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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. 

 

Filtering by Category: Salad

End of Summer Salad: Heirloom Tomato Salad with Yellow Pepper,  Basil, Feta and Dijon Vinaigrette

john barry

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Thank you to everyone who came out for Long Grove Irish Days and made the festival a huge success! It amazes me that the stores have been part of the Long Grove community for almost 40 years.  It means so much to us to see so many people come out and support Long Grove and participate in the festival. I finally made it to Galena Canning Company and I am so excited to try the fancy mustard, apricot-peach and fig preserves I bought. I’m still looking forward to checking out the new spot in town,  Buffalo Creek Brewery.  I’ve heard it’s fantastic.

Isla taking in an Irish dance lesson on the stage at Irish Days. 

Isla taking in an Irish dance lesson on the stage at Irish Days. 

How can it be that summer has already come and gone? As much as I love fall, summer is always over too soon.  How I’m going to miss the warm, long days and all of the produce that makes dinner effortless.  All of the outdoor cooking. Taking walks to the park or out for ice cream.  All the things we only do during the summer in Chicago. There’s a part of me that enjoys sweater weather, apples and pumpkins, getting cozy when it’s dark out at 5:00 pm and perhaps most of all, the kids going to bed a little earlier (because I want to go to bed earlier too). Still, for the most part, I don’t get very excited in anticipation of fall, I’m too busy trying to soak up the last of the summer.

Last weekend was a good example of this. We had some friends over, hung out outside, went out for ice cream and mostly just tooled around the neighborhood. Sunday night my brother and father-in-law came over for dinner.  Because Paul and I had both fallen asleep on the couch and didn’t wake up in time to get to the store before dinner, we cooked up whatever was left in the fridge. Which ended up being corn, sweet potatoes and chicken.  Fortunately, my father-in-law arrived with some beautiful heirloom tomatoes from the Farmers Market.  He knows the way to my heart.

Heirloom tomatoes are easily in my top ten favorite foods on earth. They taste just like summer and are guaranteed to be delicious even if you don’t do a thing to them.  I will happily eat one over the sink with juice running down my chin just like a fresh peach. In this case, that might have been rude. I decided instead to make a salad.

I clipped some basil from the yard, found some feta cheese in the fridge and rooted around in my vegetable drawer until I came up with a single yellow bell pepper.  This would be enough. I decided on a mustardy-lemony vinaigrette and got to work. This dish came together in less than five minutes and was such a beauty. I think it would have been equally good with blue cheese and chives in place of the feta and basil.  It would have been good with anything because the heirlooms carried the day. I have one tomato left.  I saved it to eat over the sink all by myself.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Yellow Pepper,  Basil, Feta and Dijon Vinaigrette

For salad:

3 large heirloom tomatoes

About a fistful of fresh basil

1 large yellow pepper

3 ounces of feta cheese

For dressing:

½ shallot, minced

Juice from ½ of a lemon

3 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 teaspoons honey

1 ½ tablespoons of dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

 Mix shallot with lemon juice and allow to sit about 20 minutes to take some of the raw edge off the shallot. Whisk in dijon, honey, and olive oil until emulsified.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut the tomatoes into rounds and plate on a large platter. Cut yellow pepper into small squares and roughly chop basil.  Top tomato rounds with yellow pepper and basil and crumble feta over the top.  Spoon dressing over topped tomatoes. Serve.

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Kale and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Maple-Mustard Dressing

john barry

This one enjoyed her Holiday immensely - chocolate and whipped cream still on her face. 

This one enjoyed her Holiday immensely - chocolate and whipped cream still on her face. 

Happy New Year! How was your Christmas? We had the perfect low key day with our family and closest friends this year. According to my father-in-law, Christmas dinner in Ireland is usually a roast turkey but after just having one on Thanksgiving we usually find ourselves wanting something different. This year we decided to do lamb.  We also had mashed potatoes, rice, roasted vegetables, creamed spinach, green bean casserole and finished with a lovely Guinness pudding from the Boutique.  

I don’t do resolutions, not in the strict sense, but I’m doing a little bit of reorganizing around the house, donating some old clothes and hopefully, going to get around to decorating those rooms of the house that we somehow haven’t gotten to in the last five years (how did that happen?). I’m also thinking about all of the new recipes I want to try in 2017.  Actually, I keep a list.  I’ve been keeping a log of each new recipe attempted and notes about what worked and what didn’t since 2011. I think I can credit this blog with making my 2016 list the longest one yet. In 2017, I want to have more people over for dinner and I hope to get Isla cooking and Emmett taking on more complex tasks in the kitchen.  Yesterday he asked me for his own knife, so I think he’s ready to up the ante.

