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Irish Eyes Are Smiling


It seems that most everyone is Irish, at least on Saint Patrick’s Day. And although my family is truly Irish (just ask Grandma Flanagan!), we haven’t inherited a love of many of the Irish foods typically served this time of year. Sorry, Grandma, but cooked cabbage has been pretty much banned from our house due to its pungent aroma, and corned beef, looking all red and stringy, is just not our cup of tea either. While we do enjoy potatoes, since they’re such a menu staple, they don’t bring on the St. Patty’s Day spirit. My husband and children would be content to celebrate with Lucky Charms cereal, which is also a staple in our home (don’t judge!), but I want to go with something a little more traditional. And while Irish and Irish-for-the-day traditionally celebrate with green beer, whiskey, Baileys, or Irish coffee, I’m looking for a more family-friendly way to mark the day at home. 

So, in addition to sharing silly Irish-inspired jokes, we’ll be celebrating by enjoying some good old Irish soda bread, courtesy of a recipe adapted from Ina Garten. It’s good sliced warm from the oven, spread with your choice of butter and/or jam. It’s not Lucky Charms, but maybe your family will like it, too. So, why did Saint Patrick drive the snakes from Ireland, anyway? Because it was too far for them to crawl.

Irish Soda Bread 

(Courtesy of flavorsavory.com)

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for board and raisins

2 Tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoons kosher salt

2 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

3/4 cups cold buttermilk (*see substitution below)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Zest of half an orange

1/2 cup dark or golden raisins

Optional: 1 Tablespoon of caraway seeds

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper or coat with non-stick cooking spray.

Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Add the cold butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour and the size of small peas, around 1 minute.

Lightly beat the buttermilk, eggs, and orange zest together in a large measuring cup with a fork or whisk. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the mixture for brushing on the loaves.  With the mixer on slow speed, carefully add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix just until combined.  Toss the raisins with a few tablespoons of flour in a bowl and then into the dough on slow speed. If you’re including the caraway seeds, toss them in at this time, also.

Scoop out the dough onto a generously floured board and knead for a minute or so. Shape into a round loaf and place on the prepared sheet pan. Cut a shallow X into the top of each loaf with a serrated knife, then brush each loaf with the reserved buttermilk mixture.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife or tester comes out clean.  The loaf should have a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with softened butter or jam.

Makes 1 loaf.


Buttermilk substitute 

(courtesy of swankyrecipes.com)

Place one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into a measuring cup. Pour milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line. Let stand for five minutes.


By the way — do leprechauns get angry when you make fun of their height? Only a little.