Can I just tell you all how happy I am to be Irish on a fun holiday like St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you all enjoyed your St. Patty’s Day; I know I did! And I’m not done enjoying it yet! I was pretty busy last weekend so I couldn’t make my favorite Irish feast which is boiled potatoes, turnips, and cabbage, and of course Irish soda bread. But I do plan on making it this weekend and I’m already one step ahead as I made my Irish soda bread yesterday! This year I’m going to try a vegetarian spin on corned beef so I can pack some protein into my Irish feast! Recommended by Janel , a fellow vegan dietitian, I’m going to experiment with her recipe for cajun tempeh bacon!
On Wednesday, I got my actual st. patty’s fix by going to Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square where I got to do a little irish jig to the fabulous bag pipes and drums played by men in skirts of course! Even more exciting, I tried my first green beer. Very festive if you ask me. In case you were wondering, there’s nothing too magical about green beer as I thought there was . They just add green food dye to your beer of choice. Although, I will say it was pretty magical that my tongue turned bright green by just one green beer!
Since it’s the weekend after St. Patty’s Day and there are still parades and festivities going on, I feel I can still share with you all my Irish soda bread recipe and you have some time to try it out! This recipe is a quick and easy version of what my Great-Grandma Shea used to make and I am all about keeping up traditions and spreading the Irish love!
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
4 cups flour
4 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp caraway seeds
1 cup currants or 1/2 cup raisins
Melt butter with buttermilk on stove and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, carraway seeds, and currants/raisins. Mix together well. Add the buttermilk/butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together. Turn out onto floured table or board and knead lightly until no longer sticky. Form into round loaf and cut a cross into the top. Finally, brush with melted butter and bake at 425 for 30 – 35 min.
This bread is so delicious, I can’t get over it. And I’m pretty sure you don’t have to be Irish to enjoy it! I bought some Irish butter on sale at Whole Foods to go with the bread. It’s super creamy and easy to spread and really makes a difference with the bread! I chose to use raisins in this recipe only because I couldn’t find currants (think mini raisins) at the grocery store. But my Aunt, who also made the bread, tried it with organic currants this year and really enjoyed the flavor
I don’t have the nutrition facts for this bread, but I’m thinking it’s probably better that way . What we can talk about though are those little-bitty seeds that the recipe calls for because believe it or not CARAWAY SEEDS are associated with some health benefits! woo-hoooo!
Let’s Talk Caraway!
native to Europe, Asia, and regions of Africa
the fruit and seeds of the caraway plant are used to prepare medicinal remedies
the active ingredient in the seed is volatile oil which is made up of the chemicals carvone and limonene
classified as a carminitive, caraway is an herb that has been shown to help relieve stomach pain and associated gas pain; it also may be helpful in relieving bowel spasms (ATTN: IBS READERS!)
caraway is usually administered in the form of a tea or an essential oil
So there you have it, a yummy recipe with an ingredient that may have some great health benefits!
I’ll leave you with an irish proverb- “laughter is brightest where food is best.”