Today we are keeping it easy. Salad. Not because it’s a new year or because we were particularly gluttonous over the holidays.  We weren’t too bad, except that Emmett discovered the frozen disks of cookie dough in the freezer and realized that it meant we could make fresh cookies whenever we want. Then he FORCED us all to eat way too many cookies.  Oops, not that last part, but still.

Greens. While kale has become ubiquitous and somehow, against all odds, loved by all, Brussels sprouts remain sort of polarizing.  You either love them or hate them. I love them (I’m so predictable).  They are adorable. Mini-cabbages! Grown on a stalk!  What’s not to love? I never make them for the holidays because I’m pretty sure my brother-in-law doesn’t like them but now that Christmas is over, here they are. I think that even a Brussels sprout hater could get behind this shaved Brussels sprout and kale salad with maple-mustard dressing. I like this just the way it is but you could add bacon or chicken or both and make it more of a meal. It also travels well. And, because it is best eaten at room temperature, it’s a great option for those times when you have to bring something.

Kale and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Maple-Mustard Dressing

For the salad:

1 cup shredded Brussels sprouts

2 cups shredded kale

1 large apple, thinly sliced

1 handful of dried cherries or cranberries

½ cup crumbled chevre, feta or blue cheese

½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped

For the dressing:

½ cup walnut oil, or canola oil

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons coarse-grained mustard

½ shallot, minced

2 teaspoons chives, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Ok. You know how to make a salad. For the dressing, I usually just shake up all of the ingredients in the cool little dressing shaker my mom bought for me, or when that’s already in use as it was today, a mason jar.

I think Paul and John were both happy that the kids wanted this toy cash register. The beginning of their training to work in the stores? Starting them young. 

I think Paul and John were both happy that the kids wanted this toy cash register. The beginning of their training to work in the stores? Starting them young. 

“Coldcannon” in the Heat of Summer

john barry

Summer in Chicago. The heat and humidity doesn’t exactly leave us longing for heaping portions of butter-laced potatoes, sausages, lamb stew or other such Irish specialties (as much loved as they are around here at other times of the year).  That being said, certain classic Irish flavor and ingredient combinations are always welcome on our table.

This salad is one of them.  I call it Cold-Cannon - get it? It’s a salad using the same ingredients as Colcannon but it’s cold. Thus, COLD Cannon.

Kidding.  Well, all that is true but really I’m just making fun of Paul again. Puns aside, the combination of greens, green onion and potatoes works as well here as in Colcannon, which is also delicious. Lentils add some protein and heft but can also be left out. I like that this dish can be eaten cold, at room temperature or warm (there goes it’s punny moniker) and gets better as it sits, making it an excellent candidate for a picnic, potluck or make-ahead side. It’s also vegan and gluten free.  Effortlessly so. Summer needs more dishes like this.

Roasted New Potato Salad with Kale, Lentils and Green Onions

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds small new potatoes, cut into bite size pieces (if necessary)

Vegetable oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2-3 cups kale, chopped

½ cup cooked French lentils

Juice from one half lemon

2 teaspoons red wine or sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1 tablespoon capers, drained and coarsely chopped

2-3 green onions, roots and wilted outer leaves removed, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Lentils and Vinaigrette.

Lentils and Vinaigrette.

Make vinaigrette. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, chopped green onion and capers. Slowly whisk in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 375°F. Place potatoes on sheet pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with vegetable oil.  Toss potatoes in oil until they are lightly coated. Roast for 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the oven and toss with vinaigrette, lentils and chopped kale while still warm. Top salad with parsley and eat warm, cold or at room temperature.

I put the chopped kale in the bowl with the dressing and added the potatoes straight from the oven so that the heat would wilt the greens just a little.  Then I mixed the kale and potatoes until they were evenly coated with dressing before addng the lentils and parsley . 

I put the chopped kale in the bowl with the dressing and added the potatoes straight from the oven so that the heat would wilt the greens just a little.  Then I mixed the kale and potatoes until they were evenly coated with dressing before addng the lentils and parsley . 

I put my camera away and ate this immediately.  

I put my camera away and ate this immediately.  

Happy Heatwave! 

Happy Heatwave!