Archive | 2012

Homemade Irish Cream a.k.a. Tuesday Night Dance Party!

Home Made Irish Cream

Home Made Irish Cream

Hi everyone! This is Kevin. Welcome to my first blog entry on our new blog, Scraping the Bowl. I’m excited to finally be a blogger. Most of you don’t know this but I have been an avid blog follower for quite some time. I follow mostly design and lifestyle blogs. I’m not sure what sort of blog posts I’ll be contributing to Scraping the Bowl but I may include some posts about my favorite blogs. Who knows?!

Today, I’m here to tell you about a recipe I just made for Home-Made Irish Cream. I didn’t even know you could make Irish cream until I stumbled upon a recipe on one of my favorite blogs: Design Sponge. It is a lifestyle and design blog that focuses on hand-made goods and natural cooking, two things that should be important to all of us. I won’t repost the recipe here because I believe that to be bad blog etiquette however, a link to the full recipe and insight into how I cook is below.

You can find the recipe here: Irish Cream. I did not deviate from the recipe, as I am a stickler for the rules. However, I did double-down on the directive to stir the cream mixture “frequently.” Instead of frequently, I stirred constantly. I’ve scorched enough milk and cream mixtures to know I never want to do that again!

So much stirring!

So much stirring!

I believe the key to having fun with this recipe is choosing the appropriate music to “stove dance” to while stirring the cream mixture for 20 minutes. Tonight, it was Bruno Mars’ album Unorthodox Jukebox. I challenge you to listen to “Locked Out of Heaven” and not step-touch in front of the stove. I know you are making Irish cream, but please do not Riverdance in front of the stove. That could create a safety issue.

The one thing that surprised me about this recipe is how chocolatey the cream mixture appears and smells before adding the whiskey. It looks like the thickest, most silky hot chocolate you’ve ever seen or exactly like the chocolate river Augustus Gloop falls into in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

It looks so chocolatey!

It looks so chocolatey!

However, rest assured, because the moment you add the whiskey, it changes into the color we all associate with Irish cream. I should know and understand the mechanism behind this phenomenon but I just blamed it on old Irish magic.

Taste Test Results

Qui and I both agree that the home-made version is far superior to the bottled version. The bottled version tastes much less chocolatey and has a processed taste that doesn’t lend itself well to drinking straight on the rocks.

The Verdict

Keep your bottle of Bailey’s for adding to coffee and recipes but take the 30 minutes to throw together the home-made version if you are drinking it over ice.  It is well worth the 20 minutes of stove dancing!




We bought this nice 12-inch cast iron skillet in an antique store in Plant City, FL and this is a picture of it being re-seasoned.  I’ve never cooked with one before and I am really stoked to use it!!

Picadillo-Style Sheperd’s Pie with Chipotle Mashed Potatoes (from Weight Watcher’s)

This is a pleasant twist on sheperd’s pie with the sweet and savory flavors of picadillo in place of regular beef.  I like picadillo and I like sheperd’s pie, so when I stumbled upon this recipe that brought both together, I HAD to try it!  The result was delicious and the aromas floating through the house as it cooked just made my stomach growl with anticipation!


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 tsp
  • 2 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small yellow squash, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14 1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 12 pimento stuffed olives, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1.5 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1 tablespoon chipotle chilies in adobo, chopped.


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large pot filled halfway with water, bring to a boil.  Add potatoes and cook until tender.  drain water and return potatoes into pot.  Mash potatoes with a potato masher, add butter and 1/4 tsp salt, mix and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, over medium high heat,  add beef and 1/4 tsp salt; cook, breaking it apart with a spoon, until browned, about  10 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Add oil to skillet, add onion and garlic and cook, for about 1 minute.  Add zucchini and squash, stir and cook until vegetables are softened, about 6 minutes.  Return beef to skillet, stir in tomatoes, raisins, olives, cinnamon, and cumin.  Bring to a boil.  Remove skillet from heat and transfer mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish.
  4. Mix together mashed potatoes and chipotle.  Spread potato mixture over beef mixture.  Transfer casserole to oven and bake until potato is browned and filling is bubbly along the edge, about 25 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


  • The original recipe called for 1 (24 oz) package refrigerated mashed potatoes, but I find I don’t like the taste so I opted to make my own.
  • I used regular raisins whole (that’s all I had in the cupboard) instead of golden raisins chopped and it didn’t affect the flavor.
  • The original recipe also called for 8 olives, but the ones I bought seemed small so I used 12.

Chili Rubbed Tenderloin with Spanish Peppers & Potatoes (from Weight Watchers)

I was excited to try this recipe out because it allowed me to use my re-seasoned cast iron skillet that we bought at an antique store for the first time!!  You don’t have to use a cast iron skillet for this recipe, but I just used it as an excuse.  This recipe is so easy, yet surprisingly very delicious and quick!


  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 1/2  teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 (1-pound) beef tenderloin, trimmed
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil+ 1 teaspoon olive oil divided
  • 1 pound small yellow potatoes, scrubbed and halved
  • 2 red or green bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Mix together chili powder,  2 tsp salt, and oregano in a small bowl.  Rub mixture all over tenderloin and let the meat marinate about 10 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in heavy medium roasting pan over medium high heat. Add beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes; transfer to plate.
  4. Combine potatoes, bell peppers, vinegar, paprika, remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; toss a couple of times to throughly coat. spread vegetables in a roasting pan in an even layer.
  5. Transfer roasting pan to oven and roast, stirring once or twice, until vegetables are partially cooked, about 20 minutes.  Push vegetables to the sides of pan and place beef in the center of the pan.  Roast until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center of the beef registers 145 degrees F for medium and vegetables are cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Transfer beef to cutting board and let stand 10 minutes.  Cut beef across grain and serve with vegetables.

