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Cream Cheese Pound Cake

March 19, 2012

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

This cake is moist, tender, golden brown and very velvety. It has all the richness and pure buttery flavor of classic pound cake, but with a delicate tang.


3 Cups Cake Flour

1 Teaspoon Salt

4 Large Room Temperature Eggs

2 Room Temperature Egg Yolks

¼ Cup Milk

3 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

3 Cups Sugar

24 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (3 Sticks)

6 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese

Before you turn on the oven adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat your oven to 300° F. Grease and flour 12 cup nonstick Bundt pan. In a medium size bowl, combine the flour and salt. In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup whisk the eggs, 2 yolks, milk and vanilla. In a separate large size bowl, beat together (by hand or with an electric mixer) the sugar, butter and cream cheese for 3 minutes until fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and very slowly add the egg mixture until incorporated. The batter may look slightly curdled. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Give the batter a final stir by hand. Scrap the batter into a prepared pan and gently tap the pan on the counter to release air bubbles. Bake for 80 to 90 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely, for about 2 hours. Serve plain or topped with frosting or fruit. Serves 12

Saint Patrick’s Day Corned Beef & Cabbage

March 17, 2012

Saint Patrick’s Day Corned Beef & Cabbage

In the U.S. and Canada, consumption of corned beef is usually associated with Saint Patrick’s Day. Corned beef is not considered an Irish national dish and the connection with Saint Patrick’s Day specifically originates as part of Irish-American culture. In Ireland, the closest traditional dish is bacon and cabbage. The bacon is more like Canadian style bacon or ham. Corned beef and cabbage became popular in the U.S. after Irish immigrants in the northeast used corned beef instead of pork in the dish. This substitution was most likely due to the low cost of corned beef in the U.S. Corned beef was used as a substitute for bacon in the late 19th century. A similar dish is the New England boiled dinner which consisted of corned beef, cabbage and root vegetables such as carrots, turnip and potatoes which is popular in New England and parts of Atlantic Canada. Whoever you are and wherever you came from it is fun to make Corned Beef & Cabbage on Saint Patrick’s Day!


1 ¾ Pounds Onions – Divided

2 ½ Pounds Carrots – Divided

6 Pounds Corned Beef Brisket

1 Cup Malt Vinegar

8 Ounces Stout Beer

1 Tablespoon Mustard Seed

1 Tablespoon Coriander Seed

½ Tablespoon Black Peppercorns

½ Tablespoon Dill Seed

½ Tablespoon Whole Allspice

2 Bay Leaves

3 Pounds Cabbage

2 ½ Pounds Small Red Potatoes

½ Cup Coarse Grain Mustard

½ Cup Dijon Mustard

Divide onions and carrots and chop enough to fill 1 cup of each, reserving the rest. In a heavy duty 4 gallon pot, place the corned beef, chopped onions, carrots, malt vinegar, stout beer, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, dill seeds, whole allspice and bay leaves. Add enough water to cover the corned beef and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 3 hours or until meat if fork tender. While the corned beef is cooking, cut the reserved onions into eight wedges and the carrots into 2 inch chunks. Slice each head of cabbage into 8 wedges. Add onions, carrots and red potatoes to the cooked corned beef, with the cabbage on top. Cover and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes and cabbage are fork tender.

To serve, cut corned beef against the grain into thin slices and accompany with the cooked vegetables. Dijon mustard and coarse grained mustard complement the corned beef as optional condiments. Serves 12

Irish Soda Bread

March 16, 2012

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread is super easy to make in no time at all. You don’t have to wait for dough to rise which makes this recipe a nice little quick bread.


3 ¾ Cups Unbleached Flour

½ Cup Sugar

4 Teaspoons Baking Powder

½ Teaspoon Baking Soda

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

¼ Pound Cold Unsalted Butter Cut Into Small Cubes

1 2/3 Cups Raisins

2 Teaspoons Caraway Seeds

3 Large Room Temperature Eggs

1 Cup Buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 400° F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. In a large size bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture is the texture of fine meal. Stir in the raisins and caraway seeds. In a medium size bowl whisk two of the eggs to combine. Whisk in the buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Put the dough on a floured work surface and pat into a loaf. Now pat into the prepared pan. Beat the last egg to a mix and brush the top of the loaf with it. Using a sharp knife cut a ¼ inch deep lengthwise slash down the middle of the loaf leaving 1 inch margin at either end. Bake the soda bread in the middle of the oven for 1 hour until well browned. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Turn the loaf out onto a rack and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes one 9 inch soda bread.

