Tasty Tuesday: Irish Soda Bread

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a recipe for traditional Irish soda bread.  Several sources I’ve come across in searching for today’s recipe state that traditional soda bread contains only four ingredients:  flour, baking soda, buttermilk and salt, so that’s what I’ve included below.  There’s a wheat and white version, both from the Society for Preservation of Irish Soda Bread.

Soda bread

Brown Bread

  • 3 cups (12 oz) of wheat flour
  • 1 cup (4 oz) of white flour (do not use self-rising as it already contains baking powder and salt)
  • 14 ounces of buttermilk (pour in a bit at a time until the dough is moist)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.
  • 2 ounces of butter if you want to deviate a bit.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees. Lightly grease and flour a cake pan. In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients. Rub in the butter until the flour is crumbly.
  2. Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough. Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape)
  3. Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.
  4. Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes (this simulates the bastible pot). Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  5. The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped to show it is done.
  6. Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.
  7. Let cool and you are ready to have a buttered slice with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

White Soda Bread

  • 4 cups (16 oz) of all purpose flour.
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 14 oz of buttermilk

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees. Lightly crease and flour a cake pan.
  2. In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough. Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape)
  4. Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.
  5. Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes (this simulates the bastible pot). Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped so show it is done.
  7. Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.
  8. Let cool and you are ready to have a buttered slice with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

 

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Tasty Tuesday: Fastnacht Day!

Today is known as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday in the Christian tradition.  There are lots of celebrations around the world today – Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carneval in Brazil, Pancake Day in the UK and Fasching in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  The point of these celebrations is to get rid of anything that is forbidden during the time of Lent, which is meant for abstention and penitence.  Lent begins tomorrow, on Ash Wednesday.

Within my own Pennsylvania Dutch background, we celebrate Fastnacht Day.  Traditionally, it was custom to use up all the lard, sugar, butter, eggs, etc. before the fasting time of Lent.  This was done through the making of Fastnachts, which are a type of doughnut.  There are many different recipes for Fastnachts; some with baking powder, some with yeast, some with potatoes.  For anyone wanting to try their hand at homemade Fastnachts, here’s a recipe from Teri’s Kitchen.

Fastnachts (Pennsylvania Dutch/German Yeast Doughnuts)

Makes 4 to 5 dozen

Fastnacht Day is a special Pennsylvania Dutch celebration that falls on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. The word translates to “Fast Night”. The tradition is to eat the very best, and lots of it, before the Lenten fast. Fastnachts (pronounced fost-nokts) are doughnuts. There are three types of Fastnachts, one made with yeast, one made with baking powder, and one made with potatoes and yeast. All are slightly crispy on the outside and not as sweet as standard doughnuts. My family usually had crullers, spelled cruellers in PA Dutch country, which do not use yeast. I have recipes for both the yeast Fastnachts, as in this posting, and crullers, a less time-consuming doughnut and my personal favorite. A cousin shared her family’s recipe for potato Fastnachts, but I have not tried it as yet. Both of those recipes are on the full page view linked above. Traditionally, all Fastnachts were made with, and fried in, lard. I have altered that in the recipes since it is so difficult to find nowadays but, if you can find it, lard would be my first choice.

Ingredients

Sponge

  • 2 cups milk, room temperature
  • 1 package (2-1/4 teaspoons) rapid-rise dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

Dough

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening (preferably non-hydrogenated)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying, about 2 quarts

For the sponge: Scald the milk and cool. (This can be done in a pan on the stovetop, or in a bowl in the microwave on High for about 3 minutes, depending on wattage. Heat but do not boil.) Dissolve the yeast in the water and let rest until it starts to bubble to make certain it is alive. Place the milk, 1 teaspoon sugar, 3 cups flour and yeast mixture in a large bowl of an electric mixer. Stir on low just until combined. Cover and let rise in a draft-free area until doubled, about 30 minutes.

For the dough: Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Melt the shortening and let cool. Place 3 cups of the remaining flour in a medium bowl. Add the salt and mace; stir with a whisk to combine. When the sponge has doubled, add the eggs, melted shortening and the 3/4 cup sugar; stir just to combine. On the lowest setting of the mixer, add the flour mixture, about one-third at a time. Stir just to combine. Do not over mix. The dough should be very soft and just dry enough to roll. If it is very sticky, incorporate just a little more flour, about 2 tablespoons at a time. Cover and let rise until doubled, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

When doubled, place dough on a lightly floured surface. Gently roll to about 1/2-inch thickness, as close to a square or rectangle as possible. Cut into 2-inch squares. If desired, cut a slit down the center of each square, being careful not to go all the way through the dough. (This is traditional for Fastnachts. Supposedly, it makes them crispier all over the outside. But it is not necessary.) Place on large baking sheets lined with parchment or waxed paper. Cover and let rise again until nearly doubled, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

