Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Smoked Salmon, Dill, and Horseradish Tartlets...with Green Pea Soup, and Irish Soda Bread



After my last post on needing the hearty cozy food of the English countryside, I was so lost in my virtual world that I thought a slide over on an ethereal rainbow or two to the lush green hills of Ireland wouldn't hurt my mind and soul one wee bit.

Ireland is a much loved destination in our family.  My in-laws, too, have been captivated by their landscape and people for years now. They've crossed that beautiful land from north to south...east to west.





Since Ireland has been on my mind all too frequently lately, I knew it was time to slide out my "Irish Pub Cooking" book.  

After Christmas my in-laws left here and  journeyed on to Padre Island off the Gulf Coast for a month-long stay. As they back-tracked home, they stopped for an evening to tell us about their beach life.

They are thinking of becoming "snow birds".  They are testing the waters (pun intended!) and mulling over whether or not they are going to pull up stakes and become beachcombers.

"Why not?" I say.  Isn't that amazing to be in that position to be able to say..."Why not?" or "Let's do it!"




So as they were making their way back to Southern Missouri from Padre Island, dinner plans with an Irish theme was on order in Houston before continuing on their return.

Since Ireland was on the brain, and knowing their shared fondness for all things Irish, I decided to cook an entirely Irish inspired meal:


Smoked Salmon, Dill, and Horseradish Tartlets
Broccoli and Green Pea Soup with Sour Cream
Irish Soda Bread and Salad
Almond Pound Cake with an Orange Glaze and Sugared Grapes (coming soon)





We spent a quiet evening living vicariously through them as they talked, planned, and dreamed of a complete upheaval to what they know as their "norm" and what they might want as their "new norm".

I completely understand their itchy feet and longing hearts.  We have all, over the years, traveled together to Italy and Wales...Michigan and Vermont...and they possess that wanderlust for new experiences and travels that I do.






Will they do it?  Who knows!  My mother-in-law is an artist.  The change from the pastoral rolling hills of southern Missouri to the windswept beaches and golden sunsets of southern Texas would certainly be an artist's ideal change of canvas.  My father-in-law is already dreaming of a long white ponytail and holding up a sandaled foot to admire a toe ring or two!


So while they are dreaming of all things to do with beach front property, we all revisited our additional love of all things Irish through our palates and memories.  







Where would you pick up and move to if a dreamy destination was your only concern?  

Would it be an urban landscape or a quiet pastoral rural option?

Such a delicious dreamy scenario to tussle over and ruminate with pleasure.  For me, it would likely be a small french village about 2 hours from Paris.  I would love the feeling of isolation punctuated by weekends of pounding the pavement in the city of love, romance, and beauty with a scarf wrapped up to my flushed cheeks.


Of course, a similar scenario could be said for Ireland.  Thick seafood chowders and that gorgeous crusty brown bread eaten regularly while indulging in those lush and sheep studded rolling emerald green hills punctuated by visits to salty little port villages.

And, then contemplation must be allowed for the countryside of England. Cozy pub visits tucked in red leather arm chairs eating beef and stout pie in front of big sturdy stone fireplaces. 





No wait, beautiful, serene Vermont deserves pondering over and over.  Fat flakes of snow in winter falling on the long winding two lane country lanes that weave over rickety red covered wooden bridges motoring Ifrom one teensy little town to another.  

Someone shake me awake!  Or, toss me a scone!  Or, pass me a croissant!  Or, better yet, hand me a little swig of Irish Cream.  Ooooooh, Irish Cream...

I'm in the middle of World History here ...and Marketing.  I guess I'll have to wait a spell. I guess I'll have to continue stirring, and rolling, and baking up some more dishes in my time capsule (a.k.a. kitchen).  

I have papers to mark up, quizzes to quizzle, and teen prodding...to ...well..prod!

Oh, yes...and blogging to...blog!

Life resumes!  But, seriously, what is the first destination that comes to your mind?  I would love to hear.







Smoked Salmon, Dill & Horseradish Tartlets
(recipe from "Irish Pub Cooking" from Parragon Books)

Pie Dough
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for greasing

Filling
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp creamed horseradish
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp campers, chopped
3 egg yolks
7 oz/200g smoked salmon trimmings
bun of fresh dill, chopped, plus extra for garnish
salt and pepper

Grease six 3 1/2 inch/9-cm tartlet pans.  Sift the flour and salt into a food processor, add butter, and process until the mexture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add a little cold water, just enough to bring the dough together.

Turn out onto a floured counter and divide into 6 equal size pieces.  Roll each piece to fit the tartlet pans.  Carefully fit each piece of dough in its shell and press well to fit the pan.  Roll the rolling pin over the pan to neaten the edges and trim the excess dough.  Put a piece of parchment paper in each pan, fill with dried beans, and let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400˚F/200˚C

Bake the tartlet shells blind in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the paper and beans.

Meanwhile, put the sour cream, horseradish cream, lemon juice, and capers into a bowl with salt and pepper to taste and mix well.  Add the egg yolks, smoked salmon, and chopped dill and carefully mix again.  Divide this mixture among the tartlet shells and return to the oven for 10 minutes.  Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes before serving, garnished with dill sprigs.