Irish Stew

March 14, 2012

Irish Stew

I have been making Irish Stew for years. The worst stew that I have ever had was when I went to Stonehenge a few years ago. There was this food cart outside of Stonehenge and I was super hungry. It was cold outside and I needed something to warm my tummy. I plunked down my money and got a paper bowl full of I don’t know what. I honestly didn’t know that someone could make stew that bad. At any rate, here is my recipe for Irish Stew that I am sure that you will love.


2 Tablespoons Butter

1 Pound Cubed Lamb

1 ½ Teaspoons Kosher Salt

½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

2 Cups Peeled & Cubed Potatoes

1 Chopped Onion

1 Cup Diced Carrot

1 Diced Leek

4 Chopped Garlic Cloves

1 Cup Beer

1 Cup Tomato Juice

15 Ounces Beef Broth

1 Bay Leaf

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tablespoon Thyme

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the lamb and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook and stir for 7 minutes. Remove the meat to a plate and set aside. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the same pan. Add the potatoes, onion, leeks, carrots and garlic. Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Return the lamb to the pan and add the remaining salt, pepper and the other remaining ingredients. Continue to cook for 10 minutes until the stew comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Put the lid on and cook for 2 hours. Ladle into bowls and serve hot. Serves 6

Shamrock Cut Out Cookies

March 13, 2012

Shamrock Cut Out Cookies

On St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish! These cookies are so cute they just might bring you a wee bit o’ luck!


1 Cup Softened Butter

3 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese

¾ Cup Sugar

1 Large Egg

1 ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

3 Cups Unbleached Flour


2 ½ Cups Powdered Sugar

2 Tablespoons Water

1 Tablespoon Softened Butter

1 Tablespoon Light Corn Syrup

½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Drops Green Food Coloring

In a large size bowl combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla. Beat at a medium speed for 2 minutes until creamy. Scrape the bowl often. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour. Beat for 1 minute. Divide the dough in half and wrap each in plastic wrap and flatten slightly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours because you want the dough to be firm. Preheat your oven to 375° F. Remove the dough from the fridge. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface one half at a time. Keep the remaining dough in the fridge. Roll out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut with a 2 ½ inch shamrock cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool completely on wire racks. When cool frost. Makes 3 ½ dozen cookies.

Frosting: In a small size bowl combine the powdered sugar, water, 1 tablespoon butter, corn syrup and vanilla. Beat at a medium speed until the powdered sugar is moistened. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth. Add additional water if you need to. Tint with the food coloring and beat for 30 seconds. Frost the cooled cookies.

My Mother’s Goulash

March 12, 2012

My Mother’s Goulash

A couple of weeks ago I had this primal craving for my mother’s goulash. I hadn’t had it for over 30 years, but was able to recreate it in no time. It really hit the spot! This goulash is more like what people think of as American Chop Suey that we all had in the grade school cafeteria. My mother made her goulash with elbow macaroni but I prefer mine with penne noodles.


3 Cups Elbow Macaroni or Penne Pasta

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

2 Pounds Ground Sirloin

1 Large Chopped Onion

1 Seeded & Chopped Green Bell Pepper (Optional)

2 Chopped Celery Stalks

2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

5 Minced Garlic Cloves

1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

29 Ounces Tomato Sauce

14 ½ Ounces Diced Tomatoes

1 Cup Water

1 Ounce Grated Parmesan Cheese

The trick to avoiding mushy macaroni is to undercook the pasta and then shock it in cold water. Then finish cooking in the sauce. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt. Cook for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water. Yes, I do know that this is considered blasphemy by Italian cooks, but it works here. Drain again and then set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the now empty Dutch oven over a medium high heat just until smoking. Add the beef, 1 Teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper and cook. Break up the pieces with your spoon until all of the liquid has evaporated and cook for 12 minutes. The meat should begin to sizzle. Transfer the meat to a bowl and set aside. Heat the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil in the once again empty Dutch oven over a medium high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. The vegetables should be soft. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, water and cooked ground beef. Bring to a simmer and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the pasta. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan. Transfer to a serving dish. Serves 6

Pasta E Ceci Soup

March 11, 2012

Pasta E Ceci Soup

You have to love this soup! If you want a vegetarian version of this soup then use water instead of chicken stock. Serve with warm garlic bread and a salad.


