Irish Soda Bread

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day and while I am not an ounce Irish I still enjoy Irish Soda Bread as much as the next girl. I have never been one for the green beer and bagels or for the ridiculousness that occurs on this holiday but I do look forward to this yummy baked good every year.

I went to college in Boston – with the lovely ladies I talked about in this post I shared many delicious baked goods. On Newbury Street (a picturesque shopping destination) there is a restaurant called Stephanie’s on Newbury. This is the type of place that you would go when your parents were in town – because it is not exactly college student budget friendly. It’s a cozy restaurant and one of my favorite parts about dining there is the soda bread that you get in the bread basket. They also serve the recipe with the bread on a small card. I love when people openly share recipes – I am obviously a fan of sharing recipes as evidenced by this blog and always feel that my special recipes shouldn’t be kept secret but shared for anyone who wants to enjoy. I also strongly believe that when different people follow the same recipe the food is never the same.

I stashed this little recipe card a long time ago and have been happily enjoying this soda bread in March ever since. At Stephanie’s they serve the bread in little rolls which could easily be made instead of the loaf that I chose to make.

Before baking

Stephanie’s on Newbury Irish Soda Bread: (makes one loaf)

4 cups flour

1 stick butter (1/4 cup) – cold

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

3/4 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it is crumbly and the consistency of cornmeal.

In a separate bowl whisk together buttermilk and egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry until all of the liquid is incorporated but not smooth. Add the raisins into the dough and shape together into a loaf. Cut an x into the top of the loaf (or mini loaves) and bake on a baking sheet for 45-50 minutes.

Enjoy your soda bread and have a happy St. Patties Day!

Happy Margarita Day

So I have been informed that today is National Margarita Day..I have also discovered there is an entire website devoted to this holiday featuring a video with a muppet. Does life get any better? This website has officially combined three of my favorite things: margaritas, the muppets and guacamole (because it isn’t a margarita if you don’t have it with some guac). Add some chocolate and you would definitely have an award winning combo.

So of course I decided this special day should be honored, with some recipes. Everyone has a specific way they prefer their margaritas. When it comes to this delicious drink, I am a purist. I prefer the traditional (not flavored) on the rocks with salt. If it isn’t done this way it’s not a margarita in my book. I also don’t like my drinks sweet and they have to be strong! Strangely a shot of tequilla was the first alcohol I ever had – it was and still is a family favorite. While I may not be able to handle shots of tequila the same way I definitely enjoy Margarita Monday or margaritas on any day of the week!

Margarita’s My Way: makes a shaker full – perfect for sharing with friends

Shake together one cup of tequila (the good stuff not the cheap liquor or you are just asking for the hangover),  one cup of lime juice, one quarter cup cointreau (triple sec if you don’t have cointreau).

Use a slice of lime to moisten the rim of your glass before dipping it into salt on a plate.

Guacamole: since you can’t have a margarita without guacamole

I credit this recipe to the Barefoot Contessa one of my favorite go-to’s for basics

4 ripe avocados

1 small red onion (chopped)

1 garlic clove minced

1 plum tomato (seeded and chopped)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

a few dashes of tabasco

Chop the onion and put it into a small bowl with the garlic. Cut the avocados in half and scoop the insides into the bowl. Immediately add the lemon juice, this will help stop the avocados from turning brown. Using a sharp knife slice the avocados in the bowl. Keep running the knife through the avocados until they are the consistency you like. I prefer my guacamole a little chunky. Add the tomatoes, hot sauce, salt and pepper and enjoy!

Happy Margarita day I hereby declare tomorrow National Hangover Day!