Pub-Style Shepherd's PieSt. Patrick’s Day is always a much anticipated holiday in our house. We’ll take any excuse to drink a good beer of course, but I also happen to look fabulous in green! I’ve never been a corned beef & cabbage gal – I usually opt for this Pot Roast with Stout Gravy for our St. Patrick’s Day Feast. But, this Shepherd’s Pie is definitely giving it a run for it’s money…

Unlike the pot roast, this recipe is completely doable after a day at work. Sweating some veggies, browning some beef, then making a quick pan gravy with plenty of dark Irish stout. And while that’s going on, you can be boiling your potatoes to mash for the topping. I baked and served right in my cast iron skillet – I always love the rustic presentation at the table, especially for something like this dish. And one less pan to wash is always a good thing.

Not terribly long in the oven either, just enough time to get the gravy bubbling and the taters nice and browned on top. Which, is actually about the time it takes to sit down an enjoy a nip of Irish spirits, or taking a few moments to read your wee little leprechauns a tall tale. Stay tuned, because I have a few other St. Patty’s Day favorites I’m looking forward to sharing with you guys this week!

Blackberry Margaritas

Happy Friday! I don’t know if it’s just me – or, has it been an especially long week for everyone? I thought nothing would be better to close out the week than a good cocktail! And, what better way to round out this week of blackberry posts than blackberry margarita? You guys know me, I always reach for the tequila first.

Thankfully, so does Shawnda – I don’t know there there is a fruit left under the sun that she hasn’t turned into a delicious margarita. Nothing but goodness in this glass – homemade margarita mix, tequila, triple sec, and blackberry  puree. I went ahead and put it through a fine mesh strainer, but I think they’d be fun to muddle right in the glass too. A blackberry mojito may or may not be in the works already…

White Chocolate Pudding w/ Blackberry CurdOne of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was Deb’s book, The Smitten Kitchen. As with her blog, I want to make pretty much everything the woman puts in print. But, decided on this white chocolate pudding with blackberry curd as a great place to start. I’m not really a fan of white chocolate, or at least I’ve thought I haven’t been. But over the past year it’s really grown on me – and how could any form of pudding be, really?

We enjoyed these the night before we left for Charleston, they were that easy to bring together. Even with an insanely hectic day I still managed to carve out 10 minutes to cook the pudding, and the curd. Speaking of curd, I’d never had any flavor other than lemon – and let me just tell you, I’m sold. They were just so darn pretty, and delicious. The pudding was creamy and rich. And the blackberry curd on top was such a nice punch in contrast with the sweetness from the pudding. I’m looking forward to trying it with raspberry as well!

Lemon Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream

A month or so, my good friend Jamie (aka my cupcake groupie) mentioned that she’d seen a lemon cupcake with raspberry frosting over on Pinterest, that looked to-die-for. It sounded great, and I added it to my “to-bake” list. Sadly, I hadn’t come across any good-looking raspberries since she’d mentioned it. That is of course, until 1 day before we left for Charleston. Oh yeah, and they weren’t raspberries, they were blackberries.

They were absolutely, positively fabulous. I used Annie’s recipe for lemon cake, homegirl has yet to let me down on the cake front (or any other front in the kitchen for that matter!), and it was absolutely perfect. Light, lemony, and slightly tart from the addition of lemon zest. And for the frosting, I just used my standard buttercream recipe, then added some pureed blackberries for flavor and color. They were so gorgeous, and it’s always a proud moment when you get that kind of beautiful color with no additional food coloring.

These little gems just have me hungrier for the warmer, sunnier times to come in the next month or so. However, it’s looking like we have one more blast of winter ahead of us this week! I hope everyone stays safe and warm, and bakes these fabulous cupcakes to brighten your day while you’re stuck inside!