Tag Archives: guinness

Good Morning, Irish Stew!

I could talk about St. Patrick’s Day, but in regards to this stew, what I really want to briefly touch on is how fantastic Martha Stewart’s recipes are.

Look, I know she’s not a popular lady. She’ll never be thought of as warm and likeable and the gal everyone wants to be around. I can’t stand most of the folksy crafty stuff she does, I don’t care for a much of her line of interior decor, and I never have and never will watch her program. But the woman knows her recipes. Her cookbooks are some of the better name-branded cookbooks out there. Don’t know the first thing about basic kitchen skills? Check out Martha Stewart’s Cooking School and Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook. Not only are the tips comprehensive, the instructions clearly written and simply broken down, but the instructive visuals are also top-notch. How do you fold something into a batter? What’s the correct way to whip something? What’s reduction and when is it appropriate?

These aren’t just great books for novices, however. Anyone from beginner to experienced cooks can utilize these resources. Although, being a little high-end for my tastes, I do not own them. (Yet.) What I do have is access to Martha Stewart online and its wondrous bounty of recipes and cooking tips. Chances are if you Google search for a recipe, you’ll pull up something from this website. They’re definitely worth a look.

In the past, I’ve made a few Martha recipes. Those Mini Almond Tarts were an adaptation of her Almond Tart recipe. This veganized version of her “Irish Beef and Stout Stew” is what I served up for St. Patrick’s Day, but it was so delicious, I’m ready to make another pot any day of the year.

Irish “Beef” and Guinness Stew

Ingredients
– About two pounds of beef-flavored seitan
– 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
– 2 tomato paste (6 oz.)
– 2 pounds new potatoes, peeled and chopped in large chunks
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 2 cups vegetable stock
– 1 bottle (12 oz) Guinness
– Several garlic cloves, thinly sliced (amount is to taste – I used six cloves)
– Salt and black pepper to taste
– 2 boxes frozen baby peas, thawed

– In a Dutch oven, saute the “beef” and onion in oil, then add the flour and tomato paste. Stir until well combined, then add potatoes, stock, beer, and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, then cover, leaving to simmer for two hours. Check in frequently, stirring to prevent sticking.

– After two hours, stir in the peas, add more salt and pepper (if desired), and cover again, leaving to simmer for thirty minutes.

– Serve hot with soda bread and a cold pint of stout.

(Recipe adapted from “Irish Beef and Stout Stew” from Martha Stewart Online)

This Week on Dormont-Brookline Patch: Quality Beers for Quality Drinking on St. Patrick’s Day


This week’s Local Table column focuses on that time-honored tradition of getting shit faced on St. Patrick’s Day. Every good Irishman will tell you that him and his fellow countrymen don’t exactly need a national holiday to drink themselves  under the table. Drinking in of itself is a celebration, so why the excuse of a holiday to do it?

The holiday of St. Patrick’s Day commemorates the man who brought Christianity to Ireland. Many of the traditional images of the holiday stem from religious purposes. For example, the shamrock thing is said to have come from Patrick’s practice of teaching the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish via the three leaves of the plant. In America, the holiday is less about Christianity and more about basic Irish-American pride, a pride that is firmly established by parades, festivals, concerts, more parades, dance performances, art, poetry, and…. drinking. Loads and loads and loads of drinking.

Who am I to challenge a longstanding tradition of insane public drunkenness? I only seek to make things a tad more civilized by suggesting a few – or seventeen – beers that will make your St. Patrick’s Day drinking a little tastier, maybe a little more satisfying, but won’t get in the way of the whole getting-wasted-out-of-your-mind endeavor. Given the alcohol content of many of these great beers, they will only serve to enable drunkenness even more.

Drink well. Drink responsibly. Slainte!

The Getaway Cafe

Wes had been to Getaway Cafe before, and it sounded like the right spot for a relaxed Sunday evening meal. The atmosphere was pleasant – a louder, dimmer bar area gives way to a quiet dining room in the back where the decor is fairly generic, but low-key and well-lit. There’s a slightly elevated section of seating that is large group friendly, and a few TV screens in the corner, placement that allows patrons to watch without forcing them to do so. Because the soundtrack was played at a fairly low level, we could easily converse at a normal volume level (something not always feasible at a bar/restaurant).

