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TIP OF THE DAY: Cookies For St. Patrick’s Day

One friend of ours has a set of shamrock cookie cutters, and makes shamrock shortbread every St. Patrick’s Day. She tops them with green and/or white royal icing, and an assortment of green glitter and sprinkles.

While we love shortbread, we take the easier way out. Here are two recipes that will make you extremely popular with friends, family and co-workers on St. Patrick’s Day.

They give a St. Patrick’s Day dress-up to two of America’s favorite cookies. (According to a poll published in Huffington Post, chocolate chip is #1, Oreo is #4 on the Top 10 list.)

RECIPE #1: MINT GREEN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

This recipe is from Karen of The Food Charlatan, who says, “It’s like eating Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream in the form of a warm, buttery, gooey cookie.”

Note that if you don’t like mint, you can make green chocolate chip cookies simply by substituting the peppermint extract for vanilla extract.

If you’re using another chocolate chip cookie recipe, make sure it is one with white sugar only. The classic Toll House Cookie recipe, for example, uses equal parts white and brown sugar, and brown sugar makes the cookie dough darker.

We prefer this type of St. Pat’s chocolate chip cookie to another popular recipe, a dark chocolate cookie with green baking chips.

Although tasty, the baking chips aren’t real chocolate, i.e., they aren’t white chocolate tinted green and flavored with mint.

Instead of cocoa butter, even the best quality chips (e.g. Guittard) use palm kernel and palm oils instead of the cocoa butter. (Call us super-picky, but that matters to us.)

Ingredients For About 28 Large Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (or more to taste)
  • 10 drops of green food coloring (or more for a deeper green)
  • 3-1/4 cups flour, spooned* and leveled
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  •    

    Green Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Green Food Color

    [1] America’s favorite cookie, dressed up for St. Patrick’s Day (photo and recipe courtesy The Food Charlatan). [2] Green food coloring can turn food into St.Pat’s fare, from morning yogurt to garnishes like sour cream and whipped cream.

  • 12 ounces dark chocolate chips, 1/3 cup reserved, the remainder divided†
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line one or more baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

    2. BEAT the butter and sugar together in a large bowl or stand mixer. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat on medium for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and extra yolk, peppermint extract and food coloring, and blend.

    3. COMBINE the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt in a separate bowl. Add to the wet ingredients and combine until the flour is not quite incorporated.

    4. ADD half of the chocolate chips to the dough.* Chop the other half coarsely, with a knife or in a food processor. Add the chopped chocolate to the dough, and mix until just combined. This creates more of a distribution of chocolate throughout the dough; but you can keep all the chips whole.

    5. COVER the dough and refrigerate for about an hour. Note that chilling is not mandatory, but Karen tried the recipe both ways, and prefers the texture and flavor that chilling creates.

    6. USE a 2-inch cookie scoop to form balls of dough and drop them on the cookie sheet. These are very large cookies, and fit 8 cookies per pan. Alternatively, use a teaspoon or smaller scoop to drop smaller cookies.

    7. BAKE for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies barely start to brown on the edges (you want the cookies to be green, not browned). Let them cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a cooling rack.

    When cool, serve or store in an airtight container.

    NIBBLE TIP: For a yumilicious dessert, prepare the cookie dough in advance and refrigerate. Half an hour before dessert, scoop it onto the cookie sheets and bake. The result: warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies to serve alone or with vanilla or chocolate ice cream.

     

    St. Patricks Day Oreos

    Double Stuf Oreos

    Green Candy Melts

    [3] Green-dipped Oreos from Crafty Morning. [4] Double Stuf Oreos (photo courtesy Nabisco). [5] Green white chocolate, the real deal, from Merckens.

     

    RECIPE #2: GREEN-DIPPED OREOS

    This recipe comes from Michelle of Crafty Morning.

    The original recipe uses Double Stuf Oreos (that’s how they spell it).

    If you want mint flavor, you can use Mint Oreos (with a green center) and/or add peppermint extract to the candy melts (here’s how).

