Well here I am, purposely disavowing my pledge of a month of dinner posts. But considering I had not planned to post today, I proclaim it justifiable. Treat it as a bonus, a Saint Patty’s Day bonus, no less.
We grilled steaks for dinner last night (one night of vegetarian entrees was enough for Kevin), and because they were Flintstones’-size, we have more than enough for tonight, too. A night of leftovers means I’ve been free to bake this afternoon, so despite the 80+ degrees outside, I gathered flour and baking soda and set to baking a batch of Irish soda bread.
Irish soda bread could, and perhaps should, be re-named; I suggest “I can’t believe I just made this incredibly delicious bread in 5 minutes.” A ridiculous mouthful, but it’s true. Soda bread has no yeast, no rising, no kneading, just a cursory stir, plunk and bake. It’s worth the minimal effort, even on a hot & humid Texas day.
James Beard, who I otherwise revere as one the greatest American cooks and food writers, ends his recipe for Irish soda bread with a warning that it “must never be cut into thick slices.” Phooey. Slice it thin, slice it thick, or haul off and take a bite out of the side if you feel so inclined. You can leave out the sugar and currants and add fresh or dried herbs, or leave out the adornments altogether. I prefer mine slightly sweet, particularly because I relish it as morning toast, smeared with ample amounts of marmalade.
This post is dedicated to the memory of my beautiful, elegant, and hilarious Scotch-Irish gran, Vivian Eleanor Percy. I miss you.
Camilla’s Irish Soda Bread with Currants
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar, divided use
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2/3 cup currants or raisins
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 8-inch-diameter cake pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl whisk the flours, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add the melted butter and buttermilk. Gradually stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients to blend. Mix in currants.
Using floured hands, shape dough into ball. Transfer to prepared pan and flatten slightly (dough will not come to edges of pan). Using a sharp knife, slash a deep X (at least half inch deep) across the top of the ball. Sprinkle dough with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
Bake bread until brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 20 servings.
Nutrition per Serving (1 slice): Calories 89; Fat 1.5g (sat .7g, mono 0.5g, poly 0.1g); Protein 1.9g; Cholesterol 3.7mg; Carbohydrate 17.6g; Sodium 138.6mg.
(Note: I did the nutrition analysis using Diet Analysis Plus 7.0.1)
10 P.M. UPDATE: YOU MUST WATCH!!!
Many blessings to my friend Katie, for sharing the following St. Patrick's day clip of Beaker, the Swedish Chef and Animal (all from the Muppet Show) singing Danny Boy. I nearly died. Kevin came to see what was wrong, he thought I was crying because I started laughing so hard. You must watch: