Friday, March 22, 2019

Foodie Friday - The Irish Table

My Irishness is with me all the time but for the week of St. Paddy's Day,  I emphasize it.  I read  a little from James Joyce to enjoy the genius of  his language structure, pull out my Yeats and Seamus Heaney to enjoy their lyrical tones, and  make Irish Scone to enjoy the culinary sweetness of the culture.  And today I have a special treat for all of you.
Last week I attended a cooking class at the Sweet Basil Gourmetware and Cooking School in Scottsdale. This shop  is a wonderful venue for the culinary arts and it also has a cafe and a wide variety of kitchen gadgets and cookery items in the shop area.  If you're in the Phoenix area and enjoy cooking in your kitchen then you should treat yourself to a class at Sweet Basil.

  The class I took was The Irish Table.  It's not the kind of class where you sit and take notes, you work and Chef Linda Martin is there to guide the way. It was fabulous. I enjoyed it immensely.  Seven items were on our menu for the night and we could choose or were assigned which item to cook.  There were at least 14 people in the class and my task along with another woman was the salad - the easiest task. The one I wanted (hand pies)was already taken. Everyone was enthusiastic and ready for the experience.  And Linda kept everything running smoothly.

Linda is a Le Cordon Blue trained chef who enjoys sharing her craft and knowledge with those who attend her classes.  As a kitchen designer I know Linda from attending events in various showrooms throughout the Valley.  Linda would often demonstrate the brilliance of cooking on the appliances such as Decora at the design industry meetings.  The menu items were always delicious.

The Irish Table Menu: Beef Pasties (Hand Pies), Purple Cabbage & Pecan Salad, Irish Lamb and Vegetable Stew, Cottage Pie, Traditional Soda Bread, Colcannon, Apple Cake with Whiskey Hard Sauce.  Yum.   We couldn't wait to get started.  One of the nice things about taking these classes is that Linda hands out recipes so you have a copy of  them to take home.

My First Helping

We all did a super job with fun conversation, a good show of humor and a great display of team work.  And Linda went from work station to work station and kept an eye on everything we were doing and kept us on schedule.  The food was all so good.
 I'll share one of the recipes with all of you.


2 1/2 c of flour
3/4 c + 2 TBSP sugar, divided
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3/4 c buttermilk
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and roughly chopped
Powder sugar for dusting.

1/3 c sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 c heavy cream
1/4 c Irish whiskey
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8 inch cake pan with cooking spray
and line it with a circle of parchment.
Combine flour 3/4 c sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and nutmeg in a bowl and whisk.  Add the butter and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles damp sand.
Stir in eggs, one at a time.  Add buttermilk and mix on medium high for 60 to 90 seconds, to aerate the batter and build the cake's structure. 
Fold in the chopped apples and transfer to the prepared pan. Top with remaining 2 TBSP sugar.
Bake for 45 - 50 min. or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let cake cool for at least 10 min before turning onto the serving platter.

Making the Sauce:

Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small  pot and whisk.
Slowly drizzle in the cream while whisking.
Stir in the whiskey
Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally, until boiling and thickened.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Before Serving: 

Dust the cake with powdered sugar.
Serve the sauce on the side.

Good food and good conversation, you can't do better than that.

Slainte (good health).

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