    Michelle’s original recipe uses half green, half white, candy melts, so that half of the cookies are dipped in green and half are dipped in white.

    We went all-green for St. Pat’s.

    As a substitute for the green chocolate melts, you can melt regular white chocolate and tint it green with food coloring.

    Ingredients

  • Double Stuffed Oreos (substitute regular Oreos)
  • Merckens green melting chocolate/candy melts/candy coating‡
  • Green and white sprinkles
  • Wax or parchment paper
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MELT the chocolate/melts in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds at a time until it is melted.

    2. DIP each cookie halfway into the chocolate and lay it on a sheet of wax or parchment paper. Shake the sprinkles onto the cookies while the chocolate is still warm. Let them harden for 20 minutes.

    3. REMOVE the cookies from the paper and serve or store.

    ________________

    *Spooned means exactly what is sounds like: You spoon the flour into the measuring cup and then level it off. If you scoop it by dipping a measuring cup into the canister, the pressure compacts more flour into the measuring cup.

    †Karen reserved 1/3 cup of the whole chips and pushed them into the tops of the baked cookies immediately after taking them out of the oven. This creates more “chip appeal” on the surface.

    ‡Merckens, a top-quality supplier to chocolatiers, actually sells real white chocolate tinted green! Candy Melts are made without cocoa butter, substituting vegetable oil. This makes them confectioner’s coating or imitation chocolate, not real chocolate.

    Note that for many years, a product called confectioner’s coating—imitation white chocolate made with vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter—was widely believed to be white chocolate. It is not, and doesn’t taste anywhere as good. White chocolate has cocoa butter, and is defined as white chocolate by the FDA.

     

      

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    ST. PATRICK’S DAY RECIPE: Ice Cream Cake

    Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake

    Andes Mints

    After Eight Mints

    [1] Devil’s food cake and mint chip ice cream (photo Jennifer Davick | Southern Living). [2] Andes Mints (photo courtesy Sweet Factory). [3] After Eight Mints (photo courtesy After Eight | UK).

     

    We’ve been saving this recipe from Southern Living for our St. Patrick’s Day lead-up, when our recipes wear a tinge o’ the green.

    Made with a Devil’s Food cake mix (or from scratch, if you like), the ice cream doesn’t have to be mint chip. Those who don’t like mint can tint vanilla chip ice cream, or plain vanilla, with green food color.

    The topping is chocolate ganache, chocolate mints and whipped cream. We skipped the chocolate ganache, not wanting to gild the lily (it also saves time and money), and used Chocolate Reddi-Wip to anchor the mints around the rim of the cake (it’s easier to slice than cutting through the pile in the picture).

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE MINT ICE CREAM CAKE

    Make the whole cake ahead and freeze until ready to serve.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, freezer time is 10 to 12 hours.

    Ingredients For 10 to 12 Servings

  • Devil’s food cake mix (plus the other ingredients required—egg, oil, etc.)
  • 1/2 gallon mint chocolate chip ice cream, softened
  • 10 chocolate wafers (e.g. Nabisco Famous), coarsely crushed
  • Chocolate ganache
  • Garnish: Thin chocolate mints (After Eight or Andes)
  • Garnish: Reddi-Wip or other whipped cream
  • Equipment: parchment paper, springform pan
  •  
    For The Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup whipping cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 11 ounces bittersweet chocolate pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter (ideally use a low-moisture brand (European style) with a higher fat content)
  • Optional: 3 tablespoons liqueur of your choice (for this recipe, mint or chocolate liqueur)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper. Prepare the cake batter and spoon it into the pans.

    2. BAKE for 12 to 14 minutes or until a wood toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans to wire racks, peel off the parchment paper, and cool completely, about 1 hour.

     
    3. PLACE one cake layer in a 9-inch springform pan. Top with one-third of ice cream (about 2-1/3 cups); sprinkle with half the crushed wafers. Repeat with the second layer. Top with the remaining cake layer and ice cream. Freeze 8 to 12 hours.

