Monday, March 21, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

It is St. Patty's Day. Time corned beef and cabbage, Guiness, and the annual watching of A Quiet Man. I admit, every time I had soda bread before it was dry and tasted reminiscent of soap. However this recipe is delicious, easy, and a wonderful breakfast treat. It is as if raisin bread and a biscuit had a love affair.

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 Tbsp butter of cold, chunked butter
1 cup raisins or dates (I love the dates)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups buttermilk


1. Crank your oven to to 425°.
2. In your mixer or food prep add all the ingredients, whiz away until you have a doughy ball. Add more flour (a tablespoon at a time) if it seems too wet to handle.
3. On a large skillet, sprayed with non-stick place the large bowl of dough.
4. Take a knife and score in a cross.
5. Bake for 40 minutes, check about 20 minutes through to make sure the top is not too dark. If it does seem like it singing, cover with tin foil.

Enjoy with some delicious Kerigold Irish butter.

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone.

Lots of love, many blessings, and happy baking...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bahn Mi

Bahn Mi… it is the iconoclast of Vietnamese Sandwiches. They are delicious and like much of Asian cuisine the perfect blend of sweet, savory, salty, sour, soft, and crunchy. My own little twist is that rather than serving them on French baguette, I prefer the Chinese steam buns also known as Bao. I also love, and have more than once posted my pickled carrots, but just in case I have that simple recipe for you to have as well.


1 4 oz piece of grilled beef or pork any kind will do
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chinese Steamed Buns (Bao) or French bread, for serving
Sliced Cucumbers
Pickled vegetables, for serving, recipe follows
Sriracha (Asian Hot Sauce) to taste or any spicey sauce you enjoy


1. Slice the meat into long, fajita like strips.
2. Steam the buns in a bamboo steamer or simply slice and toast your bread.
3. Slather mayonnaise on both sides. (Just goes to show you how the French colonization of Vietnam influenced their delicious cuisine.)
4. Assemble your sandwich according to your taste. I love lots of cilantro.

Pickled carrots:

2 carrots, julienned
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
Dash sugar

Stir together all the ingredients; let them sit for 20 minutes. Drain and enjoy in your sandwich or as a condiment to other Asian dishes.

As always, much love, many blessings, and happy sandwich making.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Do Blondes have more fun? As a natural brunette, I am not so sure… But that being said, I must admit I prefer blondies to brownies. To be truthful, I married a blond. This is a super simple recipe that I adapted from Bobby Flay just to make it a little easier, and to adapt it to what I had in my kitchen.


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup light brown muscovado sugar
1/2 cup dark brown muscovado sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons toffee chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds


1. Crank up the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Butter and line with parchment paper a 9 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan
3. Whisk together your dry goods: flour, baking powder and salt.
4. Melt the butter in a sauce pan, whisk in both sugars until they are melted and let the pan cool a bit.
5. Whisk in the vanilla and the eggs.
6. Add the dry ingredients and stir until mixed.
7. Fold in the chips, toffee and nuts.
8. Pour into your pan with the parchment.
9. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer/toothpick comes out a little gooey, but mostly clean.
10. Cool completely and cut into a little squares, they are very rich but very delicious.

As always, much love, many blessings, and happy baking.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chicago Dog

Who doesn't love a good hot dog? While there are a thousand variations based on personal taste. There are some classics guarded by the humble historians known to us as hot dog kiosks lining the busy streets of our great American cities.

The Chicago Hot Dog seems to become popular during the depression because of its robust toppings that served as a larger meal. The dog was known as the "Depression Sandwich" and while ordering one you would say, "drag it through the garden." Many sources attribute the distinctive combination of toppings to Fluky's in 1929 on the historic Maxwell Street.

Now you can find these hot dogs at hundreds of locations in Chicago and around the US. Apparently in Chicago there are more hot-dog kiosks that any other fast food chain. But, why bother to go out and get one, when you can make them at home.


1 all-beef hot dog
1 hot dog bun (it is supposed to have poppy seeds, but we could not find one, so we added poppy seeds to the top of the dog.
1 yellow mustard
1 sweet green pickle relish
1 chopped onion
4 tomato wedges
1 dill pickle spear
2 sport peppers (or any sort of spicy pickled pepper)
1 dash celery salt

1.You are supposed to boil the dogs, but we grilled ours. It took about 2 minutes on a hot grill.

2. Steam your bun.

3. Pile on toppings following the apparently hallowed order: yellow mustard, sweet green pickle relish, onion, tomato wedges, pickle spear, sport peppers, and celery salt.

The only rule is no ketchup.

Enjoy your Chicago Dog and cheers to the windy city.