For the first course I served a salad with pears, goat cheese and pecans. Mixed greens with pears, goat cheese and pecans is no big deal and I was trying to think of a way to jazz it up. I realized that with the appetizers we served the mead, the main course was Guinness Stew and the dessert course had Jameson's Irish Whiskey. Could I add an Irish alcohol to the salad? Of course I can. The women with us frequently drank Bulmers Irish Cider at the pubs. Bulmers is a sweet tasting hard cider made from apples. I opted to replace the acid in dressing with Bulmers. By adding honey and Dijon mustard I had created an amazing dressing and added an Irish alcohol to each course. Seriously this salad dressing was one of the best things I made that night. Bulmers is available in the US as Magners Irish Cider.
Magners Salad Dressing
1/4 cup honey
1/4 Dijon Mustard
1 Magners Irish Cider, you will only use a little bit so you will have to drink most of a bottle :-)
In a small bowl mix the honey and Dijon mustard. Slowly drizzle the Magners Irish Cider into the bowl until the dressing is the consistency you want. Taste it and adjust as needed.
Along with the Guinness Stew I made Potato Cakes. One of the people on the trip with us tries to eat a vegetarian diet and she liked the Potato Cakes we frequently found in the pubs. This is an estimate as I totally winged this recipe. There is no milk in the mashed potatoes as you want to keep them dry when you fry them.
1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup spinach, cut into fine ribbons
4 green onions, chopped finely
1/2 cup flour
2 tbs olive oil
Peel and cut potatoes into small pieces. Add to pot and bring to boil. Cook until potatoes are soft, but do not over cook. Drain the potatoes. Add butter, spinach and onions to potatoes in pan. Mash the potatoes. Take the potatoes and form into a flat round shape. These can be thin like a cookie or thick like a hockey puck. Sprinkle flour on each side. In a frying pan heat heat Olive oil. Add potato cakes but do not overcrowd in the pan. Cook until potato cakes are browned and then flip over and brown the other side. Remove and sit them on paper towel until all of the cakes are cooked. Serve immediately.