I love all holidays and I always try to make them special for my family. I remember one year when I tried to make a memorable St Patrick’s Day meal. I had green Kool-Aid, lime jello, corned beef (I had simmered all day), steamed cabbage, homemade soda bread and pistachio pudding for dessert. I couldn’t wait for my family to get home so I could bask in their praise.
Yeah, that didn’t happen.
Let’s just say their reaction was less than enthusiastic. My husband, who is usually a huge fan of my cooking, asked: “Why is everything green?” and then he proceeded to pick out every raisin in his soda bread until he had a pile of what looked like rabbit droppings on his plate. The kids poked at the jello and cabbage and yelled, “Ewwww!”
Well, everyone learned from that St. Patty’s Day. I learned that my husband hates raisins and apparently green food. And, my kids learned that moms can (and do!) pout and throw hissy fits.
I also decided that if my family wants corned beef, they can just make it themselves. Personally, I don’t like it. And, I don’t like the way it (and the cabbage) stinks up the whole house.
So, here’s what I do now:
- I buy a pound of high quality sliced corned beef at the deli, a jar of sauerkraut (or coleslaw), a loaf of rye bread and some grainy mustard. Then, my family can make their own versions of a Rueben sandwich without the stink.
- I also don’t go heavy on the green anymore. I pick an item or two for my green theme and I make sure they are foods that are supposed to be green (my son is still horrified about the green bread we had one year).
- I buy some St. Patty’s napkins at the dollar store to make things feel festive and sprinkle some foil wrapped chocolate coins (leprechaun’s gold) on the table.
Voila! An easy, holiday meal.
One thing I do try to do every year is make Irish Soda Bread. I usually use a recipe I received from my daughter’s kindergarten teacher in 1987. But, this year I went wild and tried a new one. It began as a Martha Stewart recipe, but as usual I had to adjust it to make it my own.
Irish Soda Bread Scones
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a mixer, stir together: 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 cup sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt. Add in: 1 cube of cold butter (diced). Now, here’s my easy tip. I can’t stand “kneading mixture until it resembles coarse meal”. Boorring! So, I drop the butter pieces into the dry mixture in my mixing bowl, turn it on low with a paddle attachment and it does all the work for me while I gather the rest of the ingredients. Easy! Once it does resemble coarse meal, add: ½ cup dried currants, 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, the zest of one orange (set aside ¼ tsp. zest for the glaze) and 1 cup cold buttermilk. Turn the mixer back on for a mere 5-10 seconds or just until mixed. Scoop 1/3 cup sized mounds onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until the bottoms are golden, 15-20 minutes. Let the scones cool on the baking sheet and then make the glaze. Combine: 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk and ¼ teaspoon orange zest. Drizzle over the scones.
Yum! And, trust me, resist the urge to put green food coloring in them. Your family will thank you!