St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

Okay, so in honor of the promise of spring and St. Patrick’s Day I made a special dinner for the Irish-at-heart.  Since I’m not eating red meat, I decided to go with the next most Irish protein, salmon.  Perhaps it will make me wise and I’m certain it will be tasty.  The menu is simple and economical: salmon croquettes, (basically canned salmon with onion, red sweet pepper and dill).  If you’re offended by the can, just remember it’s wild caught, canned fresh and it’s cheap, Irish mothers rejoice.  It’s served alongside a big bowl of colcannon, with Irish soda bread, and for dessert I’ve got bread pudding slathered in Bailey’s Irish Cream sauce, so let’s get to it.

Irish Rosemary Soda Bread

Irish Rosemary Soda Bread

Irish Rosemary Soda Bread







  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped rosemary (or other herb of choice)
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Grease an 8-inch pie plate or baking sheet and set aside.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and finely chopped rosemary.


Make a little well in the center and add the buttermilk.   Stir until a dough forms (feel free to use your fingers if you want).  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until the dough is smooth and not sticky.


Place the dough on the greased pie plate and cut a half inch deep X across the top of the dough.


Bake for 50 minutes or until a dark golden brown.  Transfer to a rack to cool.

Irish Rosemary Soda Bread

Irish Rosemary Soda Bread







Do not slice until the bread has cooled.  Wrap in a moist towel until ready to serve.  I usually bake the bread the day before and store in a bread bag until the next day before slicing.

Creamy Colcannon

Creamy Colcannon 005







My version of colcannon has a couple of extra ingredients but I think you’ll like it, unless of course you hate peas in which case just leave them out.






  • 2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 small or half of a large cabbage, cored and chopped
  • 2 small or 1 large leek (white part only) sliced into rings
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup of fat free milk
  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (use black if you don’t have white pepper)

In a large pot of water, boil the potatoes until tender (about 20-25 minutes).

Steam the cabbage for about 10 minutes or until tender.  Drain, cover and set aside.






In a small saucepan, simmer the leeks in milk just until soft (about 5-7 minutes).  Then remove the leeks with a slotted spoon, set aside, and reserve the milk.

021Drain the potatoes and add about half the milk used to simmer the leeks.  Mash the potatoes to desired consistency (I like mine a little lumpy).   Add the cream cheese and pepper and mash until blended.  Use the remaining milk if needed.  Stir in the cabbage, leeks and peas.  Serve immediately, or refrigerate and reheat in the microwave for serving later.

 Salmon Croquettes (Patties)


  • 1 15-oz can wild caught salmon
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon dried or fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper

Salmon Patties




Combine all ingredients and form into patties.  In a skillet, sauté the patties until crisp and browned.

Really Easy Bailey’s Irish Cream Bread Pudding


  • 1 1-lb loaf cinnamon raisin bread
  • 3 cups half and half or whole milk
  • 1 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream (Brady’s also works)
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Bailey's Bread Pudding





Tear bread into small pieces and place in a large bowl.  Add the milk and Bailey’s and let soak for about 10 minutes.  Work the mixture in with your hands until the milk is absorbed.

In another bowl combine eggs, sugar, vanilla, spice and butter.  Add to the bread mixture and pour into buttered baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Let rest on cooling rack until fully set.  The smell was making me irrational and I forgot to take pictures.

To create a quick sauce, combine 1 can of sweetened condensed milk with 1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream.  Warm in the microwave (very carefully).  Pour over the bread pudding and serve.

So there it is.  My culinary homage to St. Patrick’s Day and if you want green beer you’ll have supply your own.  Enjoy!

 Creamy Colcannon 011


Fermented Vegetables: Delicious and Nutritious

We closed up the garden a couple of weeks ago and did a final harvest. Now the decision is what to do with end of the season vegetables.  I’ve been reading a lot lately about the probiotic nutrition in fermented vegetables and thought this would be a great opportunity to try my hand at a new way of preserving foods as well as saving money.  (Have you seen the price for probiotic supplements?)   Fortunately this isn’t a complicated process.

I started with the most essential vegetable for fermenting:  cabbage (set aside a couple of the large outside leaves to cover the vegetables during the fermentation process, cabbage


followed by the last of the collards. Collards



To this base I added an assortment of vegetables that were languishing in the refrigerator and pantry: cucumbers, carrots, tiny squash, red bell pepper, some garlic and a few slices of pickled ginger.  There’s no real rule here, just use what you like and what you have.  It all goes into the food processor for a medium fine chop.


Fermented Foods 003Sprinkle with some kosher or canning salt (any kind without iodine) and let the chopped vegetables drain.  I didn’t really measure this, but one source said that 3 tablespoons salt to 5 lbs of vegetables should be about right.  After about half an hour, squeeze out as much water as possible and pack tightly into a glass or ceramic container with a tight fitting lid.

I found this one at the thrift store for $3 and replaced the rubber lid casket.  Works great.

