Saturday, March 17, 2007

St. Patrick's Day!

Today for St. Patrick's Day I decided to have a lovely vegetarian dinner to celebrate. Growing up I always enjoyed my mom's corned beef & cabbage, but I don't eat meat now so I've had to adapt. This was our menu.

First I found a recipe for Potato and Cabbage Bundles from the March 2004 issue of Gourmet. It was definitely tasty but was quite time consuming. I didn't have a muffin tin with big cups, so I made mini-bundles. This worked out well. I would make these again for a special occasion but won't make them on a regular day since it takes so long. We really enjoyed them though.

Of course we had to have some Irish soda bread, so I made the same recipe I made last year for Brown Butter Soda Bread. It still remains my favorite recipe for soda bread. I will probably make this every year.

To round out the meal we had some Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash from an issue of Cooking Light. The recipe was very easy and simple, and we enjoyed it. I'd use real maple syrup next time though, instead of my Mrs. Butterworths.

And finally, for dessert, we had some Irish Cream Brownies from the October 2006 issue of Cooking Light. These were delicious!! You can taste the Bailey's Irish Cream in it, but it's not overpowering. The recipe is so easy to make, and they are not too cakey like most CL brownie variations tend to be. I did use 2 regular eggs instead of the egg substitute, which may be why it turned out less cakey. I will definitely make these again.


Potato & Cabbage Bundles

1 medium onion, halved lengthwise, then sliced crosswise (1 cup)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large head leafy green cabbage (3 lb)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2/3 cup water
2 lb large boiling potatoes
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
3 oz extra-sharp white Cheddar, coarsely grated (1 cup)
2 tablespoons drained bottled horseradish
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/4 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs from a country-style loaf

Special equipment: a nonstick muffin tin with 6 (1-cup) muffin cups; 12 (10- by 2-inch) strips of parchment paper

Cook onion in oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden, 6 to 8 minutes.

Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Discard any discolored or damaged tough outer leaves from cabbage, then core cabbage and carefully lower into boiling water using a slotted spoon.

Boil cabbage, pulling off 6 large leaves (to be used as decorative wrappers and eaten if desired) with tongs as they soften and leaving them with remaining cabbage, 5 minutes. Transfer large leaves to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Transfer remaining cabbage to a colander to drain. Transfer large leaves to paper towels to drain, then pat dry.

Lightly butter muffin cups, then put 2 parchment strips in a crisscross pattern in each cup. (You will have a 2-inch overhang.) Line each cup with a large cabbage leaf. Coarsely chop enough remaining cabbage to measure 3 cups, then add to onion along with garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and water and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender and browned, about 10 minutes.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes, then cover with cold salted water by 1 inch in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain in a colander, then set potatoes in colander over saucepan to steam-dry, uncovered, 5 minutes. Mash potatoes in a large bowl, then stir in buttermilk, cheese, horseradish, 1/2 stick butter, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper until combined well.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook bread crumbs, stirring frequently, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes.

Fill each cabbage leaf with about 1/2 cup potato mixture, then divide cabbage mixture among leaves. Top with remaining potato mixture, then sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. Fold edges of cabbage in toward filling (do not completely cover).

Bake until heated through and edges of cabbage are well browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

Transfer stuffed leaves to plates using parchment overhangs.

Cooks' note:
Stuffed cabbage leaves can be assembled, but not baked, 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Maple-Roasted Acorn Squash
6 acorn squash (about 1 pound each)
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425°.

Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Discard seeds and membranes. Cut each half crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices; peel. Combine syrup, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, stirring well. Add squash; toss to coat.

Place squash in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until tender, stirring every 10 minutes.

Yield: 9 servings

Irish Cream Brownies
For truly fudgy treats, be sure to cook the brownies until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. If you wait until the pick is clean, the brownies will be overcooked. Garnish the plate with a sprig of mint.

1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Place the chocolate chips and the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 1/2 minutes or until the chocolate chips and butter melt, stirring every 30 seconds. Cool slightly. Add sugar and next 3 ingredients (through vanilla extract), stirring well with a whisk. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until sugar dissolves, stirring every 30 seconds. Fold in the flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spread batter in a thin layer into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 16 brownies

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