Friday, March 26, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Irish Soda Bread
4 cups flour (unbleached is best)
1 to 2 tablespoons caraway seeds (to taste)
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
a generous 1/2 stick (4 and 1/2--5 tablespoons) melted butter--use the frying pan you will bake this in to melt the butter
about 1/2 medium box of raisins (can mix golden and brown, or use currents)
2 cups buttermilk
Greased cast iron fry pan to bake it in.
Preheat oven to 325.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the salt, sugar, and baking soda. Beat the eggs in a smaller bowl and add to them the buttermilk and the melted butter. Mix wet ingredients well. Sprinkle half the seeds and the raisins into the dry mixture and begin to add the wet mixture on top of it, mixing with a rubbermaid spatula. When you’ve given it a few turns, add the rest of the seeds and raisins, and the rest of the wet ingredients. Gently mix the dough until wet and dry mixtures are combined. Do not overmix. You want a folding motion, and a few lumps are OK as long as everything is moistened and holding together. Dough will be stiff--perhaps like drop biscuits. You may need a tablespoon or two more buttermilk on a dry day.
Put dough into frying pan in which you have melted the butter (you will also have wiped the extra butter up the sides of it, so the dough won’t stick).
Bake at 325 for about an hour. To check for doneness, take the bread out of the oven and gently invert the fry pan, catching the bread in your other (hot gloved!!!) hand. Insert a roasting thermometer. Properly cooked soda bread should be 190 to 195 degrees, and the top will be golden brown.
Eat warm or cool, with butter. This is also good toasted, and will keep in a plastic bag for two or three days.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! I'm on Randoradio.com today--Friday the 12th--at 4 PM, as always.
Friday, March 5, 2010
That got me thinking about highballs today. Highballs, of course, are drinks in tall glasses with ice cubes in, the kind baby boomers like me remember our parents drinking. Nothing like that tinkly-ice-in-glasses sound to evoke a grown-up party of the past! But when I got into making cocktails, I was more interested in the ones you serve "up", in the stemmed, cone-shaped glasses. Those seemed way more Nick and Nora to me. Still, there's a time and a place.
And so today, as I put together thoughts for my radio show, I wandered over to the Internet Cocktail Database to see what their randomizer would come up with for me. Yikes! It was something called the People Eater. Well, at least it was a highball, and I HAD been thinking about highballs. You ready?
1 oz. 151 proof rum
1/4 oz lime juice
Pour over ice in a highball glass, fill with 7-up, and give it a stir.
Um...OK. Actually, I'm no huge fan of 7-up, but I do like highballs with ginger ale. My grandpa introduced me to cocktail hour at an age that would be considered scandalous these days with bourbon and gingers. Here are two drinks I've got the kitchen staff making today, again courtesy of the Internet Cocktail Database--and what a fine public resource it is!
The Buck Jones
1 and 1/2 oz light rum
1 and 1/2 oz cocktail sherry (dry)
3/4 oz lime juice
Pour over ice & fill the highball glass with ginger ale. Stir. I'd garnish with a lime slice.
The Ruby Rangoon
1 and 1/2 oz. gin
1 and 1/2 oz cranberry juice
Pour over ice & fill the highball glass with ginger ale. Stir. I imagine an orange garnish? One could play.
Of course, with any of these drinks, the quality of the finished product depends greatly upon your mixer. I'd go with a snooty ginger ale from a small company--something with some good flavor. Ginger beer might be a little too burny-intense. Leave that for the Dark & Stormies. And I'll tell you a dirty secret: although cocktail purists will scream and tear their hair, if you're watching sugar intake, decent-tasting diet G.A. works in a highball.
See you at 4 on www.randoradio.com!