To fry doughnuts: Place the oil in a deep pan high enough to hold the oil half way up the sides. Heat to 360° over medium heat. Carefully fry the doughnuts, about 5 to 7 at a time, until well-browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip to other side and brown another 3 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

Notes: I like to use my stand-up mixer, but these are relatively easy to make by hand. Doughnuts may be sprinkled with granulated or confectioner’s sugar while still warm. The PA Dutch tradition is to cut open the doughnut horizontally, and drizzle the cut sides with molasses or corn syrup. I prefer them plain. They are best served the same day because they are so good when crispy on the outside. However, they are still good, stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for several months (they will never last that long). Leftover Fastnachts are best placed in a preheated 350° oven for about 5 minutes to recrisp slightly. Watch them carefully to prevent burning.

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Tasty Tuesday: Bibbelsche Bohnesupp (German Potato & Bacon Soup)

A traditional bacon, onion, and potato soup from Saarland in Germany.

Bibbelsche Bohnesupp

Ingredients:

6 slices of bacon
1 medium onion
1 lb. potatoes
2 lbs. trimmed fresh or frozen green beans
1/2 gallon broth (chicken, beef or vegetable)
1 cup heavy cream or sour cream
2-3 carrots
1 leek
1 bunch fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh savory
Salt
Pepper
Nutmeg

Preparation:

Cut the bacon into small pieces and sauté in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until onions turn translucent. Wash and peel the potatoes and cut them into small cubes. Clean the beans and cut them at an angle into 1/2 inch pieces. Add the potatoes, beans, broth and the savory. Stir and heat until the broth starts to boil. Reduce to low heat and cook for about an hour. Remove the savory. Season to taste with salt, pepper and ground nutmeg.

Take the pot off the stove and purée about one third of it (in a blender or using a handheld mixer). Add the cream to the pureed soup and combine it with the soup in the stockpot. Return the soup to the stove and reheat it thoroughly, being careful not to let it come to a boil.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.

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Tasty Tuesday: Tiramisu

Tiramisu means “pick me up” or “lift me up” and is a popular coffee flavored Italian dessert.  Here’s a recipe from Key Ingredient, so you can make your own right at home!

800px-Tiramisu-simple

Ingredients

625 ml (2-2½ cups) strong espresso, cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs or 5 small/medium eggs, separated
4-5 tbsp sugar (one tablespoon per egg) I use a regular spoon to measure – if you use a measuring spoon it will taste sweeter (personal preference).
500 g (16 oz) marscarpone cheese, room temperature
1 200-250 g (7-9 oz) pkg Savoiardi or Pavesini (lady fingers) These are known as Löffelbiscuits in Germany.
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (or to taste) Again, I use a regular spoon but a measuring spoon will also work.

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixture till stiff peaks form but not dry; set aside.

2. In another medium bowl, Beat the egg yolks with sugar until creamy, about 1 minute. If not beaten well, then the filling will have an egg-y taste. Then add marscarpone cheese and mix until there are no more lumps.

3. Gently fold the egg whites into the marscapone mixture with a spatula or wooden spoon. 4. Dip the cookies in espresso (you can add a shot of your favorite liqueur to the espresso, like rum, amaretto, brandy, Frangelico, marsala, etc.) and lay them into a 9×14 rectangular glass pan (or you may use another container/pan). You can leave 3-4 mm (1/4 inch) or a finger’s width between each cookie for the filling, or you can place them close/next to each other so there is no filling between the lady fingers (personal preference).

4. Pour half the marscapone mixture onto the cookies and spread evenly across the top.

5. Repeat step 4 with the next layer but alternate the cookies perpendicular (or just follow the same pattern as in the first layer) to the ones in the first layer.

6. Refrigerate for over night for best results. If you really must, then refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours before serving but it might still be runny. Sprinkle with cocoa.

Makes 12 large pieces or 16 smaller pieces.

 

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Tasty Tuesday: Nürnberger Lebkuchen

English: Lebkuchen at the Nuremberg Christmas ...

English: Lebkuchen at the Nuremberg Christmas Market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lebkuchen is a commonly found Christmas treat at Weihnachtsmärkte throughout German-speaking Europe.  Here in the US, we know this as gingerbread.  However, German Lebkuchen, especially the kind from the area around the city of Nürnberg in northern Bavaria, tends to be softer and a bit different than what Americans might be used to.  It’s still a yummy way to share a German Christmas tradition with your family.

 

Nuernberger Lebkuchen - Homemade German CookiesNuernberger Lebkuchen – Homemade German Cookies

J.McGavin

Nürnberger Lebkuchen or gingerbread has been around since the 14th century, when Nürnberg was a rich city with good trade associations. Now you can make Nürnberger Lebkuchen in your home without any special German ingredients. These soft, spicy cookies keep for several weeks.

