It wasn’t canceled, so we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday. It’s an annual tradition in our house, but considering that everything is canceled and for who knows how long, we were more than happy to redirect our thoughts to the lucky Irish leprechaun with some traditional Irish food. If only for one meal.
Actually, two meals since I was inspired to make Irish soda bread as a reprise yesterday–because one small celebration isn’t enough right now. I need to do whatever I can to prolong a bit of joyfulness in our lives during these turbulent times. Where, how and when we land, we don’t know. But we are not alone. This is the first major incident that touches each and every one of us. Across the globe. And it’s scary–no matter how you slice it.
Time to Slow Down
We have been self-quarantined since last Thursday afternoon, going out only for groceries. Life as we once knew is upside-down. It feels more like a sci-fi film we are watching than real life.
Thankfully, David and I have been working together 24/7 on and off–mostly on–for the last 20 years, so this “being together all of the time” thing isn’t new to us. But we remain calm, work as we can, tackle those largely ignored things we have been procrastinating on and ponder the ways life will change after this. The ways we can help one another survive this global pandemic. And how we can put the pieces back together once they all fall down.
And since we are quarantined together at home, we can–and have no choice but to–slow down and get into the kitchen and cook together. Make it a family activity and highlight for your children the various skills that we need to cook. This includes math, reading and writing, history, culinary arts, creativity and art. Remind them of the benefits of cooking. Eating. And eating well.
These home-cooked meals will educate, nurture, heal and comfort each and every one of us during these catastrophic times. More importantly, they will provide opportunities to have equally meaningful conversations around the dining table. The way it used to be,
Irish Soda Bread for the Win
We all cope differently, but we need to cope and hone our coping skills–now more than ever. Cooking is my primary coping mechanism and I hope you are inspired to feed your soul and those you love with this Irish soda bread that gave David and me another reason to celebrate the holiday this week.
Made with almond flour, it’s inherently paleo. While the recipe calls for raisins, I used the last of the old raisins when I made granola on Monday, so I chopped up dried apricots instead. Similar to raisins, the apricots lent a slight sweetness and chewy texture.
Being a quick bread, it has no yeast, but relies on baking soda for the lift. A hint of sweetness comes from the honey and apricots, while the caraway seeds on top give it a savory punch on the palate. Even though it bakes for only 20 minutes, the crust turns a nice golden color.
After an hour of cooling, we devour the bread, with our gourmand dog, Guero’s, help. It is everything we needed and more. It is comforting and warm. And the butter melts as soon as we slather it on each thick slice. This delicious Irish soda bread is naturally gluten and grain-free and easy enough to put into memory.
If everything turns out as good as this simple Irish soda bread, we’ll all be just fine. I’ll drink to that!
Irish Soda Bread
Fast, easy and oh-so-delicious, this soda bread is a winner. Serve with corned beef for a traditional Irish meal, or alongside a salad for a lighter option.
- 2 3/4 cups blanched almond flour not almond meal
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 cup raisins or chopped apricots
- 2 large pastured eggs
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds for garnish before baking
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and dried fruit.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, honey and apple cider vinegar.
Mix wet ingredients into dry and stir to combine thoroughly.
Scape the dough onto the center of the parchment paper-lined baking sheet and form into a flat circle, about 8" across and 1 1/2" high.
Using a serrated knife, score the top of the dough 1/2" deep in the shape of a cross.
Sprinkle the top with caraway seeds.
Place in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave the pan in for another 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool for 1 hour.
Slice with a serrated knife and serve with butter.
Store any leftover bread in a ziploc bag at room temperature for up to two days.