    4. MAKE the ganache. In a small saucepan, scald the cream. In a small bowl, carefully pour the hot cream over the chocolate pieces. Stir in the butter. Stir in the liqueur. Store in the fridge, sealed in a plastic container, until ready to use.

    5. REMOVE the cake from the springform pan, and place it on a plate or a cake stand. Spread the top with the ganache. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Garnish as desired before bringing to the table.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Roast Your Roots

    While we wait for spring vegetables to appear, we’ve been eating lots of root vegetables.

    Root vegetables have sustained mankind through millennia of winters, because they last for long periods in cool temperatures.

    Before the advent of modern refrigeration, root cellars provided vital cold storage that kept a family fed through the winter.

    Growing underground (photo #1), the root are generally storage organs, enlarged to store energy in the form of carbohydrates. These large roots are eaten as vegetables.

    WHAT ARE ROOT VEGETABLES?

    Root vegetables are plant roots eaten as vegetables (photo #2).

    Beet, carrot, parsnip, potato and sweet potato, radish, and turnip are widely consumed in the U.S.

    Some roots, such as galangal, ginger, horseradish, turmeric and wasabi, are used for condiments or seasonings. Arrowroot is used as a thickener. Gingseng is used medicinally.

    To give you a perspective on the category, here’s a categorization of the root vegetables more familiar in the U.S.

    True Roots

  • Taproots: beetroot (beet), burdock, carrot, celeriac (celery root), daikon, dandelion, jicama, parsley root*, parsnip, radish, rutabaga, salsify and turnip, and others not well-known in the U.S.
  • Tuberous roots: cassava/yuca/manioc, Chinese/Korean yam, and sweet potato, among others.
  • Bulbs: fennel; garlic, green onion/scallion, leek, onion, shallot and the rest of the Allium family.
  • Corms: Chinese water chestnut, taro.
  • Rhizomes: arrowroot, galangal, ginger, ginseng, lotus root, turmeric
  • Tubers: Chinese artichoke/crosne, Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke), potato, ube, yam.
  •  
    Roasted taproots and tubers are popular roasted vegetables in American cuisine. Even people who fuss over eating vegetables enjoy the sweetness of the sugars that come out during roasting.
     
    TWO WAYS TO ENJOY ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES

    There are endless recipes, of course; but here are two recipes from Idaho Potatoes with some added glamour.

    RECIPE #1: ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES WITH CHICKEN

    We like the convenience of this recipe. Root vegetables are hardy, and can keep for a few weeks. It’s easy to pick up a rotisserie chicken if you don’t have time or inclination to roast one.

    You can use substitute other root vegetables, or create a grain bowl with a bottom layer of a favorite grain.

    Ingredients

  • 4 russet Idaho potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 turnip, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and then cut into wedges
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup butternut squash, chopped and peeled
  • 2 beets, rinsed, peeled, cut in half and then cut into wedges
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, removed from stem
  • 3 cups Swiss chard, removed from stem and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup cooked rotisserie chicken, chopped
  •  
    For The Maple Aïoli

  • 3 tablespoons fresh mayo
  • 1 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  

    Root Vegetables Illustration

    Root Vegetables

    Roast Chicken & Vegetables

    Whole Roast Chicken

    [1] An old illustration showing how root vegetables grow (photo courtesy Etsy). [2] Harvested root vegetables (photo courtesy DIY Naturals). [3] Recipe #1: roasted root vegetables with chicken (photo courtesy Idaho Potatoes). [4] Rotisserie chicken (photo courtesy McCormick).

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

    2. TOSS all of the vegetables in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with thyme. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden and fork tender, flipping once, halfway through. Meanwhile…

    3. HEAT the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium-heat. Sauté the Swiss chard with the chopped garlic, until wilted, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    4. MAKE the aïoli: Whisk the mayonnaise with the maple syrup and cinnamon until combined. Spoon into a serving dish.

    5. DIVIDE the chard evenly in serving bowls. Top with the roasted vegetables and chicken. Serve with the maple aïoli on the side for dipping.
     
