Lulu's Irish Soda Bread

St Patrick’s day to me conjures up many fun memorable moments. As a kid it was the St Patrick’s Day parade in NYC, wearing all green even down to the elastic in my hair. Trying to find a four leaf clover in our grass, and calling my cousin Patty Powers Smith to say Happy Birthday!

My father always wearing his green hat from Ireland, which now proudly sits a top the bust on my bar in the living room.

Memories are travels for the soul. A St. Patrick's Day wouldn't be complete without some Irish classics, so grab your Guiness and make my Irish Soda Bread!

Lulu's Irish Soda Bread:

Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk,
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup julienned apricots
½ cup crystalized ginger

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer add the butter and the flour mixture on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour. With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk and the egg in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture.
Now add the cranberries, apricots and crystalized ginger. Mix to combine.
The mixture may seem a bit wet but dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. You may want to make 2 smaller loaves out of your dough. Place the loaf or loaves on the prepared sheet pan with parchment paper.
Optional: Brush with egg wash: 1 tsp milk and 1 whole egg mix with fork. This will make your loaf shiny.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.
 

Options for serving (all delicious): 
Serve warm with butter.
Eat plain.
Toast and put a triple creme brie on it with a drizzle of truffle honey.

My favorite butter to use at the moment is Kerrygold. Smother a warm piece of fresh bread with this butter and it is heaven.

My favorite butter to use at the moment is Kerrygold. Smother a warm piece of fresh bread with this butter and it is heaven.

My March Column in House Beautiful - Essential Items In My Pantry

In every pantry, you should always have a few go-to items that you can use in case you need to make a quick meal or host some unexpected guests. I always have guests stopping by for Sneeky's, so I like to keep some essentials on hand that are great for entertaining. 

 

 

 

My Party Staples:

  • Whoppers 
  • Entube
  • Ortiz Tuna
  • Luke's White Truffle & Sea Salt Chips
  • Roasted Nuts
  • Harissa Pepper Paste
  • Cipriani Pappardelle
  • Dang Onion Chips
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Honey
  • Sourdough Pretzels
  • Dried Mangoes
  • Urbani White Truffle Salt
  • Colman's Mustard
  • Frankies 457 Olive Oil
  • San Marzano Tomatoes 

 

Find out why these are my party essentials in the March issue of House Beautiful!

The Oscars: How You Should Prepare

Oscar Sunday is just about one week away. Whether you're more interested in who wears what, or who wins what, you should definitely have a Sneeky in hand for the occasion. 

Try my Oscar Spritz: An easy and elegant drink to serve to any guests or viewing parties next weekend! Make it this weekend to test it out and it'll be the real winner of The Oscars.

Super Bowl Sunday: Sneekys and Treats to Get You Through

Super Bowl Sunday: Falcons vs. Patriots is bound to be a kicker! No matter who you're rooting for or how the game plays out, you'll definitely need a Sneeky in hand and easy-delicious snacks to munch on. 

 

 

If you're a Patriots Fan...

The Dark & Stormy

in the event that Roger Goodell gives the Super Bowl Trophy to Tom Brady post-deflatgate

  • 1.5 ounces Gosling's Black Seal Rum or any other dark rum
  • Splash of bitters
  • 1/2 cup of ginger beer
  • 1/2 lime 

to garnish: take a lime and paint white lines laces and stripes like a football           (pictured right)

 

 

If you're rooting for the Falcons...

Atlanta is known for it's juicy peaches. For the Falcons, make a Peach Margarita Sneeky! I happened to stumble on the most wonderful peaches at a farmer's market in LA, but frozen peaches will do just the trick!

  • 1 cup of frozen peaches, pureed (or fresh if you can find 'em)
  • 1 cup of tequila
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup of triple sec
  • 1/4 cup of St. Germain elderflower

 

Something for everyone:

Popcorn with Kale-Pesto and Aged Gouda

  • 1 bowl of popped popcorn
  • 1 cup of aged gouda 
  • 1 cup of kale pesto (recipe below)

For the Kale Pesto:

  • 4 cups of kale
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 1 cup of freshly grated parmesan 
  • salt and pepper to taste

combine all ingredients in a Cuisinart and pulse until blended 

 

Panetone's Color of the Year: Greenery

Greenery is Panetone's Color of the Year, symbolizing new beginnings and revitalization.

With a divided social and political 2017, Greenery invokes a sense of calm and tranquility that will inspire you in the new year. The color is a versatile shade that adds a bright pop of color to neutrals, metallics, and darker shades. In the new year, I have incorporated it into my cooking and florals! 

 

Check out how I'm embracing Pantone's Color of the Year in my newest column in House Beautiful. Frozen sweet peas never looked (or tasted) so good with my Sweet Pea Bruschetta. It's delicious with crackers, or it can be used as a base for soups, sandwiches, and more!

