Archive for November, 2011

Taking the Stress Out of Holiday Cooking

Taking the Stress Out of Holiday Cooking

Cinnamon Coffee Cake and Bay Leaf Ice Cream

A new national consumer survey by Ipsos reveals that the number one holiday cooking headache is synchronizing the meal so that all dishes are ready at the same time.

Brothers Michael and Bryan Voltaggio, of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” understand the delicate balance of preparing a holiday meal. “Holiday cooking is all about getting great food on the dinner table that can be savored and enjoyed. We prefer to keep the process as easy as possible,” says Michael.

The brothers offer a recipe for Cinnamon Coffee Cake and Bay Leaf Ice Cream, as well as these tips to help you get the timing of your holiday meal right:

Prepare in advance. Think about the cook time of each recipe; if dinner is at 4 p.m., you want your turkey out of the oven by 2 p.m., which means the turkey needs to be in a preheated oven by 8 a.m.

Make the most of your kitchen. Because convenience and flexibility are important in the kitchen, consider the Samsung Flex Duo Oven.  It is the world’s first freestanding electric range that can be divided into two cavities and then back into one larger oven. This gives cooks the option of preparing either two dishes at two different temperatures with no mixing of aromas or tastes, or one larger dish.

For tips, advice and recipes from the Voltaggio Brothers, as well as a chance to win a new oven, go to

Cinnamon Coffee Cake and Bay Leaf Ice Cream


Coffee Cake
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 4 tablespoons cinnamon
Crumb topping
  • 1/8 pound butter
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2/3 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Bay Leaf Ice Cream
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 fresh bay leaves, julienned
  • 1 allspice berry, cracked
  • 2 teaspoons ice cream stabilizer


  1. Coffee Cake – Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar for 3 minutes. Add buttermilk and eggs to creamed butter and sugar. Slowly add dry ingredients, 1/3 at a time. Fold in crème fraîche and reserve.
  3. Remove 1-3/4 cups batter; stir in 4 tablespoons of cinnamon until smooth. Gently fold cinnamon batter into remaining batter to create swirl effect.
  4. Place 1-1/2 cups batter into four 5 x 2-1/2-inch greased cake pans; place 1/4 cup of crumb topping (directions follow) on each cake, gently pressing into batter. Place in oven for 40-45 minutes, turning halfway through baking. Insert cake tester to make sure cake is cooked through. Let rest; cool for 1 hour.
  5. Crumb topping – Soften butter to room temperature. Combine all ingredients together in mixing bowl with paddle attachment until texture of sand. Distribute over cake batter as in main recipe above.
  6. Bay Leaf Ice Cream – Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Whisk together. Place in Cryovac bag; cook in 82°F water bath for 30 minutes. Once cooked, remove bag from water; shake rapidly for 30 seconds. Strain out bay leaves and allspice, cool properly over ice water bath to 40°F then transfer to ice cream maker and freeze according to directions.
  7. You can alternatively cook the ice cream base over a double boiler until custard has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Be sure to stir constantly.

Serves: 6


‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the Season

Easy Recipes for the Holidays

Pear, Roast Onion, Hazelnut and Cashel Blue Cheese Salad
Potato Chowder with Pancetta and Aged Cheddar
Slice and Bake Butter Cookies

If time and money are in short supply, use creativity to turn small splurges into celebrations. Here are holiday ideas and recipes that won’t break the bank nor leave you exhausted afterwards.

Each recipe features an affordable import – butter and cheeses from Ireland, where cows are grass-fed and milk from small farms is used to make prized dairy products.

The Family Holiday Dinner

Keep the main course simple with a no-fuss roast. Make a splash with a festive salad featuring creamy and elegant Cashel Blue Irish farmhouse cheese. Serve on your best china.

A Tree Decorating Party

A holiday party doesn’t have to be fancy; any simple excuse to gather informally, like trimming the tree or decorating the house, will do. It’s a great way to include children in the festivities. Serve up mugs of chowder enriched with Irish Cheddar, plenty of bread and Irish butter, a salad and some Christmas cookies.

Gifts from the Kitchen

Give a gift of love and save money, too, with home-baked goods wrapped in pretty packaging. Use premium Irish butter to give everything you bake true buttery flavor and natural golden color. Kids would love to help with the decorating.

And for Every Holiday Get-Together, a Cheese Board

A universal favorite of guests and the easiest choice for the host is a cheese board. An assortment of Irish cheeses like Dubliner, Cashel Blue and Kerrygold Aged Cheddar with fresh fruit and chutney make a spectacular presentation.

