Southern Snacks Cookbook

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook

I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Kiss Me, I’m Irish Cookies

St. Patrick’s Day is a silly holiday – in the best possible way.  Grown folks dressing in green fuzzy wigs and big hats.  Pinching co-workers and friends who forget to wear green.  Drinking green beer.  Singing Irish songs as if you just came over from the old country.  In fact, celebrating a holiday largely based on snake-driving has an element of silliness to it from the get go. St. Patrick, it seems, never did have anything to do with snakes.  Now you know.

Except for college, when I am sure that it was a big beer drinking occasion (I assume that because frankly, I don’t remember), I have never really gone in for too much St. Paddy’s Day fun.  My only St. Patrick’s memory is a family spring break trip to Chicago right during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities.  Of course, my brother and I were too young to appreciate the principal activities of the day. But the Chicago River was dyed green, and we could watch the parade down Michigan Avenue from our hotel.  George Bush, Senior was staying in our hotel.  He’d just started his first presidential run (boy am I dating myself now), so the Secret Service were everywhere.  I can only imagine that Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day is a Secret Service nightmare.

So in celebration of the silly, I created these Kiss Me, I’m Irish Cookies.  I am not, by the way, Irish, but that’s sort of the fun of St. Patrick’s.  Everyone is Irish for a least a day.  The cookie base is flavored with Irish cream liqeuer, topped with a chocolate kiss.

Kiss Me, I’m Irish Cookies

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

½ cup sugar

½ cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup Irish cream liqueur (like Bailey’s)

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

24 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla, beating until combined.  Add the Irish cream, beating well.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt and add to the dough, mixing until fully incorporated.

Roll generous teaspoons of dough into balls and place on the prepared baking sheets.  Press a kiss into each cookie ball, letting the dough form up around the kiss.  Bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on the cookie sheets for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 24 cookies

Don’t forget the Corned Beef and Cabbage Cooked in Beer!

Champ: Irish Mashed Potatoes with Green Onion

 

I’ll admit I don’t know too much about Irish cooking, but I do know the Irish can make incredibly flavorful and satisfying food from simple ingredients, and no one is better with potatoes.  Champ is so deceptively simple; you won’t believe the rich flavor.  Add this to any meal and it’s instantly a simple St. Patrick’s celebration.

Champ

Irish Mashed Potatoes with Green Onions

6 green onions (about 3 ounces)

2 pounds russet potatoes (about 3 large)

2 cups buttermilk

¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter

Salt

Melted butter for drizzling

Slice the white, light green and a small bit of the dark green part of the green onions very finely. Save the rest of the dark green part for garnish. Peel the potatoes and slice into chunks.  Place in a large pan and just cover with water.  Add half the sliced green onions.  Bring to a boil and boil until the potatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and green onions in a colander, shaking out the water, then return to the pot.  Place a tea towel over the pot, the cover tightly with the lid.  Leave for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the buttermilk with the remaining green onions and the butter over low heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is warmed through.

Uncover the potatoes and begin mashing.  Pour in the buttermilk mixture and mash until smooth, adding salt to taste.  The mixture will be quite loose.  Scrape the potatoes into a small baking dish, smoothing the top. You can keep the potatoes covered for a few hours at this point, or just move on to the baking.

When ready to serve, heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.  Let rest for 5- 10 minutes before serving. Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with chopped green onion tops to serve.

Serves 4