I love making food for holidays because it’s festive and it just makes life a little more fun! This year I took my first try cooking traditional Irish fare on St. Patrick’s Day. My significant other is from an Irish Catholic background, and always talks about how his mother made him soda bread growing up. So I took it as a challenge! Since St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Friday this year, we decided to make a night of it by baking soda bread and cooking corned beef and cabbage.
I’m kind of stubborn, so I couldn’t just find any boring old recipe. Soda bread doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being the most flavorful and spice-laden bread… My aim was to make something traditional but with flavor. Out of all the recipes that I read, I thought Ina Garten’s Irish Soda Bread Recipe was the most promising. I liked that it included grated orange zest and red currants. (I actually did not have have red currants and used raisins instead.) I made three adjustments to the recipe:
- I do not buy buttermilk, so instead I used skim milk and vinegar. It’s a great substitute and it saves you so many calories. If you don’t know the ol’ skim milk and vinegar substitution look no further: link to the explanation and substitution measurements.
- Whenever possible I substitute applesauce in place of butter. In this recipe I used half applesauce/half butter. I didn’t want to risk using more applesauce since I thought the dough might be too temperamental.
- Raisins in place of red currants
Here I am deep in action:I’m lazy and I don’t want to scrub a greasy baking sheet, so I lined it with aluminum foil. Here’s my soda bread ready to bake in the oven.Look at this beautiful golden soda bread with a nice crust right out of the oven:Yes, definitely enjoy a piece of this with some Guinness while your corned beef is boiling for another hour 🙂
Having said that, let’s take a look at the corned beef and cabbage bubbling in action. Yep, I just take the Guinness with me around the apartment lol I mean it was Friday, after all! We followed the Allrecipes.com Corned Beef and Cabbage for cooking the meat and vegetables. However, we bought our corned beef from Grand Central Market before heading downtown, so it didn’t come with the “spice packet” that is mentioned in a lot of these recipes. Instead, we created our own spice packet using salt, lots of black pepper, brown sugar, bay leaves, cinnamon, and whatever else it listed online. I couldn’t duplicate the recipe if I tried!Here is the meat waiting to be cut up…check out this action shot:The corned beef and cabbage is finally ready!The table set and prepared for dinner after a long evening of waiting for the corned beef and cabbage. We definitely needed some heavy red wine to cut through the corned beef:All in all, a successful St. Patrick’s Day Friday night! A lot better than going to an overly crowded bar with drunk 21 year olds slopping around in their green “Kiss Me I’m Irish” shirts!