Monthly Archives: March 2015

Soda Bread With a Little Extra

Whole Wheat Rosemary Irish Soda Bread

Whole Wheat Rosemary Irish Soda Bread

I’m not sure why we love St. Patrick’s Day so much, because it certainly isn’t because we like to drink ourselves silly, or party on a weeknight. So, it must have something to do with the food. Monty adores corned beef and cabbage.

This year, it’s going to be celebrated a day early, just because Monty has surgery today. So, I made a point of making him a special meal, before he had to fast, and also before I ran out of time. I’ll be pretty busy playing nurse, for the next couple of weeks.

Last year, I made my great-grandmother’s soda bread. This year, I’m going to make some more, but I’m going to deviate from her recipe, just a little bit. First of all, I’m going to make it a little bit healthier by adding in some whole wheat flour. Secondly, I’m going to make it a bit more savory by adding in some dried rosemary.

I’ll keep this simple, mainly because it really is! It doesn’t take a lot of ingredients, and it comes together very quickly.

2½ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour + more for dusting
1¾ teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons sugar (I used tubinado)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried rosemary + more to sprinkle on top
1 egg
½ cube butter, (¼ cup) melted and cooled
1¾ cups buttermilk

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Preheat oven to 400º F.

Prepare a baking sheet by covering with parchment paper and sprinkle the paper with flour.

In a large bowl, whisk together the first 6 ingredients. Make a well in the center.

In a large measuring cup, beat an egg with a fork. Add in the cooled, melted butter and continue to beat them together. Then pour in the buttermilk and beat until blended.

Pour the wet ingredients into the well of the flour mixture and blend with a spatula. It will be sticky, but it will eventually come together, after about a minute and a half.

Put the dough on to the prepared sheet, and gently pat the dough into a round with floured hands. It will look rough and raggedy.

Cut a giant "X"...

Cut a giant “X”…

Cut an “X” into the bread with a wet knife, then sprinkle with a dusting of flour and a bit more dried rosemary.

Bake for 40 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness.

Fresh from the oven!

Fresh from the oven!

Allow to cool on a rack

Allow to cool on a rack

Remove from oven, then place on a rack to cool.

Whole Wheat Rosemary Irish Soda Bread

Whole Wheat Rosemary Irish Soda Bread

Once cooled, this can be served, as you please.

Good with a little butter

Good with a little butter

 

Don't think this doesn't taste good with some berry jam…

Don’t think this doesn’t taste good with some butter and berry jam…

Made to be served with Irish Stew

Made to be served with your corned beef or Irish stew

Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day!

Blood Orange Gelato with Chocolate Scribbles ~ Making the Best of Citrus Season

Blood oranges, available December through May

Blood oranges, available December through May

I woke up from a great dream, the other day. It was the kind that made me sit bolt upright in bed, from its inspiration. I think this whole thing got stirred by talking with a friend about gelato. She found out that her favorite gelato shop was closing, and she was really sad about it. That’s when I told her that I love making gelato. We talked about the many different, though odd flavor combinations that would be so much fun to experiment with.

I guess that conversation got me thinking, because I was all of a sudden dreaming of making blood orange gelato. Now, I realize that this has been done before, and that that flavor really wasn’t so oddball, but that’s okay, too. I started thinking of all the things that go well with blood oranges, or any orange, for that matter. Chocolate kept coming up, and that’s when I thought I should try the scribbles, like I did with the mint flavor, last year. I’ve always loved chocolate and orange together, remembering those big, chocolate oranges divided up into segments, that are mostly available around Christmas. Yum!

Then, I thought, “Candy!” I could also candy the blood orange peels for garnish! So, at that point, I was off and running.

The blood oranges are in season from December until about May, so to me, it really was a matter of doing this now, while I was so excited. I didn’t realize that there were so many varieties of these babies, which explains their inner and outer appearances. I will say that they are gorgeous~ and if my English friends will forgive me for saying so, they are bloody gorgeous!

They're bloody gorgeous!

They’re bloody gorgeous!

 

I usually make gelato over the course of two days, with it being served on the third day. It needs time to chill during its various phases, so the best thing to do is just relax, be patient and enjoy the process!

