FEBRUARY! How did that happen?
Well, too late to fuss about that, so let's embrace the month that leads to Easter ... a month full of feast days (and birthdays -- my sister is a year older today!)
Happy Birthday Anne Marie!
We start off the month with one of our favorites -- St. Brigid (NOT "Bridget") of Ireland. St. Brigid is the female equivalent of St. Patrick ... she evangelised throughout Ireland, founding convents as she went. String Bean carries her name and her godmother, Breda, from the old-sod (with the brogue to match) know the proper spelling for this wonderful, tireless worker for God.
We'll make our own version of a St. Brigid's cross, saying this prayer as we hang it in our home:
Brigid's Cloak by Brice Milligan. We LOVE this fanciful tale of St. Brigid's early life and years ago I made String Bean a two-side cloak that we use every year to present this "play". Here's a cool coloring page of St. Brigid from lovely Waltzing Matilda .... String Bean loves these!
Tonight, we'll have ham and potatoes and soda bread. Here's our version, which uses the sweet/tart of cranberries to really give it some zing ....
Cranberry Soda Bread
[If you're not already a fan of soda bread, you will be after you've tried this variation. To achieve the right texture, you should cool it before serving.]
• ½ cup old-fashioned oats
• 1-3/4 cup yogurt
• 1/3 cup honey
• 1 tbls oil
• 3 tbls ground flaxseed
• 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• ½ cup whole-wheat flour
• 1 tsp Kosher salt
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 cup dried cranberries
Step 1: Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a large baking sheet and dust it with cornmeal. Measure the oats into a bowl, then stir in the buttermilk, honey, and oil.
Step 2:In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and make a well in the middle. Pour the liquid into it and stir briskly with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls together in a shaggy mass.
Step 3: Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes, covered. Turn it onto a floured surface and gently knead the dough for about 30 seconds.
Step 4: Next, divide it in half and form each half into a football shape with rounded ends. Place the loaves on the baking sheet with plenty of room between them and cut a shallow slit down the center of each.
Step 5: Bake the bread for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake another 25 minutes, or until the loaves are golden and crusty and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped. Cool before serving. Makes 2 loaves of REALLY delicious soda bread. You can freeze one for another day; just thaw the night before and place in 350 oven (wrapped in foil) for 15-30 minutes to "freshen".