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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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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. 

 

Filtering by Category: Cooking with Kids

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






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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Brioche Two Ways

john barry

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I own a bread machine and I actually use it. I’m not sure I know anyone who can say that. It seems like most bread machines are relegated to basements and second hand stores or gifted and regifted until they find themselves in one of the aforementioned spots. I think that most people who like to make bread like the tactile part of the process, kneading the dough, feeling the moisture level of it in their hands, punching it down, shaping it - that’s all part of the baking experience with breads. Others are so intimidated by yeast that even the bread machine can’t help them get over it. I’m one of the few that exists somewhere in the middle. I don't mind missing out on that kneading and artistry.  I use my bread machine all the time and having it has taken some of the “fear” out of working with yeast for me in general, even when I’m not using it.  I also love that I can just throw the ingredients in, set the timer, and have fresh bread in the morning. 

Little fingers can't wait to get their hands on this.

Little fingers can't wait to get their hands on this.

Just recently, I started to use my bread machine to make dough for shaping and baking in the oven.  This has definitely been one of those “ah-ha moments” for me, as I’ve been making no-knead pizza dough ever since burning out a gear in my stand mixer making dough a few years back. No-knead dough is incredible but requires more planning than I have in me most of the time. Bread machine to the rescue.  Now I can throw the ingredients in, set the timer and have perfect pizza dough ready to bake when I get home from work. #winning. And while I’m winning, it occurred to me that I can make brioche dough in the bread machine too. I LOVE brioche. Pillowy, eggy, golden, beautiful brioche. I love you slathered with anything, or nothing at all.  

Because making brioche dough is so easy in my bread machine (it’s pretty easy to make in a bowl too), I’ve been experimenting with different fillings and shapes. Here were two weekend winners for me.

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Dr. Seuss bread - so called for its funny shape. You can read more about how to shape it here.  I used the brioche recipe that came with my bread machine, which, by the way, was handed down twice and in a friend’s basement when I unloaded it from her (full-disclosure, it took me a couple of months to use it but ever since then, we’ve been thick as thieves).  Here is a simple recipe that works great. I cut out the pieces, sprinkled them with cinnamon-sugar and slipped a few chocolate chunks inside before rolling them up and standing them upright in the pan.  I let the dough rise in the pan overnight and before baking, I brushed the loaf with egg wash and sprinkled more cinnamon-sugar over the whole thing.

Then, with the leftover dough, I made bagel bites.  I rolled out the dough in portions, stuck a ball of cream cheese in the center and closed the dough over it.  I let these rise overnight and in the morning, after preheating my oven, I brushed them with egg wash and sprinkled them with everything bagel seasoning.  

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We devoured pretty much all of this buttery deliciousness. Emmett was really into the Dr. Seuss loaf and, after eating little else for a 24-hour period, insisted on taking some to school for his snack on Monday. Me, Paul, Isla and Eve polished off the bagel bites in short order.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that we also had a cherry and almond cream brioche loaf earlier in the week? I have got to stop the insanity. But it’s SO hard. I’m partial to the little filled buns and I’m already thinking of new variations.  Almond cream, Nutella, Speculous, peanut butter, black sesame, honey-tahini? Yes to all. Or savory versions like blue cheese and bacon, jalapeno-cheddar, pimento cheese, pulled pork or sundried tomato? Yes again. You could make one large batch of dough and a few different fillings and there would be something for everyone. Our bagel bites never made it past the counter but I’m sure they would be welcome at a brunch get together or playdate.  How about corned beef and cabbage filled brioche buns for your Saint Patrick's Day festivities? 

Looks like I've got my work cut out for me. Happy weekend!