Thursday, March 25, 2010

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I have been making these all the time lately. I came up with this simple treatment for sweet potatoes following the technique in another recipe that uses butternut squash. This method carmalizes and sweetens the potatoes for an extra yummy side that compliments most meals. If you are coming to my house for dinner or Sunday, get ready to try these! You can also use regular potatoes for easy and delicious "fries."


Sweet potatoes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Other seasonings as desired (salt and pepper alone is so good that I haven't ventured further, but let me know if you come up with a killer combo)


Cut sweet potatoes into ~1" square pieces. Place in a large bowl. Pour in just enough oil to coat all potato pieces. Salt and pepper to taste, stirring to mix well. Place potato pieces on a regular (not non-stick) baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes or until outsides are starting to brown and the insides are tender. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Caputo's Irish Dinner (Corn Beef and Cabbage)

This is my favorite way to prepare corned beef.

  • 1, 3 to 5 lb. corned beef
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 8 small red potatoes, cleaned and peel removed from center strip only
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 head green cabbage, trimmed and cut into eighths
  • whole grain or spicy mustard

Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Remove corned beef from package and rinse well. Place in a roasting pan and cover ¾ with hot water. Sprinkle with spice package that comes with corned beef, add balsamic vinegar, cover tightly and place in oven for 18 to 24 hours.
An hour and a half before serving prepare potatoes, cover with water and boil for about 30 minutes or until slightly tender. Remove from water, season with salt and pepper, and place uncovered in a baking dish in same oven with corned beef.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet, place onions in skillet and sauté slowly until well caramelized, about 30 minutes.
Remove the corned beef from oven; pour off the excess liquid in the roasting pan into a large pot. Return the corned beef to the roasting pan cover and return to oven. Place the cabbage in the liquid in the pot, cover and cook until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
When cabbage is done arrange the corned beef, potatoes, onions, and cabbage on a large platter and serve with the mustard.

Optional Slow Cooker Method:

Place brisket in the slow cooker, fat side up. Cover brisket 3/4 of the way with water. Put in 1 cup Balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle brisket with seasoning packet from the brisket. Cover and cook on low for 10-20 hours. (The longer it cooks, the more it dissolves in your mouth.)

Irish Stew

The cooking time on this is long, but the prep is short. If your store doesn't have lamb, I use veal instead.


  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1-1/2 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water


  • Place 1/3 cup flour in a large resealable plastic bag. Add lamb, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat.
  • In a Dutch oven, brown lamb in batches in 2 tablespoons oil. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, saute onions in remaining oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  • Add broth, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Return lamb to the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until meat is tender.
  • Add potatoes and carrots; cover and cook for 20 minutes. Stir in peas; cook 5-10 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.
  • Add seasonings and Worcestershire sauce. Combine remaining flour with water until smooth; stir into stew. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Yield: 8 servings (2-1/2 quarts).

Mummy's Brown Soda Bread

This is such a great bread recipe because it requires little kneading and no rise time, so you can make it right before dinner and serve it warm. This is also a fantastic addition to any Irish dinner.
Yield: 1 loaf, 12 servings (serving size: 1 slice)


  • 2  cups  all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
  • 2  cups  whole wheat flour (about 9 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  baking soda
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  cups  buttermilk
  • Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 450°.
Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Add buttermilk to flour mixture; stir until blended (dough will be sticky). Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface; knead lightly 4 to 5 times. Shape dough into an 8-inch round loaf; place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cut a 1/4-inch-deep X in the top of the dough.
Bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400° (do not remove bread from oven); bake 15 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Traditional Bolognese Sauce (Ragu)

This recipe is from a cookbook I got while in Italy for my wedding. It is such a great sauce that I make it regularly. I am posting the original recipe with my own pictures added. I use 1 lb of bison instead of the 1.5 lb ground beef. I also typically add about 2-3 times the carrots, celery and garlic suggested, so do whatever you think your family would like. To save time, chop the veggies in your food processor. This sauce is also fantastic in lasagna.

2 Tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 lb ground beef
2/3 cup red wine or beef broth
1 cup milk
14 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 Tbsp sun-dried tomato paste


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook gently, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes until vegetables soften. Do not allow the vegetables to color.

2. Add the beef to the pan with the vegetables and cook over a medium heat until the meat changes color, stirring constantly and breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.

3. Pour in the wine or broth. Stir frequently until it has evaporated, then add the milk and continue cooking and stirring until this has evaporated too.

4. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste, with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the sauce uncovered, over the lowest possible health for at least 45 minutes. (Note: Don't skimp on the cooking time - it is essential for a full-flavored Bolognese sauce. Some Italian cooks insist on cooking it for 3-4 hours, so the longer the better). Serve over noodles garnished with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.