Makes about 32 three-inch cookies.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

***Cookie Dough***

  • 1/2 c. softened butter (113 grams)
  • 1 c. sugar (200 grams)
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 c. white flour (360 grams)
  • 1 T. Lebkuchen spices (6 grams)(see note)
  • 2 T. cocoa powder (12 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. double acting baking powder
  • 1 c. milk (225 ml)
  • 1 3/4 c. ground almonds (150 grams)
  • 1/2 c. candied lemon peel, chopped (100 grams)
  • 1 T. rum or orange liqueur

***Glaze***

  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 – 2 T. rum or liqueur
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar

***Extras***

  • 32 Oblaten (baking wafers) 3 inch size
  • 1/2 c. raisins, soaked in rum and chopped
  • 1/4 c. shredded coconut

Note about “Lebkuchen spices”. If you do not buy premixed “Lebkuchen Gewürz” from a German store, you may mix your own.

  • 2 T. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground anise seed

Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per recipe.

Preparation:

  1. Cream butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy.
  2. Mix in flour, spices, cocoa powder and baking powder, alternating with milk.
  3. Fold in nuts and lemon peel. Stir in rum. Stir in raisins and coconut if you are using them.
  4. If you are not using the “Oblaten” (they look like Catholic communion wafers and are purchased in Germany or at a German deli, etc.) draw 3-inch diameter circles on parchment paper using a cup or biscuit cutter as a template.
  5. Drop about 3 tablespoons cookie dough into the center of each circle. (If you are using “Oblaten” drop the dough onto the wafer and smooth to the edges.) When tray is full, use the back of the spoon to fill out circle, slightly mounding the dough towards the center.
  6. Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes. Turn down oven to 350°F if cookies are browning too much.
  7. Let cool for a few minutes, then remove to a cookie or cake rack to cool.
  8. While they are still warm, make the glaze.
  9. Place 1/2 c. sugar and 1/4 c. water in a small saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil and boil for a few minutes. Add vanilla and liqueur or rum. Sift powdered sugar over hot sugar syrup and stir.
  10. Using a pastry brush, brush warm glaze over warm cookies. Let dry completely.
  11. Dry glazed cookies for a day (to dry the glaze so it stays a bit crunchy) then store in an airtight container or freeze.

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Tasty Tuesday: Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie with whipped cream topping.

Pumpkin pie with whipped cream topping. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the most well known dishes at American Thanksgiving celebrations is pumpkin pie.  This is usually something new, fun and delicious for exchange students to try at the holidays with their host families.

Here’s a recipe you could try at home for your holiday meal.  Enjoy!

 

Tasty Tuesday: Caramel Apples

A traditional American fall treat is candy or caramel apples.  Apples are fresh and in season this time of year in much of the country, so what better time to make them!  Here’s an easy recipe for them from The Pioneer Woman.

Salted (and Other) Caramel Apples

Added by Ree on October 24, 2011 in CandyDesserts

Prep Time 30 Minutes
Cook Time 20 Minutes
Servings 8 Difficulty Easy

Ingredients

  • 8 whole Apples (more, If Apples Are Small)
  • 4 packages (11-ounce Each) Caramel Melts
  • 2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream (a Little More Is Fine)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • Dash Of Salt
  • Toppings: Mini M&Ms, Crushed Pretzels, Kosher Salt, Chocolate Chips, Coconut, Crushed Pecans, Crushed Saltines, Etc.
  • Chopsticks

Preparation Instructions

Melt caramel with cream in a double boiler or glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Add vanilla and salt and stir until smooth.

Stick one chopstick in the bottom of each apple. One at a time, dip the apple in the caramel, coating it all the way to the base of the stick. Allow excess to drip back into the pan for a couple of seconds, then carefully roll the apple in whatever topping you’d like. (There’s a small window of opportunity for the toppings to easily stick!)

Repeat with all the apples, refrigerating apples as soon as they’re coated. Once cool, wrap apples with cellophane or plastic wrap.

A photograph of a peanut and caramel coated Ca...

A photograph of a peanut and caramel coated Caramel apple.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Tasty Tuesday: Gaufres de Liege (Belgian Waffles)

 

Liège style waffle

Liège style waffle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gaufres de Liege
makes 12 waffles

6 tablespoons warm milk (no hotter than 110°F)
1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 cups (230 grams) bread flour, sifted
1 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 medium egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, at slightly cooler than room temperature
140 grams turbinado sugar, or pearl sugar if you choose
Cooking spray

Dissolve the sugar in the warm milk; then add the yeast. Make sure that the milk is not too hot, lest it kill the yeast instead of promoting its growth. Place a plate or some kind of cover on top of the bowl with the milk, sugar and yeast. Set aside for about five minutes. When you check on it, the yeast should have bubbled up, looking light brown and spongy.

