Sunday, November 21, 2010

Crab Pate with Chives & Lemon on Irish Oatcakes

So, Thanksgiving is here (so fast, huh?) and the mind turns to turkey, squash, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, Macy's parade, polite distant relatives, and cranberry juice. But wait, what on earth will you have for an appetizer? How will you impress Auntie and prove to her that you are a whiz in the kitchen after all? Fear not, because after much thought I've decided to share with you an elegant, but strikingly different dish to possibly serve those awkward relatives that will have them talking about your hospitality all the way home...

Yes, it's 'Crab Pate with Chives & Lemon on Smoked Irish Oatcakes'....

Trust me, serve this with a crisp, cold glass of chardonnay as your guests arrive, and it's sure to kick-start the conversations on the right note! It's very different to the turkey & squash & pumpkin favorites, but then again why not choose to experiment?
I recently ordered a new product for the 'Ulster Kitchen', namely these wonderful smoked Irish Oatcakes, and they are very delicious. Especially when served as an appetizer like this that will enhance the platform of smokey oats. The crab meat, creme fraiche, lemon & horseradish shine when combined into a flavorful pate, then served on these bite sizes oatcakes.

Of course, this is a tasty piece of Irish cuisine, and even though none of the pilgrims were Irish, the Mayflower did sail past Ireland on it's way to Plymouth...and that must count for something, right?? OK, I tried...but let me encourage you to give this one a spin for your upcoming parties or events this holiday season. We will be serving them during our annual Christmas open house events, and are sure they will be a hit!
Enjoy your feasting!

Judith the Irish Foodie.

Crab Pate with Chives and Lemon on Irish Oat Cakes

• 1 8oz packet cream cheese
• ½ cup crème fraiche
• 1 shallot (finely chopped)
• 2 Tbsp chives (finely chopped)
• ½ tsp lemon zest
• 1 Tbsp lemon juice
• 1 Tbsp milk
• 1 tsp horseradish sauce
• ¼ tsp fine sea salt
• freshly ground black pepper
• 8 oz lump crab meat
• few chives (to garnish plus a little lemon zest)
• Irish Oatcakes (see bakery chapter)

How to make it:

1. Bring cream cheese to room temperature and then beat to soften with hand held electric mixer. Gently fold in the crème fraiche, shallot, lemon zest and juice, chives, milk, horseradish and salt and pepper.
2. Fold in the crab meat using a rubber spatula.
3. Refrigerate for about 2 hours before serving.
4. To serve place a teaspoon of crab pate on top of a buttered oatcake, a little lemon zest and ½’ piece of chive.

J the I F

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Apple, Cranberry & Pecan Morning Muffins

Being raised on a farm in Co. Armagh, the ‘orchard county’ of Ireland, I am always drawn to recipes that contain apples, particularly in the Fall. Makes me think of my mother’s warm kitchen and the aroma of apple pie, or tart as we knew it, wafting through the house. So, when I was working in New York City a few weeks ago, I discovered an absolutely delicious apple, cranberry and walnut muffin from the famous Magnolia Bakery. Super yummy indeed!...I made this delicacy my New York morning ritual, and, when I got back home to Atlanta I did my utmost to recreate the texture and flavors of this moist muffin, loaded up with tart green apple, cranberries and a crispy topping. Of course, I just had to switch the walnuts out for pecans as I am in Georgia, of course!

So, the red cranberries and the bright green skin of Granny Smith apples make these muffins a colorful contribution to holiday brunch parties or family gatherings, or just as a welcome indulgence on these crisp, cold mornings to munch on with your hot, hot coffee...

Packed with good anti-oxidants, give these beauties a go this Fall and let me know what you think!

Judith the Irish Foodie

Apple, Cranberry and Pecan Muffins

(makes 12)

• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• ½ cup whole wheat flour
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• ¼ tsp ground cloves
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 2 large eggs
• ¾ cup dark brown sugar
• ¼ cup vegetable oil plus 2 Tbsp melted butter
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1 large granny smith or any tart apple (1 ½ cups chopped with skins on)
• ½ cup cranberries
• 3/4 cup pecans (toasted and chopped)

(cinnamon topping)

• 3 Tbsp demerara sugar
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• 2 Tbsp melted butter

How to make it:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or line muffin tins with paper cups.
2. Combine flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and sieve in to a large bowl.
3. In another large bowl or cake mixer whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, melted butter and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the liquid ingredients and stir to combine. Fold in the apples, pecans and cranberries.
4. Use an ice cream scoop to spoon batter in to prepared muffin cups. Mix the melted butter with cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over muffin tops.
5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until muffins are firm to the touch.