Irish Soda Bread


4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

45 comments:

  1. Ok, I love everything about this meal, and will definitely be making those cute little tartlets. I have a secret for you...remember my husband is Irish born and raised? Well, we're feeling led back to his homeland and are hoping to move there this spring if things work out. Shhh...my mom doesn't know yet. Our little secret. :)

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  2. Oh, Jess. Oh Jess. Oh Jess. You just made goosebumps spread up and down my arms. You deserve this adventure of a lifetime and I hope my blog article is an "omen" that signals what wonderful changes are to come. Shhh, indeed...but if I were your mother (NOT than I am old enough) I would be looking forward to all of the impending visits!!

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  3. I'm all over that pea soup, the bright green is so unusual. The light in these photos is particularly beautiful, Sarah!

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    1. I made it twice and actually got that same color. I started out with broccoli...and it steeped in a pot with chicken broth and got really green. Then I added the peas towards the end when I was ready to blend it all up. Then, a dash of creme fraiche (or sour cream) got the color just like that. I'll get the recipe in there soon...it's just that I didn't really follow a recipe so I have to remember the portions!

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  4. Oooh.,...I don't know where I'd want to go! There are so many lovely places. I do love the ocean and living in Ohio, I don't get there often. So I would have to at least be there for a bit. I love snow and cold weather, though, so I'd probably pick somewhere frosty. How fun for your in-laws to even be able to dream and make it a reality!

    dinner looks scrumptious!

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    1. I need somewhere frosty too. I get super antsy down here in Houston. I need the crunch of snow and the changing of leaves!

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  5. Love your in-laws Sarah! Good for them for dreaming forward.

    Pick one place? No can do...I think if we are talking the ideal world, the dream world..it would have to be more than one. For me..a farmhouse in NH for peace and solitude...a tropical setting, with green lushness all around for more breathing space and to escape the cold...then when the soul is rested, a flat in London to re-visit all my favourites. If Mr. H had his way...a little placed tucked away in France would do him just fine. As for me..there is more of England, Scotland and Ireland to explore...those are the places that really call to me. I could do it all from London..in a car, filled with our favourite books on CD.

    Well that was fun..did I mention Africa too? How could I forget Australia and New Zealand? We can put the tropics home in Australia but for an island home it would have to be Waiheke Island off the shores of Auckland..now that is an island to love.

    Dear oh dear...there will be no rest today, my mind is going a million miles an hour and I am desperate to make your beautiful winter meals...maybe if I crank up the AC and pull out the cashmere...

    Always love visiting with you Sarah...via blog or FB..so glad we met. :)

    Jeanne xx

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    1. Jeanne, I love it! I think you just described your life...in REALITY! I can hardly imagine visiting all of these place much less getting to live there for several years at a time. I hear you about the AC and the cashmere...when it is grey and gloomy here, we "milk" it for all its worth and declare a winter's storm has arrived!

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  6. I love your photo's, the food looks delicious and the recount of your in-laws travels just finishes off this post nicely. I think I would love to return to the South West of England if I could....somewhere in the USA would probably take priority if money and family allowed for it...but Devon and Cornwall have a part of our hearts and I am sure we will be back there at some point. Have a great day!

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    1. Cornwall...I can barely say that name without conjuring up pastoral landscapes and cozy little villages. Yes! for sure.

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  7. Italy would probably be my dream destination - specifically some forgotten hilltop village in Tuscany. I wish you could come over and cook supper for us one evening. My meals leave a lot to be desired when compared to yours.

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    1. We spent Easter on a hilltop town in Tuscany. Oh, it was dreamy indeed. We tried to do all of the little things we saw the Italians doing...

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  8. This might be one of my favorite posts of yours! I just love following your imagination from one place to another! I used to sit in the hayloft of the barn growing up and imagine that everything I could see was ours. There were 2 other houses that you could view from my perch. I would pretend they were for our ranch hands!

    The same still rings true today. I'm not sure exactly where 'the first place that comes to mind' is... but I know that it's far removed from a city or even a town. Of course, it's somewhere in the south (but oh, Vermont does sound so magical!).

    But I just LOVE imagining the possibilities of ANYWHERE too! Switzerland - Heidi style. :) Mizenhead, Ireland. So much fun!

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    1. Oh Jena, b/w the two of us, we could spend an entire day mulling over the possibilities!! What about So. America for you??

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  9. As wonderful as the soup looks you had me at
    Smoked salmon. So incredibly delicious I love
    The sound of these. I have Scottish roots
    And smoked salmon is part of the heritage
    There also.
    Mary x

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    1. Scotland should have DEFINITELY been on my dream list. I keep waiting for my husband to get transferred there. Waiting and waiting and waiting...:)

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  10. It still amazes me how many people can't handle the flavour of dill. I, personally, really like it so a beautiful tartlet like this would surely put a smile on my face. One confession, however. I've never eaten soda bread! Hmm, time to change that, methinks!

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    1. I adore the scent and flavor of dill. But, put caraway seeds in anything...and I can detect that flavor and scent a mile away....eeeewww.

