I just had an interview with Bud Sargent on The Celtic Connection WCUW Worcester, Ma. – my home state! I met Bud at a lovely session in the Temple Gate Hotel at the Ennis Trad Fest. Talking about my experience of creating Coming Home To Cook, the journey it’s brought me on, with the wonderful reception I’ve recieved in Ireland and all the support I have from my family and friends here and there, I feel blessed and fortunate that I have this life. In the spirit of this season, I’m offering to make your holiday gift giving easier. Order someone Coming Home To Cook and I will sign it to them, wrap it and enclose a gift card from you. Go to www.marysheehan.com and pay with PayPal or email me with details and I will confirm your order. On a good food note, I had a great dinner last night with my son, Sergio Reyes-Sheehan at Yokocho in New York Cty. Shay ordered his favorite Japanese-Korean Tapas, lots of seaweeds, ginger, shrimp, plums, scallion cheesey pancakes, kabobs, raw veggies with spicey sauces and, of course, lots of Japanese Beer! Fun food that gives me lots of inspiration for the next book (especially that seaweed!)
I made a big pot of applesauce a few days ago. The MacIntosh apples were so sweet so it needed no sugar. Today is Sue Hesses birthday and I adapted a favorite recipe for her birthday cake. Sue edited Coming Home To Cook and did a brilliant job. It would be a very different book if it were not for her professionalism, patience, support and good humor! So, a special cake for a special friend, with an Irish twist. This is a small cake, easy and quick to make, delicious and very light with all the flavors and smells of winter.
Preheat oven to 350 or 180. Grease and flour 2 8″ cake pans.
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour combined with 3/4 cup plain white flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup soft unsalted butter
2 tsp. poteen (Irish moonshine) or 2tsp. rum
1 large egg
1cup plus 1 Tbl. unsweetened applesauce (see this recipe under recipe section)
In a mixer combine flours, spices, salt and sugar. Cut up butter and add. Separatley beat the egg. Add the egg, liquor and applesauce slowly to the batter. Mix for a few minutes until all ingredients are well blended. Pour into pans and bake for 35 minutes.
2 cups powdered (icing, confectioners) sugar
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. poteen (or rum)
1 Tbl. cream (or milk)
In a mixer add all ingredients in order and blend until smooth.
When the cake cools, remove from pans. Ice the top of 1 cake, sprinkle with1/4 cup of chopped crystalized ginger, place the other cake on top and ice cake top and sides. Decorate with whole pecans.
I met Grainne Rogers, Editor of “Irish Homes – Ireland’s Longest Established Interiors Magazine” at the Kilrush Farmers Market last summer. She bought a copy of Coming Home To Cook , loved it and has just printed a review in the Nov./Dec. issue. Here it is:
The author of the book, Mary Sheehan, was born in Massachusetts in to a big Irish Catholic family who originally hailed from Kerry and West Cork. Her grandmother was Annie Curran from Dingle, who was a relative of Peig Sayers and appears as “Nan” in the book that so many of us remember with fondness. Mary has been involved with food all her life, specialising in healthy, organic cuisine, and after her children flew the coop she decided to return to Ireland and reconnect with her roots. In the summer of 2007 she managed a vegetarian organic tearooms in the Burren, which was highly recommended in the Georgina Campbell Guide and now she has brough out this vegetarian cookbook. It’s a wonderful, simple manual of user friendly recipes peppered with stories of her ancestors and their now living descendants. There’s a great story of Mary’s great great Grandmother walking 50 miles to and from the butter market in Cork City twice a monthly. Along with this broad sense of history, the book reveals the vast landscape of Mary’s background with a recipe for chilled Gazpacho soup, inspired by the glut of plump tomatoes back home in New Jersey each summer, as well as one for Big Bold American Scones sitting alongside one for Traditional Irish Scones. Mary displays a fresh positivism and energy so often lacking in the Irish. She talks of being “mesmerised by the wildflowers, the rocks, the history that lives in every field and on every roadside” and enthuses about the wealth of organic vegetables and artisan products grown and produced here that are so vital to her recipes. Available at most book stores and health food shops or through Mary’s website www.marysheehan.com
I am offering a special on PayPal orders within the USA of my cookery book “Coming Home To Cook” for the month of December. Here’s how to order:
Go to www.marysheehan.com
Click on pay with PayPal. Fill in your details and PayPal will notify me immediately. I will mail out the same day.
