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Archive | March 15th, 2013

Kalecannon, Kale Chips: A Healthy Twist on Two Favorites

Kalecannon, Kale Chips: A Healthy Twist on Two Favorites

St. Paddy’s Day is celebrated usually for a week or so around this time. However, Sunday, March 17 is the day, so we’ll offer up a pair of recipes based on kale, a healthy green we all should be eating more of.

Kalecannon: Sure it's good with corned beef and beer.

Kalecannon: Sure it’s good with corned beef and beer.

Kalecannon is simply colcannon, the dish of mashed potatoes, leek or onion and cabbage that is an Irish favorite.

I didn’t know this until recently, but colcannon was traditionally used for predicting marriage on Halloween. Any unmarried woman who found a charm buried in the dish of colcannon placed the charm into a sock with a couple of spoonfuls of colcannon added. The (we’d think very gooey) socks would be placed on the handle to their front doors — and the first man to enter the house was who they would marry.

This recipe for Kalecannon is just as good as the original. If you want to serve it in a sock, go for it. Otherwise, it’s awfully good served in a heated bowl with a little butter melted on top. (Recipe link below)

Kalecannon

The second recipe is one that has been around for quite some time, though it has come into its own over the past couple of years. I first heard of Kale Chips at a cooking class at Central Market, where cook and author Deborah Madison described it to us. At that time, about 10 years ago, I found it interesting to think about, but not at all appealing enough to make me want to prepare it.

That has changed. Now, we’ve heard from just about every health expert in the world that kale is a superfood. And, may of us want to pay attention. In this recipe, the leaves are lightly rubbed with olive oil, then crisped in the oven and finally sprinkled with a seasoned salt and a little lemon or lime juice. It’s (almost) as good as popcorn. OK, almost almost as good. And certainly good for you. (Recipe link below)

Kale Chips with Chili Powder, Lemon and Sea Salt

 

 

 

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Two Takes on Irish Soda Bread

Two Takes on Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Never made bread before? Give Irish soda bread a try. It really is that easy. And it really is Irish.

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, it’s also a natural.

Soda bread is baked in “countless cottages around Ireland,” writes Hugo Arnold in “Avoca Café Cookbook,” an indispensable souvenir I picked up on a trip to Ireland years ago and have sworn by ever since.

“Simple and cheap to make, with easily obtainable ingredients, it fed hungry farmers and their families for years,” Arnold says. “Today it is as popular as ever, as honest simplicity appealing in an age when food seems to get ever more complicated.”

For a simple variation, try adding raisins. They give the bread a little added sweetness, which makes it a perfect addition for breakfast. And as Arnold points out, it takes so little to put it together that you could serve it hot out of the oven.

Soda Bread

Add the buttermilk slowly.

Add the buttermilk slowly.

1 pound flour
1 level teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 ounces buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix the flour, baking soda, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Gradually mix in the buttermilk to give a moist dough. Place in a greased loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when turned out of the tin and tapped underneath. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Makes 1 loaf.

From “Avoca Café Cookbook”

Fruit Soda Bread

1 pound flour
1 level teaspoon baking soda
1 ounce sugar
Pinch of salt
1 ounce raisins
14 ounces buttermilk

Tap the bottom to see if the bread is done.

Tap the bottom to see if the bread is done.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Dried fruit gives soda bread extra flavor.

Dried fruit gives soda bread extra flavor.

Mix the flour, soda, sugar, salt and raisins in a bowl. Then slowly add the buttermilk and mix well to form a dough. Shape it into a mound, place in a greased loaf pan and bake for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 325 degrees and continue baking for 25 more minutes.

The loaf should sound hollow when you turn it out of the pan and tap the bottom; if in doubt, turn it upside down and bake for a further 10 minutes. (If you’ve greased your bread pan well, this is easy to do.) Leave the loaf on a wire rack to cool.

Editor’s note: Because you are cooking this bread at a lower temperature than in the recipe above, the crust of the bread will be noticeably lighter.

Makes 1 loaf.

From “Avoca Café Cookbook” by Hugo Arnold with Leylie Hayes

 

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