Pack the vegetables down tightly (I use a big wooden spoon) a little at a time.

In a 2 cup measure, add 1 3/4 cup filtered or distilled water.  I add whey to speed up the fermentation process (I use the whey drained off the plain Greek yogurt which seems to work well, but you could use a probiotic starter that you can purchase.)   You don’t have to use the whey, some people just use the salt and the natural bacteria from the vegetables for the fermentation process but I like the added tang that the whey adds.

Pour the mixture over the tightly packed vegetables making sure the liquid completely covers the vegetables.  Fold the cabbage leaves you set aside earlier and place on top of the vegetable mixture.  Place a heavy weight (I used a ceramic cereal bowl) on top of the cabbage leaves and place the lid tightly on the jar. Fermented Foods 006Fermented Foods 008 And that’s it.  Set it on the counter inside another dish or pan to catch any residue from the fermentation.  Once a day, lift the lid and replace it.  I like to let my veggies ferment for at least 7 days, but it depends greatly on your personal taste.   When you think they’re ready to eat, spoon the fermented yummies into clean (sanitized in dishwasher) glass jars and put in the refrigerator. Fermented Foods 001 The vegetables will continue to ferment (slowly) in the refrigerator.  In addition to being delicious, fermented foods are a great way to keep your digestive system and your entire body healthier.   Enjoy!        Ε



Cabbage and Comfort Food

Well, it looks like I’ve been forgiven for making everyone eat sauerkraut last week.  They keep telling me they don’t like it and I keep trying to find a way to make it not taste like sauerkraut and it never works.  So this week I guess I’ll try a different approach to cabbage that’s more like comfort food.  Savory stuffed cabbage always feels homey and satisfying and it’s simple and inexpensive to make.  Here’s my most recent take on this really flexible dish.

Cabbage Stuffed with Quinoa and Brown Rice


Photo by E. Broughton
Photo by E. Broughton






Stuffing Ingredients:

  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced anaheim or poblano pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 8-oz package of microwavable quinoa and brown rice
  • 1 small head of green cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)


In a saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons of vegetable broth or a

Cabbage rolls 010

tablespoon of olive oil and the onion, celery, red pepper and poblano pepper and simmer just until tender.

Add the quinoa and rice and a little more vegetable broth and return to a simmer.  Let simmer until the mixture is well heated, about 5-6 minutes and then remove from the heat and set aside.

Cabbage rolls 012

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.  In the meantime, cut out and remove the cabbage core and remove any damaged outside leaves.  Add the cabbage and let it simmer, rolling it around so it cooks evenly.  After about 10-12 minutes the outer leaves will loosen and begin to peel away from the head.  Carefully remove them with tongs and place in an ice water bath.

Cabbage rolls 007

You’ll only need 12 leaves, so you can save the rest of the cabbage for another meal (I chop it up and freeze it to use in soup).

Drain the leaves and pat dry with a paper towel.   Lay out the leaves and place about a heaping tablespoon of stuffing near the base of the leaf. Roll the bottom of the leaf over the filling, folding in the sides like a burrito.  Stick a toothpick through each roll and place in a baking dish.  (Spread a couple of teaspoons of marinara sauce on the bottom of the pan to keep the rolls from sticking).  Cabbage rolls 015Arrange the rolls in a single layer and top with the rest of the marinara sauce.  Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Photo by E. Broughton

Photo by E. Broughton

Serve with a dab of plain greek yogurt or sour cream and some fresh dill or chives.


Mushroom Delight

Looks like I get to enjoy a weekend on my own.  Everyone has plans elsewhere and I’m taking the opportunity to do some “me time” in the kitchen.  No one else likes mushrooms.  I don’t understand it, but I guess it’s just who they are.  As a matter of fact, mushrooms seem to be one of those foods where you either really, really like them, or you really, really don’t.  I really, really like mushrooms so tonight I’m having one of my favorites: Mushrooms and Brown Rice.

Mushrooms and Brown Basmati Rice


  • 1 1/2 cups any kind of mushroom (I’m using cremini and regular white button mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown basmati rice
  • 1 – 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsely
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons worchestershire sauce or soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy sauce pan combine the vegetable broth, rice, (and butter if you choose).  Bring to a boil, stir once, cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for approximately 50 minutes.  You can also use a rice cooker if you have one.

Chop the onion, garlic, pepper, and mushrooms.  In a skillet, saute the onions in a tablespoon or two of vegetable broth or non fat cooking spray.  Add the garlic and peppers and saute until the onion is translucent, being careful not to let the  garlic burn.  Add the mushrooms, worchestershire or soy sauce, cumin and enough vegetable broth to simmer the mixture until the mushrooms are tender. Fold in the rice and the parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.

There’s nothing fancy about this dish, it’s comfort food, pure and simple.  You can have it as a main dish, or serve it to the carnivores on the side, but this time it’s all mine.  Try it and let me know what you think.