3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Diced Carrots

1 Large Diced Onion

3 Cloves Minces Garlic

1/3 Cup Diced Tomato

1 ½ Cups Soaked Overnight Garbanzo Beans

6 Cups Chicken Stock or Water

3 Tablespoons Thyme

½ Cup Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Rosemary

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ Pound Cooked & Drained Tubetti Pasta

½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

Grated Pamigiano Cheese for Serving

Soak the dried garbanzo beans overnight. Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven over a medium heat. Heat the olive oil for 1 minute. Add the carrots and onions. Cook for 7 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the garlic and tomato and cook for 1 minute. Keep stirring. Add the garbanzo beans, chicken stock, thyme and rosemary. Turn up the heat to a medium high and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a medium low and simmer, uncovered for 1 hour. You want the garbanzo beans to be soft, but not mushy. Strain the garbanzo bean mixture through a colander. Reserve the liquid. Place 2 cups of the garbanzo bean mixture in a shallow bowl that is wide. Mash until almost smooth. Transfer to a large skillet. Add the remaining garbanzo bean mixture and 1 cup of the cooked liquid. Bring to a simmer over a medium high heat. Add the pasta dn1/2 cup of the olive oil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Cook for 1 more minute. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with grated Parmigiano cheese. Serves 4

Dry Rub Salmon

March 9, 2012

Dry Rub Salmon

You certainly can’t go wrong with a nice piece of salmon. Add olive oil and dry rub and you have a delicious piece of fish. This dish goes well with my Cotswold Potatoes.


1 Pound Fresh Salmon

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

3 Tablespoons Victoria’s Dry Rub

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Rinse the salmon in cold water and place on a plate. Pat dry with paper towels. Cover a broiling pan with foil and transfer the salmon onto the foil. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle Victoria’s Dry Rub all over the salmon. Place into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Serves 2

Oatmeal With Almonds & Fruit

March 8, 2012

Oatmeal With Almonds & Fruit

The best oatmeal that I have ever had was when I took a trip to the Lake District in England about twenty years ago. The woman who ran the small inn would get up very in the morning and slow cook the oatmeal. It was unbelievably delicious. We can make our own delicious slow-cooked oatmeal with this easy recipe. Slow-cooked oatmeal also reheats beautifully on busy mornings. Make a large batch on the weekend and reheat individual portions in the microwave.


2 Cups Toasted & Chopped Almonds

½ Cup Raisins

½ Cup Golden Raisins

½ Cup Dried Cranberries

1 Cup Diced Dried Apricots

12 Cups Water

3 Cups Scottish Oatmeal

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

4 Tablespoons Maple Flakes

1 Cup Maple Syrup

Fresh Fruit For Garnishing (Optional)

In a small bowl stir together the almonds, raisins, golden raisins, cranberries and apricots. Set aside. In a large pot or Dutch oven, over a high heat, bring the water to a boil. Slowly whisk in the oats. Cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the cinnamon and salt. Cover and simmer for 60 minutes. Add the maple flakes during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Turn off the heat and stir in three-fourths of the almond-fruit mixture. Spoon the oatmeal into warmed bowls. Top with the remaining almond-fruit mixture, fresh fruit of your choice and warm maple syrup. Serve immediately. Serves 8

Homemade Pancake Mix

March 7, 2012

Homemade Pancake Mix

Why pay for pancake mix when you can make your own. Keep this Homemade Pancake Mix on hand for great weekend breakfast meals.


4 Cups Unbleached Flour

2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour

2/3 Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Baking Powder

1 Tablespoon Baking Soda

In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients. Store in an airtight container. Store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months. Makes 6 batches of pancakes.

To prepare the pancakes: In a small bowl whisk 1 egg and ¾ cup whole milk. Whisk in 1 cup of pancake mix. Pour the batter by ¼ cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle. Flip when the pancakes start to bubble. Cook until the second side is golden brown. Makes 6 pancakes per batch.

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