Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm not Irish, but I love this day and wish I were just a tiny bit not German so I could claim some of the fun. I love the legend, the green and mostly the food! Today, since we took the boys to the Louisville zoo, we made the corned beef and cabbage in the crock pot -- some carrots in first, then the beef, then the wedged cabbage on top and cover with water. Pretty good method when you're away from the house. (Last year, we were in Akron for St. Patrick's Day, and made dinner for Grandma Shirley, who, despite her Boston roots, had never had corned beef and cabbage. She loved it, but then she loves a boiled dinner -- maybe that's a French Canadian thing?)

When we got home, we peeled potatoes and I made Irish Soda Bread, with help from Sarah and the boys. It turned out extra delicious this year, so I thought I should blog the recipe here so I am sure to do the same thing again next year. I found a recipe I liked many years ago, but have made changes. I bake it in our trusty cast iron skillet, just like my mom always made cornbread, so I'm going to call it

Farmgirl Irish Soda Bread
4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
2 c. raisins
1 T. caraway seeds
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 c. milk plus 1 t. apple cider vinegar stirred in
1 c. sour cream

Preheat oven to 350, and put a 10" cast iron skillet in the oven while it heats up.
In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients; stir in raisins and caraway seeds. In a separate bowl, stir together eggs, milk and sour cream; pour into dry ingredients and mix just until all is moistened and you can't see any dry flour mix. Take the skillet from the oven and plop in 2 T. of butter. When it is melted, whirl it around the the skillet and pour the dough in.
Bake for an hour; the bread will have a nice firm crust and will sound hollow when you give it a tap. Let it cool a few minutes, then turn out onto a rack. It will cut better if you let it sit another few minutes, and it's extra good for breakfast the next morning.

Clay made black and tans (Guinness + Harp = downright lethal for a woman whose recent beer of choice has 64 calories and no kick) and then we made homemade shamrock shakes with fudge ripple ice cream, a smidge of peppermint extract and green food coloring. Delicious, like a Girl Scout Thin Mint. But, after the boys went home, we made another batch of milkshakes, but this time with a couple of shots of Irish Cream. Slainte!

And peace.

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