Here’s what I did~~

For the gelato:

2 cups whole milk
½ cup white sugar
4 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt
grated zest of one blood orange
1 cup strained blood orange juice (you will need about 6 small oranges)

For the chocolate “scribbles”:

1 3-oz. dark chocolate bar, melted

For the candied orange peel:

2 small blood oranges
¾ cup sugar + extra for rolling, if desired
½ cup water

Special equipment:

You’ll need an ice cream freezer, for this

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Eggs & sugar

Eggs & sugar

First whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.

 

Whisk!

Whisk!

Add milk and whisk some more

Add milk and whisk some more

Add the milk in and whisk some more.

Pour the mixture into a heavy sauce pan, and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture starts to get very hot and thick, add in the vanilla, orange juice, salt and zest. Bring it back up to a boil, again, stirring all the while.

 

The cooked mixture should coat a spoon

The cooked mixture should coat a spoon

When it coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour into a container and chill for at least 8 hours or overnight.

 

Once the mixture is fully chilled, get the chocolate ready. You’ll want to melt this over indirect heat, either in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of boiling water. You can see how I did this by checking out my mint chip gelato, that I made last year. Just make sure not to get any water into the chocolate.

Churn the chilled gelato mixture according to manufacturer’s directions in your ice cream freezer. When it is ready, you’ll be scribbling the melted chocolate in, then breaking it up with a spoon.

Once all the gelato is in the container, freeze for 24 hours.

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You can make the candied orange peel at any point in the process. Just keep in mind that they will take about 4 hours to dry.

Peel from top to bottom

Peel from top to bottom

With a veggie peeler, peel the skin off the orange from top to bottom.

 

Cut them into to thinner strips, if desired

Cut them into to thinner strips, if desired

I wanted thinner strips, so I sliced them to about ¼-inch wide.

Getting the bitter taste out of the orange peel is a process of boiling it out. This step is really important, and even more so that it be repeated 3 times. The repeated boiling also make the peels more porous, so they will absorb the sugar more easily.

Place the strips into a heavy sauce pan and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and allow the strips to cook for 3 minutes. Drain the strips into a sieve and rinse with cold water. Repeat two more times.

After the third boil, keep the strips draining in the sieve, while you wash out the saucepan. Then measure the sugar and water into it and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring the ingredients together.

Once it’s boiling, add in the orange peel strips and turn the heat down to a low simmer. This should simmer for about 30 minutes, and you want to avoid stirring during that process, to keep sugar crystals from forming.

 

Roll in sugar, if desired

Roll in sugar, if desired

Once done, remove the strips with tongs onto a piece of parchment paper. If you like, you can pour a bit of sugar onto the paper to roll the strips into.

 

Dry strips on a rack

Dry strips on a rack

Lay the strips onto a rack to cool and dry—this will take about 4 hours.

 

Store the candied peel in an airtight jar

Store the candied peel in an airtight jar

Once dried, store in a jar with the remaining sugar. Candied orange peel makes wonderful gifts, too. You can add a little tag with the multitude of uses for them, such as adding to garnishing desserts and drinks, and adding to cookies, breads and muffins.

 

Dip some of the candied peel into chocolate for an incredible garnish

Dip some of the candied peel into chocolate for an incredible garnish

If you really want to get fancy, and believe me, I did with at least a few of them, dip one end of the candied peel into the melted “scribble” chocolate, once you’re done scribbling the gelato. That’s a garnish that won’t soon be forgotten. Just be sure to store them separately in the refrigerator, once the chocolate firms up.

Once the gelato freezes overnight, you can serve it in a multitude of ways.

Starting with a plain, old dish…

In a dish is good

In a dish is good

Looking good, just like that

Looking good, just like that

 

Or, serve it in half of a blood orange skin…

You can serve it in its own "shell"

You can serve it in its own “shell”

So delicious!

So delicious!

 

Or, serve it with the special, chocolate-dipped, candied orange peel…

Delectable with that choco-dipped, candied orange peel

Delectable with that choco-dipped, candied orange peel

So elegant!

So elegant!

 

Now, at least I can say, that I made one of my dreams come true!