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Visit us at one of our three store locations to find Irish Jewelry, Claddagh Rings, Irish Sweaters, Irish Foods, Guinness Products, Waterford and Belleek.

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)

Paddy's on the Square - Long Grove, IL (847 634 0339)

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. 

 

Chocolate and Deviled Eggs, an Irish-American Easter

john barry

deviled eggs

Confession.  My oldest is 6 and I have yet to put together a single Easter basket. There are a lot of reasons for this - other people, like my fabulous babysitter who always comes through, along with the kids’ Aunt, Uncle and Grandpa; my borderline compulsive need to eliminate all of the little plastic items in my house; and, most importantly, the simple fact that I’ve got enough mental load to carry without having to be the Easter bunny too. I call it prioritizing.

Semi-related: Just a little shout out to the parents of the kid at my son’s school who got $20 from the tooth fairy. NO. Just. NO.

I told my little guy that the kid meant 20 CENTS and should really be brushing up on his math more.

Whew. THAT felt good. Now back to Easter.

Giant Chocolate Eggs! On my wish list every single year. I know, I know, I should have posted this earlier, because there probably aren’t any left at the store. Not to worry though, you can get your fix of chocolates from across the pond at Paddy’s on the Square year round.

Giant Chocolate Eggs! On my wish list every single year. I know, I know, I should have posted this earlier, because there probably aren’t any left at the store. Not to worry though, you can get your fix of chocolates from across the pond at Paddy’s on the Square year round.

No Easter Baskets? Am I the worst Momma ever? If so, not for lack of Easter baskets. My kids have yet to complain - which is saying a lot - my son mastered the art of guilting me long, long ago.  I think that I probably have these giant chocolate Cadbury eggs to thank. It seems they are ubiquitous in Ireland and they are delicious, addictive really (I keep telling myself, “I’ll just have a teensy, tiny piece” but you know how that goes). John sells out of them at the store every year no matter how many he orders. It’s proof of his love for his nephew and nieces that he always sets aside a few for us.

Never too young to aggressively hoard candy. Especially when you are the fourth child.

Never too young to aggressively hoard candy. Especially when you are the fourth child.

Just because I don’t do Easter baskets, doesn’t mean I don’t do Easter with my little ones. I’d just rather spend the time and energy I have with them, instead of on gifts for them (and if you happen to do both, go you!).  So we made Cool Whip dyed eggs, twice, which only sort-of worked. We had a flashlight Easter egg hunt with the neighbors (shout out to my amazing neighbor-mom-friend who put in 100% of the mental and physical load on that one) and a lovely spring Easter dinner outside exactly one week before (and after!) it snowed here in Chicago.  

Flashlight egg hunt was SO much fun. Also, it’s important to accessorize appropriately.

Flashlight egg hunt was SO much fun. Also, it’s important to accessorize appropriately.

Our Easter was a small gathering this year but so enjoyable and laid back.  We had Irish bacon and potatoes (duh) plus a few other delicious things - kale salad, sweet potatoes, lemon pie.  Everything was so good that we were sad instead of relieved when the leftovers were finally gone later in the week. My little helpers made deviled eggs with me and were so proud of their contribution to our meal. I was proud too - I know that cooking, like other kinds of art, is naturally appealing to kids, but I just love that all of mine enjoy cooking.  I’m not biased or anything, but they’re good at it too.

These could not be easier, even though there are about a BILLION variations on deviled eggs, I wanted to make the simple, classic ones.  You know, the ones from the church buffet line. We garnished them with a little sprinkle of paprika and some resilient chives that braved the long, cold winter and are still growing like gangbusters in our small garden.  

Classic Deviled Eggs

  • 6 large eggs

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

  • ½ teaspoon of lemon juice

I don’t think you really need directions but here goes. Hard boil the eggs, or use your Cool Whip dyed eggs from last week. Peel and cut each egg in half,  scoop out the yolks, mix with mayo, mustard, cayenne and a squeeze of lemon. Find an almost-three-year-old to mash the yolks and stir the mixture until smooth. Spoon mixture into egg white halves or, if you want to be fancy, spoon mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and fill the egg white halves that way (4-year-olds can definitely do this! 2-year-olds can too if your going for the “deconstructed” look). Garnish with chives and paprika, or whatever. Eat with gusto, especially in front of your little assistants. Enjoy the smiles.

Deviled Eggs






Boutique Bake Brown Bread Mix

john barry

Brown Bread

Hello there! It’s been way too long. I know we’ve been cooking at our house because somehow food keeps appearing on the table at dinner time.  I’m just not quite sure what or how. Sound familiar? Because it is STILL winter here, and I’ve still got napping little ones, I’ve taken to making soup from the weeks leftovers on Sunday afternoons. I’m kind of loving this little ritual.  The relative quiet. Doing something with my hands. Letting my mind wander. Giving my sense of smell, taste and feel something to do other than sit on the sidelines as they do for most of the week. I enjoy it without any of the guilt I associate with sitting on the couch and watching netflix or shopping online or any of the other things (that I also enjoy!) that I could be doing with my Sunday afternoons.