    ________________
    *Parsley root is not related to parsley, the herb, but is a beige root vegetable that resembles a parsnip or turnip. The edible leaves that grow above the ground do resemble curly parsley leaves, but taste like celery. Parsley root is also called turnip-rooted parsley. In Germany it is known as Hamburg parsley, and is a popular winter vegetable in Germany, Holland and Poland.

     

    Scalloped Root Vegetables

    Purple Top Turnips

    Smithfield Honey Cured Spiral Ham

    [5] A three-potato gratin with turnips (photo courtesy Idaho Potatoes). [6] Turnips (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [7] We served the casserole with a beautiful Smithfield spiral-cut ham (photo courtesy Smithfield).

     

    RECIPE #2: SCALLOPED ROOT VEGETABLE CASSEROLE

    This casserole reminds us of a tian, a beautiful way to serve summer vegetables.

    It is actually a gratin†.

    This recipe serves a trio of potatoes plus turnips under a cloak of melted cheese. They work together in this recipe because they can be sliced into roughly the same sizes, which cook evenly.
    Ingredients

  • 4 large russet Idaho potatoes, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • 3 red Idaho potatoes, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • 2 sweet potatoes, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • 3 turnips, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 packages of whipped chive cream cheese
  • 16 ounces heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoon of salt, more to taste
  • Garnish: grated Parmesan and diced chives for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Slice the potatoes and turnips and set aside in a large bowl.

    2. HEAT 1/2 tablespoon butter over medium heat in a medium, non-stick skillet. Add the onions and garlic; sauté until translucent.

    3. ADD the cream cheese, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and stir until smooth. Turn off the heat.

    4. SPRAY a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place half of the potatoes and turnips in a separate large bowl. Slowly add 1/3 of the cream mixture into the bowl with the potatoes and turnips and mix to coat well.

    5. PLACE the coated potato and turnip slices into the baking pan vertically, using your hands. Make sure the slices are close together (see photo #5). Add another 1/3 of the cream mixture to the remaining potatoes and turnips, coating well. Layer them into the baking dish. Once all the slices are in the baking pan…

    6. POUR the remainder of cream mixture into the baking pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the foil and bake for an additional 40 minutes.

    7. REMOVE from the oven, sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Garnish with the chives right before serving.

    We liked the recipe so much, we’re making it again today!

     
    †WHAT’S A GRATIN?

    Gratin (grah-TAN) is a method of food preparation in which a protein, vegetable or starch is served with a browned crust of grated cheese. The crust may also include breadcrumbs, egg and/or butter.

    Gratin originated in France and is usually made in a shallow baking dish. The main ingredient can be baked (roasted) in the oven or cooked on the stove top. In the latter case, the toppings are then added and the dish is finished in the oven or broiler.

    The baking dish is usually brought to the table piping hot. It’s a perennial favorite: Who doesn’t like their food topped with melted cheese?

      

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    RECIPE: Corned Beef Hash Patties With Eggs

    Our mom loved corned beef and cabbage, and made it year-round in addition to St. Patrick’s Day.

    There were corned beef sandwiches for lunch the next day, and corned beef hash for Saturday breakfasts (Sunday was always bagels and lox).

    But our younger brother, a fussy eater, refused to try it, claiming it looked like dog food.

    If only Mom had thought to turn the hash into patties, like the folks at Idaho Potatoes; or to shape it in a food ring mold, like they do at Murray’s Cheese Bar.

    The recipe for the patties follows. If you want to make the hash in a ring, here’s a recipe; you can follow the Eggs Benedict preparation or just make the hash.

     
    RECIPE: CORNED BEEF HASH PATTIES WITH EGGS

    Instead of cubed potatoes and corned beef, the potatoes are riced, and the corned beef cubes embedded within. The result: smooth patties. Edward, this recipe is dedicated to you.

