This bread is easy enough and delicious enough to make and eat every day!! I know you won’t, and I won’t even go there either, but really it’s a great recipe to have on hand to round out a hot meal. It takes just minutes to throw together, about 45 minutes in the oven and a little rest while you are finishing the rest of the meal. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water….homemade bread in all it’s lovely whiteness (more about that later)…
I made this recipe for Irish soda bread for our St. Patrick’s Day meal, fitting, eh? I found the recipe in my rusty trusty Fannie Farmer Baking Book (the one I was going to throw out when somehow it made it’s way into my house, but then I decided to use it to press flowers in, then finally when I actually started cooking and baking, realized that it contained some great recipes and instructions! Now it’s my go-to for baking. Funny how things work out….) Here are the photos, then I’ll add the recipe.
It’s such a gorgeously rustic looking bread! I love the texture, color and the big cross in the center. Oh, and the smell while it bakes, and did I mention that it was easy? And only takes 4 ingredients! F.O.U.R. Having said that, I didn’t actually have all of the ingredients on hand….
I had spent my time working on roasted cabbage and an “Irish” stew variation (made with what I had on hand: sausage, potatoes, onions and carrots…but I guess that that’s fairly authentic anyways). So I go to bake up some Irish soda bread, like I did last year. I measured out the dry ingredients and opened the fridge. I knew that I didn’t have buttermilk, so I would just use milk and vinegar or lime juice….but no milk!!! I dashed to the computer and typed in “substitutions for buttermilk” and found a great link here, so I found out that I could use yogurt as a substitute! Yay, I had lots of greek yogurt!
Here’s a close-up of the texture (I was eating the leftover bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil as a snack…sooooo good!) Remember, this was made with yogurt, and no extra fat! A very white color and great taste, and it must have a lot of protein with 2 cups of greek yogurt!! Now on to the recipe….
Irish Soda Bread
(an authentic recipe from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham, 1984)
4 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 tbsp. vinegar in milk to make 2 cups OR 2 cups of plain greek yogurt)
Preheat your oven to 3750 F. Grease a baking sheet or an 8-inch round pan…I used baking parchment on a cookie sheet. Add all the dry ingredients into a large bowl (flour, salt, baking soda) and mix them around. Add buttermilk and stir it up with a fork until it holds together in a rough mass. Since I was using thick yogurt, I actually had to add just a bit of water to the dough to make it mixable. Knead the dough a few times (I did this right in the bowl) then pat into about an 8 inch round mound on the sheet (or in the round pan). Using a sharp knife, slash a large X into the top of the dough, about 1/4 of an inch deep.
Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, until it is nicely browned and the X has spread open. Transfer to a rack to cool for awhile, then wrap it in a slightly damp tea towel and let it rest, on the rack for about 8 hours. This recipe makes one round loaf, and it should be completely cool when you serve it. The rest time in a damp towel helps the crust to nicely soften up. We didn’t wait 8 hours, obviously, or it wouldn’t be such a quick bread!!
If you can whip this up right before you prepare the meal, bake it, then let it sit in the damp towel while you make the rest of the meal, it should be ready to be served when the meal is ready. Using the towel is a good way to store leftovers. This bread also makes great toast! I love it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or just plain with butter. This loaf was enough to go with 2 meals for the six of us! So thankful for our blessings!
(now I am craving some yummy bread….!)
A sweet little green dessert packed in serving-sized mason jars! For half of the winter I’ve been looking forward to celebrating the green…the green of spring. There is no green around here. Amazingly, the snow has started melting a lot and we can see grass, it’s just not green yet. Seriously, it’s been about 12 years since we’ve had nice weather to be outdoors for my daughter’s bday next week. It has always been winter weather, usually snowing. So bring on some shamrocks, rainbows and a whole huge pot of gold! Spring is in the air!
Extra bonus for you: 5 minute shamrocks: use a heart punch. punch. glue together, or not. There you go.Enough with the decorating, back to the desserts…
My Mom gave me a flat of little mason jars, I’ve had so much fun with them! They are the perfect size for individual desserts. So instead of making a big trifle with the pound cake I baked the other day, I made these jar desserts for each of us. It wasn’t very difficult to fill the jars. All you need is cake, whipped cream, jello and some fruit slices. The other day I baked up a vanilla pound cake, the old fashioned kind, and tinted it green. (any kind of cake should work). I sliced the pound cake up then cut out circles with a cookie cutter. Mix up some green gelatin/jelly jello, I used lime flavor. Use a tiny bit less water than called for, and do the ice cube method to cool it off faster. Add a few spoonfuls of jello to each jar, then let it set up (I stuck them into the freezer for a bit) while you are cutting the cake into circles and whipping the cream (or Cool Whip will work). The rest of the jello went into the fridge to start setting up.
