’m seriously considering, I would eat at The Pantry every day. 

White House Bar, Kinsale 

The White House is a pub, hotel and also has a fine restaurant, Restaurant d’Antibes, that is a member of Kinsale’s Good Food Circle. We were looking for a cozy pub to spend the afternoon in and watch the Rugby World Cup and White House delivered. We had pints of Guinness (of course) oysters and the heartiest, most delectable seafood chowder ever. It was rich with the fruits of the sea near Kinsale. Throughout our trip we encountered a fierce dedication to local sourcing and White House is doing their part.

The Spaniard, Kinsale 

Cool story about the history of Kinsale. 

Cool story about the history of Kinsale. 

After our Rugby afternoon at White House we wandered up the hill to The Spaniard. Kinsale isn’t super touristy anyway, but The Spaniard is definitely off the beaten path regardless. It also has a pub, but only serves food in the restaurant, which seems a lot like a pub, too. We both selected the night’s special of roasted leg of lamb with vegetables and potatoes. I also had my first hot port of the trip, which is now my favorite cold weather drink. The lamb was tender and flavorful and was served atop and alongside potatoes. Being an Idaho-reared potato connoisseur, I approved. 

Capone’s, Galway 

If it sounds Italian, it’s because it is. As aforementioned, our journey to Galway from Kinsale was long and treacherous and Joel was sick to boot. We arrived at our bed and breakfast late and exhausted and asked our hosts to point us to the closest establishment serving anything edible. They suggested Capone’s and it was delightful. The service was over-the-top friendly and the food was delicious. I never would have thought to pair lasagna with chips (fries), but you know what? It works. All over the country you will see restaurants and shops touting 100% Irish beef. Capone’s lasagna was made with 100% Irish beef and it was some of the better lasagna I’ve had. Joel had some pork ribs, I have no explanation for that, and then we returned to our accommodations and slept soundly with full stomachs.

L’Gueuleton, Dublin 

Mushroom Toastie

Mushroom Toastie

Full Irish Breakfast, sans eggs

Full Irish Breakfast, sans eggs

This French restaurant served our complimentary breakfast every morning. I’m not certain of the relationship between the restaurant and our guesthouse, but I’m glad they have one. Every morning they put out a spread of the usual suspects, but with a French twist—croissants, cheese and thinly sliced ham—so it was slightly more enjoyable than a Best Western continental breakfast. They also have a menu for cooked-to-order options for a discounted price. We opted for the full Irish breakfast and a mushroom toastie one morning. Both were phenomenal. I’ve never had such a perfectly poached egg. I was actually getting over a stomach issue as we ate, and not much in the mood for black or white pudding, but Joel’s was so good, I couldn’t stop. The service was very friendly, too. Although we weren’t able to visit L’Gueuleton in the evening, we walked by to find it packed and it’s well-regarded throughout the city for excellent French fare. 

Leo Burdock, Dublin 

The fish and chips are long gone, but don't we look satisfied? A little greasy? 

The fish and chips are long gone, but don't we look satisfied? A little greasy? 

Our first full day in Dublin we were bound and determined to have fish and chips. We had tried to have it every day of the trip without success, but through no fault of Ireland. We’re easily distracted when it comes to food and when searching for fish and chips on menus we typically found it, but something shiny always grabbed our attention instead. The Spaniard in Kinsale, for example, definitely had fish and chips and it was probably amazing, but that roasted leg of lamb… Anyways our hope was to find some battered and fried goodness en route to the Guinness Storehouse, but we were having poor luck. We finally asked a kind bicycle-mounted policewoman for a recommendation and she sent us straight to Leo Burdock “The best fish and chips in Ireland”, which was conveniently two blocks away. The front of Leo Burdock’s chip shop is no bigger than our guest bathroom. You step up to the counter and clearly state your order, Soup Nazi style, and then promptly receive your order wrapped up in thick butcher paper. The piece of cod handed to me was as long as my arm and perfectly battered and fried to a heavenly, golden crisp. We devoured our find on our walk to the Guinness Storehouse. We later Googled “best fish and chips in Ireland” and low and behold, Leo Burdock comes up first. Whether that’s due to merit or good SEO I don’t know, but I’ll vouch for the former. The only thing that would have made it better was a Guinness, but that would have been difficult to manage while walking and eating.

