All Posts By

Margaret M. Johnson

Food & Drink

Giving Thanks for Irish Cheese

If you’re still looking to add an Irish “touch” to your American Thanksgiving meal, look no further than this delicious starter featuring Cashel Blue, Ireland’s first (and most delicious) blue cheese. This recipe comes from award-winning chef Kevin Dundon, proprietor of Dunbrody House in County Wexford, and is part of a collection of Cashel Blue recipes from Kerrygold, who now imports the cheese.

You’ll find other recipes featuring this cheese in my cookbook Favorite Flavors of Ireland; signed copies available at www.irishcook.com

WILD MUSHROOM-BLUE CHEESE TOASTIES

SERVES 6 Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Poach Pears for Lovely Seasonal Dessert

Pears are one of the world’s most ancient cultivated fruits. There are over 3,000 known pear varieties grown around the world in temperate zones (peak season is July through January), each with a distinctive character, texture, and flavor.

The most popular and recognizable pears are the yellow Bartlett, with a true pear shape, followed by the elegant, egg-shaped Anjou, (also called d’Anjou), the graceful Bosc, pudgy Comice, and tiniest Forelle.

Pears poached in red wine or Port make an elegant-but-simple dessert, but this sweeter method of poaching in white wine is a pleasant alternative.

Serve the pears with Italian mascarpone, tangy crème fraîche, blue cheese, or lemon curd whipped cream. You’ll find recipes like this in my cookbook Favorite Flavors of Ireland; signed copies available at www.irishcook.com.

Continue Reading

Food & Drink

Almost Time to Celebrate Samhain

The ancient Celtic harvest feast called Samhain (pronounced SAH-win) marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, the “darker half” of the year. It’s celebrated on October 31-November 1, which is nearly halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.

It was suggested in the late nineteenth century that it was the “Celtic New Year,” and over time, Samhain and All Saints’/All Souls’ Days merged to create our modern celebration of Halloween.

Several foods are traditionally eaten in Ireland at this time, especially Barmbrack, a yeast fruit bread. According to tradition, hidden in the Halloween Barmbrack were tokens to foretell the future — a ring for the bride-to- be, a thimble for the one who would never marry, and a small piece of cloth indicating the one who would be poor. Continue Reading