A Celebration of Ireland by the Perennial Plate

I’ve never really understood the fuss about St Patrick’s day. In New York City the St Patrick’s day parade is the largest parade of the year, the Gay pride parade is the second largest.  Since I can remember the organizers of the St Patrick’s day parade (the Ancient Order of Hibernians) has excluded LGBTQ people. This still to this day is causing them some trouble.  Besides not being a huge parade fan I find the idea of green beer kind of disgusting 😉 My point being that I think there should be some far better way of acknowledging and celebrating the contribution of the Irish to our City/Country than a big exclusionary blow out once a year.

Reading Colm Tóibín’s beautifully written tale of what one particular young Irish woman endured to emigrate to New York City in his book: Brooklyn makes the reader painfully aware of just how hard the journey was to get here from Ireland.  How hard it is to emigrate to another country that may, or may not, really want you. Or remember years later what you have endured to get here and how much you have contributed.

These latest videos from the Perennial Plate (who are spending some time in Ireland working for the tourism board) help remind us of the rich culture and beauty these immigrants left and what they brought to share with us in this new country they now call home.  And after watching these videos may reconsider their original choice and may decide to move back 😉

The first video is a love letter to the history, landscapes and food of Ireland.  The second one is a charming, sober interview with the last fisherman fishing in Howth, Dublin.

Watch them both you’ll be glad you did.

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Happy Pi Day: Chicken Pot Pie

Yesterday the city was on lock down due to the “big” snow storm.  The storm wasn’t any where near as monumental as the hype suggested it might be, but it did give me a great excuse to stay home and cook. Continue reading

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Burtown and the Barn

The latest installment from The Perennial Plate.  Makes me want to visit Ireland, it certainly doesn’t make me want to open a restaurant!    Looks amazing and so beautiful.

My new commitment for 2017 is to refocus on this here blog thingy and start giving you more content (which is to say mostly recipes!). Stayed tuned and thanks for hanging in there.


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Portrait of a Chef as a Young Woman

Love this new video from The Perennial Plate.  They are playing with style and content and this one is a real winner!  About a young chef in Dublin who does her own thing 😉


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Happy Holidays


Here is the menu for tonight, I tried to have some traditional items and flavors like ginger, mincemeat and Rum, but instead of a Turkey I went vaguely Greek with Lamb and Greek salad.

Since I took the picture of this menu I have made two changes.  The Gougére are gone, sometimes I get so excited when making a menu I just want to make everything!  By noon today I realized there was going to be more than too much food and the last thing we needed way another cheese filled item to complete the already over full list of appetizers!  The Savory Pecan cookies I’ve made these several times, always tinkering with the recipe and I think this version is the winner.img_2344I promise to most the recipe sometime soon! For the main course I tried to keep it simple,  the only involved dish are the sweet potatoes and they were all prepped 2 days ago. Where I really went overboard on desserts because if I were to say I had a christmas tradition it would be baking!  I was very pleased with the way the Ginger Stout Bundt turned out and look forward to having it with Rum Ice Cream and Pear compote.  Good thing my yoga studio is open tomorrow.  img_2338Cherry chocolate is one of my favor combinations so when I saw a recipe for these sour cherry chocolate hazelnut bars I had to try them!  They are fine, but I have to learn my lesson and never make anything new for special occasions.  I think these would have been better thicker with chocolate chunks and hazelnuts inside not on top. Still there are pretty tasty.img_2342Ok I have to get back into the kitchen! What ever holiday you celebrate or if you don’t celebrate any at all I wish you all a great day. Thanks so much for stopping by! Here is to   a happy healthy and prosperous New Year.

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Harvesting Liberty

Get a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and sit down and spend the 12 minutes it takes to watch this beautiful short film.  Directed by Dan Malloy and featuring the charmingly bearded Mike Lewis who founded the non-profit Growing Warriors.

He returned to Kentucky after his tour of duty, faced with few prospects to make a living for himself and with the realization of how so many other veterans had been forgotten once they arrived back home came up with the genius idea to start growing industrial Hemp.  But first he had to jump through the hurdles of US government bureaucracy. This is his story.

After the film you might want to go here and sign the petition:


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Spice Up Your Comfort Food

img_2212My blogging has really fallen off a cliff as of late, the real world has become so distracting I find it harder and harder to focus on writing, even though I think any distraction at this point would be an improvement over fretting about the new political reality in America.

Even Thanksgiving this year has been hard to motivate for.  I kept saying to Neil that we should just go out for Chinese or Indian food, but in the end decided to cook and have some friends and relatives over.  Bonding with loved ones seems more important than ever these days.

So what to make?

As much as I like all the traditional foods that we associate with this harvest festival I find more and more I prefer to spice things up.  In the past few years what that means is to make what I like to call: Thai Turkey.  I make a big wok full of vegetarian Pad Thai,this recipe calls for broccoli, lately I’ve swapped it for Chinese broccoli or even sometimes Bok Choy which I serve as a side dish.  I like it when the Pad Thai acts as a canvas and people can add things to it as they like.

I don’t buy a Turkey, but rather 2 or 3  turkey legs and 1 breast. This way you don’t have to over cook the breast because the legs need more time and it can all be done well in advance.

I do this early in the day and when the meat has cooled sufficiently de-bone it and serve it on a platter with the Chili Dipping Sauce: Nam Jeam Jeaw.  Funky, Spicy with just the right kick of heat.  Traditionally served with roast chicken, sticky rice and green papaya salad.

Instead of the papaya salad I make brussels sprouts in a vinaigrette redolent of fish sauce.

Regardless of what you are making for Thanksgiving you will want to have this dipping sauce in your fridge. It keeps for ever and can be refreshed after a couple of weeks with some more mint and scallions. Oh and did I say it goes great with Turkey?

Nam Jeam Jeaw

In a small cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat toast 2 teaspoons of raw Jasmine rice (or any other long grain rice you have on hand).   Roast until the grains turn a deep golden brown.  Transfer to a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder) to cool, then process until a fine powder and pour into a medium bowl

In the same skillet toast 15 dried red Thai chilies until they are slightly colored and fragrant no more than a minute. Coarsely crush the chilies with the mortar and pestle (or spice grinder) add the ground chilies to the rice powder. Stir into the dry ingredients: 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce, the Juice of 2 limes, 2 Tablespoons of finely chopped mint leaves, 1 scallion finely chopped mix to incorporate.

Trust me once you make this it will become your favorite condiment.  It keeps in the refrigerator for ever, as it ages the heat mellows.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers and to every one else have a great week, and remember you don’t need a special occasion to make dinner and share it with friends and loved ones.

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