Gallagher’s Boxty House, Dublin 

So this joint is in Temple Bar, and the jury is still out on how I feel about Temple Bar. But, our super friendly SixT rental customer service guy, Sammy, went on and on about this place. He made several other recommendations that all checked out, so we figured Gallagher’s would follow suit. It totally did. Temple Bar definitely has its share of tourist traps, it’s loud and reminds me of Dirty Sixth here in Austin, but Gallagher’s Boxty House is a diamond in the rough. It’s quiet and classy, the service was off the charts (really, we didn’t receive anything but excellent service our entire trip) and the food, my goodness. We started with oysters because they’re so dang good over there, and then I had corned beef boxty and Joel had coddle. If you’re unfamiliar with boxty, it’s an Irish potato pancake-crepe-like thing. (One of my better definitions, I think.) The boxty wraps meat and/or vegetables. In my case, it wrapped delicious corned beef and cabbage. Coddle is another dish you may be unfamiliar with—I certainly was. I thought Joel was going around looking for cuddle fish. No. Coddle is a thick Irish soup (or stew) made of whatever folks have hanging around, but usually includes sausage or pork, potatoes and onion. Both dishes were crazy good and very filling.

Catch 22, Dublin 

Crispy sardines. 

Crispy sardines. 

Shell Pot. 

Shell Pot. 

Oven Mackerel. 

Oven Mackerel. 

Similar to our quest for fish and chips, we were also on a near constant quest for fresh seafood. We had plenty, but were always lusting for more. We had a few recommendations for areas to visit outside of Dublin that would have fresh seafood—Howth, and Dun Laoghaire (along Dublin Bay). We elected to head south one day and stop in Dun Laoghaire on the way back, walk the pier and enjoy a dinner of fresh seafood. We indeed walked the pier, but fresh seafood was not to be found in this harbor town. Back to Dublin we went, a bit chagrined. We parked the car and set out to find a meal and a pub or two. We weren’t going to go hungry by any means, but we were holding out hope for some local and/or at least fresh-ish seafood. All of a sudden, we rounded a corner and saw up ahead a bright blue beacon. Catch 22. With a name like that I figured it had to have fish, so we checked out the menu. They not only had fish, they had bounty galore from the nearby sea! We got a table and soon learned that this little venture was started by friends and had only been open about eight weeks. We were pleased to be some of its early patrons. They served pan-fried sardines as a complimentary snack, which we enjoyed ahead of chili-garlic crab claws. For the main course we shared a shell pot full of fresh, steamed clams, mussels, cockles, prawns and a treat of more crab claws covered in a tomato-chorizo broth, and oven-baked mackerel.

Taste Cafe, Dublin 

On our final full day in Dublin, I woke up with what seemed to be food poisoning. I have no idea what, if any, establishment it came from. It might have been my body rebelling against eight days of rich food with Guinness chasers. Nevertheless, I was repulsed by the thought of all food and drink for most of the day. I did manage to leave the room and feasted on hot tea and a slice of toast for lunch. Poor Joel dutifully held my hand all day with zero complaints. By dinnertime, I was determined to rally whether my body liked it or not. We went to a nearby pub. I had a hot port. My body didn’t like it. Through waves of nausea and debilitating stomach cramps I powered on, but couldn’t fathom eating anything with meat in it or near it. The only thing that sounded kind of okay was chocolate pudding or something sweet. Despite wanting to duck into a pub for some lamb or other hearty Irish fare, Joel insisted we go to Taste, a French café near our guesthouse, as we could see their pastries in the window. I felt horrible for ruining our last dinner in Ireland, but we took a table and listed as our host read the specials, among them, lamb shank, delicious, hearty, Irish lamb shank. Apart from that, Taste had what looked to be a beautiful menu and I wish I’d been able to partake. However, I ordered a warm pear tart and was quite content with the three or four bites I managed. Joel was overjoyed with the lamb shank. Then, we went back to the guesthouse early and watched The Simpsons. 

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Ireland Part 1: Kinsale Gourmet Festival

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Ireland Part 1: Kinsale Gourmet Festival

Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland

Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland

We’re home from Ireland and fighting urges to go to the neighborhood pub for a pint. We’re actually lucky enough to have a pretty decent Irish-inspired pub close to our house, but it won’t be the same.

We arrived in Dublin, picked up our car and pointed it south toward County Cork and Kinsale. We had tickets to the 39th Kinsale Gourmet Festival’s kickoff event that night. The Festival is a weekend-long celebration of the culinary wonderland that is County Cork. It is hosted by 11 Kinsale restaurants that make up the Kinsale Good Food Circle.

The kickoff event we attended was the Taste of West Cork Dining Experience, which started with a reception at the Trident Hotel featuring complimentary Laurent Perrier Champagne and canapés from the 11 Good Food Circle Restaurants. Each restaurant proffered up 2-4 hors d’oeuvres to try… so, hmmmm, carry the one… it seems Joel and I had roughly 33 canapés each and several glasses of champagne. This was after the obligatory Guinness and oysters we had upon arriving in Kinsale. Oh, and did I mention we didn’t sleep at all on the flight and then immediately hopped in our rental car and drove halfway across the island? Needless to say, we were in tip-top shape when the Irish Minister of Agriculture, Food and Marine and the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland took the podium. In spite of our fatigue and gluttony, we enjoyed hearing the dignitaries’ thoughts and learned a lot about Ireland’s culinary goals.

The Laurent Perrier Champagne Reception at the Trident Hotel. Part of the 39th Kinsale Gourmet Festival. 

The Laurent Perrier Champagne Reception at the Trident Hotel. Part of the 39th Kinsale Gourmet Festival. 

The Kinsale Marina near the Trident Hotel

The Kinsale Marina near the Trident Hotel

After the reception, our evening of over-indulgence continued with a five-course (yes, 1, 2, 3, 4, FIVE) dinner at one of the Good Food Circle Restaurants. We selected Apertif at Blue Haven. We walked from the Trident, which sits along the marina—its address is literally World’s End—into the heart of downtown Kinsale to Blue Haven. We were welcomed and seated in a cozy booth and presented with our menus. There were two options for courses, 2-4, which there being two of us, means we got to try everything. I’ve listed the items below with some commentary. Sadly, we didn’t take any photos.

*Disclaimer: All gluten and dairy bets were off.

We selected a bottle of 2010 Manfredi Barolo.

Course 1:

Celeriac and Local Pear Soup with Cashel Blue Cheese Cream and Chestnut Crumb

I started salivating over this soup when the restaurant posted its menu a week before we left for Ireland. I love blue cheese, although I don’t eat it much these days. As if blue cheese wasn’t indulgent enough, they opted to make a blue cheese cream. It was the height of hedonism and I blacked out a little when I tasted it. Despite being rich and very creamy indeed, it wasn’t overpowering. The pear and celeriac brought it back down to earth, cutting through the decadence, while the chestnut crumb lent a change in texture and a nutty-smoky companion taste.

Course 2:

Organic Ballinwillin Esate Wild Boar, Blue Haven Scotch Hens Egg, Pancetta Shards, Watercress and Whole Grain Mustard Dressing

Pan Seared Atlantic Scallops and Rosscarbery Black Pudding, Cauliflower Puree, Apple Textures and Pea Shoots

Joel’s blue cheese is wild boar, so he dominated that dish, save the scotch egg, which I happily hogged and devoured. I did get a few forkfuls of the boar and can report that the whole plate was rich, especially the egg, but expertly layered with flavors and textures. As with the soup, this was a true symphony: the wild boar had a hint of gaminess, the pancetta was salty and smoky, the watercress fresh and crisp, and the mustard tied it all together, enhancing each flavor through contrast.

The scallops were served atop a disc of the black pudding, and let me tell you, that was a superb idea. The scallop, sweet in flavor with a silky and firm texture like panacotta, paired with the coarse texture and saltiness of the black pudding, was ecstasy. The garnishes were just that, but did offer some alternate flavor combos. However, I was happy to keep it simple with the black pudding and scallop. The three of us were very content to be left alone.

Course 3:

Pan Roasted Skeaghanore Duck Breast served with Duck Fat Fondant Potato, Roasted Beetroot, Wilted Spinach, Parsnip Puree and Orange Scented Duck Jus

Six-Hour Braised Hereford Beef Rib served with Toasted Oatmeal and Smoked West Cork Garlic Mash, Red Wine Mushroom and Pancetta Jus, and Roasted Organic Roots

Let me take my cheeky hat off for a moment and say this was the best duck I’ve ever had. Hands down. And I ate a lot of duck in Paris. It was succulent, tender—I literally cut it like butter. The vegetables were all drenched in the essence of the jus and the whole dish was magnificently hearty, but still elegant. I’ll be thinking about it for a long time.

