Month: August 2011

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Irish Brown n’ Oat Soda Bread

Makes 1 loaf I like a bread that can stick to my ribs, but not necessarily to my hips. I don’t think I’m asking too much, and I think I just may have found the answer to my prayers with this Irish Brown n’ Oat Soda Bread. It’s healthy (75% whole wheat) and hearty (thanks to a happy sprinkle of oats). This dense, savory, crusty quickbread is best eaten warm, slathered with butter, even though the butter will definitely stick to your ribs and your hips. It’s worth it, though. Feel free to thank Ireland. Ingredients: 3 cups wheat pastry flour 1 cup white pastry flour 1/2 cup steel cut Irish oats (I used the 3 min oats by McCain’s) 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 2 cups buttermilk (a bit more or less, as needed to get a sticky texture) butter, for brushing top of loaf (optional) Method: This recipe is as easy as 1, 2, 3….4. 1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Whisk together the dry ingredients: whole wheat and regular pastry flour, …

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Boxty Pancakes

Makes 5.5 cups batter I like a good excuse to dance in the morning. Preferably while in my fuzzy bathrobe, with spatula in hand (for a microphone, of course), while singing 100% off-key. Boxty pancakes are just the ticket. They look like a thick crêpe, but taste more like the love-child of tangy mashed potatoes and hash browns. These filling, stick-to-your-ribs pancakes are often used to wrap up food, from meat and gravy, to scrambled eggs. Best of all, cooks everywhere dance a little jig when they make them. NOTE: This batter does not store well (the potatoes turn black when they oxidize), so scale the recipe down if you don’t have a small army coming over for breakfast. Adapted from the recipe in The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews. Ingredients: 2 lbs russet potatoes, chopped 1 1/2 cups buttermilk salt 1 cup flour butter, for cooking Accompaniments: green onions, scrambled eggs, meat, etc. Method: First step, get in the mood with a little  Irish folk rhyme and dancing. Boxty on the griddle, And Boxty on the …

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Cashel Blue & Caramelized Onion Pizza

There’s no quicker way to beat the blues than to dig into a slice of pizza. Irish pizza. I know what you’re thinking. I thought the same thing. But, trust me – while pizza may not sound very Irish, it is, in fact, much beloved on the Emerald Isle. They simply add a little something special, to make it their own. Let’s zoom in for a close up, shall we? Did you see the secret ingredient? When you bite in, it’ll be tingly. Creamy. Almost spicy. For cheese lover’s everywhere it is oh-so-familiar. Blue cheese. Cashel blue, to be exact. This cheese has been winning awards, pretty much since the first batch, and I can see why. It’s fabulous. When its young, it is firm and crumbly (and more mild); and when it’s aged, it’s soft and creamy (and extra stinky). The one pictured above was definitely soft and creamy. And extra stinky. So, next time you want to make a pizza Irish, simply crumble on Cashel blue cheese and bake as normal. You can find it …

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Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream

Makes an 8″ layered cake So here we are, cooking the world A-Z… and I come across this epic Irish cake. I make this adaptation and… just like that – my life is complete. I don’t have time to do my hair or makeup, but – I promise you – I’ll always have time for this cake. It’s rich and dark, like an Irish sky at midnight… brightened by sweet, sweet Bailey’s buttercream, which gilds everything like moonlight. The perfect pair. The perfect balance. Especially for breakfast.  In my slippers. When no one is looking. (Possibly with a big cup of Irish coffee). Don’t worry – the alcohol cooks off, and the Bailey’s frosting? It simply contains the same amount of alcohol as you’d find in vanilla extract. So, go for it, take a bite of Irish nighttime. NOTE: You may find it easiest to bake the cake and do the frosting “crumb coat” one day, then the next day decorate it with the final layer of frosting.  Update, March 2013: I added more powdered …

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Menu: Ireland

See that moisture in Ava’s hair? Yeah. It’s not dew. The thermometer read 114F yesterday. This is the kind of heat that sticks to your hair – even with the air conditioner on full blast. Considering the conditions (forecast of 116 today!), I desperately wanted to avoid the stove this week. I looked at cookbook after Irish cookbook. Yet, try as I might, there was no way to avoid turning on the stove for our Irish Global Table. We’re talking about a country that eats stews. Roasts. Mashed potatoes. Breads. These warming, hearty meals are the most celebrated Irish dishes. There was no way a salad was going to cut it. We’re going to have to time travel to winter, just for the week. What sounds good to you? Boxty Pancakes [recipe] A day begun with Boxty pancakes is a good day. Despite the name, I’d call this more of an Irish crêpe – loaded with hearty potatoes and tangy buttermilk. Great with butter and chives, just like a baked potato. Brown n’ Oats Soda Bread [recipe] A …

Photo by Ian Macnab

About the food of Ireland

Collnaharragill Upper, Kerry. Photo by Ian Macnab Ah, Ireland. You caught me off guard. You see, this week I knew to expect the trinity… Potatoes. Guinness. Meat.  But, as an Italian-Hungarian-American, the last thing I expected to discover was that my childhood diet often beared a striking resemblance to that of an Irishman. We ate potatoes mashed with carrots and turnips. We ate homemade soda bread [recipe], slathered with soft butter. We even ate roast lamb with mint jelly. Strange. Strange. Strange. I must be part Irish. There is no other possible conclusion. Then again, I have a feeling lots of Americans eat Irish food, especially on the East Coast. Right, Mom….? Truth is, I’d be happy if Ireland was my homeland. She is so pretty. So green and fair. Clearly her nickname, the Emerald Isle, was well earned. Yes. Her beauty is fresh; whenever I think of her I want to frolic and laugh and dance over the vibrant hills. What can I say – she brings out the child in me. A word about potatoes Know for her love of …

While I knew I'd like the pita bread, the date balls were another question entirely.

Monday Meal Review: Iraq

THE SCENE Mom smeared the cream cheese onto the shiny black date and offered it to me. I looked up at her, the way only a stubborn seven year-old can, and shook my head slowly. “Try it, you’ll like it,” she urged, popping one in her mouth herself. It looks like a roach, I thought. I watched her chew. “When is dinner?” “Not for a few more hours,” she replied. I wouldn’t budge. There was no way I was going to eat the cream cheese date. My stomach growled. I chewed my nails. I drank some water. Ten long minutes later, I caved. It was sweet. Too sweet. Leathery on the outside, creamy in the center. Roachy, roachy, roachy. I shuddered, barely swallowing what I had in my mouth before putting the rest back down on the plate. “No thank you.” I whispered and never ate another date again. Not, that is, until this week, during our Iraqi Global Table. The glorious, long-standing history of Pistachio Date balls were too fantastic to pass up. When I …