From the Archives: St Patrick’s Day

This Post was taken from my old blog Tomato Tots. I can not believe I have been blogging for over 2 yrs now, in truth it seems like it has been much much longer.

March 17th 2010 This was our menu.

The little green guy was a craft I made with my then 3 yr old twins.

Our Menu

I’ve been getting into the St. Patrick’s day thing this year. First it was because this will be fun, we can wear green, make green crafts, and eat green foods. Then it occurred to me, our last name is Carroll. There has been some family debate if there ever was an O in the front but regardless my husband’s great Grandfather is of true blue(green) Irish heritage (does not make me Irish at ALL).
 Menu:
Salad of Curly Lettuce, Pears, with a herbaceous Dressing.
Rustic Green Soda Bread.
Potato & Leek soup.
Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with minty green Icing!

Yesterday was all about the Leprechaun, the naughty little trickster character who is rumoured to keep a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. First he destroyed my living room by flinging blankets and pillows everywhere, then my kitchen by smearing green icing from wall to floor to ceiling and then by hiding the tots’ numerous toys causing mayhem and panic through out the entire house! Tried as we might, we could not catch him. We even made a meal in his honor but he only teased us with a glimpse… Ahh… maybe next year.

Truth be told I think our meal was not glutenous enough for the little fellow. Instead it reflected the amazingly beautiful day we had, starting our feast with a sweet salad.
Green & Orange Fruity Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette
  • head of curly lettuce, washed & torn up into small bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 of peas in the pods, cleaned and cut into on the diagonal in 1in pieces
  • 1 each apple & pear, sliced thinly
  • royal* one orange
Dressing
  • 1tbsp minced shallot
  • 1tbsp dijon mustard
  • three to one olive oil and sherry vinegar
  • pinch of salt and pepper
Combine lettuce, peas, apple, pear and orange in a serving bowl. For dressing, combine, shallot, mustard, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a blender and blend.
Serve dressing on the side in cute kid friendly vessels or dress at the table for the adult crowd.
* To royal an orange cut top and bottom off, remove outer skin and pith and slice wedges out between the ribs. This gets easier with practice, but make sure you use a sharp paring knife.
And then a veggie rich soup.
Mr Potatohead Leek soup
  • 1/2 cup peeled & chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 half diced medium onion
  • 3 cloves lightly mashed garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter*, divided
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, less if you use fresh.
  • salt and pepper to taste (I very rarely give quantities for S&P unless it is for baking)
  • 1/4 cup vermouth
  • 4 cups leeks, cleaned diced, light green and white parts only.
  • 1 1/2 lbs of potatoes** cleaned & peeled (optional) and chopped into cubes.
  • water or stock to cover, about 6 cups.

Sweat chopped vegetables thyme, salt and pepper, minus the potato,  in a large sauce pan on medium low heat with 2 tbsp of butter and olive oil until soft with lid on.

After about 15 minutes and vegetables are soft add 1/4 cup vermouth, stir and add potatoes. Cover with water (or stock) bring to a boil and then turn down to a low. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are completely soft and falling apart on their own. Blend with an immersion blender or in batches using blender or food processor, remembering to cool first. If using a blender or processor return to pot, reheat and check for seasoning.
To serve add a knob of *butter to each bowl of soup if not using a fatty stock.
** I used starchy gnarly potatoes and had to remove the skins due to dirt and scars! Mr Potatohead was spared.
last but not least…
For a day I didn’t even think of a week ago, there was a lot of work and preparation that went into it.
First the tots and I made little felt leprechauns… this is the surviving, one, they ripped the beards, pipes and faces off of their own. And then we baked. The tots made a Green Soda Loaf with their babysitter as I ran off to get supplies for the truly sinful part of our Saint Patrick’s Day dinner, Chocolate Cupcakes with Minty Green Icing. My babysitter comes once a week so I can have some baby free time to run errands and do yoga… She brings all sorts of activities for them such as this bread recipe.
Green Bread

4 cups all-purpose flour

4 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons oil

1 3/4 cup of milk

1 lemon

1 egg

Green food coloring (optional)

Mix milk and the juice of one lemon and set aside to rest for 5 minutes. Mix flour, sugar, soda, and salt with dough attachment in Kitchenaid.  Beat egg into milk and lemon mixture.  While the mixer is going, slowly add in milk mixture, oil, and coloring.  Let it knead in the mixer for a few minutes.  Form into two balls, sprinkle on some sugar, cut an x into the tops.  Bake for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees F, or until a knife comes out clean.

The milk and lemon mixture can be replaced with the more traditional buttermilk if you have it on hand.

For the cupcakes I used Mark Bittman’s (yup, there he is again, maybe he is my own leprechaun… he keeps popping up) Chocolate Layer Cake with Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting: You will notice I do not spare the butter in my cooking and these recipes are no exception.

Chocolate Cupcakes*
  • 8 tbsp softened butter (1 stick)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (or cake flour, optional)
  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, seperated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 F, grease muffin tins and line with paper cups* This is a great job for little hands while you are attending the chocolate.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler ove the stove on a low heat. Stirring until nearly melted, removed bowl from heat (the chocolate will finish melting on its own). Give a brief stir making the chocolate smooth and velvety.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add in one egg yoke at a time and continue beating. Add in vanilla and finally the chocolate. Combine in a separate bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture alternating with the milk.
Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks and then gently fold into the cake batter. Fill the lined tins and bake for 16-18 minutes or more depending on the size of the tins.
*This recipe made 36 mini cupcakes but will make two 9″ layers (bake for 25-30 minutes).
For icing, also adapted from a  recipe in  Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything.

Minty Green Icing
Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting

  • 8 tbsp softened butter (1 stick)
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 4 tbsp milk (6 tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 tsp mint extract (2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • green food colouring (optional)
Add the extract to the milk.
Beat butter in a mixer then add sugar alternating with the milk.  Slowly one drop at a time add in food colouring until the desired colour of green.
Using a bag with a large tip, ice the cupcakes and hand out to all of your friends because you will have way to many to eat!
photos by me, there would be some of them icing but I had to help hold the bags!
thank you to our babysitter Michelle for the Soda bread recipe and my littler leprechauns for all of their hard work and taste testing.
So that is it….  2 yrs ago…. now  I am off to make some oatmeal for my tots….
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