So, jello, a round of cake, a squeeze of whip cream. Then slice up some kiwis and chop each slice in half. Set them in the jars against the side (so you can see them!), then fill up the hollow with some jello when it is half-set, so it is still kind of blobby and pourable. Then another layer of cake and some whipped cream. Let them sit for as long as possible in the fridge (overnight is best. Especially if the cake was a little stale!) When I open them up, I’ll add another slice of kiwi on top. I love that these jars have lids, so easy to pop into the refrigerator. They would be great to take on a picnic (if the weather was nice enough!), or even for the kids’ lunches (if I was nice enough!)My favorite Irish band has a new release today! yay! And here’s a great watch for today:
There’s still a bit of time to make something yummy for tomorrow! Well, ok, time is rather ticking away, but there’s still time to rush out and buy some fruit and whipped cream! And then tomorrow you could mix up a batch of pancakes….layer them up and there you go, a fruit rainbow for St. Paddy’s day! I saw this idea on Pinterest, but then when I started putting it together I realized that whatever was used in the photo was not pancakes (cookies I think). (P.S. I just found out that the idea was from i am baker! Yes, cookies, with an awesome cream cheese frosting!) So my pancakes were a bit floppy and the stack was leaning a bit….solved that with a straw right down the middle of the pile! The “fun” part is to layer your fruit in the order of the rainbow. If you don’t remember that order, watch the fun little video at the end of this rainbow post, then you’ll never forget again!
My mixer went crazy while I was getting a pancake out of the pan…when I looked over at it, a ring of cream was blobbing out of the bowl. What a goopy mess! But it didn’t actually surprise me….that’s how I usually cook….messy…. 😉
Anyways, to cheer myself up, I love to watch this video for St. Patrick’s Day! An 8 minute account of St. Patrick’s life for the kids….even with flannel boards!
Ok, it started out as a sleep-in pajama day, and ended up as a let’s-clean-up-the-house day, but in between that, we had our great St. Patrick’s Day feast and a Star Wars movie marathon. I did most of the prep for all this food yesterday (while the Star Wars marathon was just beginning). I made the pasta salad, baked the green cakes, and spent all yesterday afternoon making the jello parfaits. First of all, I tried a “lucky quiche”, that looked so cute, instructions here: http://www.diamondsfordessert.com/2011/03/lucky-spinach-quiche.html (I actually did this last night). It was a lot of work, and the dough was tricky (use plastic when called for to roll it out, nOT wax paper!) I was despairing that the quiches were even going to turn out, but they did….and boy, were they delicious! I had never made my own crust for quiche, wow does it make all the difference! Definitely a recipe to keep! (there’s a tutorial on the blog to get the shamrock shape 🙂 ) I didn’t have all the ingredients for the filling, so just improvised a bit with what I had on hand (no frozen spinach or parmesan cheese).
I saw the cutest leprechaun lunch here: http://www.meetthedubiens.com/2011/03/fun-food-friday-lucky-lunch.html and so decided to copy it. I threw carrots in the coarse grater of the food processor, and the rest was easy to assemble. I didn’t have any green apples, so used cucumbers for the green hats. They turned out super cute and totally worth the effort!!
Ham sandwich face, cucumber hat, grated carrot hair and beard, M&M rainbow, M&M eyes, cucumber mouth, banana coins, shamrock salad. Then we had root beer floats for dessert!
(Pasta salad with green onions, cucumbers, dill and parsely, yum yummy)
Grab a few fairy toys and gold coins, throw them on the table. Stick a few lollipops in a jar of buttons, and my good ol’ green $1 Ikea table runner (which has been used for everything, every party, forever!) and handy dandy green Ikea napkins, and there you go: St. Paddy’s day lunch!
It really didn’t take that long to make, and was so worth it to see the kids’ reactions! (I mentioned it was pj day, right?)
While we ate, we had a good chat about St. Patrick (yesterday we listened to his story on Adventures in Odyssey). I must admit, I love doing all this fancy food stuff, but can’t seem to get it together enough to get it ALL done, as in, clean up things enough to actually invite someone over to eat with us. I do all this cool stuff, take photos of it, then we sit down and eat it, and I like to post photos of it….but can’t get things together enough…y’know….to do it “right”…..so here’s a photo of what things really looked like, aside from the fancy table, just to keep it real:
That’s my big weakness, I love to get all creative, but then I make a huge mess…and I’m usually a mess, the counter, the floor, ugh, everything…but I make some cute stuff. Don’t ask me if it’s worth it…the answer will depend on the moment.
