Happy St. Patrick's Day

Irish soda bread gets its name from the fact that baking soda, rather than yeast, is used for leavening. This is not the traditional recipe, but I am absolutely in love with it. Bill found this hearty version on the epicurious website: "Noreen Kinney's Irish Soda Bread." Below I posted the recipe ingredients too.

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour or graham flour, plus more for shaping
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup untoasted wheat germ
2 tablespoons flaxseed
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 large egg
About 1 3/4 cups buttermilk 

DELICIOUS. This bread accompanied by wild Irish stew was the perfect way to celebrate the day.


Curry with Chickpeas

I love the complex flavors of traditional curry, but am not so fond of the high fat and calorie content. Since I'm always looking for healthy and delicious recipes, this one caught my eye and has been a repeat dish in my repertoire ever since. It has lots of nutrients and fiber, and contains turmeric, whose active ingredient, curcumin, has anti-inflammatory properties in the body (among other health benefits). The spinach, cauliflower, tomatoes, chickpeas, and ginger also promote health in their own amazing ways due to their specific blends of phytonutrients, fiber, and micronutrients.

Any good curry will contain a wonderfully aromatic spice blend called garam masala (cumin, coriander, cardamom, black pepper, clove, mace, and cinnamon). This fragrant concoction is indispensable to N Indian dishes and is good to have on hand. You may either purchase it pre-made or make your own. There are many good recipes online.

Here is the recipe along with a photo from dinner tonight...

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 c chopped onions

1 1/2 tsp chopped garlic

1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh ginger

1 1/2 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp salt

4 cups cored, chopped tomatoes

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1 1/2 cups baby spinach

3 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 cups small cauliflowerettes

1/2 tsp garam masala

3 cups cooked brown basmati rice

1. Get your rice started since brown rice takes 45 minutes to cook.

2. Heat the oil in a 4- to 5-quart pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, curry powder, turmeric, red-pepper flakes, and salt. Cook 2 minutes, stirring.

3. Stir in the tomatoes an sugar and cook on medium-low heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir in the chickpeas, spinach, cauliflower, and garam masala. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Yield: 6 servings of 1 cup curry and 1/2 cup rice each

Nutrition Info per Serving: 325 Calories, 5 grams Fat, 10 grams Fiber, 11 grams Protein, 61 grams Carbohydrate

Serve with naan if desired.