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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. 

 

Filtering by Category: Holiday

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






Dead Simple: Parsley Sauce for Your Saint Patrick's Day Meal

john barry

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Hi there. How are you? I'm having a hard time believing that March is around the corner. Where did the last few month go? I am totally looking forward to the days getting longer and longer and  it warming up around here.  Plus, we are all psyched that the next major Holiday (besides Emmett's birthday, as I am reminded EVERY.SINGLE.DAY) is Saint Patrick's Day!

Spring means mixing things up with evening trips to the park, more eating out (even though that has been scaled back by the arrival of this), and possible getting the grill out. But for the next few weeks it's business as usual around here.

My father-in-law, Paddy, and I take turns hosting Sunday dinner. It’s an informal affair, just Paul and I, the kids, Paddy and my brother-in-law, John.  Nothing fancy, more often than not, dinner is just what we would normally have.  But, it’s nice to sit down to a meal together, and it’s a part of the week that we all look forward to. Last week, Paddy and John did more than their fair share. They drove to our house so we wouldn’t have to get the kids bundled up AND they brought an Irish bacon. There really wasn’t much for me to do to make dinner happen.

We typically eat our Irish bacon (and corned beef for that matter) with Coleman’s mustard on the side.  But since I was only responsible for vegetables, I decided to make some parsley sauce to go with the bacon.  This sauce is a basic bechamel with chopped parsley and lemon juice mixed in. It goes great with bacon and would probably be nice with fish (fish Friday idea!) or to spruce up some simple steamed broccoli or spinach.

You can make this sauce in the time it takes to cook some carrots and cabbage on the stovetop. I will definitely be making it again with my corned beef on Saint Patrick’s Day. With some Coleman’s mustard on the side, of course.

Parsley Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Salt to taste

Place butter and flour in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat.  I like to use a high quality salted Irish butter, such as Kerrygold, for this.  If you use salted butter, you won’t need to add much salt at the end.

Stir butter and flour together until if makes a homogenous paste and bubbles but does not brown, about 2 minutes.   

Pour milk in slowly and cook, whisking constantly, for 4 or 5 minutes, until sauce thickens.  I add milk a little at a time, keeping in mind that sauce will be slightly thicker when taken off the heat. You may or may not use all the milk.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and parsley.

Season to taste.  

To say I love Irish bacon would be an understatement.  If you are looking for something to do with leftover Irish bacon, look no further. 

I've used it in all of these: 

Bacon and Pea Risotto

In soup with white beans

In split pea soup

Dublin Coddle

and, it makes a regular appearance at our house in fried rice, sandwiches, scrambled eggs, even biscuits, cornbread and scones. Bacon is my weeknight, breakfast, anytime hero.

 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

john barry

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When I was a kid, I played competitive tennis. We lived in Colorado where winters were cold and court time was expensive.  So I often practiced very early in the morning or late at night when it was easier and cheaper to reserve a court at the indoor tennis club in our town. I also traveled to tennis tournaments which sometimes required catching a flight or getting on a bus at 5:00 a.m. No matter how early I had to leave, my mom would always get up to make me breakfast before sending me off.  I especially remember the days when she would pop those Pillsbury cinnamon rolls with orange glaze in the oven for a 4:00 a.m. pre-tennis breakfast.  I loved the way they made the house smell and the sweet sticky glaze on top. And while I’m sure I never expressed it back then, I loved that even when my dad was driving me or someone was picking me up, my mom always, always got up to feed me.

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One morning a couple of months ago, when we were in California visiting my parents, my mom made us all cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Emmett claimed that he did not like cinnamon rolls and then proceeded to devour at least two big ones. I wasn’t surprised, given my healthy appreciation for them. And I couldn’t help but remember those early tennis mornings from my childhood. Watching him eat the rolls with gusto made me think about food memories and family rituals. And that got me to thinking that we should have something special for Holiday breakfasts. Something the kids look forward to and always remember the way I remember 4:00 a.m. cinnamon rolls.

So, seeing as most of us were verified cinnamon roll lovers, I thought it would be nice to make them as a special Thanksgiving breakfast this year.  Because I could make them the night before and let them rise overnight in the fridge, I knew they would be a low-maintenance breakfast that would allow me to focus on cooking the “real food” for the day. When we woke up, all I had to do was leave them on the counter for an hour or so before popping them in the oven.  

"MORE!" Another cinnamon roll lover. 

"MORE!" Another cinnamon roll lover. 

They were a hit with the kids who love, and often request a “special breakfast” on the weekends or on Holidays.  Perhaps the best part is that the recipe makes 16 rolls in two cake pans - so I had one leftover for the freezer. I plan on defrosting them overnight in the refrigerator on Christmas Eve so that we can have another “special breakfast” on Christmas. The kids have actually asked to have them again a handful of times in the last two weeks, so I think they will be a welcome addition to our Christmas morning activities.

This recipe is adapted slightly from the book Baked Elements by Matt Lewis.  I add salted chopped pecans to the filling because the saltiness and texture of the nuts cuts some of the sweet and softness of the rolls as they would be otherwise.

I went back and forth on when and how to freeze them before deciding to simply freeze them fully baked and frosted so that I can reheat them (after defrosting overnight) in a 250 degree oven for about 20 minutes. While I have yet to test this, I’m pretty confident that they will be just as good this way.  I’m already looking forward to indulging in one of these with a big cup of coffee on Christmas morning.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

For the Dough:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, slightly warm (but not hot)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2/3 cups pumpkin puree, canned
  • 1 large egg
  • Oil or cooking spray for coating rising bowl

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • ½ cup chopped roasted, salted pecans
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the Glaze:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temp
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon  vanilla extract or vanilla paste

Melt the butter in a small saucepan or the microwave. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Add yeast to milk in a small bowl and set aside. After a few minutes, it should start to foam, if it doesn’t your yeast might be bad. Try it again with new yeast.

In the bottom of the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, sugars, salt and spices. Add about 3/4ths of your melted butter, reserving the other 1/4th for assembly, and stir to combine. Add yeast-milk mixture, pumpkin and egg and mix until combined. Switch mixer to a dough hook and knead on low for about 5 minutes.

Place mixture in a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1 hour in a warm place until the dough just about doubles.

Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking/baking spray.

To assemble buns: Once dough has nearly doubled, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and roll the dough to an approximately 16×11-inch rectangle. Brush with reserved butter. Stir filling ingredients together in a bowl and sprinkle mixture evenly over your dough rectangle. Roll the dough into a tight spiral. Cut into 16 equal sized rolls by applying minimal pressure to the rolled up dough and slicing with a serrated knife (this helps to avoid squishing the rolls when they are cut). Cutting with dental floss also works well.

Place 8 buns in each prepared pan. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight. In the morning, take buns out and leave on the counter for 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F and make glaze.

To make glaze: Beat cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla. Drizzle in milk a little at a time until glaze is the right consistency - spreadable or pourable. We like it on the thicker side.

She loved them too! YAY! I found something we can all get excited about.

She loved them too! YAY! I found something we can all get excited about.