Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"Irish Secret"...by Jim Terry

I recently had the opportunity to work with one of my favorite patients. Her story is one that is very unique and once you win her trust, there is nothing that she won’t share with you about her past and the fun stories that have made her who she is.  Her family is one of the great Irish immigrants that, as she puts it, “came to America for a better life. “

She helped with one of my other blogs earlier this year when she shared with me how she and her Mother tried to select just the right song to pay tribute to her brother when he was killed in World War II.  She also has expressed to me time and time again how good of a cook her Mother was. 

“She never measured anything,” she told me with her wonderful Irish accent.  "And everything Mum made was always perfect” she continued.

Being the “joker" I am, I expressed to her that if she ever wants to “DROP OFF SAMPLES…I’m her man. “

So just this last week, my dear friend shows up for her dental appointment. I was running a little behind and saw her in the front lobby.  I told her I would be right with her and as she sat down I noticed a big paper bag in her hand.  I then quickly went to the back and set up for her appointment. 

As I came to the front, she was already up and eagerly awaiting for me to come and get her.  While walking to the back of the office I asked her how she was doing and if there was “anything new and fun” going on in her life.  She said that she was “doing well” and that she had something for me…hence the big brown paper bag.

While making some of her Mother’s recipes this past week, she said she thought of me.  “I know you always kid around with me and ask me for samples of Mum's recipes, so I decided to bring you one of her favorites.” 

She handed me the big bag she had brought in with her and on the inside was a carefully wrapped and sealed large loaf of “Irish Soda Bread” that she had made for me.  She then began to tell me that this is best topped with butter, warmed just “slightly” in the microwave and eaten with your favorite “tea, coffee or whatever you like to drink.”   She then said, “This bread always reminds me of tea time when I was a young girl and sharing those times with my family.” 

With a big hug and a “THANK YOU,” I graciously accepted the gift from her.   As the appointment continued, I asked for the recipe so I could make more if “I liked it.”  It’s the “'ole Irish secret” she said, “and besides I don’t measure any of the ingredients just like me Mum did.”   

So there you have it…I tried for all of you to get this wonderful “Irish Secret”, but as you can see this secret is NOT measurable.  She did, however, take some time to look online with me at some Irish Soda Bread recipes that “might” be close to her recipe and this is the one she chose that is listed below.  

So with a little help from the Heavens above and possibly a little “LUCK OF THE IRISH”, you may just get this Irish Bread to turn out as good as what I was able to experience and taste…YUM!!!  Oh, and if by chance you have luck with your recipe that is "measurable", please do share with all of us!



Original recipe makes 8 servings
1/2 cup white sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups raisins
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup sour cream

1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch round cast iron skillet or a 9 inch round baking or cake pan.

2.   In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, raisins and caraway seeds. In a small bowl, blend eggs, buttermilk and sour cream. Stir the liquid mixture into flour mixture just until flour is moistened. Knead dough in bowl about 10 to 12 strokes. Dough will be sticky. Place the dough in the prepared skillet or pan and pat down. Cut a 4x3/4 inch deep slit in the top of the bread. Dust with reserved flour.

3.   Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 65 to 75 minutes. Let cool and turn bread onto a wire rack.

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