Meanwhile, mix the sifted bread flour with the cinnamon, vanilla extract, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Pour in the yeast mixture; then add the whole egg and egg yolk. Mix on medium speed until it is fully combined. The dough will be yellow and stiff, yielding only slightly to a poke.

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm place for about thirty minutes.

2009_07_21-GaufresDough01.jpgPin_it_button

Beat in the butter piece by piece; you do not have to wait for the prior piece to be fully incorporated before adding the next. When the dough has incorporated about half of the butter, the mixture will be like a very thick, somewhat broken-up paste. If you keep engaging the mixer on medium-high speed, the dough will eventually become a cohesive whole, looking smoother and more feeling more elastic. Scrape the sides of the bowl if needed.

Kneading very gently, incorporate the sugar crystals just enough to get them evenly distributed. Work quickly so as not to soften the buttery dough too much.

2009_07_21-GaufresDough.jpgPin_it_button

Divide the dough into a dozen equal pieces, gently forming them into balls.

Place the balls of dough on a cutting board in a warmish place for fifteen minutes or so. During the last two minutes of this resting time, preheat your waffle iron until it is very warm, but not hot.

Spray the griddles with cooking oil. Place each ball of dough in a whole square or section of the waffle iron. Like regular waffle batter, the dough will start to puff up. Cook the waffles until the surface is golden to dark brown. Be sure that the waffle iron you are using is appropriately deep, or else the interior of the waffle will not be cooked through. If you are using a vintage stovetop waffle iron, flip the iron every thirty to forty seconds, lifting the iron to check the rate of browning. The browning should be gradual to allow the interior to fully develop.

Set the waffles on a cooling rack as they come out of the iron to promote a crispy exterior. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Any leftover waffles, if they are not dark brown, can be carefully re-cooked in a toaster for approximately thirty to sixty seconds. Leftover waffles may also be kept in an airtight container between sheets of parchment paper, for up to three days.

 

Thank you for sharing, Chichi! We recently had Gaufres de Liege for the first time and now we’re obsessed with them too. They are in another class from regular old waffles; we can hardly wait to try making them!

 

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Tasty Tuesday: Gulyasleves (Hungarian Goulash)

Hungarian Goulash

The recipe for this hearty, savory soup comes from Katalin Bánfalvi, author Carolyn Bánfalvi’s mother-in-law, who lives in the village of Bõny, in northwestern Hungary. Hungarian sweet paprika confers a singularly deep, rich color and flavor.

English: Hungarian Gulyás made in Osaka, Japan...

English: Hungarian Gulyás made in Osaka, Japan Magyar: Gulyásleves, Osaka, Japán (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • 4 tbsp. sunflower or canola oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 1⁄2 lbs. beef chuck, trimmed
  • and cut into 1⁄2″ cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄4 cup sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1⁄2″ cubes
  • 2 medium parsnips, cut into 1⁄2″ cubes
  • 1 1⁄2 lbs. medium new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1⁄2″ cubes
  • 1 tomato, cored and chopped
  • 1 Italian frying pepper, chopped

1. Heat oil in a 5-qt. dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to high. Add beef and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, uncovered, stirring only once or twice, until the meat is lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in paprika, marjoram, caraway, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add carrots, parsnips, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Simmer, covered, until the beef is nearly tender, about 40 minutes.
2. Add potatoes and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and peppers; cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with rye bread, if you like.

SERVES 4 – 6

Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Rice Cake (Mo chi)

Sweet Rice Cake (Mo chi)
This is a delicious Taiwanese dessert, great for nibbling and sharing. I love its textures – smooth, chewy, melts in your mouth and is great for those that don’t like it too sweet. Show off your creativity to your friends and family!
Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time:30 mins

Makes 20

Ingredients:
500 gram rice flour
500 ml coconut milk
200 gm sugar
Desiccated coconut
100 gram red bean paste
100 gram smooth peanut butter
20 gram sugar

Directions:

1. In a bowl, mix the rice flour and 200 gram sugar.
2. Slowly add the coconut milk and mix until it forms a mixture.
3. In a ban-marie, slowly cook the mixture until it turns clear (approx 30 mins). Set aside to cool.
4. In a bowl, mix peanut butter and 20 gram sugar together and a dash of hot water to loosen the mixture.
5. Using a well floured hand, grab a small ball of the cooled dough mixture and roll smoothly.
6. Flatten and take a spoon of either red bean paste or peanut butter paste and put in the middle of the dough.
7. Slowly wrap the dough around the mixture and pinch to enclose well. Roll to smooth.
8. Dip the ball around either rice flour or desiccated coconut.
9. Put aside to set.
Notes:
Alterations to the fillings include black sesame paste, yellow bean paste or matcha paste.