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Monday, February 9, 2015

Top O' The Mornin' To Ya!

Going back to the archives today for a little taste of Ireland. This recipe was inspired by a trip to and Irish pub at Downtown Disney in Orlando,FL.  This year I will not be in   Florida for St.Patty's Day, but gathering with some neighbors for a pint and an Irish dinner. 

I leave you with a cute quote about one of my favorite beverages...

"Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat."

-Alex Levine

Inspiration for new recipe ideas and blogs come from many different places.  I am always on the lookout for a new story to tell and a new dish to create.  Some weeks, this comes easier than others.  The past few days for me have been filled with Cheerleading, Disney World and long hours in the car.  As you can imagine, none of these events, as fun as they were, really got my culinary creative juices flowing.  I was beginning to think I was going to have to fashion some quinoa and kale into a Mickey silhouette.  As luck would have it, my idea came to fruition on our last evening in Orlando.

We had dinner at the Raglan Road Irish Pub in Downtown Disney.  Our group was weary from the weekend's activities and were happy to sit down to a meal that was not being carried to the table on a plastic tray. Truly, I was at the point of wondering whether or not I still knew how to use a knife and a fork.

Our drinks arrived along with a beautiful loaf of hearty, still warm, bread.  The bread was accompanied by what appeared to be a saucer of olive oil and balsamic for dipping. As it turns out, this was no ordinary oil and vinegar dipping sauce.  It was in fact, according to our waitress, a reduction of Guinness and brown sugar that was floating on top of the oil.  Unfortunately for my table mates, they got to spend the next thirty minutes listening to me talk about how great the bread and the dipping sauce were.  I savored each taste of the oil and Guinness concoction as if it were a fine wine.  I loved the sweetness of the brown sugar and the underlying tang of the beer.  The whole time I kept thinking of how great this syrupy mixture would taste on a stack of pancakes or french toast.  My friend Emily, suggested that I recreate this for my blog.  Great idea!  So much better than a Mickey shaped quinoa burger and certainly appropriate for the upcoming St. Patrick's Day holiday this weekend. 

So, instead of pancakes or french toast, I opted for a more hearty and stick to your ribs kind of dish.  I chose steel cut oatmeal as the perfect vehicle for this intoxicating elixir.  Okay, and who am I kidding, if you are embarking on a days of St. Paddy's Day shenanigans, a nice bowl of oatmeal in the tummy provides a lovely base/sponge for the festivities ahead.

Top O' The Mornin' Elixir:

1 bottle of Guinness stout, less one sip for the cook
3/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1 cup of steel cut oats
3 cups water
pinch of salt

Step One:
Place Guinness and brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Lower heat to medium-high and reduce the liquid by half.  This will take about 20 minutes and you will end up with approximately 1/2 cup of syrup.

Step Two:
In a separate saucepan, bring the three cups of water to a boil and slowly stir in the oats and add the pinch of salt.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes. This mixture will need to be stirred frequently to prevent burning on the bottom.  This recipe will yield 2 generous portions of oatmeal or 4 smaller ones.

 Since there is alot of stirring and cooking over a 30 minute period of time, I suggest you tuck into a nice hot cup of coffee.  Feel free to add whatever type of "fortification" you desire to you mug.

Once the liquid has sufficiently reduced, it will lightly coat the back of a spoon.  The mixture may still appear a bit thin to you at this point, but will continue to set up and thicken as it cools.

Step Three:
When oatmeal is cooked to your liking, place in a bowl and drizzle with the Guinness syrup.

Have a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day and remember to make every plate something to be passionate about!

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