My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve

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The debut cookbook from Cathal Armstrong featuring 130 recipes showcasing modern Irish fare, along with stories about Armstrong's journey from Dublin to Washington, DC, and becoming an internationally recognized four-star chef, the owner of seven successful food and drink establishments, and a leader in the sustainable-food movement.

     With its moderate climate and amazing natural resources, Ireland is a modern-day Eden, boasting lush, bountiful produce, ...

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My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve

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The debut cookbook from Cathal Armstrong featuring 130 recipes showcasing modern Irish fare, along with stories about Armstrong's journey from Dublin to Washington, DC, and becoming an internationally recognized four-star chef, the owner of seven successful food and drink establishments, and a leader in the sustainable-food movement.

     With its moderate climate and amazing natural resources, Ireland is a modern-day Eden, boasting lush, bountiful produce, world-renowned dairy, plentiful seafood, and grass-fed meats. In My Irish Table, sustainable food movement leader and four-star chef Cathal Armstrong celebrates the food of his homeland and chronicles his culinary journey from Dublin to Washington DC, where he runs seven beloved and critically lauded restaurants.
    Featuring 130 delicious recipes—from Kerrygold Butter-Poached Lobster with Parsnips to Irish Stew, Shepherd’s Pie, and Mam’s Apple Pie—My Irish Table draws on Armstrong’s Irish upbringing as well as his professional experience and French culinary training. In his hands, Irish food is comforting yet elegant, rustic yet skillful, and My Irish Table invites you into his kitchen to explore the vibrant traditions and rich culinary landscape of the Emerald Isle.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rare is the American cookbook that illuminates Irish cuisine, and this personal collection from a Dublin-born, Washington-based chef and restaurateur explores Emerald Isle fare with enthusiastic reverence. Armstrong recounts his early years eating out of his father’s garden, and his apprenticeships in U.S. kitchens before he opened his first establishment, Restaurant Eve, in Alexandria, Va., offering the relevant recipes along the way. Beginning with Irish breakfast, including homemade black pudding and marmalade, he moves on to “Sunday” dishes such as kidneys in red wine sauce, his mother’s potato pancakes and shepherd’s pie on through his restaurant fare, like an Irish Caesar salad with brown breadcrumbs and Cashel blue cheese. While his Irish-American innovations such as foie gras with black pudding and pears, pan-roasted loin of venison with carrot puree, glazed baby carrots and brown bread cream are a bit precious and time consuming for the home cook, there are plenty of everyday eats here: potato leek soup; steamed mussels with lemon and bay leaf; and Bakewell Tart. Armstrong’s emphasis on local ingredients, his amiable narrative and the lineup of dishes both classic and contemporary make a compelling case. Color photos. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
“Cathal’s culinary journey from Dublin to Restaurant Eve in Virginia makes riveting reading. This talented young man didn’t ‘lick it off a stone’, as we say in Ireland. His passion for food began in his Da’s vegetable garden, was fostered at his mother’s table, and further ignited by his childhood travels in France. The end result is a super talented young Irish chef with real values and buckets of talent of whom we can be truly proud.”
—Darina Allen, author of Irish Traditional Cooking and Forgotten Skills of Cooking
“This is a scrumptious gathering of everything Irish. It has the haughty (foie gras with black pudding and pears) and the humble (cheese on toast), the familiar (a curing brine for ham) and the unusual (a homey dish called Dublin Coddle). Along the way you’ll meet Da and his garden and Mam and her array of stews (beef, Irish, and President Obama’s chicken). These are recipes you dare not live without.”
—Phyllis Richman, former Washington Post restaurant critic
“Cathal has that rare combination of deep civic mindedness, compassion, and culinary talent. This book is full of wonderful recipes to explore, from a Saint Patrick’s Day roast leg of lamb with herb pesto to simple, classic brown bread. In the fine spirit of Darina Allen, Cathal is preserving Irish foodways, celebrating their rich traditions, and breathing new life into them.”
—Alice Waters, proprietor of Chez Panisse and author of The Art of Simple Food
“In this warm and personal tribute to Irish cuisine, Cathal Armstrong invites us to come home with him to his family’s kitchen, and celebrates his roots through the lens of an Irish chef cooking in America. Reading this book could make anyone wish they were Irish. Cooking from it will make you feel as if you are.”
—Patrick O’Connell, author of Patrick O’Connell’s Refined American Cuisine
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781607744306
  • Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 203,513
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Cathal Armstrong
Dublin born, CATHAL ARMSTRONG is an internationally recognized chef with seven restaurants in the Washington, DC, area. Food & Wine magazine called him “a one-man urban-renewal engine” who kicked off a dining revival in Old Town using French techniques and local produce. Armstrong was a James Beard Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic nominee and was named one of Food & Wine’s  “10 Best New Chefs 2006” and “50 Hall of Fame Best New Chefs.” He won the Best Chef Award from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC, in 2007, and the White House honored him as a “Champion of Change” for his work on ending childhood obesity and his involvement in improving the school lunch system. Cathal has been featured in Oprah, Food & Wine, Southern Living, and Martha Stewart.
DAVID HAGEDORN was a chef and restaurateur for 25 years before becoming a food writer, chiefly for the Washington Post. His articles appear in metropolitan dailies throughout the country. He is the author, with Todd and Ellen Gray, of The New Jewish Table and is currently working on other book projects.
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Read an Excerpt

Potato and Leek Soup

Potato and leek soup served warm with plenty of Brown Bread (page 192) is one of the great staples of Irish pub grub. It is always on Meshelle’s must-have list when in Ireland. When we first put it on the menu at Society Fair, I tried to change the traditional method of making it by bumping up the cream, which wound up being totally unnecessary: another case of the old-fashioned way being the best way. However, if you want the dish to be vegetarian, it’s fine to substitute vegetable broth for the chicken stock.

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced lengthwise and coarsely chopped, well washed (see How to Clean Leeks, below)
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups chicken stock 
1 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Brown Bread (page 192), sliced
Sweat the vegetables: Melt the butter in a heavy casserole over medium heat. Stir in the leeks and potatoes and let them sweat until tender, about
15 minutes.

Cook the soup: Add the stock and cream and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and simmer the soup for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are completely soft.
Purée the soup: Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until completely smooth and then pass through a fine-mesh strainer or china cap into a clean pan. Season to taste with salt. Keep the soup warm over very low heat until ready to serve. Ladle into individual bowls and garnish each serving with ground black pepper; serve with brown bread.
To reheat: The soup can be made up to 2 days before serving or frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat the soup in a saucepan over medium heat until hot and then reblend it before serving. The fat in cream soups congeals when chilled and needs to be re-emulsified.

How to Clean Leeks
Leeks are filled with sand. To clean them, you want to chop them coarsely (or however indicated in your recipe) and put them in a very large bowl of cold water. They will float to the top. With your hands, massage the pieces to separate them and allow the sand to sink to the bottom of the bowl. With your hands, scoop the leeks off the surface and into a colander.

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Table of Contents

Chapter One: First Things First: Irish Breakfast Like At Home
Chapter Two: Rugby Matches, Croke Park, And Hurling Practice
Chapter Three: What Mam Cooked
Chapter Four: Fridays Are For Fish
Chapter Five: Special Occasions
Nana’s Sunday Dinners
Saint Patrick’s Day
My Birthday Dinner
Christmas Eve And Christmas Day
Chapter Six: From Restaurant Eve
Chapter Seven: From Da’s Garden
Chapter Eight: Peggy’s Bread
Chapter Nine: All Things Sweet
Chapter Ten: Brine, Stocks, Sauces, And Relishes
Conversion Chart
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 21, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    I was thrilled with My Irish Weekend by Cathal Armstrong and Dav

    I was thrilled with My Irish Weekend by Cathal Armstrong and David Hagedorn when I decided to host an Irish Weekend at my house for family. There were many dishes that were simple to prepare, and turned out delicious. From breads to soups and appetizers there is something for every evening in My Irish Weekend. 
    I enjoyed the many stories of eating across Ireland, and the authors' journey around the country.
    There are dished for meat lovers, and vegetarians alike throughout My Irish Table. 

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  • Posted August 11, 2014

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    What draws you in immediately in this book is the photos- they a

    What draws you in immediately in this book is the photos- they are rich and colorful, and showcase nature's bounty, that Carhal uses in his recipes. By including Irish history, lore about traditional recipes and glimpses into his family's own life, the reader gains a very complete view of Irish cooking and the history of it! .He does use more traditional Irish meats of game, lamb, and fish, but you CAN substitute with other meats you have on hand for many of the recipes, they just won't taste quite the same! 

    My favorite 2 chapters where the first one- First Thingy Breakfast, which lays out a FULL Irish breakfast and the recipes for you! It will definitely have you hungry by the time you get to the second chapter! The other was 'What Mam Cooked' as the recipes reminded me of old favorites from my Grandmother's kitchen. Which seems ODD, as she was French! But there was a heavy Celtic/Irish influence on the Norman coast where her people are from, so in theory it makes sense! Shepherd's Pie and Irish Stew are her recipes and the Cheese on Toast, was another favorite she would make for me!

    Overall, this is a gorgeous recipe- full of all things Irish, and recipes that will make your mouth water! If you have a foodie on your Christmas list, or you want to add to your cookbook shelf, you can't go wrong with the lovely book!

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  • Posted August 5, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve by

    My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve by Cathal Armstrong & David Hagedorn is a love letter to Chef Armstrong's homeland and to his parents. The cover invites the foodie reader to open it up and savor the memories and flavors of Ireland with it's bowl of mashed potatoes and copper pot of Irish Stew.

    If you love Ireland - either through virtual or actual travel - you'll truly appreciate Chef Armstrong's homage to recipes of his homeland. To know that leg of lamb is traditionally served on St. Patrick's Day made me smile. Discovering that Irish Soda Bread is a relatively recent (19th Century) staple, fascinating. But to cure my own corn beef? Highly doubtful.

    At this point, I'd like to point out that this cookbook may be intimidating for the novice or hobby chef as many of the recipes are a bit complicated. Serious foodies and chefs won't find them a problem, but when I consider curing my own meats for a recipe, I'm truly daunted at the prospect. That said, I realized that a novice could definitely create the dishes, but use their supermarket and gourmet food store handily. While the final product might not be quite the way Armstrong envisions, it probably is more realistic. And I'm sure the meals will be delicious.

    To say that Chef Armstrong's personal story is inspiring is an understatement. It's clear that he was given a precious gift by his father, who was the household cook and gardener. As he noted, this was indeed unusual for an Irish household of the time, but his father was the chef and their Dublin garden produced the fresh produce that is the basis for all the dishes. As it was in Ireland, so it is in America, as Armstrong's Restaurant Eve features its own garden in the Old Town Alexandria. Honored by the President for his initiatives, Armstrong is a passionate spokesperson for local sourcing. (And yes, vignettes about the President's visit to Restaurant Eve are fun to read.)

    However, what captured my attention were the recipes from his mam and those that highlighted holiday meals. I'll admit to being totally overwhelmed by the breakfast section as I doubt I'll ever be curing my own bacon, preparing my own sausage, or actually eating these on a regular basis. However, I will be making some of the orange marmalade as well as the cooked tomatoes.

    With each of the 130 recipes, Chef Armstrong shares a story and in doing so invites us into his world. While I may not decide to recreate each of these dishes, I know that I'll be using this book as a future reference. Perhaps I'll go to it when reading a novel and needing to remember by white and black pudding are.

    Recipes in My Irish Table also give away secrets. Traditional Irish Stew features lamb, not beef (see the recipe on Amazon). Corned Beef is a favorite dish of Halloween, a holiday that is widely celebrated in Ireland (another fact I didn't know, but which makes sense with the Celtic pagan heritage). I can imagine authors using this book as a reference for when they write about Ireland as it provides far more than just recipes, but a real sense of this homeland for so many.

    My Irish Table is also a bit of a love letter from Chef Armstrong to his wife Meshelle and their two children, Eve and Eamonn. Written with Washington Post food writer David Hagedorn, this cookbook is a delight to read. Truly for the stories as much as for the recipes themselves.

    Once again I received an early version of this cookbook as an electronic galley from the publisher and just now received the hard cover. Which would I recommend to you? Without a doubt the hardcover. Although almost my entire library is now digital, I could not appreciate the scope of this book in the electronic format. While each transmits the same information, the joy of this book is in paging through it, being captured by one of the fabulous photos by Scott Suchman that so joyously illustrate the recipes.

    I'll definitely be returning to this book again and again and trying out some, but certainly not all of the recipes. However, I'll read each one and hope to visit Restaurant Eve someday to taste Chef Armstrong's dishes in situ.

    If I were to pair this cookbook with some romances, some authors and books that come to mind are: Nora Roberts' many titles set in Ireland, including her Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy; Sophie Moss' Seal Island Trilogy; Carla Neggers' Sharpe & Donavan and her Irish series; Karen Marie Moning's Fever Series, among many, many others. (Yes, I love to read about Ireland. I. Do!)

    If you love Ireland and its cuisine, My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve by Cathal Armstrong & David Hagedorn is a must-read addition to your cookbook shelf.

    Four-and-a-half stars

    I received this book from Blogging for Books and from NetGalley for this review.

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  • Posted August 4, 2014

    I have a dear friend that now lives in Ireland, so I'm always ex

    I have a dear friend that now lives in Ireland, so I'm always excited to see an Irish cookbook come across my desk. I love the "down home" feel of their food, from something as simple (and divine!) as "Cheese on Toast" to the deep flavors of their stews to a lovely "Bakewell Tart". I needed a main dish to take to potluck at church on Sunday, so Saturday I decided to make "Beef Stew". I had most of the ingredients on hand, and everyone knows it's better the second day. After a quick trip to the store for carrots and celery, I started cooking. I proceeded to drive myself and my family crazy for the rest of the evening with the amazing smells! I cooled and stored it, and the next morning I popped it in my slow cooker so it could simmer during church. Wow!! Heaven in a bowl! It was odd to me that a beef stew, especially from Ireland of all places, didn't have any potatoes in it (I even re-checked the recipe to make sure I didn't just overlook them!), but once you were eating it, you really didn't miss them. The meat just melted in your mouth, and the flavor was amazing. I've never seen a slow cooker empty so quickly, and I now have several people wanting my recipe! If you buy this book, you HAVE to make this stew!!

    This is a lovely cookbook and, while there aren't photos for every recipe, there are many great, full-color photos throughout the book. Ingredients and directions are well laid out, and the bits of history over each recipe and scattered throughout are interesting.

    My only caveat with this cookbook, is the author comes across--especially in the introduction--as a bit of a braggart and a name-dropper, which can be annoying. Skip the introduction if that's something you don't enjoy. Otherwise, I thoroughly recommend this book!

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