Irish Soda Bread
- 4 to 4 ½ cups flour
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 Tsp. salt
- 1 Tsp. baking soda
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- 1 cup currants or raisins
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 ¾ cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together 4 cups of flour, the sugar, salt and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal, then add in the currants or raisins. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add beaten egg and buttermilk to the well and mix in with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir. Dust hands with a little flour, then gently knead dough in the bowl just long enough to form a rough ball. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add in a little more flour. Do not over-knead!
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf. Note that the dough will be a little sticky, and quite shaggy (a little like a shortcake biscuit dough). Transfer dough to a large, lightly greased cast-iron skillet or a baking sheet (it will flatten out a bit in the pan or on the baking sheet).
Using a serrated knife, score top of dough about an inch and a half deep in an “X” shape. The purpose of the scoring is to help heat get into the center of the dough while it cooks. Transfer to the oven and bake at 425 degrees until bread is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 35-45 minutes. (If you use a cast iron pan, it may take a little longer as it takes longer for the pan to heat up than a baking sheet.) Check for doneness also by inserting a long, thin skewer into the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done. (If the top is getting too dark while baking, tent the bread with some aluminum foil).
Remove pan or sheet from oven, let bread sit for 5-10 minutes, then move to a rack to cool briefly. Serve bread warm, at room temperature, or sliced and toasted. Best when eaten warm and just baked.
Guinness Chocolate Cheesecake
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 12 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
- 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 Tsp. vanilla extract
- ¾ cup Guinness
Mix the graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder, sugar and butter and press into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. Melt the chocolate in the cream in a double boiler. Cream the cream cheese. Mix in the sugar, chocolate, sour cream, eggs, vanilla and Guinness. Pour the mixture into the spring form pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 60 minutes. Turn off heat and leave cheesecake in the oven with the door slightly ajar for 60 minutes. Let it cool completely. Chill the cheesecake in the fridge overnight before serving.
‘Reuben the Great’ Casserole
- 1 loaf rye bread, cut into cubes, divided
- 16 ounces sauerkraut
- 1 ½ cups Swiss cheese, shredded, divided
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup Thousand Island dressing
- 2 cups corned beef, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place half of bread crumbs in 9 x 13-inch pan.
Spread the sauerkraut on top of bread layer.
In a small bowl, mix sour cream and dressing, and spoon half on top of sauerkraut layer.
Next, layer on 1 cup Swiss cheese, then the corned beef. Add a layer of the sour cream/dressing mix on top of the corned beef. Top with remainder of bread crumbs, then remainder of Swiss cheese. Drizzle melted butter over it all. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Fruit Salad with Honey-Yogurt Sauce
- 1 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1 ½ Tsp. grated lime rind
- 3 cups cubed pineapple (about 1 medium)
- 1 ½ cups chopped apple (about 1 large)
- 1 cup orange sections (about 2 oranges)
- 1 cup chopped, peeled kiwi (about 2 large)
- 1/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut
- 1 medium banana, sliced
- ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
Combine yogurt, honey and lime rind in a small bowl. Combine pineapple and next 4 ingredients (through coconut) in a large bowl: toss gently to combine and just before serving, stir in banana. Top fruit mixture with yogurt sauce and sprinkle with almonds.