happy st. patrick’s day!

As promised, some of my favorite Irish recipes for celebrating one of my favorite Irish holidays (a.k.a. the only Irish holiday I celebrate)!

How are you spending yours? I had a bit of a late night last night, so Christian and I are staying in– no galavanting around the city in green attire for me this year.

I am excited, however, to have a whiskey root beer float. Some might scoff at the idea of a whiskey root beer float (I don’t know who these people are, but I imagine they exist). A whiskey root beer float is , in fact, a truly delightful dessert that is 0% authentic Irish and 100% delicious.

Have a fun day; don’t get pinched; and treat yourself to that root beer float or stout cake.

lv, molly

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 6-8 (and makes for great leftovers)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion , halved and sliced
2 large carrots (500g/1lb 2oz in total)
2 tbsp thyme chopped
200ml red wine
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 vegetable stock cubes
410g /14 oz. can green lentils or dried lentils that you’ve soaked overnight
950g / 4 cups sweet potatoes , peeled and cut into chunks
25g / 1-2 Tbl. butter
85g / a third of a cup sharp Irish cheddar, grated

Heat the oil in a pan, and cook the onion until golden. Add the carrots and all but a sprinkling of thyme. Pour in the wine, 150ml / 5oz. water and the tomatoes. Sprinkle in the stock cubes and simmer for 10 mins. Tip in the can of lentils, including their juice. Cover, and simmer for another 10 minutes until the carrots still have a bit of bite, and the lentils are pulpy. Meanwhile, boil the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes until tender; drain well; then mash with the butter and season to taste. Pile the lentil mixture into a pie dish; spoon the mash on top; then sprinkle over the cheese and remaining thyme.
Heat oven to 190C/ 375F. Cook for 20 minutes, until golden and hot all the way through.

Minty Peas

4 good-sized handfuls of fresh or frozen peas
1/2 a wine glass of white wine
1/2 a wine glass of water (I love that a wine glass is the measuring device!)
1 Tbl. butter
Handful of mint leaves

Place first 4 ingredients in a frying pan. Place the lid on top, & bring to a boil. Remove the lid, and simmer for a minute or two while you finely chop the mint leaves. Add the mint at the last minute, and serve right away.

Whole Grain Soda Bread (Irish Style– none of that white flour and raisins)

1 C whole grain flour
1 C all-purpose flour
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp superfine sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put a large pot and its lid into the oven. Cast iron are great for this, but stainless steel will do.
In a large bowl, mix the flours, sea salt, sugar, and baking together with your fingers. Pour in the liquid, bringing a soft dough together and, working quickly (the soda will start work immediately), shape into a shallow round loaf about 1/2″ thick.
Remove the pan from the oven, dust the inside of the pan lightly with flour, and lower in the dough. Cover with the lid and return to the oven.
The bread should be ready after 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave in place for 5 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool slightly before eating. Soda bread is best eaten warm.

Place first 4 ingredients in a frying pan. Place the lid on top, & bring to a boil. Remove the lid, and simmer for a minute or two while you finely chop the mint leaves. Add the mint at the last minute, and serve right away.

Whiskey Root Beer Float

4 ounces whiskey
6 ounces ice cold root beer
1 scoop vanilla ice cream

Pour the whiskey into a highball glass. Top with ice cold root beer and the vanilla ice cream.

… or Chocolate Guinness Cake if boozy root beer floats aren’t your thing!

thanksgiving recipes galore!

“Miss Molly, have you eaten meat AT ALL this week?” – student

“No, silly, I’m vegetarian.”

“How are you still alive?!?!?” – student

My family’s attitude toward vegetarianism once mirrored my 15-year-old student’s shock.

About a year ago, my family began to accept my vegetarianism without chalking it up to a whim or a hippy’s-foray into sustainability. Dare I say it, now I think they’re intrigued by the vegetarian lifestyle. I haven’t turned into a waif, and I feel full of energy and very healthy. I started bringing vegetarian options to family dinners, and people liked them! Novel! If you’re a vegetarian who feels chastised by her family, hit them with your best shot (read: bring something super delicious to dinner that will wow them).

Family dinners have subsequently become wonderful affairs. My mom made a wildly delicious red lentil soup last time. I made chana dal. My dad threw veggie burgers on the barbeque. Our family dinners feel more collaborative than they have in the past, and I’m very much looking forward to this year’s Thanksgiving. Time off, the potential for snow, and lots of cooking? I’m a happy lady.

Here are a few of my favorite healthy ideas for Thanksgiving. I think they’ll please even the most stringent carnivores among us. I hope you get to spend Thanksgiving with people you love (and who know how to cook.) lv, molly

Speaking of families… a huge congratulations to my older brother and his fiance on their engagement!

Appetizers:

Baked Holiday Brie
Crostini
Crispy Kale Chips

Sides:

Kale and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts
Butternut Squash Salad with Cranberry Dressing
Oven Roasted Cauliflower Florets
Baked Onions (not your g-ma’s variety!)
Herbed Haricots Verts
Roasted Carrots with Orange, Garlic, + Thyme

Main Dishes:

Swiss Onion Quiche
Shepherd’s Pie
Butternut Squash with Whole Wheat, Wild Rice, and Onion Stuffing
Brown Rice + Kale Gratin with Beecher’s Flagship Cheese
Tempeh + Wild Mushroom Fricasse
Swiss Chard Gratin with Breadcrumbs
Onion + Fennel Gratin

Desserts:

Apple + Blackberry Kuchen
Apple Cranberry Pie
Pecan Pie
Cranberry Thumbprint Cookies