Continue reading

Follow the Steps or Die Trying: Mullaney’s Harp and Fiddle

I’m not making an honest attempt at hitting up everything British Isles in Pittsburgh, but it really does seem that way. Perhaps it’s the season: the weather getting consistently cool and gray, I’m finding myself wanting hearty stews and large pints of Guinness. There’s really no better place to find such a thing than at a pub or restaurant with the emphasis on the cuisine of the British Isles.

Mullaney's Harp & Fiddle on Urbanspoon
In regards to last Tuesday’s trip to Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle, the other main drawing factor for me and my dining companion was the promise of a free Irish dance class, to be followed by dancing by and with the Celtic Society of Pittsburgh. Kait is of Irish stock, so maybe the cultural ties to her heritage appealed to her, but probably more the notion of drinking some Guinness and learning a few dance steps.

As for me, I will openly admit that I am a terrible dancer. There are many things that I am passable at, but dancing is simply not one of them. But I have a fondness for Irish music (traditional Irish music too, not just a crazed adoration for The Pogues), and looking at a dance clip on the Mullaney’s website, Irish dancing seemed almost like a square dance. I may not be able to move exactly to the beat or even succeed at not tripping over my own feet, but I’ve been a decent square dancer in the past (the long ago past, when square dancing was taught in gym class, as well as something us Girl Scouts were instructed in). But what the hell, maybe an hour or two of drinks and company would quickly wear the routine out of the traditional dances. I was ready to settling for interesting experiment, but holding out hope for a full on hootenany. Continue reading

Forked on the Road: Episode 2

For those who don’t remember or who are just joining us (Welcome! Can we take your coat? Care for a drink?), Forked! exists in two realms: the blogosphere (people still using that term?) and the podcastosphere (which I know is not actually a term used, but I happen to like, so I’m going with it). We blog here regularly, but occasionally we take our handy little digital voice recorder out on the town. We buy it a few drinks and a meal, and in exchange, it records our conversation, which Wes edits and posts for your audio enjoyment at Forked on the Road.

Our second episode was recorded at Piper’s Pub on the South Side, a visit that you may remember from a previous blog entry, but there was a considerable amount of activity, non-food related, that was left out.

Among the highlights:

– Listen to me and Wes banter aimlessly while walking to the restaurant!
– Engage in secondhand mockery of people we made rash assumptions about!
– Enjoy awkward moments brought to you via Wes and our friendly server!
– Experience podcasting as done by increasingly drunken hosts!
– And, of course, all tied together at the end by Wes’s stirring rendition of “Touch Me” by the Doors. (Not even remotely joking.)

After recording two + hours, Wes has culled together 45 minutes of pure podcast gold. Won’t you take a listen and join us for a meal?

Piper's Pub on Urbanspoon

British Isles Week Continues with Molly Brannigans

Two of the better restaurants on the cluttered business district of Washington Road in  Mt. Lebanon are  small, regional chains. I’ve already mentioned Aladdin’s in my Neighborhood Quick Picks: Mt. Lebanon, but I left out Molly Brannigans, mostly due to length issues (each of those Neighborhood Quick Picks could list twice as many restaurants, but you have to draw the line somewhere), but also because I never really considered the restaurant worth making a special trip. I had been there a few times, mostly for dinner and drinks, once for lunch, and I had enjoyed my visit each time, but I still somehow wrote the place off.

But after our trip to Piper’s Pub, I was in the mood to reconsider. Continue reading

Dinner at Piper’s Pub, or How to Get Drunk While Eating an Enormous Savory Pie

From pittsburghhotplate.com

I featured Piper’s Pub in my Neighborhood Quick Picks: South Side about a month ago, but I hadn’t been there in over a year. I didn’t even manage to make it down for a World Cup game, a serious shame when you consider the prime audience for the restaurant are football enthusiasts. (I mostly watched World Cup games secretly on my work computer, muted and concealed by open work-related desktop windows – a far inferior way to celebrate the world’s best teams going up against each other, but at least it minimized the amount of vuvuzela damage done to my hearing.)

Last Tuesday evening, the reasons to make a visit were stacking up: Wes had never been there. I hadn’t been there in some time. We were meeting up with friends who are picky eaters, therefore a place with an accessible menu was a necessity. And, above and beyond any other reason, we had not one but two coupons, promising two free dinners for two dinners bought. So we made our way into the South Side on cold, rainy night – in hindsight, ideal weather to match our British Isles dining experience. Continue reading