St. Paddy's sign: Get Your Green On

Going Green

With my paternal grandmother 100% Irish, St. Patrick’s Day dinner was the one time a year my mom’s menu was corned beef, cabbage with caraway seeds and potatoes. Part of the fun was the anticipation of that traditional meal and of course, wearing green.

We celebrate on March 17 because St. Patrick’s death is believed to have happened on that date in 461. In 1631, the Catholic church began observing a special feast honoring him and in 1903 it became an official Irish holiday. According to legend, while he was giving a sermon on an Irish hillside, all the snakes were driven out into the sea.

Spend Wednesday evening with Chef Judith Baigent-King celebrating Irish and all things green with a contemporary menu that’s the pot of gold at the end of the culinary rainbow: Grilled, Marinated Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce you can do outside on the grill or inside on the cooktop; Roasted Vegetable Salad with Minted Pesto and Irish Whiskey (or not) Chocolate Pots de Crème with Shamrock Whipped Cream.

Cook with and talk about wine with Flying Leap Vineyards and Distillery co-founder Mark Beres in Friday’s In the Winemaker’s Kitchen. The menu: You’ll start by mixing The Flying Leap Classic Manhattan cocktail paired with Rustic Roasted Garlic Brie on ciabatta, then savor a hearty Coq au Vin over Couscous. Mark’s gift to you is a complimentary wine tasting for two and a 20% off purchase coupon.

Start the week out in a fun way making gluten free breakfast for dinner with the Gourmet Girls Susan Fulton and Chef Mary Steiger on March 23. On the menu: 24 Carrot Cocktail; Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce; Bacon Waffle with Spicy Syrup and Fruit and Yogurt Parfait with Granola. You don’t have to be gluten free to enjoy the yumminess.

Foodies around the world are rejoicing with Jackie Alpers’ “Taste of Tucson: Sonoran-Style Recipes” best-selling cookbook. And, the awards and recognitions are piling up, too. A delicious evening of Sonoran flavors awaits on Wednesday, March 24, cooking along with Jackie and discussing the iconic flavors that make Tucson special. On the menu: Corn masa flat enchiladas with red chile beef. Also, since she’s an acclaimed professional food photographer, you may also learn how to snap the best Instagram-worthy photos of your dish.

On Tuesday, March 30, Chef Michael Elefante, co-owner of Mama Louisa’s, debuts our monthly series highlighting local dining at its best with Tucson Originals restaurants. This is in addition to the monthly classes by members the Gourmet Girls. Formed 1999, the Tucson Originals have been the driving force and model for similar groups across America working to preserve the culinary spirit of their communities. With the rapid rise of chain eateries, this alliance has helped many Tucson’s signature restaurants survive and thrive. They’re your neighbors and friends who contribute endlessly to the betterment of our community. They’re the first to give when there’s a need.

In his love letter to Calabria, Chef Michael’s menu includes: Ricotta cheese you’ll make along with Chef, handmade and hand-cut fettuccine pasta, bacon chili jam starring the famous peppers from the Diamante region that are an integral part of the area’s cuisine – all coming together for an incredible dish; Brussels sprouts and mushrooms topped with hazelnut brittle and a no-bake tiramisu.

Last but certainly not least, I can’t wait for two highly anticipated restaurant openings: Chef Devon Sanner’s Zio Peppe and Nate Ares’ and Chef Kyle Nottingham’s Ares Collective (Prep & Pastry, Commoner & Co. and August Rhodes Bakery) latest concept, Flora’s Market Run, 2513 E. 6th St., in the former Rincon Market space.

Chef Devon’s Zio Peppe, 6502 E. Tanque Verde Rd., is a collaboration with longtime friend and fellow culinary fixture Chef Mat Cable (Fresco Pizzeria & Pastaria, First We Eat Catering & Confections, partner in Dante’s Fire and Z Mansion house caterer). It’s a “quintessentially Tucson” take on Italian cuisine with house pastas, pizza and bread made with indigenous mesquite flour and heritage and regional grains. Sausages and other charcuterie will be made in-house.

Flora’s Market Run will have a grocery store and restaurant. The front will be coffee, with bean roasting done on the premises, and fabulous house-made pastries and bread.  The middle will have a multi-purpose bar. Breakfast and lunch will be casual with dinner a step up and full-service. The market side will feature on local products, have a floral shop, deli area, butcher counter, as well as local wines and beers.

Wishing you joy in the kitchen,


Shamrock Cutout Pound CakeShamrock Cutout Cake

2 cups unsalted butter, softened
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup milk
10 drops green food coloring
½ teaspoon peppermint extract

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
⅛ teaspoon peppermint extract
3-5 teaspoons milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add extract. Add flour alternating with the milk, mixing just until incorporated.
  3. Remove half the batter into a bowl and gently fold in food coloring.
  4. Pour green batter evenly into the pan. Bake 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. After removing from the oven, immediately loosen cake edges with a knife. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Cut cooled cake into 1-inch-thick slices. Cut slices with a 2 ½-inch shamrock-shaped cookie cutter, saving remaining cake for another use. Stand shamrock slices at an angle in the second pan.
  6. Pour remaining batter around and over shamrock slices. Bake and cool as above.
  7. For glaze: In a small bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar, extract and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Pour glaze over cake, allowing some to flow over sides.

Photo credit: Taste of Home




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