Monday, December 13, 2010

Ulster Kitchen Festive Open House

This past weekend we opened our home in the spirit of Christmas and welcomed all kinds of friends, neighbors, and customers for food, fun & general festive jolly making! This has become an annual tradition for us, and we just love it. OK, I admit it, for some folks, having 70 people through your home on a given day may not be your idea of fun, but for is!

My friends Deborah, Linda & Jane came over to help and we kept a steady stream of wonderful Irish food, tea, and goodies going without fail throughout the day. We served soups, smoked oatcakes with crab, Irish cheeses, a wonderful new chicken dish I've been working on (future blog entry!) all kinds of Irish shortbread, and of course my new 'hot ticket item', my Irish vanilla butter fudge, with white chocolate & cranberries. yum.

We also enjoyed the wondrous and soothing talents of Angie Beamis through the day as she played some very beautiful Celtic Christmas music on the Irish harp. There is just something about the beauty of this instrument that has to be experienced. Somehow, it's good for the soul!

So, fun was had by all...and if you missed out, the good news is we're going to do it again this coming Saturday!

so, mark your calendars, and plan to drop by (if you're in the ATL area) for more Irish festive goodness, and pa rouse our latest Ulster Kitchen offerings while you're here. Our new products make the perfect gifts!

Merry Christmas everyone, and happy shopping!

Judith, the Irish Foodie.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Festive Orange & Cranberry Chicken

Sing with me now....'Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la la la! And to cook with orange and cranberry, fa la la la la, la, la...'

Yes, it's December and just like everyone else I know, I'm not overly thrilled with the commercial side of 'The holidays' as they are known of here in the USA, but I still adore Christmas, and for many reasons. I love to cook and entertain, I love to give & receive gifts. I love the pageantry of dressing up for parties and gatherings. I love the decorations & aromas of fresh pine & mulled wine, and I love the message of Christmas. So for me, this is a time to celebrate. A time to invite friends & neighbors over to share in the magic of Christmas, and I love dreaming up new festive recipes to enjoy this comforting and exciting time of year. So, here is one of my favorites;

'Festive Orange & Cranberry Chicken'.

This festive dish looks good, smells good, tastes good and is good at any time of year, but in December, when ripe New England cranberries are in the stores, the combination of tangy orange & tart cranberry scream for Christmas. Best of all, this recipe is relatively easy to make, which is a blessing at this time of year when everyone has just too much to do. You can serve this wonderful dish with fluffy rice, or potato-au-gratin or with a simple green salad. Your choice, just serve with friends and enjoy.

So, plan your party. Send the invites. Find that 'awkward' snowman sweater. Put another log on the roaring fire and cook up a storm this Christmas, making it a season to remember for years to come! Have a go at this tasty festive dish and you won't be disappointed.

Judy the Irish Foodie

'Festive Orange & Cranberry Chicken'.

• 6 Chicken breast fillets
• 6 Tbsp flour
• ¼ tsp ground ginger (or ½ tsp grated fresh ginger)
• kosher salt and pepper
• 1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
• 4 Tbsp Butter
• ¼ cup Brown sugar
• 3 oranges (1 1/3 cup) freshly squeezed orange juice
• 1 ½ tsp of orange zest
• 2 oz (¼ cup) of Chicken stock
• 4 oz (1 cup) fresh cranberries
• 6 slices of orange (for garnish)

How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine flour and ginger. Season chicken fillets with salt and pepper and then coat in 3 Tbsp flour and ginger. Heat 1 Tbsp of butter and 1 Tbsp of oil in skillet and sear seasoned chicken breasts on medium high heat until golden brown, (about 1 minute each side).
3. Remove the chicken from the pan, and place in a 9x13” casserole dish. Zest and squeeze oranges. Add the remaining 3 Tbsp of butter to the pan and melt before adding the remaining 3 Tbsp flour and ginger. Stir together and cook for about 1 minute, as you would do when making a roux, before adding orange juice, zest and chicken stock, salt and pepper and brown sugar. Strain sauce over chicken breasts. Stir in cranberries and pour over chicken in casserole dish.
4. Bake in oven covered for the first 20 minutes, and then add cranberries and bake uncovered for the final 15 minutes.
5. Garnish with a slice of twisted Orange.

Ho! Ho! Ho! y'all....