Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Every St. Patrick’s Day, I like to celebrate with my favorite thing: food. This is my version of an Irish meal, and, yes, I am aware that it is not entirely authentic. If you prefer, think of it as inspired by Irish cuisine and traditional Irish ingredients. This meal includes potatoes, oatmeal, and soda bread, so I think that it comes close enough. If you feel like it is not Irish enough for you, feel free to serve it with a side of kale.
Irish soda bread is actually a very easy dish to make, and, is quite good. You do not need to be a baker to make this bread. Irish soda bread does not need yeast, instead, it uses baking soda and buttermilk to rise. Another bonus of this bread is that it does not have to be kneaded. Simply mix the ingredients and throw it into the pan and into the oven. This is actually a very traditional recipe, the only twist in it is the dried cranberries. Feel free to use a cup of raisins if you would like to keep it traditional. In my opinion, the cranberries add a nice flavor and join an Irish tradition with an American ingredient. This bread is best served cold the next day with butter and jam.
3 cups flour ½ c. raisins
1 tbsp. baking powder ½ c. dried cranberries
1/3 c. granulated sugar 1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. salt 2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda 4 tbsp. butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9x5” loaf pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, baking soda, cranberries and raisins in a bowl. In another bowl blend egg and buttermilk and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix until barely moistened. Stir in the butter. Pour batter into pan. Bake 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
This is one of my favorite soups and I eat it all winter long. It is also popular with everyone that I have served it to, and while they may not eat it in Ireland, what is more Irish than potatoes? I like making it in mid-March because the weather is beginning to warm up and it is probably the last time I will make it until the fall.
4 large baking potatoes 2/3 c. butter
2/3 c. flour 6 c. milk (may use skim)
¾ tsp. salt ½ tsp. pepper
4 green onions, chopped 12 slices bacon (may use turkey bacon) divided
1 ¼ c. shredded cheddar cheese 18 oz. carton sour cream (may use lite or non-fat)
Bake potatoes, cook and scoop out pulp. Discard the skins. Melt butter and add flour – cook 1 minute then add milk and stir until thickened. Add potato pulp, salt, pepper, 2 tbsp. green onion, ½ c. bacon, 1 c. cheese – then stir in sour cream (DO NOT let mixture boil after adding sour cream. Serve with additional cheese, bacon and green onion as garnishes.
10 tbsp. butter
½ c. sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. almond extract
3 c. rolled oatmeal (not instant)
Lightly butter cookie sheer and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine the above ingredients in a bowl. Use fingers to press oatmeal into butter until it just holds. Roll dough into balls and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Press balls down with fork ends.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! -- and, as the Irish say:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.