I was going to start a Whole 30 on March 1st. Then I realized St. Patrick’s day is on March 17th. I know for most people St. Patrick’s day isn’t that big of deal but for me, it’s almost as big as Christmas, as far as food goes. I always have my friends who like it, over for a traditional corned beef dinner with several different kinds of soda breads and desserts.
My passion for St. Patrick’s Day started the second time I went to college. I know you are thinking green beer and a night out at the bar. It couldn’t be further from that. My second trip to college, I got involved with a group of people on campus who volunteered at the Presentation sisters annual St. Patrick’s day block party. Yep, I am so cool I partied with the Nuns. It was a big community party with tons of stuff for the kids to take part in and tons of corned beef, cabbage and soda bread to eat.
The first year I volunteered, I was in the kitchen with the older ladies. I didn’t appreciate it as much then as I would now because I was a long way from wanting to learn how to cook at that point in my life. But one of my best food memories is entering that kitchen for the first time and seeing row after row of craggy, rustic, rough looking soda bread. I didn’t know what it was but it was so pretty and smelled so good. I got one taste and was hooked for life.
The second year, the Nuns discovered my secret talent of being able to make balloon sculpture and moved me into the room with the kids entertainment. I never got to go back to the kitchen again.
Cranberry Orange Soda Bread
Adapted From Kitchen Treaty
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 TBS cold butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup plus 6 TBS buttermilk
3 TBS lightly beaten egg
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the butter and use two knives to cut it into the flour until the butter is the size of rice. Add dried cranberries and stir well.
In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Lightly flour a cutting board. Turn out the dough and knead a minute or two, until it all comes together.
Shape into a round loaf. Cut an x across the top about 1/4 inch deep. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.
This morning was a strange morning. Just before I left for work I took my garbage out. Just as I was tossing the bag into the dumpster, I stubbed my toe on a snowbank. For people who live where it doesn’t snow or snows very little, a snowbank shouldn’t actually hurt your toes. I looked down and saw something sticking out of the snow. When I pulled it out of the snow to toss it in the dumpster, I found a beautiful cast iron pan, complete with lid. Apparently, it had been there for a little while because it was covered with snow and had a light coat of rust on the surface. My cook’s heart was shocked that some one would treat an obviously expensive piece of equipment that way.
But wait, there is more. I am going up the back flight of steps to get my new treasure back to my apartment quicker when I, literally, tripped over a 8 quart stick pot some one left in the middle of the hallway. I waited a while to see if someone would come to claim it but no one did. So that went home with me too. I posted a note on both exit doors saying if you lost a piece of cooking equipment I found it. Come to apartment 7 to claim it. I know the pan was a left behind because of where I found it and the condition it was in. Given the location I found it and it’s pristine condition, the stock pot could have just been set down and forgotten about. If someone claims it I will gladly give it back. If no one comes to claim it, I will just as gladly keep it and use it.
Chocolate Chip Soda Bread
From Just About Baked
2 cups all purpose flour
2 TBS sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS butter, cut into small cubed
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 TBS buttermilk
In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, mix well.
Add the butter cubes and use two knives to cut the butter into the flour until its pieces about the size of a grain of rice. You can also just get in there with your fingers and massage the butter into the flour. Add the chocolate chips.
In another medium bowl, add butter milk and egg. Beat to combine.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Turn the dough out onto a cutting board covered with a little extra flour. Knead the dough for a minute or so, until it comes together.
Place the dough on a baking sheet sprayed cooking spray. Shape it into a round loaf. Use a serrated knife to cut an x about 1/4 inch deep on the top of the loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
My counter top oven is dying. I know they don’t last forever (this is my second one) . I bought it for about $55 dollars about 3 or 4 years ago and I use it atleast once daily, so I know I have gotten my money’s worth from this particular kitchen item. It’s just that they no longer make this particular brand of counter top oven any more. I am going to have to make a a decision on a new one soon. I know it isn’t the worst thing I could have to happen to me. I just suck at making decisions and I hate change, especially in my kitchen.
My dying counter top oven may not be the worst thing that has ever happened to me but it is currently the most annoying thing. I wanted to make a baked corned beef brisket today. With my unreliable oven, I didn’t want to take the chance of ruining it. I was so bummed because today was the only day I had time to do the long, slow cook that a corned beef brisket needs to become tender. After a good pout, it occured to me I could make a corned beef brisket in my pressure cooker. A quick internet search for a recipe, I found one by Gutsy By Nature. I absolutely loved how the cook tossed out the spice packet that came with the brisket and made her own. I also loved how the pressure cooker cut the the cooking time from over 3 hours in the oven to just over 90 minutes in the pressure cooker. The corned beef brisket was very lightly flavored (I would probably double the spices next time) and not overly salty like corned beef brisket sometimes gets. I will always bake my corned beef brisket whenever possible but when I can’t I will use this recipe and my pressure cooker.
Pressure Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
3-4 lb corned beef brisket
4 cups water
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
3 whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp whole allspice berries
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 lbs small potatoes
5 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small cabbage, quartered
In a 6 quart pressure cooker, add the water, onion, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice berries and thyme. Lock the lid and set the timer for 90 minutes at high pressure. Release the pressure with a 10 minute natural release. Remove the meat and keep warm. Add the vegetables. Lock the lid. Set the time for 10 minutes at high pressure. Release the pressure with a quick release. Server the corned beef with the vegetables and a side of soda bread.
St. Patrick’s day is just two weeks away so I have scoured the internet for the best soda bread recipes and here is what I found. Your good at making soda bread #1.*
When I found this recipe for soda bread using pumpkin, I just happened to have some pumpkin puree leftover from a millet recipe I made earlier in the week. The rolls don’t really taste like pumpkin. The pumpkin really is there to make these rolls nicely moist, which is really nice as one of the biggest complaints about soda bread is its often dry, crumbly texture. This soda bread is best right out of the oven or toasted.
Pumpkin Oatmeal Soda Bread Rolls
1 cup rolled oats
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a blender, place 1/2 cup of the rolled oats and blend until you have a four. Meanwhile, combine the half cup of whole rolled oats, oat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. In a small bowl, mix the pumpkin puree and buttermilk; mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Dust your counter with flour and turn out the dough and knead it for 1-2 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Place each roll on a baking pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Using a sharp knife cut a 1/4 inch x in the top of each roll. Bake 30 -35 minutes. Remove the rolls from the pan to a cooling rack and cool completely.
I tried this cinnamon and raisin soda bread recipe in honor of my best friend, Steph, whose answer to life’s most difficult questions is to add more cinnamon.
Pantry items used – canned pumpkin and buttermilk powder
Cinnamon Raisin Soda Bread
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp caraway seeds
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
6 TBS raisins or Craisins
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, caraway seeds, cinnamon, salt, and raisins. In a seperate small bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined .Dust your counter with flour and turn out the dough and knead it for 1-2 minutes. Place the dough on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Using a sharp knife cut a 1/4 inch x in the top of the dough. Bake 30 -35 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan to a cooling rack and cool completely