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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. 

 

Summer Birthday: Caramel Pretzel Crunch Pie

john barry

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A full six months after making this for my daughter Isla’s third birthday and this for my son’s fifth, I am STILL burnt out on birthday cakes.  Fortunately, Eve was born during summer. I cannot tell you how happy I am to have at least one child with a summer birthday. No vying with every other parent in Chicago for a spot at one of the most popular birthday party venues in the middle of winter.  No worrying that the weather might be so bad no one will show up. And certainly, no “it-looked-so-easy-on-you-tube” doll cake. Not when an easy ice cream cake will do.

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Children love ice cream. Eve is no different. So when I couldn’t face another cake or even turning on the oven, ice cream swept in and saved the day. You can make this cake, pie actually, in about 5 minutes. It keeps well in the freezer so it doesn’t matter whether that 5 minutes is a month or a day before you plan on serving it.  I know you have better things to do with your free time.

You can be endlessly creative with ice cream cake in terms of flavors and decorations.  Try making a thin batch of brownies, cool them, layer ice cream on top or use crumbled up cookies instead of pretzels. Use multiple flavors of ice cream, freezing in between. Anything goes!

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We decorated Eve's cake with cut-outs of coloring pages from Emmett's coloring books.  Emmett loved this activity and was so proud to see that his coloring was featured prominently on her cake.  Next year Eve will probably want a "real" birthday party with friends but this year, all she needed was her family and the "cake". 

 I think two is my favorite year! Please don't let it go by too fast...

I think two is my favorite year! Please don't let it go by too fast...

Caramel Pretzel Crunch Pie

  • About 24 ounces (half of a 1.5 quart container) Caramel pretzel ice cream, slightly softened
  • 1 homemade or store bought graham cracker crust
  • 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 ounces heavy cream
  • ½ cup crushed pretzels
  1. Press softened ice cream into graham cracker crust. Wrap in plastic and place in freezer until fully frozen.

  2. Place cream and chopped chocolate in microwave and microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted and mixture is thick and glossy. Allow to cool to room temperature.

  3. Take ice cream pie out of the freezer and pour chocolate ganache over the top guiding it all the way to the sides with a spatula.

  4. Top with pretzel pieces, pressing down gently so they stick into the ganache.

  5. Store covered in the freezer up to two months.

  6. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

 Evie-Bo-Beavie we love you so much and cannot believe you are already TWO!!!   

Evie-Bo-Beavie we love you so much and cannot believe you are already TWO!!!

 

Pressure Cooker BBQ Ribs

john barry

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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.

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Chubby thighs, because they're so cute. 

Homemade Dessert Night

john barry

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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.

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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! 

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