Saint Patrick's Day is so much more than just an excuse for drinking and a time for green food coloring. For the countless Americans whose lineage can be traced back to the Emerald Isle, it's a time to celebrate one's heritage. So put on some Celtic music and get ready to experience Ireland through food.
Potato Bread (or Potato Tatties)
-2 warm, boiled potatoes
-1 tsp. salt
-1/2 stick butter
-3/4 cup of flour, divided
1. Skin potatoes and boil until tender. Mash well.
2. Add salt, butter, and 1/2 cup flour. Mix well until pliable. Add more flour if necessary.
3. Divide dough into two. Turn onto floured surface and roll into thin, flat disc. Cut into quarters- also called 'farls'.
4. Butter a griddle or hot frying pan, and cook potato tatties until brown on each side-- roughly 5 min.
5. Enjoy with sugar or butter. Pairs nicely with Corned Beef and Cabbage.
Nigella Lawson's Guinness Cake:
From Feast by Nigella Lawson
Yield: One 9-inch cake (12 servings)
For the cake:
Butter for pan
1 cup Guinness stout
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/8 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar (I have used regular granulated sugar with no ill effects)
3/8 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
For the topping:
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
For the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.
In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.
For the topping: Using a food processor or by hand, mix confectioners' sugar to break up lumps. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream, and mix until smooth and spreadable.
Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.
Irish Brown Bread:
-2 and 1/4 cups wholewheat flour
-1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus reserves
-1 and 1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1 tsp. salt
-2 cups buttermilk, shaken
-1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1. Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Lightly dust a baking sheet with all-purpose flour; set aside.
2.Place both flours, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine, breaking up any lumps. Add buttermilk and melted butter and mix with your hands until almost all of the flour is moistened and the dough holds together, about 1 minute.
3. Lightly flour a clean work surface and turn out the dough. Knead until it forms a fairly smooth ball with no visible pockets of flour, about 1 minute. Work the dough into a flat round about 7 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick. Place on the prepared baking sheet and, using a sharp knife, slice an “X” across the top, edge to edge and about 1/2 inch deep.
4. Bake until the internal temperature registers 190°F to 200°F on an instant-read thermometer and the bread makes a hollow sound when tapped, about 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing, about 2 hours. (If you slice the bread before it has completely cooled, it will be crumbly or fall apart.)