Irish “Roasties,” Parsley Sauce, and Soda Bread

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Not a holiday I generally pay much attention to, but I always love an excuse to make a special themed meal and learn more about world cuisine! Made a simple but scrumptious lunch, inspired by the Irish flag and the veggies I had at hand. Was excited to try a completely new method of roasting potatoes, and decided to spruce up the leftover steamed carrots with a simple Irish parsley sauce. The “roasties” certainly did not disappoint. Thanks to A Pinch of Garlic for introducing me to this Irish delicacy! (It is a bit more effort than my usual method, starting from scratch, but I imagine it would be an awesome way to use leftover boiled potatoes.) The parsley sauce was the perfect accompaniment to the carrots, and together with fresh arugula and egg salad, made for a bright, colorful, delightful meal.

For some reason, our Friday bread delivery never arrived… which provided me the opportunity to make Irish soda bread for supper instead. Bread doesn’t get simpler or quicker than this. I was a bit nervous whether it would turn out too dry or bland, since it was entirely whole grain and so minimalistic, but it couldn’t have turned out more fluffy and flavorful. We gobbled the whole loaf down, still slightly warm from the oven and slathered in butter. Couldn’t be better! Now, if only I had remembered to set the kitchen timer, so that I knew how long it took to bake! Huge thanks to The View from Great Island (which looks like an awesome site, well worth exploring further) for the recipe!

“Roasties” (Irish Roasted Potatoes)

Bring lightly salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut potatoes into quarters or roughly even large chunks. Peel if desired (I didn’t bother, and they still turned out great by my standards.) Add to the pot of water, return to boil, then cover and turn down to a gentle simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, add about 2-4 tablespoons of oil to baking pan(s), place in oven, and preheat to 450°F. Mix together 1/4 cup cornmeal or polenta per baking pan, a few pinches of rosemary, and a little salt and pepper, around 1/4 teaspoon per pan.

Drain and rinse potatoes, then return to pot and cook, covered, over low heat for a couple minutes, shaking pot back and forth, until dried and a little roughed up. Toss with the heated oil in the pan, coat with corn mixture, and bake for 25-40 minutes, until nicely crispy on the outside. Enjoy!

Parsley Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour (I used whole wheat)
1-2 cups milk
Chopped parsley stalks and thyme leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
Minced parsley leaves

Melt butter and whisk in flour until it takes on a wonderful nutty aroma. Add milk, parsley stalks, and thyme and simmer gently, whisking frequently, until it begins to thicken. Adjust seasoning as necessary, pour over carrots, or whatever your heart desires, and garnish with fresh parsley leaves. Yum!

Irish Soda Bread

2 cups whole wheat bread flour
1 cup oat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cup buttermilk (I used yogurt slightly thinned with water)

Combine dry, fold in liquid, and let rest for several hours, if possible. May seem dry at first, but resist adding additional liquid right away, as the flour will continue to soak up the liquid as it sits. Preheat oven and an un-greased cast iron pan to 425°F. Form dough into a round or oval loaf, cut deep cross across the top, and bake at 425 for 25-45 minutes, until sounds hollow at bottom/toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on rack for 10-20 minutes, then serve still warm, if possible, with plenty of butter!

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Spelt & Poppy Seed Hamantaschen

Had so much fun celebrating Chanukah with my house, that I wanted to share a little taste of Purim with them as well. I was tempted to “cheat” and make scones again, or perhaps sweet potato biscuits with a little jam pressed into the middle. I never was a fan of the classic hamantaschen pastries growing up, and I feared they would be far too complicated and fussy to make, but Tori Avey’s tantalizing recipe convinced me to finally give them a try. So glad I did! Shaping these with one of my housemates was a precious opportunity for connection, and it was awesome to finally make a baked treat that I could enjoy as well, savory and wholesome. I couldn’t believe how great they turned out! Admittedly a tad bit dry (nothing a dollop of yogurt couldn’t resolve), but the flavor was truly exceptional!

I ended up with only enough dough for seventeen hamantaschen, the last few rather minuscule. This is less than half of what the original recipe claims. I suspect this is due in part to my limited skill in rolling dough, and perhaps also partly the stiffer nature of whole-grain dough. I halved the recipe for filling, but still ended up with far more than I needed. Not a problem… any extra can be stored for a week or two in the fridge, and is a real treat spread on bread!

Made 16 for me, original recipe claims about 35

“Mohn” (Poppy Seed) Filling
1 1/2 cups poppy seeds
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
2 eggs, beaten

Grind poppy seeds in small batches in a spice grinder. Melt butter, then whisk in milk and sweetener. Scoop out about 1/2 cup liquid and slowly drizzle into scrambled eggs, whisking briskly and constantly. Slowly pour egg mixture back into saucepan and cook gently for 3-5 more minutes, whisking constantly, until thickens, turns pale yellow, and coats the back of spoon. Remove from heat and stir in ground poppy seeds. Allow to cool to room temperature, or better yet, chill before using.

Pastry Dough
2 eggs
1/4 cup neutral oil
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-5 teaspoons water (as needed)

Beat together egg, oil, vanilla, and orange zest. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, then gradually stir into the wet ingredients. Knead just until it comes together to form a smooth dough. Dough should be slightly tacky, but not sticky. Add a tiny bit of water if necessary. Roll out on lightly floured surfaces. Cut into circles, place about a teaspoon of filling in the center, and fold in from three sides to form a triangle, overlapping them slightly so that each has one corner folded above and the other below. (The original recipe has great step-by-step pictures of this process.) The dough dries out quickly. The top can be brushed with water just before filling to make it more pliable and Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden. Yum!

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Sourdough Roti (Indian Whole-Wheat Flatbread)

Had some sourdough to use up, and wanted to celebrate the return of one of our housemates from India… seemed the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe I’ve been holding on to for months. Unequivocal success, easy and delicious! Great in a wrap with masala greens and paneer. Thanks to Kitchen Addiction for this gem of a recipe!

Sourdough Roti (Indian Whole-Wheat Flatbread)
1 cup starter
1/4 cup warm milk (I used fresh whey from making the paneer
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon melted butter or neutral oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups whole-wheat flour
Pinch of salt
Desired seasoning (optional, I didn’t add anything)

Combine liquid ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Combine baking soda, flour, salt and any other desired seasoning in a small bowl and stir into the wet ingredients, use until dough comes together — it may be a bit sticky. Cover with cloth and let rest in a warm place for 2-3 hours. (I left it overnight and it worked fine.) Will rise slightly, but not double. Knead on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes, adding as little flour as possible. Preheat un-greased skillet on medium high heat, and divide dough into eight pieces. Roll each out to about 1/4″ thickness. Brush top with water, place water side down in the hot pan, and cover. Cook for about a minute, until bubbles and releases easily from the pan. Flip, cover again, and cook for another 30-60 seconds. Transfer to a cooling rack, and repeat process with the remaining pieces of dough. Yum!

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