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  11. Wonderful!
    Everything looks so good Sarah.
    I am loving the pics ... As always.

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  12. How I love this, the food and the post! I have been to more than 40 countries but still looking for my Paradise. Ireland was certainly gorgeous (very similar to New Zealand)but too much gloomy weather. Italy is great for holidays but not too hot for living there full time - too chaotic. I would be looking for somewhere near the ocean - I can't live without it. I haven't been to the Carribean yet - maybe there is my Paradise.

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    1. We live a short plane ride away from the Carribean and we have only been to the Bahamas. Such a shame b/c we know so many friends who island hop from one gorgeous island to another. We keep saying...why not...but then Europe calls.

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    2. I have nominated you for best recipe blog on The Kitchn. http://www.thekitchn.com/best-recipe-blog-the-homies-2013-183570#nominate

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    3. Suzanne, how very sweet. I thank you and give you a big hug from up here to down under. Let's keep having fun.

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  13. Your meal looks and sounds wonderfully delicious, Sarah! Beautiful photos! Certainly brought back memories of our trips to Ireland! We stayed in a B&B in Dingle, that served the most wonderful smoked salmon for breakfast…my mouth still waters thinking of it!

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    1. Kathy! Did that B&B in Dingle happen to be called "Pax House"?? If so, that is where we stayed and we had a smoked salmon/ egg breakfast that I had every single morning. I adored Dingle. I know you all had the most marvelous time because I don't think there is anything NOT to like about Dingle.

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  14. Fabulous recipes and gorgeous photography as usual!

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  15. Lovely to hear from you again my friend, your photography is incredible :)
    I love the deliciousness of how fresh everything looks!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  16. I'm convinced you could make ANY destination sound and look good with your incredible images and poetic descriptions!

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  17. Decades ago, a trip to Ireland proved an eating challenge for me. I know that the country has undergone a food Renaissance, but all of those years ago, finding food that appealed to me was tough. Salmon saved me. I don't know that I had really eaten salmon prior to then, but while there - I found that I just loved it - and I now eat it at least once a week. Your tarts sound wonderful!

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  18. I think if I were to be allowed to dream - I'd end up in rural Italy. Somewhere in Tuscany - perhaps? Altho your description of Ireland sure does conjure up a romantic dream. And Vermont? Definitely high up on my list. What gorgeous thoughts and imagery. Always magical!

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    1. Marcie, you should go to that little Italian farm that I wrote the review for and made the risotto. I had the chance to meet Sarah Fioroni in person and she was delightful. Their family farm is 20 minute outside of Florence!

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  19. So many good dishes you have here. Everything look wonderful, I love your Irish bread and tartlets of course-)

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  20. What I enjoy most about your blog is not the beauty of your photos, nor your wonderful recipes. No, it is your obvious love for all with whom you come into contact, even on the page. One simply knows that if there was no room at the inn, that person would find comfort with you.

    I lived in Vermont from the time I was 6 or so until I left at 18. However, I was not there during the school year. And Missouri? You are right, there are beautiful rolling hills. I live in St Louis, not terribly far from them. Where would I go? In a second I would move to my beloved Outer Banks then keep an apartment in Paris. Thank you again for a lovely visit.

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    1. I have a friend who picked up and her family moved to the Outer Banks. They have been there for a couple of years now and they just love it. Yes, an apartment in Paris would book end that dreamy scenario perfectly.

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  21. I enjoy reading your posts. They are so magical. I have always wanted to visit Ireland. Somehow I missed planning a trip during my stay in England. I have two jars of smoked salmon. I used some to make a cream cheese dip with it and little in my eggs. I am going to use the remaining to make some tartlets. Can I follow the same recipe and use almond flour instead?

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    1. I have used almond flour before for sweet tartlets. I think using them for these savory tartlets would work fine. It would be a different flavor because of the sweetness in the almonds vs. plain flour, but the combination might be really delicious too. Good luck!

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  22. I completely understand their itchy feet and longing hearts.

    Me too!!

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  23. Just to let you know I have nominated you for the Liebster award...I love to come and visit your blog and view your wonderful photo's!

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    1. Thank you Lindsey. You are most generous and thoughtful! Who doesn't love awards!

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  24. I have never been to Ireland... which is silly seeing as I am so close... Perhaps these delicious recipes will give me that added push... :) xv

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    1. Yes, Vicki...silly indeed! You will fall in love...but then again, it would be hard to get me out of all of those french villages...and then the English villages. You do have the dream life...big, deep, (jealous) sigh!

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  25. Mmmm mmmm, food looks awesome and I think you just took me on a mini vacation. Sometimes beach life seems just downright sinful until I think about cozying up next to a roaring fireplace in a pub somewhere in England... so many places, so little time

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  26. Thanks for sharing the recipe! By the way you described those places, I can already imagine and feel the gentle breeze of a quiet afternoon and the solemnity of the flat yet white snow, and I can smell those attractive good looking tartlets with some Irish soda bread. Imagining is only a portion of what I can describe as a journey through the breeze.

    Alex Staff

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  27. This sounds yummy, always looking for new recipes to try...Thanks for sharing this...

    Simon

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How wonderful to hear from new friends...