Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Patrick's Day: glorious stew and cupcakes!

Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day to those of you who celebrate it! Mr. J and I are both Irish (I am only a tiny wee bit on my mom’s side. My great-great-grandmother was Irish!), so we decided to have a proper Patty’s Day celebration, complete with stew, sweets, Dropkick Murphys, and lots of Irish alcohol. I mean, a lot! All the good stuff’s from Ireland, in my opinion. 

Aren't these excellent?!
We invited a Chinese friend over for dinner because he is always cooking us the most amazing food. Bless him, he was, as always, a phenomenal guest! He brought along even more booze and a dish of spicy beef tofu. It ended up being the best Irish-American-Chinese St. Patrick’s Day there ever was!

One of the highlights of our evening was the successful baking of Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes. I cut the recipe in half since even I didn't want 24 of these bad boys on my hands--I would literally blow up like a balloon if that many of them were around! In terms of the recipe itself, I added a little more Jameson to the ganache and more Bailey's to the frosting, in addition to using semi-sweet chocolate chips for the filling.

These babies are the BEST cupcakes I've ever had. What's not to love about chocolate, butter, and booze? They are soft, sweet, and creamy. I am fantasizing about one right now.... I decided to distribute a few cupcakes to some co-workers who helped me out of a tough patch last week. One of them asked me to make them for her wedding!! I said, "Thanks, but no thanks." Don't get me wrong, I was totally flattered. But, agreeing to such a task would just be asinine, especially given that we may be moving well before she gets hitched.
Mr. J and I also collaborated on Guinness stew! I have no idea why, but sadly there are no pictures of said stew :( Seriously, what was I thinking?! Once I realized I didn't take any pictures of our dinner, there weren't any leftovers to photograph! I'm a tool. Anyways, I figured I could tell you what we did, even if there aren't any visuals. Sorry about that…

Guinness stew ingredients
- lean stew beef, between 2 and 2.5 lbs
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 ½ Tbs. flour
- salt and pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 onion, cut into eighths and then pulled apart
- 1 bottle of Guinness
- 2 handfuls of grape tomatoes or ½ large tomato, pureed with a splash of water
- 2 cups of carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 large red potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss the beef with the oil, flour, and seasonings until completely coated.
2. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the beef on all sides.
3. Add the garlic, onion, half of the beer, and tomato puree into the skillet. Cover with foil and cook on low-medium heat for 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, coat a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Scatter the carrots and potatoes evenly on the bottom of the dish. Pour the other half of the beer over these veggies. Top with salt, pepper, and thyme.
5. Take the skillet off the heat. Pour the beef mixture over the veggies in the baking dish.
6. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil, and bake for another 1 ½ hours.
7. Serve with soda bread.

Today I linked up to: Frugal by Choice, and:

                                                                   Jam Hands

Enjoy! xo