Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Quiet, Creative Weekend - Just What I Needed + Charred Cabbage with Guinness, Irish Soda Bread & Boozy Irish Triffle Recipes

This weekend we did not have anything big going on, and that was just fine with me. After so many weekends with so many things going on, I just needed some quiet, uncommitted time. I think each of us did, really. There were things going on that I simply did not notice until it was too late. There was the Saint Patrick's day parade downtown. It looks like it was fun, if you want to be in a crowd. I was fine with missing that. It was also Dead Guy Days up in Ned., which is always fun. Ellie and Kohlton went up to his dad's house on Sunday and discovered it. They might have gone over to take part in the festivities, or not.

Ellie created a cake with a spring theme. With each cake she learns something new. This design is very different from the others. I think she really like painting on the cake. I think this one is lovely. The cake was made for a birthday celebration for Kohlton's aunt.

Ethan has spent the better part of last week designing and building a custom shelving system to hold a lot of his stuff. He has a lot of backpacks, bags, boxes, etc. that had been scattered here and there. It is nearly done and I think it will feel good to have a place where those things belong. He designed it in Sketch-Up, did most of the work in Grandpa's shop and then built it up at home. It would have been fun for him to do this with grandpa. It is likely that we will not be able to keep his house, so this might be a sort of last hurrah in the shop that is so beloved. We are considering building a small addition onto our garage to house the tools and machines, but that is pretty costly, so I am not sure we will do that. We may also put a lot of that stuff in a friend's shop, where we can gain access to it.
Larr spent the weekend sorting through his mother's art. She did botanical drawings. Larr gathered, sorted the originals from the copies and has begun to catalog her art. He thinks that there are over 120 drawings and paintings. We are going to have them scanned or photographed professionally, and then we will make a book of her art.

I did bits and pieces of things. I used a shadowbox to create a display of some of the flowers that were on the special cake Ellie made for my birthday. I am very happy with how that piece came out. I will do the same for the stuff we have from the succulent cake that Ellie made for Ethan. Some of my flowers had broken and the rest were very delicate. I tried using superglue to reconstruct them. That did not work, I just ended up with a lot of superglue on my fingers (and none of them glued together, luckily). Tape was a fail, too. Hot glue, however, worked really well. I built up a layer on the backside which made them stronger and made it possible to fix the broken ones.

I also finished a skirt I started a few weeks ago. It is made of brussels washer, which is a linen spandex blend that is really lovely. I need some new skirts and since my style is not in vogue right now, it is hard to find skirts that I like. I have many skirts in my closet that I got at the thrift store, thinking I might wear them, but not really liking them all that much. I am trying to work up the gumption to donate them back. Winter is almost over and since I have not worn some of them at all, like not even once, I think it is safe to send them on their way to someone else.

I also worked on, maybe even completed, the vision board project for the "One Little Word" class I am taking over at Ali Edward's site. It was the main project for February, but I could not find the time or inspiration to get it done last month. Making collages is not really my kind of thing, but I wanted to try it as an adult. I went through a bunch of magazines over the last month looking for words and phrases. I found that I kept finding the same ones since I only read or get two magazines.
{I made this two page collage.}

I search for inspiration and kept coming back to the same ones.

{This is by Patricia Sherrill, as part of her "The Documented Life Journal, 2015". It is one of the most inspiring pieces of art that I have found in a long while.}
{I am not sure who made this one, but I like it a lot.}
Sunday was a full on beautiful, warm spring day, so that dog and I hung out in the backyard. We both enjoyed the sun. I worked on figuring out my arrangement. I am pretty happy with what I came up with. It is not really my style, but I like it enough.

We are a week from spring break. Ellie and Kohlton are going on a road trip to some place warmer. I think Ethan is hoping to do some camping, weather permitting. Larr is not sure that he has time since there is still so much to do with the estate. I would like to go to someplace, even if it is just for a few days. I am not sure if that will work or not. I am going to see what I can come up with this week.

Here's what we are having for our Saint Patrick's Day dinner: Corned Beef (prepared in the slow cooker), Charred Cabbage with Guinness, classic Irish Soda Bread

Charred Cabbage with Guinness
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

1 tablespoon butter
½ red onion, very thinly sliced (about ¾ cup)
1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
1½ teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
One 1½-pound savoy cabbage, cored and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted, lightly crushed (we did not have this and so it was omitted.)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (we did not have this, so we used 1 tea. paprika in its place.)
⅓ cup Guinness stout beer
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, add the butter. When the butter begins to foam, add the red onion and season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until the onions soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine vinegar, add the sugar and continue cooking until the vinegar is almost completely evaporated, another 2 minutes.

2. In a separate pan over high heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the cabbage and let it sit for 30 to 40 seconds until the leaves begin to slightly char. Stir and continue to cook until the cabbage begins to wilt and is just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the caraway, crushed red pepper flakes and stout, and cook until the beer is almost completely evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the red onions and lemon juice to the cabbage and toss. Serve with corned beef.


Classic Irish Soda Bread
Via: Eat Cake for Dinner

adapted from: Cook's Illustrated

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. cake flour
2 Tbl. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. unsalted butter, cold
plus 1 Tbl. melted butter for brushing loaf
1 3/4 c. buttermilk

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Cut 2 Tablespoons of cold butter into chunks and add to the flour mixture. Using your clean hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it is completely incorporated. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk. Use a fork to work the ingredients together. Add up to another 1/4 cup of buttermilk, adding 1 Tablespoon at a time, until a dough forms.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat together to form a 6'' round. Place dough into an 8'' inch (or larger) cast-iron skillet. If you don't have a cast-iron skillet you can use a baking sheet, but the outside won't get as crispy. Use a sharp knife and cut an "x" into the top of the loaf, about 5-inches long and 3/4-inch deep. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with 1 Tablespoon of melted butter. Cool for a few minutes, slice and serve. Best if eaten on the day it is made.


Boozy Irish Triffle
via: Two in the Kitchen

Boozy Triple Irish Trifle

1 box of Devil's Food Cake (I used Pillsbury)
ingredients as per box instructions (except the water)
1 c. Guinness Beer plus more for drizzle
2 8 oz. bars of cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. Bailey's Irish Cream
1 c. powdered sugar
2 c. cool whip
1 bag (27-29 pieces) of baking caramels (I used Werthers but Kraft would work fine as well)
6 TBSP Jameson Irish Whiskey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x13 pan with foil and spray it with cooking spray.
Prepare cake according to package directions except substitute the water called for in the instructions with 1 cup of Guinness Beer. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool.
Prepare the cream filling by placing the cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl and mixing until soft and creamy. Add the Bailey's and the powdered sugar and mix until blended. Carefully fold in the cool whip by hand. Set aside.
Make the caramel drizzle by placing the caramels unwrapped in a medium pan with 3 TBLSP of Jameson's Irish Whiskey. Over low heat, whisk together until smooth. Add 2-3 more TBLSP of whiskey and whisk together until desired consistency and taste is achieved. Set aside.
Cut up the cooled cake into pieces, place in a medium bowl and pour 1/4-1/2 cup of Guinness beer over the pieces and allow it to soak in for a few minutes.
Assemble the trifle by using a medium trifle dish and covering the bottom with cake pieces. Next, add a layer of the cream filling and then drizzle with caramel sauce making particular attention to the sides of the dish so the layers all show. Continue the layers again and finish off with a cake layer on top and covering it with the remaining cool whip from the container. Save one piece of chocolate cake to crumble on the very top and finish it off with a caramel drizzle.
Alternatively, you could layer individual clear plastic cups for a different type of presentation.

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