Frost-Kissed Artichokes and Eggplant Parmagiana

“Frost-kissed” artichokes.  Around winter this phenomenon hits the California artichoke harvest, apparently outer leaves wilt with the California frost.  That makes sense, right?

However, according to Ocean Mist Farms this frosting “leaves them with a nuttier taste.”  Honestly I think its B.S. They were good, but still they just tasted like artichokes.  I’m thinking Ocean Mist Farms is putting a little marketing spin on a wilted artichokes that taste just fine.

While there is no need to seek these out over their un-frosted brethren – when stuffed with bread, pecorino romano, parsley, and garlic these bad boys were still a pretty delicious appetizer for the baked eggplant parmagiana supper I made on Saturday.  See below.  Proof!

Crock Pot Corned Beef Brisket

How do you get super-tender corned beef brisket with absolutely no fuss or hassle?  CROCK POT!

Irish cooking lends itself to throwing everything in a big pot, and this dish is no exception.  All you have to do is pick up a brined 3 lb corned beef brisket, a head of cabbage, carrots, a few new potatoes, a large white Spanish onion, allspice, peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, and a pint of Pilsner. I stewed this bad boy on “low” for about 8 hours, and was quite happy with the results.

I was concerned about the state of the cabbage if cooked for over 4 hours, but was relieved to find that my cabbage did not completely disintegrate, it just turned into corned-beef flavored sauerkraut. The potatoes and the carrots came out super tender as well.

I used some Bitburger pilsner to stew everything in. I’ve seen other recipes using Guinness, but I think using a stout in this recipe would be too much in an already extremely flavorful dish.

The finished product! Also some Irish Soda bread baked at Amy’s Bread in Manhattan for garnish, and a nice Irish stout to wash it down. Proof!

Homemade Shamrock Shake

 

Minty Fresh

The 1980s was a time when Family Ties was on TV, a young Joe Piscapo taught us how to laugh, and the minty shamrock shake- one of the foremost holiday-themed treats, and one of the best reasons to be excited for St. Patrick’s Day- was still readily available at your local McDonalds.

Alas those days are now over.  McDonalds has the McCafe, and St. Patty’s Day is all about the beer and bagpipes. Rather then trying to find the lone McDonalds in Manhattan still offering this minty shake, I propose you make your own. I present you yet another reason not to go to McDonalds! The homemade shamrock shake.

All you need is a handy-dandy Cuisinart Ice Cream maker and a few easily procured dairy products.

I based my shake off of this mint chocolate chip ice cream recipe here, but with a few alterations.

3 cups of fresh mint leaves (not stems), rinsed, drained, packed

1 cup milk (Ronnybrook), 2 cups heavy cream (divided, 1 cup and 1 cup),

2/3 cup sugar, pinch of salt, 4 egg yolks

6 ounces semisweet chocolate or dark chocolate, chopped fine, I used Jacque Torres which is the bomb chocolatier.

And of course about a cup of milk three scoops of the homemade ice cream and a blender for the “shake” part.

 

The trick is to steep the mint leaves in the cream while you are heating it for a super robust minty flavor.

The final mint chocolate chip ice cream product should like like this.  Notice the greenish hue from the mint leaves!

Then off to the freezer for a couple of hours before throwing a few scoops in a blender with some milk and then… shamROCK!

This might have been the tastiest mint chocolate chip milkshake that I have ever experienced.  Using fresh mint leaves, homemade ice cream, and super dark chocolate is the way to go.  The fresh mint adds a smoother flavor, and I actually realized last night that all the mint shakes of my life probably were artificially flavored, so this was the first REAL mint shake I’ve ever had.  Sad but true!  Regardless, this is my new St. Patricks Day tradition.  Proof.

McDonald’s New Jack Shamrock Shake

What's Wrong With This Picture

The Shamrock Shake- A St. Patty’s day themed and delicious faux-green mint beverage that I remember fondly from the 1980s, back when McDonalds seemed less evil and everything was right in the world.

It’s seems those days are well over.

I present the McCafe version of the Shamrock Shake! No, this green whipped cream-topped concoction is not from Starbucks, this is indeed the new millennium shamrock shake.

Apparently Mickey D’s changed the design, and according to reliable sources on the street the formula and taste.

I want my shamrock shake back where it belongs, in a paper cup.  No cherries, no whipped cream and definitely no other frills. Give me the working man’s Shamrock Shake!

Stay tuned for the Proofmeister’s shamrock shake, it will be designed and built before St. Patty’s day.