Beef ribs are another Joel favorite. I’m reasonably certain we were served a whole one, but it’s almost like it was never there at all… Kidding, I had plenty and it was fork tender and mouth-watering. The juices from the meat and the mushroom pancetta jus ran into the garlic mash and the result was beautiful—pillowy mashed potatoes loaded with the woody and rich flavor of the mushrooms cooked in wine and the savory, slightly salty flavor of the rib and pancetta… perfection.

Course 4:

Cinnamon Panacotta, Apple Textures, Rose Hip and Raisin Syrup and Smoked Oat and Brown Bread Ice Cream

Preserved Wild Summer Cherry Black Forest Chocolate Plate

This is where it gets X-rated, y’all. Not really. I look at the words above and only one small grouping has a place in my memory—smoked oat and brown bread ice cream. You guys, you have no idea. The panacotta was lovely, as was the chocolate cake, but this ice cream was every happy memory by a campfire or fireplace, burn barrel, etc. mixed in with cream and sugar and put in front of me. Take the best part of a roasted marshmallow—the browned edges—and turn it into ice cream. That’s what this tasted like. We DEVOURED it and then asked for more—and they brought it. It was magical.

Course 5:

Twice-Smoked Gubbeen Cheese with Salt and Pepper Celery Ribbons, Autumn Chutney and Charcoal Biscuits

I hope it doesn’t come as a surprise when I say we took this last course to go. I truly believe ingesting anything more that night would have resulted in the removal of non-essential organs for one or both of us. There simply wasn’t any more room. I did enjoy the cheese the next day and it was everything a smoked cheese should be. Joel, back on the dairy-free wagon, enjoyed the salt and pepper celery ribbons.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the Festival goes through the whole weekend. We weren’t able to participate in the other events, but they include a costumed walk through town to sample menus and drinks from the 11 restaurants on Saturday, and a seafood lunch on Sunday.

Sorry not to have recipes to share, but hope this provides a little glimpse of the very grown up food culture of Kinsale.

  

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An Irish Culinary Adventure!

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An Irish Culinary Adventure!

Loyal readers.... Just a quick note to whet your appetite. Joel and I are headed to Ireland to attend the 39th Annual Kinsale Gourmet Festival.

Kinsale, located in Cork County in the southwest of the country is known as the Foodie mecca of Ireland and we're excited about exploring it and reporting back to you on what we find. 

Later in our trip, we'll be taking a cooking class at the Dublin Cookery School , specifically from Barry Liscombe, chef at Harte's of Kildare. 

Suffice it to say, we're excited about our little adventure and looking forward to sharing stories with you when we return. Feel free to follow me on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Irish Culinary Adventure news. 

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Egg Substitute

Great news! I discovered an egg substitute! I found it on Milk Allergy Mom and I am soooooooo grateful. 

Maybe you don't find this as exciting as I do, but let me tell you--you don't know what you got 'tlll it's gone. My husband's egg intolerance is no small matter. He simply cannot have them in any form without becoming violently, frighteningly ill. This is a problem for baking of course, but we don't do much of that. Where we feel the pinch is when we need a binder for things such as meatloaf and burgers, and when we are breading something. Nothing quite gets a breading (especially gluten-free breading) to stick to chicken, fish, etc., like egg whites. 

Well, without further pomp, here is the egg substitute we discovered:


Ingredients:

To replace one egg:

1 TBSP ground flax seed

3 TBSP warm water


Instructions:

Whisk the flax seed and water together and let sit for about 5 minutes. It will thicken to the consistency of an egg. And...

that's it. For real. It's amazing. Live long and prosper. 

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Parsley-Garlic Potatoes

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Parsley-Garlic Potatoes

parsley-garlic potatoes

These parsley garlic potatoes are loosely based on one of the first recipes I ever executed as a young lass in my family’s Boise, Idaho, kitchen. They’re also the product of some resourceful innovating. They take some time, but are a nice alternative to roasting, mashing, baking and frying, and they reheat well.


Parsley Garlic Potatoes:

 2 TBSP oil

½ small yellow onion, finely chopped

2 lbs (about 8-10 small to medium) Yukon or gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices

yukon gold potatoes

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

3 TBSP fresh parsley, finely chopped 


Instructions:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until slightly brown. Add potatoes. Cook for 1-2 minutes, letting them brown just a bit. Add salt, pepper and garlic and stir lightly just to mix*.

Cook a minute longer then add chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and cover.

Cook for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and liquid is reduced by half. Add parsley, give it a stir* and cook about 2 minutes longer. The potatoes should have a thick, parsley and onion coating.

