Irish Soda Bread

My favorite holiday that’s not Christmas or Thanksgiving is coming up! No, not the one that you drink green beer and hit your local bar at 6 a.m. in your effort to be drunk by the time the morning news is on.  The OTHER one; the REAL St. Patrick’s Day.  

The one where your mom puts on the Irish Rovers and we pretend we know how to  jig.  The one where you eat piles of corned beef, lots of potatoes, a few carrots, and skip the cabbage.  And yes, the one where you eat Irish Soda Bread JUST so you can slather it with butter.  That is the St. Patrick’s Day I will be celebrating.  Won’t you please join me?

Classic Irish Soda Bread (minus caraway seeds and raisins)

from Cook’s Illustrated

 3 cups bleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface 
1 cup cake flour 
2 tablespoons granulated sugar 
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar 
1-1/2 teaspoons table salt 
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 tablespoons softened + 1 tablespoon melted) 
1-1/2 cups buttermilk 

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. 
2. Whisk flours, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in large bowl. 
3. Work softened butter into dry ingredients with fork or fingertips until texture resembles coarse crumbs. 
4. Add buttermilk and stir with a fork just until dough begins to come together. 
5. Turn out onto flour-coated work surface; knead until dough just becomes cohesive and bumpy, 12 to 14 turns. (Do not knead until dough is smooth, or bread will be tough.) 
6. Pat dough into a round about 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches high; place on greased or parchment-lined baking sheet or in cast-iron pot, if using. 
7. Place the loaf on a cookie sheet and cut a cross shape into the top. 
8. Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into center of loaf comes out clean or internal temperature reaches 180 degrees, 40 to 45 minutes. 
9. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter; cool to room temperature, 30 to 40 minutes. 

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Cheese and Caramelized Onion Enchiladas

Ok, so my taste buds are like my taste in music.  Pathetic.  They are like the Chris Kirkpatrick of taste buds.  (100 points if you get that reference!!)

Apparently, though, my husband, who claims to have good taste in music has wimpy taste buds, too.  So, there’s that.  A plus on my side.

My poor two year old cried and cried, “It’s too spicy!”  Sorry, Sam.

The funny side to the story is, however, they were SO spicy, but we couldn’t stop eating them.  They were that good.  We were shoving milk and bread in to our mouths after every bite, trying desperately to quench the burn, but we kept eating.  Even getting seconds!!

The moral of the story is, I will be making these again…just maybe without the jalapenos.  

Cheese and Caramelized Onion Enchiladas

from Jack Bishop’s A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen–BUY THIS COOKBOOK!! SO GOOD!!

Quick Red Chile Sauce

1 Tb canola or corn oil

1 small onion

4 md garlic cloves, minced

1 lg chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced, with 1 Tb sauce

2 Tb chili powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 C canned tomato sauce

3/4 C water

1 tb fresh lime juice

salt

Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, until shimmering.  Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 min.  Add the garlic, chipotle, adobo sauce, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and oregano and cook until very fragrant.  Add the tomato sauce and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer to blend the flavors, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the lime juice and adjust the seasonings, adding salt to taste.  The sauce can be cooled and refrigerated in an air tight container for a day or two.

Filling and Tortillas

1 Tb Canola or Corn oil

1 lb onions, halved and thinly sliced

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

2 oz drained pickled jalapenos, finely chopped (Omit if you are lame like me)

1/3 C chopped cilantro (fresh)

10 6-inch corn tortillas

Nonstick vegetable spray

Heat the oil in a medium skillet, over medium high heat until shimmering.  Add the onions, sugar, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to brown slightly, about 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring often, until the onions are browned deeply and very soft, about 15 minutes.  Scrape the onions into a medium bowl and cool to room temperature.  Add 1 1/2 C of cheese, the pickled jalapenos, and cilantro to the bowl with the onions and toss to combine.

Move the oven racks to the lower-middle and upper-middle positions and heat the oven to 300 degrees.  Spread half of the chile sauce evenly across the bottom of a 13-by-9 inch glass or ceramic baking dish.  Divide the tortillas among two large rimmed baking sheets and generously spray both sides of each tortilla with cooking spray.  Bake the tortillas for 3 minutes, or until pliable enough to roll easily.  Remove the baking sheets from the oven and increase the heat to 400 degrees.  

Doing one tortilla at a time, spoon about 1/4 C of filling across the center of the tortilla and then gently roll the tortilla tightly.  Put seam side down in the baking dish.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.  Spoon sauce remaining sauce over tortillas, making sure each tortilla is coated completely.  Then sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Cover with foil and bake until the enchiladas are hot, about 20 minutes.