Happy St. Patty’s Day!

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I’ve written about my friend’s Irish Soda Bread in the past.  My first attempt was too salty, thanks to using salted butter. My second attempt, as you can see from the photo, is that it’s a tad too done.  Probably by 10 minutes! I think my oven is on the stronger side. It tastes okay, but a little on the crunchy and dry side. It tastes better toasted and slathered with butter.  :)

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I swear I’ll get it right next year. Third time is the charm, right? So, I’m really grateful that Baker Mom has graced us again this year with one of her delicious bread. I haven’t tasted it yet, but know… she’s got a great recipe and years of experience on her side!

Speaking of which… So the door bell rings last night after 9 PM. D and I are both getting ready for bed. He’s in his undies, having just gotten out of shower and we both look at each other like “WTH?!?!” He quickly grabbed his pants and rush downstairs in case the “crazy” person rings the doorbell again and wake up the kids.  When he returns, he has this bemused expression on his face and he tells me he’ll give me ten guesses and I’ll never guess who it was.  I go through a list of family members and neighbors, thinking there was some kind of emergency. Finally on my 8th wrong guess, I felt all panicky (don’t ask me why, there was no bet to lose or anything) and asked for a hint: Is it a person residing in our town? It is… and a light bulb goes off and I guessed Baker Dad and I was right!

I asked in disbelief, ” With the Irish Soda Bread?” since that’s the only reason I could remotely think of why he would stop unexpectedly in middle of the night and I was right again! But we were both so confused and amused and bemused and D actually said to me, “I don’t think he was drinking, he looked sober, but he did walk…”. We went to bed thinking Baker Mom had given him the bread to drop of, say like 8 PM, on his walk and he just took long walk around the neighborhood before finally getting to our house.

Well, I had a good laugh this morning when I checked my phone and sure enough there’s a text from Baker Mom, asking if it would be okay since the bread had just gotten out of the oven.  Ah… now it all makes sense. But how funny that the only explanation we could think of for the late night bread drop-off was either he started celebrating St. Patty’s Day a day early or that he had started out much earlier and just took a long walk before getting to our house?  Of course I had to share this with Baker Mom and hopefully she found it just as amusing as we did. Thank you Baker Mom!!!

Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing

I used to make stuffing using raisins for at least a decade or more.  Maybe close to 20 years?  Last Thanksgiving, I decided to try this variation using dried cranberries and I loved it!  I love the sweet tartness that the dried cranberries add to the stuffing. It livens up the taste and helped to brighten up the same-old, same-old recipe, but doesn’t step too far away from the “tradition”.

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Sausage and Apple Stuffing

Prep time: 20 mins      Cook time: 30 mins
Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients

1 package kielbasa, diced
4 tablespoon butter
2 large leeks, while and pale green parts only, sliced
1 cup chopped celery
2 Granny Smith apples cored and chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
6 cups stuffing
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 – 3 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 14-inch oval or 9 by 13-inch rectangular casserole dish.

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, saute the sausage until cooked through. Transfer the sausage to a large bowl and set aside. Melt butter in the same pan and add the leeks and celery. Saute until the celery and leeks start to brown. Add the mixture to the bowl with the sausage. Add the apple, cranberries, stuffing, seasoning and the herbs to the bowl. Gently stir until thoroughly mixed. Add the chicken stock a little at a time until the stuffing is moist. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to mixture to the casserole dish. Bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, uncovered, until the top is crispy and the center is hot.

Barefoot Contessa’s Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

I’ve never roasted just a turkey breast before and I worried that it would come out dry. Well, the turkey breast came out perfect with this recipe.  I’ve also tried the recipe with whole chicken and the roasted chicken was delicious!

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Barefoot Contessa’s Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

Prep time: 15 mins    Cook time: 1 3/4 to 2 hours

Serves: 6 – 8

Ingredients

1 whole bone-in turkey breast
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio)

Directions

Preheat the over to 325 degrees. Place the turkey skin side up on a rack in the roasting pan.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, oil and lemon juice to make a paste.
Loosen the skin on the turkey and apply half the paste directly on the meat. Apply the rest evenly on the skin. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours or until the meat thermometer registers 165 degrees when inserted into the meatiest part of the breast. Loosely cover the breast with aluminum foil if the skin is browning too much.

When the turkey is done, cover with foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes at room temperature before slicing.