Ireland is not a country known for its food, which is remarkably unfair. I was reading a novel a few weeks ago in which a man casually mentioned that his father was Italian and his mother was Irish — and thank God his father did the cooking.
(It was not a great book, overall. But I digress.)
Maybe it’s because it’s perceived as boring. People think Ireland and they think potatoes, corned beef, cabbage, and Bailey’s. Or they think England, which to many Americans means bland food with names like “Spotted Dick” and “mushy peas.”
The reality is a little more complex. Ireland, at least contemporary Ireland, has amazing salmon, lamb, and mollusks. I didn’t eat corned beef once while I was there. And when you’re in an Irish port city, it’s easy to see European influence (Spanish, French, a little Italian) on the cuisine as well.
But my favorite thing was the soda bread, a quintessentially Irish staple. Continue reading
Vegetables can be a struggle for me. I know, I run a healthy food blog — coming up with creative ways to use veggies and seasonal produce should be second nature to me, right?
Wrong. The vegetables we actually eat in my house are pretty repetitive. Brussels sprouts, sometimes with bacon. Kale. A salad. Sometimes chard, if my garden is going gangbusters. Zucchini on the grill, if my husband feels like taking that on. Asparagus.
I got sick of salads the other day and needed to find something new. A quick flip through my Gourmet cookbook was disappointing. Really? No vegetables section? But a more detailed look revealed that a lot of the “Salad” recipes were not just lettuce at all, but a variety of vegetables thrown in a bowl with dressing, which was exactly what I was looking for. Continue reading
It shouldn’t be so difficult to hard-boil eggs.
I have never been able to do it. The yolk always, always, gets hard and weird and chalky. And while that’s not awful if you’re just throwing a hardboiled egg into a potato salad or an egg salad, it’s not great for things like Cobb salad or simply snacking on, when the texture really shows.
Other people must have the same problem, judging by the number of people on Pintrest resorting to “boiling” their eggs in the oven. In case you, too, struggle with Overcooked Egg Syndrome, I have found a foolproof method for hardboiling that will give you exactly what you want every time. Continue reading
Nothing says spring like asparagus. Pasta primavera, tender spears wrapped in prosciutto and oven-roasted, asparagus served with eggs Benedict for a Mother’s Day brunch…yes. Asparagus is the first taste of spring.
I didn’t realize it until I worked with the Idaho Department of Agriculture on an ad last month, but asparagus grows like a weed here in Idaho. Old-timers can remember picking it from where it grew in irrigation ditches alongside the highway, cutting big bundles of the stuff and then eating their fill.
Today, it doesn’t grow wild so much, but it does grow well in southern Idaho. Continue reading
I was listening to NPR the other day when a familiar voice came on. It was the voice of Melissa Arnot, one of the most amazing mountain climbers in the world. She was speaking with Robin Young from a satellite phone at the base of Everest, preparing to summit yet again. She’s already hit the top several times, but now she’s attempting to be the only American woman ever to do it without supplemental oxygen and without the help of a team of sherpas assisting her with gear. She’s doing this in part to raise awareness of the dangerous conditions sherpas endure on a daily basis and to raise money for the families of six sherpas who died in an avalanche last year. Continue reading
I knew my upcoming trip to Austin was going to involve meat, fried things, queso, and more meat. I wanted to eat salads for a week or so to preemptively make up for the damage I was about to do to my body. But…it’s March. In Idaho. Even though it has been sunny and the snowpack has melted off, it’s not the kind of warm yet when you’ll have a carrot for dinner and call it good.
Plus, I have a husband to feed. And despite my best efforts, “vegan” is a four-letter word to him. He will balk at any dinner that too blatantly seems to be made entirely of vegetables and microwave a frozen lasagna instead, which makes me feel like a total failure and like trying to make a nutritious meal is a waste of time. So. I try to stave this off.
It immediately became clear that stir-fry was the only option. Continue reading
These amazingly moist, grain-free, gluten-free lemon scones were a long time coming, and relied on a major evolution of forces in order to be made at all.
It started with the cherries, thoughtfully pitted and frozen by me last summer and promptly forgotten until we moved last month. A coworker and I chatted for a while a few weeks ago about what I could possibly do with these cherries, and she immediately suggested jam, to be served with lemon scones. Of course! What else?
And then, in one of those lovely coincidences that seem to only happen with the oldest of friends, my best friend from high school sent a housewarming gift that included a bag of light muscovado sugar. With its rich molasses notes, I knew this was just the thing to temper the tartness of the lemon juice, deepen the sweetness and warm the flavors up to something a little more appropriate for March, rather than June.
Further coincidence? It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and scones are still to this day one of the things I miss most about Ireland. I know it’s essentially a biscuit. I still miss them. And I’m pretty sure, anyway, that you can’t do better than this recipe for a gluten-free scone.
Grainless Lemon Scones
Yummy grain-free scones, infused with muscovado sugar and lemon juice
- 2 cups almond meal
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 2 Tbsp cold butter
- ½ cup muscovado sugar
- zest from 2 lemons
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 3/4 cup milk of your choice
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and set aside.
- Combine almond meal, coconut flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom in a large bowl and whisk until combined. Add butter and work with your hands until the mixture is crumbly.
- In a small bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest and whisk until very fragrant and well-combined. Whisk into the other ingredients.
- Add lemon juice and milk, and stir with a spatula until very well combined. The mixture may be crumbly, but you’ll see it will come together when pressed.
- Dump dough onto the baking sheet and press into a ball. Flatten ball until the dough circle is about one inch high. Split with a knife into eight equal segments, wiggling the knife to create a solid separation between the wedges.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the outside is golden and the inside is still moist. Cool on a wire rack; serve with plenty of butter, margarine and/or tea.