Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

First of all, welcome to the new home of Cute and Delicious! I’m really excited to start this off with a great recap of some Saint Patrick’s Day feasting.

For Shawn’s birthday this year, I gave him a number of tokens to be redeemed for favors or treats including meals and bike rides. Despite the fact that he has had a few months to use them, he has yet to come up with anything to trade them in for. That is, until Saint Patrick’s day. The first token was used for a full Irish feast day.

We started off the day with beans on Irish Soda bread toast and some smoked apple sage Field Roast Sausage . I’m not usually one to eat particularly hearty breakfasts (although I am a huge fan of toast) but this was a very satisfying way to start the day. The first time I had ever had beans on toast was actually in Belfast, and I’ve only had a it a few times since then. The beans were just slightly sweet and went really well with the soft, dense bread. We’ve tried other flavors of the grain sausages before and, previously, I have not been a fan. The apple sage sausage was perfect though. It had a very light flavor and a subtle sweetness to it.

For lunch, we had a picnic, since I only had a bit of spare time on my lunch break. I tried out the recipe from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen for Colcannon Puffs. I was very excited about mixing kale and potatoes, two of my favorites, and making them into adorable little toasted bites. I was so excited, in fact, that threw the kale in the food processor and blended to a puree instead of chopped leafy chunks. When I mashed it together with the potatoes, I had truly green potato puffs. I loved the texture of these, soft in the middle and slightly crispy on the outside, with a noticeable lightness. My only problem was that they were extremely salty, which is saying a lot coming from me, because I love salt. I didn’t even use salt in the water to make the potatoes so I would definitely cut down the seasoning a bit next time around.

We enjoyed these in the greenery of Griffith Park, along with some leftover beans, toast and sausage from breakfast. Shawn also made a great nutritional yeast cheese sauce to top everything off.

For dinner I busted out my crock pot and made an Irish stew. Sometimes I forget how amazing crock pots are. It’s great to be able to throw all the ingredients in and just let it cook away all day without having to do a thing. This stew was hearty and filling. All the vegetables were soft and flavorful. The other great thing about this stuff is that it’s even better the next day, it thickens up just a bit and makes it even more wonderful. The recipe is kind of a hodgepodge of things but you can check it out below. The only change I would probably make is to make sure the seitan is cut into small pieces so that it doesn’t overshine the vegetables. I would also recommend grilling the seitan a bit before adding so it has a little extra flavor.

Finally, for dessert we had apple bread pudding. The last of the Irish soda bread was put to use in the making of this recipe found in The Almost No Fat Holiday Cookbook. Since the slices of bread were a bit thicker than some pre-sliced bread, the top layer did not come out so much like pudding but a bit more like french toast.  Even still, it was amazingly tasty. A squishy bread pudding on the bottom with a layer of soft green apples, then a firmer flavored bread layer topped with a caramelly brown sugar sauce. I’ve actually never had bread pudding before, which I’m finding hard to believe myself, considering how much I love bread, and I was highly impressed with the way this came out.

At the end of the day I was so full I can’t even tell you. So full of bread and potatoes. The soda bread was by far the best part, especially considering how simple it is to make. I’ll definitely be trying out the stew again, and experimenting with some more crock pot recipes.

Hope everyone had a wonderful St. Patty’s!

Irish Stew
3 cups vegetable broth

1 can potato leak soup

1 package mushroom gravy mix

16 oz sliced mushrooms

1 cup seitan chunks

1 cup burger crumbles

4 small potatoes peeled and cubed

1/2 large yellow onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1/2 cup peas

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried parsley

1/2  tsp rubbed sage

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp flour

1 Tbsp olive oil

Throw all the ingredients in your crock pot, stir and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours.