Ides of March, NCAA March Madness, National Corndog Day, St. Pat's give us choices in our cuisine

We just missed our chance to eat pie - apple pie, cherry pie, pecan pie, etc. on Pi Day (3.14), but don't despair. There are plenty of other opportunities coming up for food lovers.

And beware the Ides of March! I offer the warning so that you don't miss out on the fun-feasting opportunities the date offers. You have plenty of options of great foods to enjoy.

The first event that comes to mind when the Ides of March is mentioned is the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. He was stabbed to death in the Roman Senate by a group of conspirators, as foretold by a soothsayer. In William Shakespeare's play 'Julius Caesar,' the soothsayer warns Caesar to 'beware the Ides of March,' as he had foreseen that Caesar would be harmed not later than the Ides of March at the Theatre of Pompey. On his way to the theatre, Caesar met the soothsayer and joked, 'The ides of March have come' meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled. The seer replied 'Ah Caesar; but not gone.'

You might enjoy dining on Roman Style Pizza with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes on the Ides of March. The recipe is included today.

Perhaps your interests lay not in ancient Roman sports, such as lion slaying, but in college basketball. If that is the case, Jim Joyce and Vicky Davies, the talented chef owners at Gourmet Productions, must have had you in mind when creating their March Madness menu. The couple enjoys watching college basketball and keep up with their favorite teams, Georgetown, Duke, the Ducks and Wisconsin. In celebration of the 2012 NCAA College Basketball Tourn-ament, they have created a menu to to be served March 15 through 23, featuring foods from the four brackets and New Orleans, the host city of the championship.

Enjoy a soup, entrée and dessert that is different each day. Dishes on the menu that caught my eye were Chicken and Dumplings, Andouille and Chicken Jambalaya and Irish Car Bomb Cake.

Gourmet Productions is located at 39 B Ave., in Lake Oswego.

Another date you probably have circled on the calendar is March 17. Yes, you guessed correctly - that is National Corndog Day! The folks at Barhyte Specialty Foods from Pendleton are promoting the event to kick off the NCAA March Madness. Featured in their event is Suzie's Mustard, formulated by matriarch Suzie Barhyte, and products from Foster Farms, Jones Soda and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

They are excited about National Corndog Day.

'It's a holiday that requires no gifts, no stressful family situations. Just friends, beverages and plenty of corndogs slathered with mustard. National Corndog Day is the ultimate celebration of America's love of basketball and meat on sticks.'

You can participate in National Corndog Day via their online party registry. NCD offers party packs to registrants, which include all the makings of a great corndog-and-basketball-themed party. Organizers have a number of prizes and discounts available online at Check it out and be the first among your friends to host a National Corndog Day party.

And of course, March 17 is St. Patrick's Day. Traditional corned beef and cabbage, anyone? Maher's Irish Pub will be serving all the best in Irish cuisine all week long, plus you can take in some of the best in Irish dance, singing and music. Their St. Patrick's Day festival has become a Lake Oswego tradition that brings folks from all over the metro area. If you haven't attended make this the year you do.

I couldn't resist asking Vicky for a recipe to share with you. She chose the Luck of the Irish Car Bomb Cake. For an easy rendition, you bake a box cake mix and frost it with the Bailey Irish Cream frosting. It will still taste like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Bon Appetit! Add a little zing to your dining table this week!

Irish Car Bomb Cake

Makes 8 to 12 servings

Saint Paddy's Day is upon us and our sweet treat extraordinaire, Mandy, has already started planning her dessert menu. As if Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Shamrock Cook-ies aren't enough, she will also be making her Irish Car Bomb Cake, a moist, chocolaty, beer-based hunk of sin that was inspired by a popular Irish drink made with Guinness Stout, Bailey's Irish Cream and Jameson Whiskey. I wouldn't recommend drinking more than one unless you want to see leprechauns, but the cake is perfectly safe. For those of you who won't be lucky enough to make it in to try a slice, Mandy has been sweet enough to share her recipe.

- Vicky Davies


4 cups powdered sugar

1 stick softened butter

5 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

Whip butter with electric mixer, slowly add sugar. When first two ingredients are mixed together, drizzle in Irish cream until smooth. Set aside.


1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup Guinness draught stout

1 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup low fat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease cake pan and lightly flour. In small pan, stir together cocoa powder and beer. Stir over low heat until smooth. Set aside.

Mix together the rest of the dry ingredients except sugar. In mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add sugar gradually. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla.

Stir buttermilk into beer and cocoa mix. Add about a third of beer mix into creamed butter and mix on low. Add a third of the flour mixture and continue mixing. Continue alternating beer and flour mixtures until all is combined. (Phew ... that's a lot of mixing)

Pour batter into cake pan and bake 25-35 minutes or until done. You can poke the cake with a toothpick in the middle, if it comes out clean, the cake is done. Allow cake to cool, and then frost.

Gourmet Productions

Roman Style Pizza with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Roll or stretch the dough as thin as possible to get a classic thin and crispy crust.


2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

7 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more

2 1/4 cups (or more) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 pound cherry or grape tomatoes

Freshly ground black pepper

Semolina (for dusting)

2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided

2 cups grated mozzarella (about 8 ounces), or 6 ounces buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced, divided

Chopped fresh basil


Combine 3/4 cup warm water (105°-115°F), sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let sit until spongy, 4-5 minutes. Mix in 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in 2 1/4 cups flour. Turn out onto a work surface; knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticking, about 6 minutes. Grease a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil. Add dough, cover bowl with plastic; let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, position one rack in top third of oven and another in bottom third; place a pizza stone on top rack and preheat oven to 450°F. Scatter tomatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add 1 tablespoon oil, toss, and season with salt and pepper. Place on lower rack; roast until skins split, 10-12 minutes. Let cool on rack. Continue heating pizza stone for 45 more minutes.

Sprinkle a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet with semolina. Divide dough in half; roll or stretch each into a 13x9' rectangle. Cover with kitchen towels; let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer 1 rectangle to prepared pizza peel. Brush with 2 tablespoons oil, sprinkle with half of the Parmesan, then mozzarella, and top with half of the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Set front of peel at far edge of stone; gently jiggle peel side to side, sliding pizza onto stone as you remove peel. Bake until crust is browned and crisp, 9-10 minutes. Using peel, transfer pizza to work surface. Garnish with basil. Slice and Serve.

Repeat to make second pizza.

- Bon Appetit May 2011

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281 ext 101 or by email at brandall

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