FRENCH FOOD CAN BE DOWN TO EARTH

If you’d like a magnificent, hearty alternative to what many people consider “fancy French food,” consider some of the earthier dishes France has to offer. This is peasant food – the meals French housewives make when they look around their kitchens, find the best ingredients and use them in creative ways. You’ll find no haute cuisine here, just very tasty, stick-to-your-ribs recipes that will both tickle the taste buds and fulfill the most demanding appetites this side of the Atlantic.

….FULL ARTICLE

TURN TO SUNNY SPAIN FOR SOMETHING TRULY DIFFERENT

Real Spanish food is outstanding in its ability to take commonplace ingredients and combine them in a way that makes them as exotic as they are flavorful.

The following recipes include a classic paella, a refreshing sangria and a chicken and rice dish, all of which incorporate classic Spanish style.

….FULL ARTICLE

A TASTE OF IRELAND

Whether you want to plan something delightful for your next St. Patrick’s Day celebration or just want to enjoy a different kind of cuisine, you can’t go wrong with a taste of Ireland.

While many so-called gourmets will turn up their noses at any cuisine that originates in the British Isles, the fact is no one outdoes the British when it comes to preparing a good stew.

….FULL ARTICLE

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the meat. Sprinkle with half of the salt, pepper, thyme and parsley. Sprinkle on half the garlic, then add another layer of onion and potatoes. Top with remaining salt, pepper, thyme, parsley and garlic. Add two to four cups of water, enough to come about 3/4 up the mixture. Bake, tightly covered, in a preheated 350-degree oven for an hour and a half. Add the peas, cover and continue to bake for about 10 more minutes.


CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE


This method, using bacon grease, is from a recipe by that wonderful food guru James Beard. If you want to forego the bacon grease, just braise the cabbage in water, but be warned you’ll lose a lot of flavor.  


•  1 4-5 lb. lean corned beef brisket

•  4 large onions, studded with 4 whole cloves each

•  2 lbs. carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

•  1 stalk celery, cut into 2-inch pieces

•  1 head cabbage, coarsely chopped

•  6 medium potatoes, quartered

•  2 cloves garlic, minced

•  10 whole peppercorns

•  4 T bacon fat


Place corned beef in a deep kettle with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, skim, then simmer, skimming again as needed, for about three hours. Add the onions, carrots and celery and continue to simmer. After about a half hour, add the cabbage, potatoes, garlic and peppercorns. Simmer for 30 more minutes. Drain the cabbage and remove to a large skillet and braise in the bacon fat for five to 10 minutes. Remove the beef and vegetables to a large platter and keep warm. When ready to serve, center the beef on the platter and surround it with the cabbage and vegetables. Serve with good dark Irish beer or stout.


BAKED SALMON


•  1 lb. salmon filets

•  1/4 cup melted butter

•  2 T lemon juice

•  1 T dried dill weed

•  Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the salmon in a lightly greased baking dish. Mix the melted butter and lemon juice together and stir in the additional ingredients. Brush the butter-lemon mixture over the fillets. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the salmon easily flakes with a fork, brushing on any leftover butter mixture during the cooking.



IRISH COFFEE


Finally, for you traditionalists, here’s a great recipe for Irish coffee. You must promise to make it with real Irish whiskey, though. There’s a BIG difference!


•  1 jigger Irish whiskey  (Jameson, Bushmills, etc.)

•  1-2 tsp. Sugar

•  Freshly made hot coffee

•  Whipped cream


Pour the whiskey and sugar into a mug. Add the coffee and stir well. Top with whipped cream and serve immediately.

Whether you want to plan something delightful for your next St. Patrick’s Day celebration or just want to enjoy a different kind of cuisine, you can’t go wrong with a taste of Ireland.


While many so-called gourmets will turn up their noses at any cuisine that originates in the British Isles, the fact is no one outdoes the British when it comes to preparing a good stew.


The reasons for this are both obvious and practical. In the cold, damp climate of the British Isles, the creation of a good, soul-warming stew has become an art form.


Irish stew has nearly as many different versions as pasta sauce, so don’t feel bound to only use the ingredients listed here. Indeed, many versions of Irish stew lack peas, but I think they give the dish the appropriate touch of green.


I include corned beef and cabbage here because eating these foods on St. Patrick’s Day is primarily an American, not an Irish, tradition. While the Irish do eat corned beef and cabbage sometimes, it’s not the national dish we Americans seem to feel it should be. But it’s certainly a tasty treat, whether on you eat it on March 17 or you just serve it as a cold winter dish to warm the heart.

A TASTE OF IRELAND

Of course, being part of the British Isles, fish is a big part of Ireland’s cuisine, so I’ve included a basic baked salmon recipe with these other samples from the Emerald Isle.


IRISH STEW


•  2 lbs. potatoes, cut in 1/4-inch slices

•  2 lbs. onions, cut in 1/4-inch slices

•  3 lbs. boneless lamb, cubed

•  2 tsp. Salt

•  1/2 tsp. Pepper

•  1 tsp. Thyme

•  1 tsp. dried parsley

•  2 cloves garlic, chopped

•  Water to cover

•  1/2 bag frozen peas


In a casserole, arrange one layer of potatoes, then one layer of onions, then add