Sunday, March 20, 2011

St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday was St. Paddy's Day, and Gretchen made a fabulous Irish meal! We had some asparagus from the Ojai famer's market last weekend, and first she roasted it with meyer lemon olive oil, rosemary, and salt and pepper. When I got home from work, hungry as a horse as usual, she gave me a pan of asparagus to munch on. They were delicious, and much healthier than the cheese and bread I'd usually head to for a quick fix. Roasting asparagus gives them depth of flavor, and the tops were nice and crispy.

Gretchen also made a bowlful of absolutely delicious braised radishes for us to much on. I could not believe how good these were. I would usually only use radishes as a garnish for a taco, or throw a few into a lettuce salad. This radish dish was an Alice Waters recipe. The radishes are sauteed in butter and brown sugar, and then braise in water and the radish greens, and a little white wine vinegar. The radish bulbs come out creamy and delicate, and the greens are slightly salty and very flavorful.

Next we had colcannon, an irish dish that is typically made from kale or cabbage and mashed potatoes. Gretchen used the swiss chard and cabbage from our CSA box, and some potatoes from the store. The cabbage and chard were chopped up and boiled, and then mixed in with mashed potatoes. My favorite cookbook of all time, The Ultimate Vegetarian Cookbook by Roz Denny, had a colcannon recipe with nestled baked eggs. Gretchen put the colcannon in a square plan and made little indentations for each egg. Then she baked it until the eggs were set but the yolks were still a little runny. The result was delicious-- creamy, yolky eggs mixed with mashed potatoes and greens. It was a simple but lovely dish.

Finally, the dessert. I would have paid $15 for this dessert in a restaurant and been totally happy. Gretchen made a sherbert from tangerines and oranges from my parents' trees in the San Fernando Valley using almond milk and sugar, and then followed an Alice Waters recipe for chocolate sauce made from baking chocolate. Finally, she added a stroke of Gretchen-riffic brilliance! She made homemade whipped cream and added orange flower water. If you've never had it, orange flower water has a strong floral aroma. A little goes a long way. Think of putting your nose inside an orange blossom-- that's what it is like. Orange flower water is available in Middle Eastern stores, and it's usually only a couple of dollars for a quantity that will last you years. It's also a key ingredient in a lovely classic cocktail called the Ramos Gin Fizz.

She layered the tangerine-orange sherbet, bittersweet chocolate sauce, and orange flower water whipped cream into wine glasses. It was perfect.

This is the kind of meal that makes me not miss going out to eat at all. We each had probably four servings of vegetables in this mea, and it was absolutely delicious and satisfying.


  1. I am now drooling thinking about those tangerines. Is it legal to mail some to me?

    I actually made that colcannon recipe from the cookbook that you gave me! It was pretty tasty.

  2. Haha, I think it's legal! The oranges are really good too. Next time we go to mom and dad's house we'll go on the roof and pick a bunch of tangerines.