Once, I spent a St. Patrick’s Day in France. I saw the Mona Lisa. I ate a my first ever crepe (Nutella was an excellent choice) and shared a Powerade with my significant other. (Wow, I look a bit different now!)
No one in Paris cared or mentioned St. Patrick’s Day except our hostel-mates. Two days later, we flew back to Manchester, UK. The streets around the U of M and MMU campuses were still a wreck for the St. Paddy’s Day destruction. I think I prefer the calm,-eat-some-good-food-and-wear-a-wee-bit-of-green methods.
That’s right. Do some yoga, run a little, blog a little, and avoid the pub-crawlers at all costs.
Our meal last night consisted of a very, very easy stew, a standard soda bread and a bit of dessert.
Cassie’s Simple Potato Stew (Serves 6)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 medium potatoes, cubed (I don’t peel mine if they are organic–just scrub well)
- 4 carrots, chopped
- 5 stalks celery, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 T Earth Balance
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup stout (we did use Guinness–so if you have no gray areas with your vegetarianism, find a fish-bladder free stout)
- 4 cups vegetable broth (or water)
- Melt Earth Balance (or use oil or butter if you prefer) in dutch oven or large sauce pan
- Add onion and saute until translucent.
- Add garlic and saute for 2 more minutes.
- Add potatoes, carrots, and celery. Give a stir. Toss in parsley and bay leaves.
- Add stout and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are tender.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This was really delicious for being so easy and not having oodles of seasonings. You need to serve this with soda bread. I love soda bread. It’s so easy to make and adapt. We had rye bread with caraway seeds.
You can make soda bread without a special soda bread dish, but I’ve got one. So I use it every time. (Thanks for that, Bev–you probably didn’t realize how much use I’d get out of it).
The cake we had for dessert was a recipe of my own. And I made it hours before I noticed that 101 Cookbooks happened to post a Chocolate Stout Cake. I swear it. The recipes are somewhat similar, but I cut out the dairy and eggs, and used sugar for my sweetener. Odd, I know, considering I still used Guinness (which again is not even considered vegetarian by many). Oh, well. I still tried. Pre-powdered shot below:
Almost Vegan Chocolate Stout Cake (Makes too many servings for a 2-person household)
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance
- 1 cup stout beer (find a vegan one if you’d like)
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 2 cups unrefined sugar
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 flax “egg”: 1 T ground flax mixed into 3 T water
- 3/4 cup cashew “sour cream”: soak 3/4 cup raw cashews in water until soft, blend with 1 T lemon juice until smooth.
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Melt Earth Balance into stout beer in medium sauce pan on stovetop.
- Mix in sugar and cocoa powder
- Add in flax egg, cashew cream, and apple sauce. Remove mixture from heat.
- Add the flour to a separate, large bowl. Create a well for the liquid.
- Add the liquid and stir until all flour is moistened.
- Pour the cake batter into a well-oiled or silicone dish. You can use a 9×9 pan, a bundt pan, or cupcakes–whatever you prefer.
- Bake for 50 minutes, or until fork comes out clean.
I added a glaze made of almond milk, vanilla extract, chocolate syrup, and powdered sugar. There was no recipe or measuring for me in this step, so you can make to your own liking!
Because this cake is eggless, it is more fudge-like than many cakes. It’s dense and moist. Which I prefer.
Yes, I did have a piece for breakfast this morning. But hey, it’s whole wheat and has apple sauce. It’s got to be healthier than a number of doughnuts and muffins on the market, right?
Now that I’ve been thinking over my St. Patrick’s Days, I remembered another traveling one! During grad school, I was able to take a spring break trip with Jordan and his sister, Emilee, to Peru. Though mudslides kept us from Machu Picchu, we managed to have an excellent time.
Maybe there is something to be said for venturing out on St. Paddy’s….