    Ingredients For 8 Patties

  • 2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups leftover corned beef, cubed
  • 2 scallions, chopped green and white parts (substitute onion)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1½ teaspoons black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Option: 1 tablespoon of minced fresh parsley leaves
  •  
    Plus

  • Eggs any style
  •  

    Corned Beef Hash Patties

    Elegant Corned Beef Hash

    [1] A new way to serve corned beef hash: in neat patties (photo and recipe courtesy Idaho Potatoes). [2] Classic corned beef hash shaped in a ring and topped with a poached egg, at Murray’s Cheese Bar.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 200°F. Place the potatoes in a large pot, add 2 tablespoons of salt, fill with cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender about 20 minutes. Drain well and place the potatoes back into the pot to cool for 10 minutes.

    2. USE a potato ricer or grater to rice the potatoes into a large bowl (you should have about 4 cups of riced potatoes). Add the cubed corned beef, chopped scallions, milk, egg and optional parsley to the potatoes, and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

    3. HEAT a cast iron skillet skillet over medium heat with about ¼ cup of vegetable oil, and form ½ cup of potato mix into a round patty. Fry for 3-4 minutes per side or until it’s a nice medium gold color on each side. Make sure you place no more than 3-4 potato patties at a time in the frying pan.

    4. TRANSFER the cookie patties to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain any excess oil. Season with more salt as desired (or allow for salt and pepper seasoning at the table).

    5. KEEP the cooked patties warm in the oven as you cook the eggs. Serve the patties hot as soon as the eggs are ready.

      

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    ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Irish Nachos Recipe

    Irish Nachos

    Murphy's Irish Red

    O'Hara's Irish Stout

    [1] “Irish Nachos” for St. Pat’s. Find more recipees from the Idaho Potatoes. [2] and [3] Got beer? Serve the nachos with some Irish brew.

     

    You won’t want to wait until St. Pat’s to enjoy this scrumptious snack.

    Serve it with your favorite beer; or in the spirit of the holiday, these Irish beers.

    How about an Irish beer tasting? Here are some of the most popular brands:

  • Beamish Irish Stout
  • Fuller’s
  • Guinness Draught, Extra Stout, and Foreign Extra Stout
  • Harp Lager
  • Murphy’s Irish Red
  • Murphy’s Irish Stout
  • O’Hara’s Celtic Stout
  • O’Hara’s Irish Wheat
  • Porterhouse Brewing Co. Oyster Stout
  • Smithwick’s Irish Ale
  •  
    RECIPE: “IRISH NACHOS”

    This recipe, created by Idaho Potatoes, has no common ingredients with the popular Tex-Mex recipe—except perhaps for the scallion garnish.

    Instead, crisp slices of roasted potatoes are topped with corned beef, sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese, and homemade Thousand Island dressing. It’s a crowd-pleaser for sure, for St. Patrick’s Day or any other day of the year.

    Variation: You can also turn these ingredients into a layered “Irish Potato Salad” in a glass bowl—like a layered dip, but a side dish.

    Ingredients For The Nachos

  • 1 pound Idaho Red Potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 and ½ cups chopped corned beef
  • 1 and ½ cups sauerkraut, drained well
  • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • ½ cup pre-cooked crumbled bacon
  • 3 tablespoons thousand island dressing, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons sliced scallions, for garnish
  •  
    Ingredients For The Thousand Island Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoons finely diced red onion (or other onion)
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely minced garlic (about half of a small clove)
  • 1 teaspoon white or white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the Thousand Island Dressing at least one hour in advance of using (and the day before, if desired). Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Taste and add additional seasoning if desired. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

    3. PLACE the potato slices in a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

    4. TRANSFER the potato slices to the prepared baking sheets, spreading them out in an even layer (be sure not to overlap the slices). Bake for 12 minutes on each side, or until golden and slightly crispy. Turn the oven down to 350°F.

    5. LIGHTLY GREASE a cast iron pan or small baking dish. Layer the potatoes in the bottom of the pan. Top with the chopped corned beef, sauerkraut, and grated Swiss cheese (in that order). Sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

    6. DRIZZLE the dressing over the top and garnish with the scallions. Serve immediately.
     
      

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