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Welcome to my kitchen…

I have always loved to cook and bake and you can often find me in the kitchen creating something. There is something calming and fun about preparing and creating food! (At least that is my opinion) This site is dedicated to everyone who enjoys accessing/channeling their culinary creative side.

Do you have a recipe you’d like to submit or that I should try?

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Thank you for stopping by.

Happy Reading and Cooking!

Tara

This slow-cooker corned beef and cabbage recipe is super simple, you really shouldn’t wait until St. Patrick’s Day to make it. Enjoy it all year around.

corn beef and cabbagecorn beef and cabbage

Ingredients:

  • 1 (4 – 5 pound) corned beef, rinsed
  • 1 medium 1/2 head of cabbage, cut into quarter wedges
  • 6 baby potatoes, halved
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock or water
  • 8 ounces beer or strongbow cider.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper corns

Directions:

  1. Place onions, carrots, and potatoes in the bottom of a large crock pot.
  2. Rinse the corned beef and lay it over the vegetables. Add in bay leaves, pepper corns, and Dijon mustard. (or packet if your corned beef has it.)
  3. Pour beer and stock over everything. Make sure liquid covers most of the corned beef; if not, add more water or stock. Cover and cook on low setting for 8-10 hours.
  4. Add the cabbage to the slow cooker and cook until cabbage is just tender (about 30 minutes).
  5. Slice beef against the grain and serve with veggies and extra mustard if desired.

Creme Brulee

Creme Brulee – The Best Desert EVER!

So I am at it again in the kitchen with my cooking challenge.

Today I challenged myself to make 6 or so dishes with a St. Patty’s day theme. On one of my social media sites, I recently posted my thoughts on my recent sprained foot, not being able to do one of my loves, ballroom dancing and it bumming me out a bit. Sooooooo, this weekend in honor of the sort of Holiday, St. Patrick’s day I posed a cooking/baking challenge to myself.

Really I need the distraction and being in the kitchen creating things is very therapeutic for me. Although, it does not help in me staying off my foot much, I did forget about my foot for a long while until I put weight on it and then instant reminder that it was time to sit down. Sometimes, I’m just stubborn like that, Tara does what she wants regardless of should be done. I am not sure why I thought I needed to refer to myself in third person but there you have it.

Anyway, kitchen…dish #4 was crème brulee, one of my favorite dishes. I make it about once a year and mostly because although I love the butane burner, I am afraid of filling it!

The last time I used it, I had someone fill it for me, crazy right? Sad to say, I took it to the damn store to fill it.

Well, on my part I will say I had traumatic childhood experience of using gas and it flaring up and burning all the hair on my right arm and some of my eyebrows so the caution is just engrained in my head. Its the same thing with my gas grill, I usually have to invite someone over to do it the first time for me and then I can slowly get the nerve to try it myself.

Sad I know. One day I will get over it…its just not today. hehehe

I am not a huge mint fan so I did not want to use the mint flavor for the dessert so instead I decided to use part brulee sugar and green sprinkles. Not that creative but its got the green theme I was going for, sorta. :P

Creme Brulee

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar plus 6 tablespoons

Directions:

1. Heat the heavy cream, milk, and vanilla bean in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.

2. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl and beat until pale yellow in color and all of the sugar has dissolved. Temper about 1/2 a cup of the cream mixture into the egg mixture and whisk vigorously to incorporate well. Add the remainder of the cream mixture to the bowl and whisk vigorously to incorporate.

3. Strain the brulee base through a fine mesh sieve and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

4. Pour the custard into 6 (5-ounce) oval ramekins or gratin dishes, and place the dishes in a sheet pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come up half way on the sides of the ramekins.

5. Place the pan in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes, turning the sheet pan around after 15 minutes to ensure even cooking. To test for doneness, jiggle the pan slightly to see if the custard is set, if so, remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator for 2 hours to completely cool.

6. Once the brulee has cooled, evenly spread 1 tablespoon of sugar over each ramekin and using a blowtorch, caramelize the sugar to form a candy coating. Be sure to keep the blowtorch moving in a circular motion to prevent the sugar from burning. Serve once the sugar has cooled and is hard like candy.

  Tara Notes: Instead of vanilla beans you can use homemade extract like I do or vanilla bean paste sold at your favorite cooking store. I have also tried coffee, pumpkin and caramel flavors!  I like my crème brulee super creamy and less flan-like. This recipe is more on the creamy side.

Today’s in Tara’s Kitchen I baked up some cookies. I initially wanted to use Irish Breakfast Tea but I did not have enough to add to the recipe so I went with Earl Grey Tea instead. Quite a different taste for sure but still so very yummy. This has a strong earl grey flavor so if you are not a fan of the tea, I would substitute another of your favorite black tea which should work well.

I of course had to use my shamrock cutters for St. Patrick’s day tomorrow but look at them… aren’t they so cute???!!??

Hope you give this recipe a try and let me know what you think.

Earlgreycookies

Earl Grey Cookies with a St. Patrick’s Day spin.
Makes about 4 dozen
(Adapted from Real Simple)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons of Earl Grey tea leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Directions:

In a food processor, combine together flour, baking powder, tea, and salt. Pulse until leaves are finely ground, about 6 pulses.

Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to low;  add egg and vanilla.

Gradually mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and flatten it so the dough chills evenly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hours until the dough is firm and easy to roll out.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly flour a cutting board and rolling-pin and roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick. If the dough becomes warmer, it will become soft and difficult to roll, so make sure it is well-chilled when you roll it.

Use a small cookie cutter to cut out shapes in the dough and then transfer to silpat lined cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until the edges are golden, 12 to 13 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.

 

Healthier & Delicious: Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Every year I make Irish soda bread for St. Patrick’s day. It’s my lil Tara tradition along with Corned Beef and Cabbage…Yum! I am the only one of my friends that likes it for some reason but that is okay, more for me!

For my soda breads of past I usually go with the recipes that use part white flour, part wheat and have currants and sugar in them. I’ve since heard from a friend that true Irish soda bread doesn’t usually have all of the extras and so I set out to try two new recipes this year. One will be part white/wheat flour and the other will use all wheat pastry flour. The second recipe was given to me by a lovely friend who learned how to make it in Ireland. I will post the results after the second recipe is made.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsifted whole-wheat flour
  • 2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups light buttermilk

Procedures

Preheat oven to 450°F. Dust a clean surface with flour. Spray a baking sheet with Pam and dust with flour. (Note: Aim for the center when you do this, or you’ll be scrubbing burnt, floured Pam off your bakeware.)

In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together. Make a well in the middle. Pour in about 2/3 cup of the buttermilk. With one hand, stir it into the dough in a circular motion. Add another 2/3 cup of the buttermilk. Stir again with your hand, until flour is incorporated. Repeat until buttermilk is gone, and you have a big ol’ lump of dough, which should be, “soft, but not too wet and sticky.”

Turn dough out on to your floured surface. Clean your hands, dry them thoroughly, and dust them with flour. Lightly knead dough a few times, until it’s a rounded loaf-like shape. Pat it down into a round, 2″-thick disc. Transfer to baking sheet. With a serrated knife, cut a deep X across the bread.

Bake 20 minutes on 450°F. Drop the heat to 400°F and bake an additional 30 to 35 minutes.

Bread should appear finished and sound hollow when you knock on it. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack until you’re ready to dig in.

Frittata’s are the easiest and heartiest breakfast or dinner item ever. I made my very first one recently and have been making it since. I love that you can add any veggie or meat to it to make it amazing.

Frittata is an egg-based Italian dish similar to an omelette or crustless quiche, with additional ingredients such as meats, cheeses, vegetables or pasta.

This weekend, in honor of St. Patrick’s day I made a frittata with lots of green veggies. Not quite Irish but definitely green!

 

Leek. Spinach and Potato Frittata

Ingredients

  • 1 large potato
  • 1 leek sliced (white and light green bits)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 green onion chopped
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 6 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 3/4 cups cheese (grated) I used a mix of Parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella.
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • cilantro sprig

Directions

Pre-heat broiler.

Slice the potato and par-boil for approx 5 minutes.

While the potato is cooking, chop the leek and onions.

Put the leek, onions and potato into a frying pan with a lil olive oil or a couple of sprays of cooking spray. Cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Put spinach on top of everything in the pan and press down well so that it starts to wilt.

Pour over the eggs and top with the cheese and paprika.

Season and cook for another 5 minutes on a low heat.

Place the pan under the broiler for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

St. Patrick's Day Cupcakes

St. Patrick’s Day Cupcakes

Cupcakes are always a hit no matter what holiday. For St. Patrick’s Day I decided to bake up three mini cakes in honor of this day and they are…

It was a tough choice to pick a favorite as I loved all of the flavors!

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