Thursday, March 26, 2015

One of our favorite breads

This is a delicious white version of Irish soda bread. We have a more traditional version using whole wheat that you can find if you click here. In my studying on the subject, I have found that, because soda bread does not traditionally contain extras such as eggs, this recipe would more likely be considered "cake" in Ireland. I'm going to keep calling it bread. Either way, it's easy and delicious, especially with a lovely dose of honey butter.


1 1/2 c. buttermilk*
1 egg
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
3 3/4 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. cold butter, cut into small chunks

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Whisk together buttermilk, egg and baking soda in large measuring cup, and set aside while preparing other ingredients. Eventually it will start foaming.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large mixing bowl. Cut cold butter into dry ingredients with pastry blender -- or rub chunks into flour between clean fingertips -- until mixture is coarsely combined. Stir in 1 1/4 cups buttermilk mixture, adding more as needed, until dough is a shaggy mass -- wet, but firm enough to hold its shape. Scrape out into a mound onto prepared baking sheet. Brush remaining buttermilk on top and sprinkle with flour, if desired, for a rustic look.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Baking times may vary by location. I live in a high-altitude state.)

*I usually make my own sour milk. Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar into a large measuring cup, then add enough milk to make 1 1/2 cups. Stir and let stand for 10 minutes before adding egg and baking soda as written above.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mexican-Italian mashup

Wow! I really took quite the hiatus from this blog. It feels good to start posting again. These pepperoni quesadillas are a tasty way to make a comeback. They are unique and delicious! Using corn tortillas is a must. I used the 6-inch tortillas, but the bigger ones would work, too. These quesadillas are great for lunch or dinner, served alongside some healthy veggies or fruit.


Corn tortillas
Spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce
1 package pepperoni slices*
Shredded cheese

Heat an electric skillet to 400-425 degrees. Lay several slices of pepperoni on skillet -- enough for one batch. (For example, I laid out 10 slices, because I needed five slices per 6-inch tortilla and could only cook two tortillas at a time.) Don't cook all the pepperoni at once, because you need each batch to have its own drippings. Cook pepperoni until they release their drippings and become crispy. Using tongs, remove pepperoni from skillet to a plate lined with a paper towel. 

Swirl tortillas around in pepperoni drippings, then top half of each with sauce, a little cheese, cooked pepperonis, then a little more cheese. Doing two layers of cheese helps the quesadillas stick together. Fold over. Cook a couple minutes on each side, until golden and crispy. In the meantime, push them off to the side and start cooking the next batch of pepperoni to move things along.

Let finished quesadillas cool on paper towels, then enjoy!

*I often look for ways to reduce fat and sugar, but the reduced-fat pepperoni just didn't work in this recipe. They didn't release any drippings, and the corn tortillas really need oil in order to taste right and crisp up.

Note: This recipe is made with ingredients that are generally gluten-free, but be sure to check labels of particular brands.