For more holiday recipes, visit

Pear, Roast Onion, Hazelnut and Cashel Blue Cheese Salad


  • 1 red onion, peeled
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 pears (not too ripe)
  • 2 tablespoons Kerrygold Unsalted Irish Butter
  • 2 ounces hazelnuts, lightly toasted, halved
  • 5 ounces baby greens (watercress, baby spinach and frisée)
  • 10 ounces Cashel Blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons hazelnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons superfine sugar (or to taste)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Halve onion and cut it into crescent slices. Put into a small ovenproof dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast about 20 minutes, or until soft with slightly caramelized tips. Keep warm.
  2. Whisk dressing ingredients together. Halve and core pears, then cut lengthwise into slices slightly thicker than 1/4 inches. Melt butter in a frying pan and quickly sauté on each side until golden. Don’t overcook – they should still hold their shape.
  3. Toss salad greens with nuts, using most of the dressing; divide among 6 plates. Add pear and onion slices to each plate and scatter with cheese. Drizzle each plate with the rest of the dressing.

Serves 6

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
As featured on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour.

Potato Chowder with Pancetta and Aged Cheddar


  • 6 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Kerrygold Aged Cheddar


  1. In large saucepan over medium-high heat, cook pancetta, stirring, until crisp, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove pancetta and drain on paper towels. Discard all but 1/2 teaspoon fat from pan.
  3. Add onion and sauté over high heat until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add potatoes, celery and broth.
  4. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.
  5. Add buttermilk and pancetta and stir until hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Remove from heat, stir in cheese and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings; multiply recipe for a crowd

Slice and Bake Butter Cookies


  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (8 ounces or 1 cup) Kerrygold Salted Irish Butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar or coarse sugar crystals for rolling the cookie log


  1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl and set aside. In large bowl beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg yolks and vanilla. Add flour mixture, mixing on low just until flour is incorporated and soft, smooth dough forms.
  2. Divide dough into 2 pieces; form each into a log about 7 1/2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate about 1 hour until cold and firm, or overnight. Or freeze, wrapped securely, for up to 1 month. (Defrost in the refrigerator before slicing and baking.)
  3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In small bowl, beat egg white with fork until foamy, about 30 seconds. Brush each log with egg white. Sprinkle the 1/3 cup sugar on strip of wax paper then roll each log back and forth in sugar to coat lightly. Use sharp knife to cut each log into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place 1 inch apart on baking sheets.
  4. Bake one sheet at a time on middle rack of the oven until cookie edges and bottoms are light brown, about 18 minutes. Cool 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Makes 60 cookies









This football season, you don’t need tickets to enjoy the hottest grid-iron games with friends, family and food fresh off the charcoal grill. Gather up the home team and fire up the grill for a tailgate party with all the sights, sounds and smells of the stadium in your own backyard with these smart game-day strategies from champion pit master Chris Lilly and football analyst Mike Golic.

“Tailgating prior to kickoff is a football tradition in my family,” said Golic, “I’m about as big of a grilling enthusiast as I am a sports fan, so any game day is a great day to be around the grill in my backyard.”

The award-winning pit master recommends using a charcoal grill to bring out the best flavor of tailgate fare and shares a few quick tips to make your menu a success.

“Super Bowl weekend may not  be right around the corner, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to put up your grill,” said Lilly. “In fact, nothing says game day like friends and family enjoying the signature smoky aroma and flavors of food prepared on the charcoal grill.”


  • Score an Early First Down: Chips and dip make great appetizers for any party. Try paring tortilla chips with a coal-fired pico de gallo for an instant fan favorite. Give tomatoes, peppers and onions a quick turn on the grill before combining with cilantro, garlic, salt, sugar and limejuice to taste.


  • Home Field Advantage: Combine two game-day traditions at your tailgate party – grilling and pizza. Grilled pizza is a creative alternative to delivery when hosting guests for the big game. Plus, you can fire up another pizza on the grill immediately instead of having to wait for the delivery guy.


  • Instant Replay: One of the perks to hosting your own tailgate party is enjoying the leftovers. From chicken tacos to Philly cheese steak sandwiches, there are limitless options for what you can fix with the meat your guests don’t finish. Just make sure it gets cooked properly on game day – don’t forget to let it sit or “rest” undisturbed for 10 to 15 minutes before serving to allow the temperature to equalize and reabsorb the internal juices.


For more ways to tailgate at home, including additional tips and game day recipes, connect with us at


Grilled Steak Pizza

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 9-12 minutes


1/4       pounds sirloin steak

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1          13.8 ounce tube pizza dough

4          scallions, finely chopped

1/2       cup queso fresca cheese

1/4       cup salsa verde

3          tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro


Preheat grill using Kingsford charcoal.


Season steak with salt and pepper and grill for 4 to 5 minutes for rare. Remove steak from grill and let rest for five minutes. Thinly slice steak.


Roll dough out on a well-floured board or pizza peel. Slide dough from peel on to grill and grill for 3 to 5 minutes or until toasted and crispy on the underside.


Flip the pizza dough over and top evenly with sliced steak, green onions, and queso fresca. Place cover over grill and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese has melted and is golden.


Remove pizza from grill and serve drizzled with salsa verde and cilantro.

Recipe created by football analyst, Mike Golic, on behalf of Kingsford charcoal