Cooking, Traditions

Irish Soda Bread with Whiskey Butter in Honor of St. Patrick’s Day

Irish Soda Bread with Whiskey Butter      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Irish Soda Bread with Whiskey Butter

Growing up, we had a little book of Irish toasts and poems sitting in our living room.  My maternal grandmother, seeing that the strength of the Irish was growing too strong, came over one day very briefly and went into the living room.  When she left, we found an Italian book sitting next to the Irish one so her grandchildren wouldn’t forget their mother’s roots.  It is with great irony and a big smile that I remember one of the Irish poems, which I read so many times that I have now have memorized it:

Soaking raisins in Whiskey for Irish Soda Bread    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Soaking raisins in Whiskey for Irish Soda Bread

St. Patrick was a gentleman
Who through strategy and stealth
Drove all the snakes from Ireland
Here’s a toasting to his health
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself
And forget good St. Patrick
and see all those snakes again.

Assembling Ingredients for Irish Soda Bread    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Assembling Ingredients for Irish Soda Bread

Every year, my mother & father would host a party for St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate my father’s ancestors (and because it was a really good excuse to have a party). The party was complete with brisket, potatoes, cabbage and Irish Soda bread + spirits and beer galore. Over the years, I have tried making many different Irish Soda bread recipes because I can’t stand the imposter store-bought kind. This recipe hails from Rose Mary Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible and is the best recipe I have found so far. I hope your family likes it as much as mine!

Incorporating the butter into flour for Irish Soda Bread       www.morewinelesswhines.com

Incorporating the butter into flour for Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread dough after mixing flour and butter with fingertips      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Irish Soda Bread dough after mixing flour and butter with fingertips

Oh, and if you’re not a beer drinker, make sure you try a Whiskey, Ginger Ale and Lime this St. Patrick’s Day.  It will clear out your sinuses.

Irish Soda Bread

Original recipe from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

1 cup raisins
1/2 c Irish whiskey (i.e. Jameson)
4 T unsalted Kerrygold butter (or regular), cold
2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
3 T sugar
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 c + 1 T buttermilk

1 T Demerara sugar (Optional)

1. Soak the raisins in the whiskey for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the whiskey for the whiskey butter.
2. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Cut butter into 8 slices. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, incorporate the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins with a silicone spatula/wooden spoon. Slowly, stir in the buttermilk until just incorporated. Be careful and don’t over mix. Empty dough out onto counter and knead, roughly 8 times, using a bench scraper to bring it together. Try not to use flour unless you have to. (Yes, your hands will be covered in the sticky dough. Big deal).
4. Shape dough into a round loaf, roughly 6″ diameter. Spray a sharp knife with cooking spray and make a 1/2″ slash from one side of dough to another, then a second to form a cross.  Optional:sprinkle with demerara sugar
5. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.
6. Cool bread on a wire rack. Optional:Wrap in a clean cotton/linnen dish towel and cool on wire wrack

Irish Soda Bread Dough    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Irish Soda Bread Dough

Irish Soda Bread Dough before Baking     www.morewinelesswhines.com

Irish Soda Bread Dough before Baking

Ingredients for Irish Whiskey Butter    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Ingredients for Irish Whiskey Butter

Irish Whiskey Butter    www.morewinelesswhines.com

Irish Whiskey Butter

Irish Whiskey Butter
3 T reserved Irish whiskey from raisins
1 T Demerara or regular sugar
9 T unsalted Kerrygold butter, softened

Stir together whiskey and sugar in a microwavable bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave 20 seconds. Stir to dissolve most of the sugar. (It’s ok if the sugar does not completely dissolve.) Cover and allow to cool. Stir the softened butter until smooth. Then, slowly stir the whiskey into the butter until incorporated. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

Enjoy!

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Cooking

Sunday Strawberry Sauce for Waffles

Breakfast of Champions     www.morewinelesswhines.com

Breakfast of Champions

I grew up with four younger brothers, 25+ cousins  and a household that was filled with no less than a half dozen kids at any one time.  Now, I am married and have a house and puppy of my own.  Life is a balancing act filled with a full work schedule, graduate school and eking out time with family and friends.

A few weekends ago, we invited our little cousin to have a weekend sleepover at our house.  We had so much fun!  A terrible storm came through our area right after she came over so we nixed the big walk in the downtown area and instead started making the #1 kids treat known to man – Rice Krispy Treats!  I know, I know, these are filled with sugar and artificial ingredients and not healthy at all…. but they are so fun to make!

Then we moved on to dinner.  What was on the menu?  Salad from the garden with my favorite vinaigrette, freshly sliced watermelon, roasted potatoes (which took too long so we had them with breakfast instead) and oven ‘fried’ chicken.

While the chicken and potatoes roasted, I painted my 9 year-old cousin’s nails a bright cherry red.

For breakfast on Sunday, we had orange juice, fresh fruit, some roasted potatoes (a dinner debacle turned into a glorious breakfast treat), and waffles with a delectable strawberry sauce.

The strawberry sauce was made with a cup of strawberries from the farmer’s market, some freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, water and a pinch of salt.  It’s easy and tastes great!  I had my cousin make this sauce.  I stood back, gave her instructions and let her measure, pour and stir away.

This recipe comes from The Pie and Pastry Bible by my favorite cookbook author, Rose Levy Beranbaum.  I  used previously in a Double Strawberry Pie and thought it was good enough to stand on its own next to fluffy belgian waffles.  Indeed it is!

Strawberries from the Farmers Market      www.morewinelesswhines.com

Strawberries from the Farmers Market

Sunday Strawberry Sauce for Waffles

Recipe found in The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

1 c. strawberries
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. sugar (less if strawberries are super sweet)
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T. cornstarch
1 pinch sea salt

Heat a small heavy saucepan  over medium heat.  Crush strawberries in the pan with a wooden spoon.  Add the remaining ingredients except cornstarch and stir.  Sift cornstarch into pan and stir vigorously.  Bring mixture to a boil for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Pour mixture into a small bowl to cool.  Serve spooned over pancakes or waffles.

Enjoy!

 

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