Cooking at the Cove: An Irish Sampler

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I can’t let St. Patrick’s Day go by without sharing a few recipes from “across the pond.” I sampled these three treats when I was last in Ireland, and after writing these recipes up, I’m inspired to make a reservation and pack my bags once again.

Creamy whole-fat dairy products are a hallmark of Irish cooking so don’t even bother looking for low-fat, non-fat anything if you’re browsing through recipes from that magical land, or when you go visit. Whether in your own kitchen or in an Irish pub, just enjoy the food for its wholesome simplicity. Make up for the indulgence with some extra walking, and above all, don’t feel guilty!

When following these recipes, splurge on Irish cheddar such as Dubliner, and by all means, purchase a couple pounds of Irish butter, such as Kerrygold brand. It’s made from the milk of contented cows who feast upon the Emerald Isle’s verdant green grass and other beneficial fauna. The milk is then churned to make a product that contains 82 percent butterfat. You can’t go wrong.

These scones smell amazing and are yummy hot from the oven and unadorned, but why settle for that when you can eat them the traditional way with a layer each of butter, jam, and thick whipped cream. Yes, really.

After that walk I recommended, make a pot of strong tea and tuck into a dainty Irish Cream Mousse. Like I always say, “Tá lá sona st Pádraig ach uair amháin sa bhliain!” (St. Patrick’s Day comes but once a year!)

Ham & Potato Frittata

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 large Russet potato, peeled and thinly sliced

1 tbsp. oil

4 tbsp. butter

5 eggs

1/4 cup cream

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

3/4 cup ham, diced

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Pat onion and potato slices dry with a paper towel. Heat oil and butter in an 8-inch oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add onions and potatoes; lower the heat, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes until potatoes are tender and golden.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Crack eggs into a large bowl, season with salt and pepper and whisk lightly. Once the potatoes and onions are cooked, add ham just to warm it, then add eggs. Stir in cheese and nutmeg. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: 6 servings

Cinnamon Walnut Scones

2 3/4 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. baking powder

2-3 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup cold butter

2 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

2/3 cup cream

Cinnamon sugar

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Cut in butter just until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in nuts.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla and cream. Add liquid to the dry ingredients and stir until everything is moistened and holds together.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and dust with flour. Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment and divide it in half. Make each half into a 6-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick. Brush each circle with cream, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Using a knife that you’ve run under cold water, slice each circle into 8 wedges. Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them so there is about a 1/2 -inch space between them. Place the scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. (Chilling the scones relaxes the gluten in the flour, which makes the scones more tender and allows them to rise better. It also chills the fat, which will make the scones flakier.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Yield: 16 small scones

Irish Cream Mousse

2 tsp. unflavored gelatin

2 tbsp. cold water

1/4 cup boiling water

1/2 cup sugar

3 tbsps. cocoa powder

1 1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled

1/2 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream, chilled

1 tsp. vanilla

Prep bowl and beaters by placing in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl; stir and let stand 1 minute to soften. Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Let stand to cool. Stir together sugar and cocoa in a large chilled mixing bowl, add heavy cream.

Beat at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually pour in Bailey’s, vanilla, and gelatin mixture, beating continuously at high speed until well blended and soft peaks form. Let stand 5 minutes to thicken. Spoon into 4-ounce serving dishes and place in refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour. Yield: 6 servings

Cinnamon Walnut Scones are ready for layering with Irish butter, jam and whipped cream.
Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at iwrite33@comcast.net.

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