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Call us at one of the numbers below or use the accompanying form to contact us.

The Irish Boutique - Long Grove, IL (847 634 3540)

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The Irish Boutique - Crystal Lake, IL (815 459 1800)


847 634 0339

The Irish Boutique is an Irish import store that has been located in the Chicago land area for over 40 years.  The shop stocks a variety of products ranging from Irish jewelry, crystal, china, food, sweaters, caps, t-shirts and a wide variety of Irish gifts. 

Cooking Blog

Visit our blog to read about Michelle Barry's adventures in cooking and eating Irish cuisine and to learn about new products and upcoming events. 


Pressure Cooker BBQ Ribs

john barry


Well, I have to say, after some 40 degree days just a couple of weeks ago, I did not expect Memorial Day to be so sunny and hot. I won’t complain though. It was a nice change from the cold and rainy end of May weekends we usually end up having here in Chicago. We took advantage and ended up doing what we should all be doing over the long Holiday weekend (for once!) - grilling outside with friends and family.

I picked up some pork spare ribs last week, which seemed to be on sale just about everywhere. We didn’t have definite plans so I decided to pressure cook them in advance, that way, if people came over we could just throw them on the grill. Or, we could save them for a quick weeknight meal.  I’m a big fan of my electric pressure cooker for a number of reasons. In this case, using the pressure cooker is a real time-saver, preventing me from being chained to the house when all I want to do is play outside. Also, when the weather is warm, it’s nice to have an alternative to turning on the oven or hovering over a hot grill. For this reason alone I plan on getting the pressure cooker out more often now that its (almost) summer. 

 Rib Rub. 

Rib Rub. 

 Put them in a plastic bag in the fridge overnight. If you remember, no pressure, you've got enough going on. 

Put them in a plastic bag in the fridge overnight. If you remember, no pressure, you've got enough going on. 

 Just close the lid and set the timer.

Just close the lid and set the timer.

To make these ribs, I just cut them in similar sized pieces, two or three ribs each and rubbed them all over with a combination of brown sugar, salt and a store bought BBQ spice rub.  I refrigerated them overnight (this is optional, I try to do this step in advance, but lots of times I don’t). In the morning, I took them out and placed them in a metal steamer basket in my pressure cooker (vertically) and poured about three cups of water to the bottom of the pressure cooker insert. I cooked them at high pressure for 21 minutes and let the pressure release naturally.

Now, you could eat them just like this. They are really tender and full of flavor from the rub, but they aren’t that pretty. At this stage, if I am going to serve them later, I let them come to room temperature and then keep them in the refrigerator until I’m ready to reheat them on the grill. If I am going to serve them right away, I transfer them to the grill, where I slather on some bbq sauce and cook them until they are nice and charred on the outside, only a few minutes per side.

When you remove the ribs from the pressure cooker, there will be a bunch of really delicious broth at the bottom that tastes like meat juice and spices. Since I do not - never, ever, ever -  throw away meat juice, I usually add about a cup of dried pinto beans, some chopped onion, smashed garlic and a little extra water. Now these might not be ready in time if you intend to eat the ribs right away, but if you can wait a few minutes before firing up your grill, they do make a pretty delicious side dish.  Pass the cornbread!  

We ended up having these for dinner on Memorial Day.  Since I cooked both the ribs and the beans in the morning, we were able to spend most of the day at our friends’ house and dinner was a cinch when we got home.  This, of course, reminded me that I am a genius (thank goodness, because no one wants to hang with my crew when they're hangry). I’m definitely going to make these again, either for a weeknight meal or an easy summer dinner party.


Chubby thighs, because they're so cute. 

Homemade Dessert Night

john barry


The little ones have yet to understand how much time it takes to say, bake a cake. They think that it if they will cake to appear, it will.  For the longest time they would ask me to bake them something for dessert on weeknights, when there was barely enough time left for a book before bedtime, let alone homemade dessert.  Besides, we really shouldn’t be eating dessert on weeknights anyway should we? Though I sometimes secretly wish it was the 60’s and we ate homemade desserts every night. Who would make them? Not me.  I finally put a stop to all of the asking by instituting the “Homemade Dessert Night” on the weekend. I started to suggest to them that we pick out a homemade dessert to make on either Saturday or Sunday when we have the time for such a project.

This has helped to teach them that desserts, like most things in life, do not materialize out of thin air and has become a fun activity that we all look forward to. We start by selecting a baking book and then a recipe to try. Then we assemble all of the ingredients we need and measure them out so that when it’s time to do the baking, it’s a relatively simple affair.  And, when things go well, not too messy. A couple of weeks ago we made Rachel Allen’s molten lava cakes from her awesome book “Bake” which were such a resounding success that, well, the lack of photographic evidence speaks for itself.


Then last weekend we made Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake which you can find the recipe for here.  I halved the recipe and again, the cake didn’t last long enough to get any “after” photos. In fact, only a tiny sliver was left to share with family the next day.  The baked cake itself was no beauty. Due to its super moist batter, it sinks quite a bit in the middle, but it’s oh so delicious - the perfect cake for “Homemade Dessert Night”. Easy, simple and impossible to mess up, especially since it’s not meant to be pretty anyway.

Any amount of time when you are waiting for a homemade dessert to come out of the oven is a long time.  When you’re talking about he five and under set, any amount of time is a long time. Period. So it’s not easy. But, when it’s all said and done, it is gratifying to make something delicious from scratch. Try it, I promise it's worth the wait! 


Bakewell Tart

john barry


I don't know about you, but I am loving this spring weather.  After what seems like one of the longest winters ever, I'm so happy to see it FINALLY getting into the 60s and 70s - not to mention all of the sunshine! It makes such a big difference in my mood, outlook, well, everything. The recipe I'm featuring today is great for this time of year in Chicago. Fresh fruit hasn't hit the market quite yet, at least nothing locally produced, but it feels like time to have some fruit in our dessert just the same. Enter the Bakewell Tart. Homey and comforting without the heaviness of hibernation fare. Fruity but not in the refreshing way we want our sweets to be during summer. Just right for now. 

Ever since coming up with this tart crust, I have been thinking of ways to use it in both sweet and savory dishes. This classic Bakewell Tart was one of the first things that came to mind. I absolutely love the combination of almonds and fruit - which goes beautifully with the nutty whole grain crust featured here. Another variation that I am anxious to try is chocolate hazelnut subbing chocolate for the jam and hazelnuts for the almonds in both the filling and topping. 

The recipe below is super-simple.  The tart itself is rustic, yet pretty enough for company. It didn't last long in our house. 


Bakewell Tart

Yields one 7-inch tart about 6 servings.

One blind baked and cooled tart shell recipe here

For filling:

  • 1 oz butter
  • 2 oz cream cheese (full fat)
  • 4 oz almond paste
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt; 1/4 teaspoon if using granulated salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/4-1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • Preserves of your choice (I think apricot, strawberry, raspberry or marmalade would all work well)

Preheat oven to 350F.  

Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, beat butter, cream cheese, almond paste, flour,  sugar and almond extract until fluffy, light in color and well-combined, about 5 minutes.

Spread a thin layer of preserves over the surface of your blind baked tart shell.


Spread almond paste over the preserves. 


Sprinkle with sliced almonds.


Bake at 350F for about 40 minutes. Start checking the tart after about 20 minutes and loosely cover with foil if the top is getting too brown.