I spent all yesterday afternoon making the jello parfaits from this blog: http://glorioustreats.blogspot.com/2012/03/lucky-rainbow-jello.html improvised with goblets instead of juice glasses. I just kept the goblets in their box while I poured in layer after layer of jello, it made it easier to whip them in and out of the fridge.
Ok, they turned out better than I thought they were going to. I made the mistake of starting with whipped cream instead of a layer of jello, but i did it because I wrapped a penny in plastic wrap and plopped it in the bottom of the goblet…get it? the “gold” at the bottom of the rainbow!! 😉 I wanted to put a looney in (a Canadian $1 coin, because they look kinda goldish) but I didn’t have any!! I had to raid the kids’ piggy banks to get the pennies as it was…
So while everyone kept on with the Star Wars movie marathon, I started on the cake, which is kind of St. Paddy’s, but mostly for my daughter’s birthday. This was the first time I tried an “ombre” cake. (a cake in varying shades of the same color). I used a white cake mix and added root beer instead of water, but think I would make a homemade cake next time.
get the brown crumbs off
start with the darkest layer, rim with icing, then fill incontinue stacking them up!then finish icing and decorate!! I didn’t know what to do, and just felt too tired to roll out fondant, so I just iced it all white, then decorated the top with candy (while I was listening to Star Wars and trying to figure out what was going on in the story. I never ever felt the desire to watch them, but the things we do for our kids, I tell ya….oh well, I liked the ending of movie #6 🙂
Guess I should go dip those things in white chocolate now…..sigh, I think I’ve had enought foody creativity for today (this week, this month?) Oh wait, a birthday is coming up!!!
I feel like getting into the festive mood for tomorrow. Yesterday I posted a bit about what we’ve done for St. Patrick’s Day before, today I’m trying to get a couple things ready for tomorrow. I’m thinking a lot about food, too because my nephew and my daughter’s bdays are right about St. Paddy’s day!! Clicking around on Pinterest, I saw lots of fun ideas, and since I love rainbows so very much right now, I thought I’d try rainbow jello parfaits…you know, as in the “end of the rainbow” that’s where you find the pot of gold! 😉 So I’m working on that right now…it’s time consuming and mine is not turning out professional looking like the blog where I found it here: http://glorioustreats.blogspot.com/2012/03/lucky-rainbow-jello.html, but I guess Glory has made them a few times, and has all the “bugs” worked out!! Here’s what they look like so far:
As I work on the layers and layers of jello, I thought of “encouraging” my daughter to make something to “recycle” the jello boxes. She didn’t want to at first, but I threatened her, and that worked fine! So now she’s busy making something cool out of them…
Another little “green” craft is a frog out of pop bottles. Of course I found this idea on Pinterest…Cut the bottoms out of two 2 -litre green pop bottles (I’m Canadian, ok?!eh?!), for the head and body. Then with your handy dandy glue gun, glue strips of felt around the sharp edges, and a small rectangle at the back for a hinge on froggy’s mouth. Glue on the 2 pop tops as eyeballs, then add details with the glue gun: lips, freckles, cheeks, and around the eyeballs. A just-for-fun craft! We have been using it to store our ABC flashcards that we made the other day…more on that later. Here’s froggy: (this was actually our Leap Year craft, heh, heh)
I’ve also printed out some St. Patrick’s Day old-fashioned greeting cards from the Lucky digital kit from my previous post. Haven’t quite figured out what I’m going to do with them, but will make some sort of decoration.
Now for some food planning for tomorrow….what to do? I’ve made a pasta salad with lots of green bits in: cucumber, green onion, parsely. A few years ago I actually made green bread! Doesn’t look like I’ll get that done! I was thinking we’d drink Root Beer Floats! I know the kids will like that! And yesterday I found this cool idea for a shamrock quiche on Pinterest, here’s the step by step instructions: http://www.diamondsfordessert.com/2011/03/lucky-spinach-quiche.html I want to try it out!!
Are you planning any special food for tomorrow? Just wondering….how about a lovely green sauce for your chicken?? green salad? green bread? I’m not Irish, so I really don’t have too many ‘authentic’ ideas! 😉 We’ll see what I actually get done…..