Not that I should feel guilty for any of it, just that, honestly, I do. I blame my Dad (as wonderful and amazing as he is. Hi Dad!).  When I was a kid, my dad would walk in the room and immediately observe his surroundings.  If he saw that you weren’t engaged in something “productive” - reading, homework, cleaning etc. he would blurt out “What are you doing!?!” with urgency and more than a little distress. I would have instant regret at my foolishness for relaxing so openly.  It’s hard to tell whether it nature or nurture - and it’s surely both - but as I grew older, I internalized this sense of “What are you doing!?!” to the point where I say it to myself constantly. Having kids, and no free time has definitely toned down that voice in my head, but it is always there, somewhere. As much as it drives me crazy, I appreciate it too.  For the fact that it drives me. Even if it’s just to make soup.

My Sunday soup ritual does not involve any recipes.  Just throwing leftovers into a pot with stock really. But I have been supplementing the soup with some great  breads and bread mixes from Paddy’s on the Square. Like me, the kids love brown bread and using a mix makes it so easy.  I can make the soup and bake bread all at the same time. And if we don’t eat the soup and bread for dinner, I take the soup with me to work for weekday lunches and we enjoy the bread as toast in the mornings.

A couple of weeks ago, I made this Brown Bread mix from a Company called Boutique Bake.  It was beyond easy to throw together and came with this nice little packet of seed mix to throw on top of the loaf for even more texture and flavor.  We loved this bread. The only downside was how fast this loaf went at our house.

*Serves 12 should be taken with a grain of salt. It took 10 minutes for my clan of 6 to finish this off.

*Serves 12 should be taken with a grain of salt. It took 10 minutes for my clan of 6 to finish this off.

Just add milk…

Just add milk…

one egg…

one egg…

and the crunchy seed topping. Then your work is done. Put it in the oven.

and the crunchy seed topping. Then your work is done. Put it in the oven.

Your only remaining job is to slather it with Irish butter and eat. Now, RELAX. You can do it!

Roasted Honey-Balsamic Tri-Color Carrots

john barry

roasted carrots

We’ve actually been cooking quite a bit in the new year - I guess there’s usually more cooking going on around here in the winter. Isla has become a great little helper in the kitchen these days. She loves to set up my pour over coffee pot each night and to make her own breakfast in the morning. A toasted english muffin with jam, cream cheese and butter (in that order)! She likes to use a knife, a real one, “by MYSELF!” she warns, if my peering over her shoulder gets too intense. Emmett is taking a cooking class after school on Tuesdays, which makes me so, so happy. None of the kids are interested in watching Top chef with Paul and I yet but there’s definitely growing interest in cooking. Fingers crossed that at least one of our kids likes cooking enough to make dinner for us someday (the sooner the better).

This honey is amazing! It has a strong flavor that is the pure essence of honey and makes other honey seem like it tastes watered down. I’m so glad I have one more jar in by cupboard. Whew.

This honey is amazing! It has a strong flavor that is the pure essence of honey and makes other honey seem like it tastes watered down. I’m so glad I have one more jar in by cupboard. Whew.

Getting home from work and getting dinner on the table within the next 45 minutes or so can be tough but we manage with a lot of help from my arsenal of quick and easy recipes, leftovers and pizza every Wednesday night!  Weekends are when most of the more time consuming cooking takes place, but I’ve been finding that even when I have time to try a new recipe or take on a cooking “project” the dishes my family likes the most are the simple ones.  

carrots.jpg

Last weekend I picked up some tri-colored carrots from Trader Joe’s based on looks alone. I’m so shallow. I didn’t have a plan for them but figured they would make a pretty side dish.  It’s true isn’t it, that we eat with the eyes first? So on Sunday I roasted them in a hot oven before drizzling them with Scottish honey from Paddy’s and some good balsamic vinegar, with just a sprinkling of sesame seeds. They were totally delicious.

Roasted Honey-Balsamic Tri-Color Carrots

Ingredients

  • 1 bag tri-color carrots or about 16 ounces of carrots

  • 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • salt to taste

  • 1-2 teaspoons honey

  • 1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Instructions

  • preheat oven to 400F

  • cut carrots in half length wise and place on baking sheet

  • drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt

  • roast for about 40 minutes, flipping carrots over once at the 20 minute mark

  • place carrots on serving dish, drizzle with honey and balsamic and sprinkle with sesame seeds and more salt

yuchoy and carrots

This recipe reminded me not to feel bad about our quick weeknight dinners because those are the dishes my family probably likes best anyway. More importantly, as long as we are eating together, we are lucky.  Dinner doesn’t need to be fancy to be good. So now, my cooking resolution for 2019 is to find more quick and easy (yet still delicious) recipes for weeknight dinners. Hopefully I can come up with at least a short list of small effort, big reward recipes this year. If you know of any, please share them with us!