Here’s the SPECIAL: If you would like the book mailed as a gift I will sign it to them, wrap it in pretty paper and enclose a gift card from you. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the details.
Easy Gift Giving!! And everyone will love this delightful book full of delicious recipes, beautiful photographs and lovely stories. Keep It Simple and Thanks for your orders. Mary
I’m back in New Jersey for the holidays. We had a lovely traditional Thanksgiving dinner at Carolyn’s. The Thanksgiving meal centers around the turkey but I like to think of it as a vegetarians feast, because it’s all about the side dishes. Carolyn and I made mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with apples and raisins, mashed routabagas, green beans with toasted almonds, chestnut stuffing, whole cranberry orange relish, butternut ginger squash and Lee made delicious creamed pearl onions. It was followed up with Apple Pie and Pecan Pie with an Irish twist! Thanksgiving is all about sharing with family and friends and being thankful for what you have. I was very happy to be back in my “other home” with my son, Sergio James Reyes-Sheehan. Shay (as I call him) missed our Thanksgiving last year because he was on a road trip, working as sound technician for the upcoming 2009 documentary – “Faster.” It’s a film about the benefits of healthy eating and juice fasting to control autoimmune diseases. Some of the crew worked on Micheal Moore’s “Sicko” and Morgan Spurlock’s “Supersize Me.” Shay didn’t eat “kids food” when he was growing up. I cooked our dinners and we ate the same meals, together at the dinner table. When he was a toddler, I eliminated dairy from his diet to try and stop his chronic upper respitory infections and ear infections. And guess what, it worked! It was hard for him to go to birthday parties where it was always pizza, ice cream and cakes but he was healthy, energetic, a great athlete all through his school years and grew into a strapping 6′ 5″ man who appreciates a diverse diet and living in NYC he gets to experiment with all kinds of foods. So, the moral of this story is – from the time your children start eating solid foods, educate them about food as you would everything else. Expose them to a variety of tastes and textures and the family dining experience, even if it’s only the two of you. Ok, back to our Thanksgiving. The weekend was full with gatherings, long walks on the Delaware Raritan Canal, good food and visiting with old friends. Here’s a recipe from “Coming Home To Cook” and my favorite Pecan Pie recipe.
On page 37 of Coming Home To Cook I have a recipe for Maple Squash with Pumpkin Seeds. I simplified this, eliminating the shallots and pumpkin seeds, used the honey instead of the maple syrup and a little less parsley. It came out great, try it!
1 butternut squash (cut into 8 pieces)
1 Tbl butter and 1 Tbl. olive oil
11/2 Tbl. minced fresh ginger root
2 tsp. tamari (aged soy sauce)
2 Tbl. chopped scallions, whites and greens
1 Tbl. honey
2 Tbl. chopped curly parsley
salt and pepper to taste.
Steam the squash. When tender but still a little firm, remove from heat and let cool. Peel, seed and dice into bite size chunks. Set aside. Heat btter and oil in a skilet. Add ginger and cook until brown. Add all of the rest of ingredients, in order, turning to coat. Cook until squash is tender and serve. Serves 4-6
Potcheen Pecan Pie
I’ve experimented with a lot of Pecan Pie recipes, adding chocolate , some with different kinds of whiskeys. This year, I brought back a bottle of Irish moonshine, it adds a spark and a unique taste that will keep your guests wondering…….what does she put in this?
Use you favorite pastry dough or the one on page 75 of “Coming Home To Cook.” Line a 8″ pan with dough, place another pan or dry beans over the crust and bake for 5 minutes at 180c or 350f, or until the crust starts to look baked but not brown. (The purpose of the pan or beans is so the crust won’t bubble and break)
In a bowl mix together:
1 cup dark corn syrup (karo)
1 cup fine white sugar
2 Tbl. potcheen or your favorite whiskey
Pour into cooled pie pan, top with 6 oz. of whole pecans and bake for 1 hour.
Serve with lots of fresh whipped cream !