Monday, September 17, 2012

Whole grain, Low fat, Quick, Easy, AND Delicious!

Hi!  I'm back!  Ben and I went on a trip to Montana, Wyoming and Colorado!  It was beautiful and fun!  Montana is Colorado "supersized"!  Growing up in Colorado, I thought I'd seen it all when it came to mountains, but the Montana mountains are huge and there are a lot of them!  Anyway, we had a great time and speaking of food, some wonderful mountain meals.  Everything tastes so good in the clear, fresh air, doesn't it?  We didn't have anything particularly fancy, but it seems the "go local" movement has taken hold there, and we enjoyed some delicious Montana local foods.  One thing they love is huckleberries!  They have a kind of blueberry taste, but a little more tart.  There is huckleberry everything:  jam, candy, ice cream, pancakes, even beer!  I tried a local microbrewery huckleberry wheat beer and it was terrific!  It wasn't much like beer to me-- more of a completely different, refreshing drink.
Anyway, the day after we returned home, I still was in vacation mode and didn't really feel like going to the grocery store, etc.  It was a rainy day in San Antonio, which is rather rare, so I was in the mood to cook simply and have time to read and enjoy one more day of rest!  The cool weather made me think of soup.  I had some chicken stock in the freezer and lots of leftover veggies, so chicken soup was in order!  The very best rustic, homemade bread to go with a hearty soup is Irish Soda Bread.  If you've never tasted it, it's delicious-- nutty tasting with a kind of rough but moist texture.  It's terrific and even better, it's extremely easy-- no rising, low fat-- use low fat buttermilk, and whole grain-- whole wheat flour!  It is the perfect complement to homemade soup!  I hope you'll try it and also, anything "huckleberry" if you get the chance!

Irish Soda Bread
1 cup unsifted white flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups low fat buttermilk

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.   Preheat the oven to 375F.
Sift or whisk together the white flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.  Add the whole wheat flour and stir with a whisk or fork to mix.  Add the buttermilk.  Stir with a fork to combine.
Turn out onto a floured, clean tea towel or pastry cloth.  Knead about 1 minute, just until the dough is smooth.  It will be soft.  Form it into a disk about 7 inches diameter and place it on the lined sheet pan.  Use a sharp knife to make two right angled cuts across the top of the dough-- but not all the way through to the bottom of the loaf.  The cuts should form a big cross.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until well browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Remove and brush with melted butter if you want.  This makes the bread really shiny and beautiful-- also tasty! 

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