Friday, March 16, 2012

More St. Patrick's Festivities

Share some St. Paddy's Day treats with this gift tote made from a take-out restaurant drink carrier decorated with patterned paper and paper medallions and cutouts. Fill with your favorite Irish foods and spread the "Luck o' the Irish."   Another option is this card topper for a disposable cake (Mint Truffle Brownie) pan.

Here are a few recipes to get your Irish on...

Prepare the soup ahead of time, pour into a quart sized canning jar, cut a circle of green fabric or decorative paper, and place over the top of the jar. Wrap a rubber band around the top and tie a ribbon over the top of it to cover it. Attach a tag to let the recipient know what kind of soup it is and how to serve it. You may want to include a container of cream and some chives for garnishment.

I mix the dry ingredients together, place in a plastic bag and attach a label with wet ingredient requirements and preparation instructions. This allows them to make the bread fresh to serve with the soup. You can also make the bread ahead of time, and give the loaf as part of the gift.

I've included a bottle of sparkling apple cider, and some Mint-Truffle Brownies in my tote. Yum!

Leek and Potato Soup

2 lb. potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 lb. leeks, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, sliced
5 cups homemade or canned chicken broth
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
1 bay leaf
2 Tbls. parsley, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup cream
Fresh chives, chopped

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks, onions, and celery and sauté until tender. Add chicken broth, 1/2 cup milk, potatoes, bay leaf, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.  Remove the bay leaf and discard. Let soup cool for about 10 minutes, then puree in a blender or food processor. Return puree to pan. Add remaining milk. Thoroughly heat over medium heat. Ladle into bowls. Spoon a tablespoonful of cream over the top and sprinkle with the chives.

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 oil
2 tsp. caraway seeds
1 cup raisins
1 Tbls. milk

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. In a separate bowl beat the eggs, buttermilk, and oil together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Add the caraway seeds and raisins. Stir until soft dough has formed. Shape the dough into a large ball on a lightly floured board. Place on the prepared baking sheet, cut a cross on the top of the dough with a sharp knife. Brush with the milk. Bake until golden brown, 35-40 minutes.

Mint Truffle Brownies

Brownie Base
1 box (1 lb 2.4 oz) Betty Crocker® Original Supreme Premium brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on brownie mix box

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
3 tablespoons whipping cream
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon mint extract
2 drops green food color

1/3 cup whipping cream
1 1/3 cups (8 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup butter (do not use margarine)

  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only of 9-inch square pan with shortening or cooking spray. (For easier cutting, line pan with foil, then grease foil on bottom only of pan.) Make and bake brownie mix as directed on box. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
  2. In large bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread over cooled brownies. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until set.
  3. Meanwhile, in 2-quart nonstick saucepan, heat topping ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Cool about 10 minutes or until lukewarm.
  4. Pour topping over filling; spread to cover. Refrigerate uncovered about 2 hours or until set. Before cutting into bars, let stand 10 minutes at room temperature. For bars, cut into 5 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.
Makes 20 brownies

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