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Planning an Irish Fest at home

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Planning an Irish Fest at Home
Posted by Michele Rosenthal March 16, 2009

Madaglia D’Oro Instant Espresso is a staple in my home. There is nothing better than a fabulous cup of freshly brewed espresso, especially after dinner in some quaint little cafe in Europe while you are relaxing and people watching. While I’m drinking my espresso, I silently think that I can never recreate this feeling and taste at home. You know what? I can’t, so I don’t even try, well at least not that hard. It is so much more than that perfect cup of espresso. It is, as I mentioned above, the feeling that goes along with each precious sip. The warmth, perfection and the special place you are in the World, it all adds up to one wonderful cup of espresso. It all feels magical and it is.

I stumbled across the Madaglia D’Oro Espresso when I was watching Giada De Laurentis make brownies on the Food Network. She added some of the powder to her brownie filling and then later in her icing. I ran out to the grocery store and started using this more and more over the last few years.

St. Patrick’s Day is rapidly approaching and it is that time of the year again when I break out my Waterford crystal coffee mugs that I purchased at Blarney Castle in Ireland several years ago. It seems that every March 1, I start planning a festive St. Patrick’s Day dinner. I set a beautiful table inspired by Ireland’s lush green countryside with a layer of crisp creamy white Irish linens on my old farm table. Dinner will be served in our sunroom that still has exposed 200-year-old two-foot thick stone walls, many plants that we winter over and a running fountain. If one tries hard enough they may conjure up the image of a babbling brook in a lovely Irish village.

I put a row of topiaries down the center of my table and if I have them I like to add a few small potted violets. Of course, lots of crystal, some are my beautiful Waterford pieces I have collected and some are much less expensive pieces from Pier 1 imports, Bed, Bath and Beyond and even Wal-Mart.

For dinner, I prepare a salmon dish usually in a chive sauce and always corned beef and cabbage with some potatoes and a salad. For drinks, I put out a variety of Irish beer. After dinner, we move to the family room for some delicious homemade Irish coffees by the fireside and great conversation with family and friends. This is often our last fire of the season and I want to savor every minute.
I checked out my cookbooks recently looking for a great coffee ice cream recipe. I decided to use my espresso instead to really give this dessert some depth and intense flavor. I took out my trusty Madaglia D’oro Instant Espresso and added it along with Bailey’s Irish Cream and some Kilbegan’s Irish whiskey I found while in Ireland. This ice cream is a dessert, after dinner drink and after dinner coffee all rolled into one. I like to serve them with long silver spoons so you don’t miss one delicious drop. When I drink them fireside I can close my eyes and dream of the lovely people I met in Ireland, the charming thatched cottages, and splendor of The Cliffs of Moor. This is a time of year when everyone is a wee bit Irish and where a little dash of Espresso never hurts!

Bailey’s Irish Expresso Coffee Ice Cream
1 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
1 cup of brewed espresso coffee, chilled- I used Madaglia D’oro
2 Tablespoons of Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 Tablespoons of Irish Whiskey- I used Kilbeggan
1 teaspoon of good quality vanilla
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon of sugar
Pinch of salt

Mix the first 6 (wet) ingredients together in a bowl.

Add the sugar and salt together in a separate bowl, mix and then add to bowl with milk and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Cover and refrigerate for a few hours and then pour the mixture into an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the maker’s instructions. This took me about one hour in the machine. Then transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze over night or until firm, at least 3 hours.

Serve a few scoops of ice cream in a glass coffee mug, top with hot espresso and some whipped cream and serve with a spoon.
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March 16th, 2009
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