Steamy photo, I know. Apologies--my good camera went to malfunction junction at a very inopportune time. 

Steamy photo, I know. Apologies--my good camera went to malfunction junction at a very inopportune time. 

*It’s important to keep the stirring minimal in order to avoid mushy potatoes. 

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Crispy Chicken

Sometimes your very teeth crave the crisp and crunch of something, well... crispy and crunchy. Since learning of Joel's dietary restrictions, that crisp and crunch isn't something we get a lot of, as gluten, eggs and dairy are often tantamount to accomplishing the desired texture. However, my chemist father-in-law has accepted the challenge and routinely shares his findings. This is one of them: Dairy-free, gluten-free and egg-free crispy chicken. 


Dairy-free, Gluten-free and Egg-free Crispy Chicken:

1-2 TBSP olive oil

2 lbs. boneless chicken things, pounded out to 1/2 inch thickness or less

3 TBSP GF sweet and sour sauce

1 TBSP GF soy sauce

Instructions:

Heat oil in skillet until it shimmers. Add chicken and cook, turning, until crisp and brown on both sides.

Remove from skillet and dice up to a size suitable for salad topping. Return to pan on med-low and add sweet and sour and soy sauce. Cook until sauce is a syrup consistency.

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Seared Tuna with a Cocoa Crust

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Seared Tuna with a Cocoa Crust

Cocoa-crusted-tuna

I recently joined our local library, which means there are no fewer than a dozen books laying around, most of them related to food and cooking in some form or fashion. One such book I stumbled on quite by accident “The Spice Necklace: My Adventures in Caribbean Cooking, Eating and Island Life” by Ann Vanderhoof. The book chronicles Ann and her husband’s food-focused jaunt through the Caribbean. Her subtle humor covers up the fact that you are learning a lot, and that she must have studied a lot. It’s a true education in Caribbean cooking and food culture and history told through colorful stories. It also contains 80 or so recipes. There are many I still intend to try, but the Seared Tuna with a Cocoa Crust jumped to the top of my priority list before I even read the ingredients.

Joel was suspicious at first, and of course, the idea of chocolate and fish is a little out there. But remember, you’ll be using pure cocoa powder, not a Hershey’s bar. It’s a smoky flavor more so than sweet.

I highly recommend the book and the recipe, which can be found on page 259 of the book.


Seared Tuna with a Cocoa Crust:

4 tsp pure cocoa powder

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp mace (we used freshly ground nutmeg)

1 tsp brown sugar

1 to 1.5 lbs sushi grade tuna, each steak should 1 to 1.5 inches thick

About 4 tsp of oil


Instructions: 

Combine the cocoa, sugar and spices.

Rub each tuna steak on both sides with oil and then rub the cocoa-spice mixture onto both sides, evenly coating. 

Heat a skillet or griddle until it is very hot. Sear the tuna on the first side for about 2 minutes and then the other for about 1 for a good medium-rare. 

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Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Hashbrown Casserole

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Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Hashbrown Casserole

dairy-free-hashbrown-casserole

You are now entering a judgment-free zone. For all of my culinary discrimination, if you put me on a road trip, I’m pretty okay with Cracker Barrel, and if you put me in a Cracker Barrel, I’m going to order the hashbrown casserole. This is a fact.

At home, though, rules rule, and I must deny myself the magical concoction that results when finely chopped potatoes are mixed with various and sundry forms of dairy and gluten. Until last night.

Under one of my resourceful innovation spells, I refused to go the store to purchase the makings of a side to accompany our main. But, I did have some frozen hashbrowns. Rather than simply crisp them in a skillet, I decided to get crafty and the result was a solid, dairy-free and egg-free hashbrown casserole.


Dairy-free, Egg-free Hashbrown Casserole:

1   12 oz package of frozen hashbrowns, shredded or cubed

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

3 cloves garlic crushed

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

2 TBSP dried parsley

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup chicken stock, warmed

For optional topping:

8-12 savory gluten-free crackers of choice, crushed

Olive oil


Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine all ingredients except the chicken stock in a bowl. Mix well and transfer to a small casserole. Pour chicken stock into casserole and let it absorb.

 

Sprinkle crushed crackers on top, if using, then drizzle liberally with olive oil.

Bake covered (with lid or foil) for 40 minutes. Remove foil or lid and bake another 5 minutes to toast the crackers. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

It’s not ooey and gooey with cheesy goodness, but it’s still pretty great. 

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