Qui’s Changes:

The original recipe called for exactly half of all the spices and salt that are listed above, but looking at the meat I know that doubling it would add alot more flavor.  In step 4 the original recipe instructed to spray the vegetables with cooking spray and toss, but I found that there tends to be an odd taste with cooking spray, so I just added olive oil to the liquid mixture and tossed the veggies with it.

Conscious Decision

I was at the grocery store finding ingredients for my banana waffles and I found myself staring at the flour aisle for 15 minutes. It wasn’t that I could not find the all purpose flour that I needed, it was just the sheer amount choices for flour that gave me pause. Does my cookie and possible cakes really need to be so white that I have to buy flour that underwent a chemical process to remove what was naturally a slight beige color? If I do indeed bake a cake, does the whiteness of the cake matter at all if it is just going to be dressed in a layer of frosting, fondant, or ganache? In the end and after much internal deliberation, I decided to purchase the unbleached all purpose flour by the Gold Medal brand. I think I will purchase unbleached flour from now on unless it does not perform well in the recipes I use it in.

Crockpot Curried Pork Over Basmati Rice

First, I have to admit that there are times when I am in such a rush that I would forget an ingredient or forget to add an ingredient (or sometimes two).  In this case, it was ginger, luckily the taste of the dish didn’t seem to be amiss from the lack of it.  In addition, I added 1/2 pound more meat to this recipe since i cannot find just 1 1/2 pounds of pork loin. I would call this an introduction to curries since it is mild in spices as well as heat, still it tastes great so set it,  forget it and enjoy!  


  • 3 1/2 Cups cubed into 1 to 2 -inch cubes- red potato (about 3 large)
  • 1 Cup chopped onion
  • 1 Cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • t tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon Madras curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds boneless pork loin roast, cubed into 1 to 2 -inch cubes
  • 1 C coconut milk
  •  hot cooked basmati rice


  1. In a small nonstick pan over medium high heat, toast flour- roughly 2 minutes.  Add Madras curry powder  and cumin, stir and continue to toast until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour mixture with chicken broth, tomato paste, sugar, salt, ginger, garlic.  Add pork and vegetables, stir to combine.  At this point you can place this mixture in the crock pot and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or until pork and potatoes are tender. **OR for more flavorful meat** you can cover the bowl with plastic wrap,  place it in the refrigerator and let it marinate for at least an hour or overnight THEN place the mixture in a crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  3. Stir in coconut milk and serve over basmati rice.

NOTE:  My Crock pot tends to be hotter than most so I generally check the meat and potatoes at lower end of the time (6 hours) and then add more time if needed.

Basic Banana Bread


1 cups granulated sugar
4 tablespoons butter melted
1 2/3 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4)
1/4 C low-fat milk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup all purpose whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare bread, combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine both flour types and next 2 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl; stir well. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool.

Oven Baked Chicken w/Roasted Apples and Mashed Cauliflower


5 cups chopped peeled Braeburn apple (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
Cooking spray
8 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skinned $
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Chopped parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 475°.
Combine first 5 ingredients. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss well to coat. Spread apple mixture on a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray.
Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, and arrange on top of the apple mixture. Bake at 475° for 25 minutes or until chicken is done and apple is tender. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
Partially mash apple mixture with a potato masher, and serve with chicken. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

Qui’s Notes: The apples made this dish, so I would double the amount of apples (and corresponding spices) called for.

Also, I used season salt instead of salt and pepper to flavor the chicken and I us

Crock Pot Meatloaf with Mashed Roasted Roots


1 1/2 pound extra Lean ground beef
1/4 C finely chopped onion
1/2 C seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 C finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 C ketchup
2 TBSP prepared mustard
1/2 tsp garlic minced
1 tsp diced oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, beaten
cooking spray
2 TBSP ketchup

Combine first 11 ingredients in a large bowl; mix well.

Form mixture into an 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch loaf.
fold a 12 inch long piece of foil in half length wise. Spray foil with cooking spray. Place Meatloaf on foil leaving a 2-3 inch border at each end of foil. Lift foil and place in slow cooker.

Spread 2 TBSP of ketchup over top of meat. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or until thermometer registers 170 degrees F. Using foil, carefully lift meatloaf out of cooker. Let rest 10 minutes; cut and serve. Yield 6 slices.

Roasted Mashed Roots:


4 cups cubed peeled Yukon Gold Potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 cups sliced peeled parsnip (about 12 ounces)
2 cups cubed peeled turnip (about 12 ounces)
5 bay leaves
1 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoon butter
1/2 tsp salt


Place first 4 ingredients in a large baking sheet; Pour melted butter over roots and mix well. Bake in a 400 degree oven 15 minutes then stir the roots with a spatula and finish baking for another 15 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. The parsnips and potatoes will brown and caramelize a bit, don’t worry, you want that flavor!

Discard bay leaves. Return vegetables to pan; add rest of butter, milk, rest of the salt salt, and pepper. Beat at medium speed of a mixer until smooth. ( I find I need to puree them in a food processor).

Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 chopped parsley or dried parsley flakes


Bring a medium stockpot halfway filled with water to a boil.

While you are waiting on the water to boil, remove the leaves from the Cauliflower head, chop off the this base. break apart the into big pieces. Once the water has boiled, add cauliflower pieces and boil unit tender, roughly 20 minutes.

Drain the cauliflower and place in a medium sized bowl. all the rest of the ingredients and mashed with a potato masher. Adjust salt and pepper (or even add more parmesan) to taste.

Note: would probably more creamy had I placed it in a food processor and pureed it.