Irish brown bread. It’s time.

Not quite a year ago I read a recipe in the Wall Street Journal.  Yes.  The Wall Street Journal. (27 February 2016)

The Journal has a lot of terrific recipes and they present them in a very unique fashion.


The story behind this bread (according to Gail Monaghan of WSJ) is that it is traditional and swoon worthy.  She developed the recipe after eating loaves of it at a guest home in County Cork.  Since three of my husband’s four born-in-Ireland grandparents were born and lived in County Cork, I knew I had to try it.  Even though said Irish husband said it was going to be dry and terrible like all soda breads.  And that he probably wouldn’t like it.

I gathered my ingredients, which are numerous and specific…especially the King Arthur brand Irish Style Flour and set to work.  First try….easy (the hardest part is waiting for the mailman to bring the Irish Style Flour)…aromatic…and delicious.  Especially with a smear of butter and a large mug of tea.  (My father used to make us sandwiches of peanut butter and butter on rye bread….this brown bread is worthy of that delightful combination.  Try it…you’ll see).


1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Irish Style Flour (or stone ground whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 cups natural wheat bran
1 1/4 cups steel-cut oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons sea salt
4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 quart plus 1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a large bowl use a large spoon to mix all dry ingredients until well combined.

Add buttermilk and stir until dry ingredients are evenly moist. (Be sure to use the correct measuring cups for dry and wet measurement.  Individual cups are for dry ingredients.  Glass is for wet).

2.  Divide dough equally between two greased loaf pans (approximately 9 or 10 inches by 5 inches).

3.  Bake in middle of oven until golden and crusty, 50 minutes.  Unmold and cool on a wire rack.


And, oh yes, Himself liked it.

This time, at husband’s suggestion, I added a 1/2 cup of raisins to one loaf.  Delicious!

Our Yards Farm…purple green beans.

Recently a new farmer has been selling her wares at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market.  Julie Pierre, the lone farmer of Our Yards Farm, has brought an assortment of produce and herbs to the market.  She uses organic practices and grew, this year, about 4000 pounds of vegetables on nearly a quarter of an acre of private and public land.  Essentially Julie Pierre grows vegetables in YOUR backyard.

Based out of Audubon NJ, Julie offers a 20 week CSA that runs from June to October.  But, had Julie not brought a table to the market, I would  have missed her beautiful vegetables and herbs.

Sadly last week was her last appearance for this year.  The crops she offers are done for the season.  She hopes to return to the market next season and make a bigger presence.

During the most recent weeks that Our Yards Farm has been a vendor I have purchased a variety of tomatoes (including green ones that I am letting ripen in my kitchen, bagged lettuce mixes, dried herbs, eggplant, peppers, butternut squash, and green and purple beans.

Everything has been fresh and delicious.  And gorgeous.

Last week I bought some green and purple beans.  I didn’t do anything special with them.  I steamed them and tossed them with a little butter and salt.  I’m sharing this with you for two reasons.  One, as only my husband and I are home for dinner (empty nesters we) I use my steamer basket for more than one vegetable.  On this night it was sweet potatoes (from Rick Hymer’s farm…the best!) and Our Yards Farm’s green and purple beans.  Two, to show what happens to those beautiful purple beans…they turn green (unless you eat them raw).  Still delicious though.


green and purple beans, rinsed and tails snapped off
Hillacres Pride butter and salt to taste

1. Rinse and tail the beans
2. Pile them in the steamer basket over an inch of water

3. Boil with a lid on, so the beans cook in the steam, until they are the desired tenderness .  (A rule of thumb as to steamed vegetable doneness …when you can smell the vegetable it is time to check for doneness).
4. Toss with butter and sprinkle with salt (to your taste)
5.  Serve.


Delicata squash fries.

The season is changing here in the Mid-Atlantic.  The farmers are bringing their cold weather crops to sell at the market.  And winter squash in all forms is widely available.

I love the taste and texture of winter squashes but some are more difficult to deal with than others.  Love butternut…but tough to peel and cut.  Love acorn…same problem.  Spaghetti squash is good but so much work (for me).  This year husband and I have discovered the joys of delicata squash.


Delicata squash has a thin skin which makes it easy to peel.  You can skip the peeling and eat the skin for more vitamins and fiber but my husband (and I) prefer to not eat the skin.  This squash is low in carbohydrates (much lower than a potato) and when steamed and mashed really does feel like you’re eating mashed potatoes.  (I’ve tried the mashed cauliflower substitute and it’s delicious but eating that does not scratch my mashed potato itch!)

So we were having burgers the other night and I wanted a French fried experience to go with, but I also wanted a healthier option.  I’d steamed and mashed and roasted a whole half of delicata squash so I figured I could easily make a French fry that would please me and my husband.


Delicata squash
olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2.  Peel squash

img_42293. Scoop the seeds out
4.  Cut into French fry size and shape

5. Put on a rimmed sheet pan
6. Coat with olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper
7.  Dump onto a rimmed baking pan
8.  Roast for 20 to 30 minutes (watch the bottom doesn’t burn)

Simple! Delicious! Delicata!