Oh, Lucky Day!

Today is St Patrick’s Day, and I LOVE THIS DAY!

My tradition is to get together with friends, make corned beef and cabbage, have guinness and eventually get talked into an Irish Car Bomb drink. If you’ve never had one, it’s a pint of Guinness with a shot of Irish cream mixed with whiskey which is dropped into the glass and slammed down. If you don’t do it quickly, you end up with a curdled mess in your mouth. Inevitably we all dribble this concoction on ourselves too. I’ve never been skilled at slamming drinks, so I end up chewing the last  part of my drink.
So when I saw a recipe for Irish, wild colored Jell-O Shots, I thought, ‘Hey, I can do that with a car bomb!’. I get to revisit my college years, and escape the gross curdled mess from not being a skilled beer-slammer.  Win and win, plus my friends get to escape dribbling dark beer on themselves. Since I would have Guinness on hand, I also decided to make Guinness cupcakes.  Who doesn’t like a little dessert after all the delicious corned beef?

Irish Car Bomb Jell-O Shot

Makes 6 medium shots
1.5 packets of plain gelatin powder
1/2 tspn of sugar-I used dark brown sugar, packed
1 tspn of dark cocoa powder-get the good stuff here
1 cup Guinness
1/4 cup of Irish cream
1/4 cup Irish Whiskey-I prefer Jameson or Bushmills
pam or a little olive oil
First, prep your shot glasses.  I didn’t do this, nor did I use silicone molds, so my shots required a little work to remove.  To do this, wipe a little pam or olive oil on the inside of your shot glasses. You don’t want a lot, just enough to make a slight sheen. Or, you can go smart, and get the traditional plastic Jell-O shot cups, or the bendy silicone molds. Your call.
Add the Guinness to a small sauce pan and heat up on low-medium heat, and add 1 packet of gelatin, stirring for one minute. Add in your sugar and cocoa powder until everything has dissolved. I put this into a measuring glass with a pouring lip, so I didn’t make a big mess. Pour mixture to about half way up the shot glass. Put this in the fridge to set up, waiting about 20-30 minutes before starting the next layer.  Rinse your sauce pan and measuring cup with hot water now, so you can reuse it and the gelatin doesn’t set.
After waiting, and hopefully enjoying some Guinness, start layer number 2! Warm up the Irish cream, add your 1/2 packet of gelatin and stir. Once the gelatin is incorporated, add your whiskey and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.  Pour this mixture over the Guinness layer of your shot glasses 1/4 the height of the first layer. The effect will be that the shot looks like a tiny glass of Guinness. Added bonus? You won’t dribble on yourself.   If for any reason your shot doesn’t want to release, grab a toothpick and run it along the side of the glass.
I love cupcakes and I love beer. I hate precise measurements, which is pretty much baking defined; but this recipe is pretty hard to foul up and combines cupcakes AND beer. If I could add bacon, it may even be more perfect.
Guinness Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting
Makes 12
1 cup Guinness
hearty splash of Irish cream
1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 stick of butter
3/4 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tspn salt
1 egg
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 cupcake tin and liners for as many cupcakes as you need.
You rinsed out that sauce pan after running your finger along the side to taste the Irish cream gelatin, right? Go ahead and grab that, and add your Guinness, turning the stove up to medium. Add your butter, your cocoa powder and your splash of Irish cream (a splash is just a couple of tablespoons at most). Let this warm up and stir. Of note, you should slowly add the cocoa powder versus plopping it all in, so it can dissolve and not get gloopy.  As this heats, mix up your dry ingredients in a large bowl, or in the bowl of a mixer stand and set aside.  Once your Guinness mixture is all dissolved and looking like deep, dark, chocolaty heaven, pour this into your flour mixture. You can let it cool, but I didn’t, and the world didn’t end.
Take that traditional baking!
Stir it all around until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Add your egg and your sour cream and mix until it’s incorporated too.
Bake at 325 for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Irish Cream Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese-softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Irish cream-this is more than you may need
A note. I don’t like sickeningly sweet frosting, so there’s not a ton of sugar in here. Taste as you go, and add more sugar as you go.  In the bowl of a mixer, combine your sugar and your cream cheese and blend until all is incorporated, slowly add your Irish cream until you have consistency that you want. Finish up by slathering your delicious cupcakes with the yummy goop.
That’s it, two delicious treats for St Patrick’s Day. What’s your go to dish for St Pat’s?

Early Spring – Starting Seeds Indoors!


While the rest of the country is buried under a mound of snow, Seattle is basking in sunlight. Spring is here! I have been itching to get into the garden and get ready for what I hope is a crazy long growing season.  This year, I am moving my beds around, and turning my entire front yard into a land of raised garden beds-I can’t wait! I’ll likely keep the big bed in the back yard for plants who can’t take all sun, all the time, but look out folks-this year is going to have a ton of produce!

To get a jump on spring, I am starting my seeds indoors a little at a time (I started last week), and my Inchelium garlic is growing like crazy. The seeds-all organic, non-GMO and mostly heirloom are already poking through, and I am feeling pretty good about getting a head start this year 🙂

I used an organic seed starter mix, and dropped a few seeds into it every inch or so, in little planter cups. It’s easy, fun, and you start seeing your seedlings pop up in just a few days!

So, what seeds did I start growing?

Let’s start with the tomatoes!

  • Black Krim
  • Brandywine
  • Cherokee Purple
  • Gold Medal
  • Japanese Trifele Black
  • Juane Flamme
  • Kellogg’s Breakfast
  • Marvel Stripe
  • San Marzano Gigante
  • Siletz
  • Two Color Fiesta tomatillos

Herbs and Flowers:

  • Borage
  • Calendula
  • Chamomile
  • Lemon Balm
  • Nasturtium
  • Thyme

The Peppers:

  • California Wonder-sweet pepper
  • Jalepeno
  • Lemon Drop Hot Pepper
  • Maya Red Habenero
  • Pablano

Squash and Melons:

  • Abundant Harvest (this is a seed blend, so a mix of: Black Beauty, Caserta, Coczelle and Golden Straightneck-no clue which is which)
  • Burgess Buttercup winter squash
  • Early Silver Line melon
  • Hearts of Gold melon
  •  Rich Sweetness 132 melon
  • Mexican Sour Gherkins
  • Oka Bizard Island Strain melon
  • Stripetti Squash
  • Tanja Cucumber

The other goodies are:

  • Belstar Hybrid broccoli
  • Derby Day cabbage
  • Marina Sweet lettuce
  • Rodynda Cabbage (mmmm….sauerkraut and Kim chi!!)

Phew…..that’s a lot!  I have other things like beans, beets, peas, radishes and some other flowers that will get directly sown into the grown-I can’t wait!!!!

What’s in your garden this year?

Yours in nature,