Sunday, February 28, 2016

Tea, Irish Bread & St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day with Bread and Coffee or Tea

Saint Patrick's Day means a lot to me. I'm Catholic, so this religious holiday celebrated on March 17 (tagged after Saint Patrick of Ireland) hits home - and in the kitchen, past and present-day. As a kid, I remember my mom, a cultured woman, part Irish and named Patricia ("Patty"), put her heart and soul into making an Irish breakfast and dinner from scratch for our family. Corned beef and cabbage, potatoes, sweetbread, cupcakes with green icing and Irish coffee were part of the feast. 
As an adult, I still acknowledge St. Patrick's Day, but my choice of Irish foods are a bit different from my mom's dishes. One year I turned to an Irish soda bread but changed it up a bit. It is ideal paired with a large cup of Irish breakfast tea or  Irish coffee.

Irish Bread with Blueberries
21⁄4 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
3⁄4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 brown eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1⁄4 cup European-style butter
1 cup blueberries, fresh
Confectioners' sugar
In a medium-sized bowl, combine dry ingredients. Then, add mixture of eggs, buttermilk, butter, melted, and fold in blueberries.  Pour batter into a 9" by 5" bread pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 to 60 minutes. Cool. Dust top with flour or confectioners' sugar. Garnish with blueberries. Serves 12.
This quick bread (without yeast or kneading), is not a super moist cake, so topping it with a bit of orange-blossom honey or a pat of real butter can give it a superb texture. So, here I sit in my Sierra cabin, amid green pine trees and enjoying a warm slice of Irish soda bread and cup of Irish breakfast tea. Cheers.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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