A Super Easy Summer Tart

Spring and summer is the perfect time for spur of the moment dinner parties and this weekend was a great start to the season.  I was visiting my parents and we pulled a quick Spring dinner together – lamb chops, roasted new potatoes, asparagus, and a big salad.  When I ran to the store, I was looking for something for dessert and saw a fancy fruit tart.  I thought I could do that and created the recipe below. 

It ended up pretty good … we had a slice for dinner, and then at an impromptu brunch the next morning, I served the leftovers to several aunts and an uncle, who thought it was great.

Summer Tart

  • 1 puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/2 cup of Mascarpone cheese
  • 3 tablespoons of raspberry jam (or your choice of flavor)
  • sliced fruit – your choice, I used 3 kiwi, 1/2 pint of blueberries, and a 1/2 pint of strawberries

Lightly roll out the puff pastry and poke with a fork.  Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.  Mix about a tablespoon of the jam into the Mascarpone.  Remove from the oven and spread the cheese on the pastry.  It will melt slightly.  Layer the fruit on the tart in the design of your choice.  Melt the remaining jam in the microwave and spread on the fruit.  Let the tart cool, slice and serve.  It is great with ice cream or whip cream.


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Southwest “Stir Fry”

The recipe was inspired by my friend Cara … several years ago she introduced me to Black Bean Sweet Potato Burritos, one of my favorite vegetarian dishes.  The other day I was in the mood for them, but wanted something a little different and this recipe was born.  Not only is this a healthy, meatless meal, it is also really economical.  I estimate I spent about $8 on this, which can easily serve 4 people.  It is also flexible, I served it three ways as described below.

Southwest Stir Fry

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 each red, green, yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of frozen corn or fresh corn
  • Dash of olive oil
  • Your choice of seasoning, I used  Arizona Dreaming

Saute the onion with a dash of olive oil, as the onion begins to sweat, add the sweet potatoes.  Cook on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes until the potato begins to soften, if it sticks you can add more oil or a splash of liquid (water, wine, chicken broth).  Add the beans, peppers, corn, and seasoning.  Season to taste and saute another 10 minutes or so until the vegetables have softened and the beans are heated thoroughly.

Serving Option One: Main dish

This was a great main dish, I had it with some guacamole and sour cream.  It would also be great with fresh avocado. Another night I had a green salad to go with it.

Serving Option Two: Stuffed Peppers

Wash green pepper well, remove top and seeds from inside.  Stuff with sweet potato mixture and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  Add some Pepper Jack or other cheese of your choice for the last 10 minutes.

Serving Option Three: Side Dish

While filling, this would be a good side dish, especially for something like grilled chicken or salmon.


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A St. Patrick’s Day Feast – Corned Beef, Baked Cabbage, Bread Pudding and More

Given the name of this blog, I knew I needed to do a St. Patrick’s Day post and wanted to do something that was actually enjoyable … a step beyond the traditional boiled corned beef, cabbage and potatoes.  Now, on the off chance my Mom finds this blog and reads it, there is nothing wrong with the traditional way she made it.  But there are opportunities for improvement.

So my menu included the basics with a few twists:

*For readability, I have broken most of the recipes into their own post.  With the exception of the spinach salad which I made solely for something green and the smoked salmon toasts which I forgot to photograph.  Here is the recipe for the toasts:

Smoked Salmon Toasts

  • Irish brown bread or your bread of choice
  • Cream cheese, season with garlic and herbs or goat cheese
  • Smoked salmon
  • Lemon
  • Chives or parsley for garnish, chopped

Pre-heat broiler.  Slice the brown bread in relatively thin slices and cut each slice in half.  Spread with cheese and place in broiler.  Heat until cheese bubbles and remove.  Add the smoked salmon, squeeze briefly with lemon.  Sprinkle with herbs.

I hope you try one or two of the recipes and enjoy it.  Let me know what you think.


Posted in Ceilithe Food, Cook book, Dinner, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

St. Patrick’s Day: Buttermilk Brown Bread

 A classic St. Patrick’s Day menu item in my family was Irish Soda bread. My Mom has a great recipe which I will make and post later this week, but I was interested in trying something different. I came across this recipe a few weeks ago on King Arthur’s web site and it has stuck in mind ever since then. The resulting bread was terrific and came together in a snap … maybe 15 minutes prep.  This is a great bread for non-bread makers.

This will definitely go in my regular rotation, it would be amazing with soup on rainy day, or as accompaniment to mussels and a salad. This would also be a great breakfast bread, in fact, I will be having a slice tomorrow with my fruit and yogurt.  I used it for the smoked salmon appetizer and it will also be great for sandwiches.

Buttermilk Brown Bread (from King Arthur)

  • 4 cups wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk powder*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups water*
  • 1 large egg 1
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil *
  • Or substitute 1 1/2 cups buttermilk in place of the water and buttermilk powder.


  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of melted butter

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish, or an 8″ or 9″ cast-iron skillet or cake pan that’s at least 1 1/2″ deep. I used a 2 quart dish, but would have loved to have made it in a skillet.

Blend the flour, sugar, buttermilk powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix the water (or buttermilk), egg, and melted butter or oil. Note, I did not use warm water but wish I would have, the butter started to solidify with the addition of the water.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquids. Stir together until blended and no dry spots remain; the dough will be soft and sticky. The recipe described it as a stiff batter.  I added some extra water and it was still a sticky dough.   I was convinced it would be awful, but turned out great.

Put the dough in the pan, mounding it in the center. Brush the top with the melted butter. Wait 5 minutes for butter to absorb, then put in the oven.  Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until done.

Note:  the recipe that this links to is a little different, I used the recipe on their blog, but I am sure both are great.


Posted in Breakfast/brunch, Sides and Salads | 1 Comment

St. Patrick’s Day: Cinnamon Bread Pudding

Dessert always seems to be a forgotten item on most St. Patrick’s Day menus.  I thought about what I should make and considered the country … March in Ireland can be cool and damp.  We also tend to be practical and do not waste much, so that led me to bread pudding.

Bread pudding is meant to be a way to use up old bread.  Be creative in your bread choices.  For this recipe I used some sourdough rolls, cinnamon bread, and leftover Brown Sugar Oatmeal muffins.  Consider this recipe to be base, you add different flavors and match it to your menu.

I served this with vanilla ice cream, but it would be great with a classic vanilla sauce.

Bread Pudding, based off of the Joy of Cooking

  • 8 cups of bread (see note)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups of milk
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Butter a 2 quart baking dish.  Tear the bread into small pieces place in the baking dish.  Whisk eggs, milk, sugar and spices.  Pour over the bread.  Using a wooden spoon, smash the bread into the liquid.  Let it set for about 30 minutes.  Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.


Posted in Cook book, dessert, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

St. Patrick’s Day: Baked Cabbage with Apples and Bacon

I have to admit that I do not like cooked cabbage … I tried it many times and am never a fan.  I like cabbage raw, but really not cooked.  So I am always looking for a recipe that involved cooked cabbage that I like.  And, I have to say, this was good.  Of course, the bacon helps, but it has a great tang that really livens up the meal.

This recipe was adapted from two different recipes in Vegetables by James Peterson.

Baked Cabbage with Apples and Bacon

  • 1 head of cabbage, remove outer leaves and core, roughly chop
  • 8 slices of bacon (I used pepper bacon, if you use regular then add pepper)
  • 3 apples, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons each, apple cider vinegar and white wine vinegar

Cook the bacon for about 8 minutes, until begins to crisp and released most of its fat.  Remove most of the fat, leaving a few tablespoons in the pan.  Add the apples, cabbage and vinegar.  Deglaze the pan with vinegar and transfer into a glass container.  Some metals react with the cabbage and turn it a strange color.

Bake in a preheated oven (350) for about an hour.


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St. Patrick’s Day: Roasted Corned Beef and Red Potatoes

Corned beef … the center piece of St. Patrick’s Day menus.  There are a number of ways to prepare it, with most recipes focused on simmering it on the stove for a few hours.  That was how it was always made in our house.  It tasted good, but always looked kind of gross … pink with fat on it.  About 15 years ago I was introduced to a roasted corned beef … after cooking it, you add a glaze and roast it.  Boy, what a difference.

The recipe below takes the roast a step further with the addition of red potatoes.  To me, it makes this dish just a little more flavorful and special.

Roasted Corned Beef with Red Potatoes

  • 1 corned beef
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • 3 pounds of potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of mustard (your choice, I used  three a grainy mustard, a Dijon and honey)

Cook the beef with the seasoning packet according to directions, add the beer to the water.   Remove from heat.  Note: if you want you can do this step in advance.

Scrub the potatoes and slice in half or quarters depending on the size.  Parboil the potatoes until they are partially cooked.  Drain.

Mix a glaze with the brown sugar and mustard.  Spread on the beef and toss with the potatoes.  Place all items in one pan and put in a preheated oven.  Roast at 350 for about 30 minutes until bubbly.


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