Posted in Quick Breads, St. Patrick's Day

Whole Grain Irish Soda Bread

irish soda breadOh. My. Yum.

This Irish Soda Bread recipe has been passed down from my mother, who got it from I-don’t-know-where but if I were to venture a guess, I’d put money on Betty Crocker. This is a bit of a non-traditional recipe in that it’s more like a quick bread – no kneading required. And that’s why I make it.

I’m just lazy like that.

My mom always made it in a loaf pan. It wasn’t until I got older (like late 30’s older – yikes!) that I figured out that it is not traditionally made as a quick bread in a loaf pan. Go figure.

And why is it that Irish Soda Bread tends to show up on American tables mainly on St. Patrick’s Day? We like to go anti-establishment here and make it several times in the winter. It pairs well with any soup or stew.

Technically, Irish Soda Bread is made with only baking soda, but I’ve added baking powder to this to help give the whole grain flour some lift.

Irish Soda Bread
 
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Ingredients
  • 1¾ cup sprouted spelt flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup melted butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Give it a stir with a fork or a whisk just to combine the ingredients.
  4. Add raisins and stir them in. They will be coated in flour. That's okay.
  5. In a separate bowl or a large measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, egg and vanilla.
  6. Pour buttermilk mixture into flour and stir just until combined.
  7. While you let the batter sit, grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. If that doesn't take at least 5 minutes, go do something else and come back when its been 5 minutes. Trust me ... this makes a difference.
  8. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 25-27 minutes.
  10. Serve with lots of butter.
Notes
If you use all purpose, whole wheat or regular spelt flour, increase the amount to 2 cups.
I have tried making this with honey in place of the sugar and it is more dense. You could also omit the sugar altogether and serve with honey.
We like a lot of raisins in our soda bread. If you don't, you could get away with ¾ cup.
I used real, cultured buttermilk when making this. You should too.

I figure it goes without saying, but this is a big winner all the way around in our house.

It is that good.

Posted in Sides, St. Patrick's Day

Colcannon

colcannon irish potatoes and cabbage with butterMom’s Journal, March 20th.

Snow day number 9 … and the first day of Spring.

Seems an oxymoron and yet … here we are.

Typically at this point, I’d be ready to put my kids up for adoption, but this year, and this snow day in particular, has been surprisingly delightful. Yep. I did just say that. Daring to step out of the establishment … flying in the face of expectation. Not lamenting the fact that they’re off another day.  No frustration that they’re not in school and that they’re driving me nuts. We’re not talking Brady Bunch here, so don’t get carried away.

And let’s just keep this between us, shall we. I don’t want to damage my rep with the other moms in the neighborhood.

This year we have had so many consistent snow days that we have actually figured out a “snow day routine.” It’s really been quite lovely.

I was even able to knock a bunch of things off my to-do list this morning and, as an added bonus, I declared this our “St. Patrick’s Day Do-Over.” My being sick caused it’s postponement from the actual day-of, and I still had all of the ingredients that really I didn’t feel like re-purposing.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Do-Over!

And … as an added, added bonus, I got to spend some time in the kitchen, enjoying the cooking of a meal without slaving over it or feeling rushed to get it on the table at a certain time so that someone can get to a certain place for a certain activity.

That, my friend, is the real beauty of the snow day – the removal of {most} obligations. I do secretly relish that part. Which, I guess, is not really a secret anymore because I just told you. I guess I’m inclined to spill all my dirty secrets today.

I had never heard of Colcannon until about 2 months ago, as I was searching for an actual recipe for a dish that my family makes called “yamoose” (honestly I’m not even sure if that’s how you spell it) that’s basically potatoes, cabbage, and kielbasa steamed together with yellow mustard, salt and pepper. Say what?

Your response is apparently not unfounded. There is absolutely nothing out there about yamoose, but it does have a close relative in Colcannon: mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale or some-other-green and some form of onion. I filed it into the memory as a must-try for this St. Patrick’s Day.

And, in a moment of Irish luck (and thanks to my Pocket), I actually remembered to dig it out of my memory when planning the menu for this year. Go, me.

I wasn’t sure how the band of three merry young men would react, but I figured it was worth a try.

Colcannon
 
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. yellow or red potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium head of cabbage, finely sliced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 bunch spring onions, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Butter, for serving
Instructions
  1. Place potatoes in pot and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon salt.
  2. Place pot over medium-high heat and bring to boil. Cook potatoes until soft and drain.
  3. While potatoes are cooking, melt 2 tablespoons butter and bacon grease in a skillet (preferably iron) over medium heat.
  4. When melted and pan is warm, drop the cabbage in there.
  5. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cabbage has wilted and started to brown, 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add ½ teaspoon salt and stir.
  7. Turn off heat but keep cabbage in skillet to keep warm.
  8. Into the pot that you used for the potatoes, add the milk and the ¼ cup of butter. It should still be warm from the potatoes, but if not, put it on the stove over low heat to melt the butter and warm the milk slightly.
  9. Return the potatoes to the pot with the milk/butter mixture and mash, as much or as little as you prefer. You hold the fate of the lumps in your hands.
  10. Mix in cabbage and onions.
  11. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  12. To serve, make a well in the center of your pile and slap a big ole pat of butter in there.

The cabbage in this is delicious (so says the girl as she pats herself on the back). I left some out for Mr. Selective and Big Britches who don’t prefer mashed potatoes. They wouldn’t eat it because “it smelled” but The Man and I thought it was super yum as it was. I think if add some caramelized onions … presto! – a new veggie for {some of} us.

Love those little nuggets of surprise that come out of a mixed-up snow day/first day of spring.

And now the time has come … admit it … are you one of those parents who complains about snow days but who secretly loves them? I promise I won’t tell anyone … 😉