03 March


Bailey’s Chips Brownies

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day

What a fun find at the grocery store—Bailey’s baking chips! They add a subtle bittersweetness of Irish whiskey and cream to brownies without much of the booziness. There is also a quarter cup of Bailey’s in these brownies. But the alcohol bakes out so this food is family friendly as well as festive, especially on the Feast Day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

Recipe
(Adapted from Clabber Girl)

For the brownies

  • 1 cup water, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup Bailey’s baking chips
  • ¼ cup Bailey’s Irish cream
  • 1 ½ cups flour, all purpose
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar, granulated white
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk

Directions

Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on the edges as handles to pick up the brownies from the pan after baking. Mist with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and Bailey’s baking chips. Microwave for a minute then mix until smooth. Stir in Irish cream. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and white sugar.

Mix in the cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In the melted Bailey’s bowl, beat in the vanilla, eggs and buttermilk.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven. Pick up the brownies with the foil handles. Set on a wire rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze/ganache.

For the glaze/ganache

  • 1 cup Bailey’s baking chips
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup Bailey’s Irish cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

In a microwave safe mixing bowl, combine Bailey’s baking chips, Irish cream, whipping cream and butter. Microwave in 20 second intervals for 3-4 times, stirring until smooth and melted.

Let the glaze/ganache cool slightly until thickened but still somewhat warm and runny. Spread evenly over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate to set the top. Slice into 9 large or 15 small squares, wiping the blade of the knife for each cut. Let the brownies come to room temperature before serving.

Notes

  • If Bailey’s baking chips are unavailable at local grocery stores, order them online. Or simply substitute with regular chocolate chips.
  • Search our blog for other Irish-inspired recipes for St. Patrick’s Day.

Posca

(Roman Beverage)

March 15: Ides of March

Highlander’s Mum is nearly 90 as of this blog post date. Her elixir for longevity is apple cider vinegar. She drinks that stuff to stay healthy and feel youthful. We tried to drink it daily like her but it is a strong taste that we just did not personally acquire. This ancient Roman beverage called posca is less harsh, with its simple yet healthy 3-ingredient mix—water, honey and red wine vinegar—which we made to mark the Ides of March.

Thanks to her vinegar drink (plus prayer, good genes and healthy habits), Highlander’s Mum is considered lucky with longevity. The Roman general and politician Julius Caesar was not so fortunate as his fate was being stabbed to death in 44 B.C. In high school literature class, we read about him in the classic Shakespeare tragedy (for those who forgot or do not know the story, do a simple search online for short summaries).

Try posca on the Ides of March. But beware of its briny-sweet mix taste.

Recipe
(Adapted from The Hamilton Spectator)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Directions

In a measuring cup, pour water. Stir in honey until dissolved. Stir in the red wine vinegar. Pour into glasses. Serve. 

Notes

  • Honey is harder to dissolve in colder water (ancient Romans did not have refrigerators or ice so we guess that they drank posca at room temperature).
  • Try other Roman recipes in our blog, such as saltimbocca alla Romana (veal Roman-style) and in ovis opalis (Roman boiled eggs).

Borscht

March 2, 2022: Ash Wednesday (Worldwide Day of Prayer and Fasting for Ukraine)

This post is dedicated to our friend Olga W. whose family is fighting for survival in Ukraine. Olga was Islander’s classmate when we lived in Illinois. We join others around the world in praying for peace in her country. We also pray for the Russians who do not support their government’s war with their neighbor; sometimes hatred is misplaced on the people because of their political leaders’ actions.

Borscht, which is believed to have originated in Ukraine (see Notes), is a vibrantly colored vegetable soup made with beets, cabbages, carrots, onions and potatoes. It was a dish that Olga would cook when Islander came to visit and stay with her in Indiana during spring break, which often fell on Lent Fridays. This budget-friendly soup is suitable as a meatless meal on Ash Wednesday as well. As the season of Lent begins, cook borscht as a sign of solidarity and support for Ukrainians and continue to pray for peace around the world.

Recipe

Inspired by Olga W.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shallots, chopped finely (may substitute for onion)
  • 2 large red beets, peeled and grated
  • ½ head of green cabbage, sliced finely
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6-7 cups water
  • Sour cream 
  • Dill, chopped (optional garnish)

Directions

Chop the shallots, grate the beets and slice the cabbage.

Grate the carrots and cube the potatoes. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Sautee the shallots until softened, around 5 minutes, being careful not to burn the bottom of the pot.

Stir in the beets, cabbage and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are softened, around 15 minutes. Stir in the potatoes. Season again with salt and pepper. Pour in the water, bring to a boil, stir then simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot with a dollop of sour cream and dill.

Notes

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