Welcome to my Food Journey

Curious Southern Cook on a journey to learn...and to create exceptional dining experiences. I love entertaining and preparing food for loved ones & friends and sharing those experiences with others. My wish is that you will be fed too. Bon Appetite!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Margarita Mixer Base

Necessity IS the "Mother of Invention".  I needed not to have bought so many limes for what was required in a recipe... but they were only available in none or beaucoup, so what to do? 

Also, it's getting to be the time of year when we yearn to be outside grilling, gardening or having sand between our toes.  Nothing goes better with the latter, during the first and after the middle than... a Margarita.  You can make the base mixer and keep it in the refrigerator until time to celebrate.  I recommend using it within a week, so invite a few friends over and Enjoy!

Make sure to wash the limes before squeezing.

Each lime should yield about 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice.

Margarita Mixer Base
Yield: Makes 5 cups

2 cups water
1 cup sugar*
Dash of salt
2 cups fresh lime juice (about 8 limes)
Zest from 1 lime

To make the simple syrup - combine water, sugar and salt in a large saucepan.  Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil.  Cool syrup.
Mix simple syrup, lime juice and zest.  Store in refrigerator covered, chill until cold. 
*May substitute Splenda…if making this substitution, no boiling required.

For 1 drink mix 3 shots margarita mix, 1 1/2 shots tequila, 1/2 shot orange liqueur.  Serve over crushed ice, with or without a salted rim and garnish with a lime wedge.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Irish Cream

Who knew you could make Irish Cream?  It's a cream liqueur that we all have added to our coffee or sipped in front of a crackling fire.  I have forever been a fan and when I started running across recipes that seemed relatively simple...
it was on. 
I found several interesting ones and after getting home this evening began searching out the ingredients.  Not in one recipe...did I have every item.  You have done this and I have many times before: substituted this and that, so if you are shy of something... get creative and the result will be delicious!
Irish Cream
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 c strong coffee (We used Camellia Coffee
3/4 c high proof whiskey (I used 128.5 proof, the guide recipes called for 2 cups Irish Whiskey)
1 c half and half (I used fat free)
1 c heavy cream
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
Pour all ingredients into a bowl and mix with a hand mixer until fully combined.  Chill.  Serve and enjoy.  Keep in an enclosed container in the refrigerator.
Here I sit sipping the richest most elegant of concoctions.
Happy St. Patricks Day

Southern Colcannon

Colcannon is a tradition Irish dish made from mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage, cream, salt, pepper, butter and often ham or bacon.  In a mood to repurpose leftover "Greens", I thought I would make Colcannon and "Dixie it up a bit".  I had previously cooked a pot of combined turnip and collard greens...spiked with smoked ham.  If you do not have access to fresh greens, I would recommmend a canned option such as any made by "Glory Foods".  

This week everyone that isn't Irish is for one day and everyone that is... celebrates even harder.  My heritage inspired me to reinterpret this Irish classic and in using greens... brings it home even more. 
Oh, my Gleason (Gleeson) roots lead me back to Tipperary, in "Southern" Ireland. 
Happy Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

Southern Colcannon
(4 Main Servings or 6 to 8 Side Servings)

2 pounds washed, cubed potatoes (I used Yukon Gold, unpeeled)
1/4 c salted butter
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 cups drained cooked greens with ham or (1) 27 oz. can drained, *finely chopped
1 1/2 t Kosher salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 c fat free half and half
More butter

Place cubed potatoes in a microwave safe dish with a splash of water and cook covered on high for 10 minutes.

In the meanwhile, place 1/4 c of butter in a pan, heat until melted.

Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes, until soft.

Add greens, salt and pepper, continue to saute stirring until fully heated through.

Add cooked potatoes plus half and half.  With heat on low use a hand held mixer or stick blender to combine all and until potatoes are smooth.  Serve with additional butter.

*Tip - I use a pizza cutter to finely cut the greens and ham