Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An Irish Feast (Gone Awry)

Remember that Irish-inspired St. Patrick's Day meal I said I would post? Well, here it is. It’s taken me a while to get back to posting, I think because I’m still recovering from cooking this meal. Really, it was simple and shouldn’t have taken that long (in my head), but I didn’t get started cooking until close to 6:00 – which is highly problematic when you have two little ones. I cranked it out as hard as I could, but we still ate around 7:30 – again, highly problematic with little ones.

Here’s what I cooked:

Grilled turkey sausage (easy)
Boiled cabbage (easy)
Mashed potatoes (easy)
Shortbread (easy)
Chocolate Mousse with Irish Cream (supposedly easy)

In the end, it was a tasty meal despite my dessert failures. The mousse was a last-minute idea with only a two-minute consultation with a recipe. The recipe used heavy whipping cream, melted chocolate and powdered sugar – and I added Irish cream. Sounded simple, except for getting the cream to turn into whipped cream took some time. Meanwhile, I’m trying not to burn the chocolate, have the potatoes boil over or burn the sausage on the grill outside.

The mousse recipe called for folding melted chocolate into the whipped cream which proved harder than I thought. Upon further reflection, I think this recipe just plain sucks. How do you fold something warm into something as delicate as whipped cream and not have it turn into a disgusting-looking mess? Any tips here? Giving up, I whipped the chocolate into the cream which resulted in turning it all to liquid. Oh well, the end result was what I shall call a chocolate dipping sauce or pot de crème. It tasted quite good despite its consistency.

What a mess! I can't even style this thing.
Buttery shortbread is one of my favorite things in the whole world. I quickly tried to whip up a batch to serve alongside the mousse, I mean pot de crème. Butter, flour, sugar – how hard can it be? I didn’t have any plain flour so I used white whole wheat, and I forgot to add vanilla in the rush. The result? Kind of weird shortbread cookies. I’m trying to substitute whole wheat flour for plain, but perhaps it doesn’t work on super simple recipes where you can really taste the flour. I think I’m going to have a stash of good ol’ plain white flour for baking shortbread and Southern style biscuits!

Despite the chaos in the kitchen, we finally sat down to eat a pretty good meal out on the patio on a lovely spring-like St. Patrick’s eve. Next year I will plan better!

Stay tuned for more cooking adventures (and misadventures) soon …

1 comment:

  1. Tip on the chocolate and cream thing (although it does take some planning ahead) - pour hot cream over chocolate, stir to combine. Refrigerate to chill - then whip. Lovely whipped ganache (slightly different from mousse, but still tasty).

    It still looks delicious (the whole meal).