Sweet Pea Spread

  • 2 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger (use a Microplane)
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons yellow miso
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 pound frozen baby peas
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Put everything but cashews, peas, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until blended. Add the cashews and 1 1/2 cups of peas. Pulse until chunky, then pulse in the rest of the peas to your desired consistency. Season to taste. To make this canapé, dollop the spread on crackers of your choice.

How to Use This Sweet Pea Spread

  1. Make sweet pea soup! Just add chicken broth and veggies.
  2. Plate chicken or fish on top of it for a pop of beautiful color.
  3. Mix it into pasta, adding Parmesan and lemon zest.
  4. Smear it on a sandwich as a healthy condiment.
  5. Swirl it with sour cream for a quick dip. Fantastic!

Bite-Size Comfort Food Is Exactly What Your Christmas Party Needs

Do you know what guests go crazy over when I'm hosting a party — even when I serve oysters, caviar and foie gras? The kiddie comfort food, like maca­roni and cheese. Especially when people are drinking — please! It's what they want.

Ultimately you want to put a smile on your guests' faces, and these recipes do it. They look so cute in their mini versions, and of course they're absolutely delicious!

Orzo Mac & Cheese

Serves 8

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 6 sage leaves, torn
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons truffle oil
  • 1 cup coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1¼ cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 16-ounce box orzo, cooked
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1¼ cups fresh breadcrumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 375º Fahrenheit. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, then add the sage and wine; cook for 2 minutes more. Increase heat to medium-high and add the cream, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low for about 5 minutes, still stirring. Remove from heat.
  2. Stir in the lemon juice, nutmeg, truffle oil, cheddar cheese and 1 cup of the Parmesan. Mix with orzo; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide the mixture into eight 5-ounce ramekins. Mix breadcrumbs with remaining Parmesan and sprinkle over each, then bake until bubbling and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Taco Tartlets

Makes 24

Shells

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
  • 2 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Filling

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mild hot sauce
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons green scallions, sliced
  • 1 cup crushed Doritos
  1. Preheat oven to 425º Fahrenheit. In a bowl, mix beef, taco seasoning mix and ice water with hands. Press into bottoms and sides of a mini-muffin pan.
  2. In another bowl, mix all filling ingredients together. Place a spoonful of filling into each shell, mounding slightly. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
  3. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until meat is cooked through (if using a regular muffin pan, bake for 15 minutes). Remove tartlets from pan with the tip of a knife. Serve warm, or let cool and freeze for later use.

Lamb Sliders

Makes 30

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Canola oil spray
  • 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
  • 15 mini brioche buns, halved and toasted
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  1. In a bowl, mix together the lamb, mint, garlic, cumin, Parmesan, red pepper flakes and lime juice. Using a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon, form 30 sliders.
  2. Heat a grill pan to medium-high and spray it with canola oil. Grill sliders for 2 minutes per side, or until done.
  3. Brush cooked sliders with pomegranate molasses, place on brioche buns and garnish with feta and pomegranate seeds.

Cashew-Blackberry Toasts

  • Sourdough bread or French baguette
  • Cashew butter
  • Blackberry jam
  • Fresh blackberries, sliced into rounds
  1. Slice bread 1/4 inch thick, toast and spread with cashew butter while hot.
  2. Drizzle with jam and garnish with blackberry rounds.

Get Ready to Party With Some Persimmon Punch

 

Everything I like is in this punch! I had House Beautiful's 120th anniversary in mind when I created it. Persimmon has been an autumn favorite in America since the 1800s, and nothing says 'party!' like punch. Plus, it's easy because guests help themselves. Make it extra pretty by adding cranberry and rosemary-filled ice cubes, and top with dehydrated persimmon slices — they look like little flowers!

Permission Punch

Serves 6 to 8

  • 9 ounces dry gin, such as Ransom Spirits
  • 5 ounces persimmon syrup (see recipe below)
  • 6 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 bottle dry sparkling rosé

I like all ingredients very cold, so combine the gin, persimmon syrup and lime juice in a pitcher and place in the refrigerator; keep the bottle of sparkling rosé refrigerated separately. When ready to serve, pour everything into a punch bowl.

Permission Syrup

  • 2 cups cubed persimmon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid thickens slightly. Strain syrup into a jar. (The remaining persimmon is delicious — scoop it over ice cream, use as a jam or mix into whipped cream.)

 

Truffle and Scallop Pasta

When I cook this pasta for a dinner party, I know I have a winner - the secret is my light cream sauce. The best thing about it? It tastes even better the next day, if you can believe it. So I make the sauce in advance, then whip up the pasta and sear the scallops before serving. In the fall, I elevate the dish by adding shaved black truffles. It's so easy, and they make it extra delicious! Click Truffle and Scallop Pasta for the recipe.