Here’s a round-up of a few of my favorite dishes for Saint Patrick’s Day! Click on the titles to be brought to the details on how to make each deliciously Irish item, or just head to the bottom of this post to print out all the recipes and get cooking!
You know what’s great? The little lip balms that look like mini eggs. Piano music on a blustery day. Smiley face stickers. Finding a ten-dollar bill in an old purse. Laughing so hard you cry a little. And most of all…cinnamon rolls. Specifically, these cinnamon rolls. The best EVER. No, I’m not kidding. They are perfection.
Great neighbors are hard to come by. I know someone (who shall remain nameless) who lives next to a family where the kids play a game called “Am I Being Murdered?”. An activity that’s such fun, it has to be enjoyed during every single hour of every single day. A jolly good time for the whole housing development I’m sure. On the other end of the spectrum are the good folks who reside just over the fence from me. Specifically the very talented gardener of the family, who delivers just picked fruit and vegetables to my greedy doorstep all summer long. I get nature’s bounty freely given with zero effort on my part. It’s simply divine. Just this week I’ve received zucchini, cucumber, apples (two kinds), and most delicious of all, plums. They arrive in bags and buckets. Fragrant, juicy, mildly tart and perfect.
It didn’t take much convincing for my children to believe that plums are far better than candy. They have free reign to enjoy a succulent treat from the plum basket whenever they want. Both munchkins are now consistently a sticky mess of dribbly plum juice and I don’t even care.
This recipe is a quick bread that tastes dangerously close to a cake. It’s sweetness and light with a hint of tart sprinkled throughout from the plums. Delicious. It would be perfect for a brunch, ladies tea, afternoon snack, or dessert. Basically, whenever you want to eat it, do.
You can use yogurt instead of sour cream if that’s what you have handy. The batter is nice and thick so all those beautiful plum pieces won’t sink to the bottom of your bread. I also baked this in mini loaf pans as well as a 9-inch square cake pan. Both turned out with a perfect texture and golden crust. Just adjust your bake time accordingly. I started by baking about 30 minutes then checked on my cake bread every 5 minutes or so until it was done.
Plum Cake Bread
adapted from Allrecipes.com
1 cup pitted, chopped plums
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.
2. Sprinkle chopped plums with 1 tablespoon of flour in a bowl, and toss to coat. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter, white sugar, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. In another bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cup of flour with salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, alternating with sour cream until the mixture forms a smooth batter. Lightly stir in the flour-coated plums, and pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the top of the batter with brown sugar.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool in the pan 10 to 15 minutes before removing from pan for slicing.
Let me warn you right up front that for the next week or so, you’ll be hearing a whole lot about my best friend Bethany. You may remember her from these Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes I made to say goodbye when she (sob) left me to move to Maui. Obviously there are benefits to her living there. Namely, we have a place to stay for the very reasonable price of free. Actually, Bethany does requires one thing…that you allow her to Martha Stewart you while visiting. She’s a meet you at the airport with a lei, basket of chocolates and lotions on your bed, act as your chauffeur/chef/activity coordinator, wash and fold your clothes, play with your children, pack a cooler and a bag of goodies for the beach, provide you with rockin’ sunblock, and set up an umbrella so your pale freckly skin is protected kind of friend. Being with Bethany is, in a word, ah-mazing. Bonus, we have equally out of control hair and manic smiles when being blown off the edge of the world on top of Haleakala. It’s always a good thing to have friends who are equals on the crazy train of life.
Someday I will learn how to manage a bunch of bananas. Meaning, I’ll buy just the right amount that are exactly the correct ripeness so as not to have two or three that go brown on me before they’re eaten. Until that day comes, I have to figure out new and exciting things to do with the abandoned-too-ripe-to-be-consumed-any-way-but-as-banana-mush bananas. Since my children have teeth, it seems cruel to feed them anything the texture of baby food. This recipe screamed out to be made for two reasons.
#1: I love banana bread.
#2: I love scones.
Combining the two into one amazing breakfast food? Genius!
37° and raining. That’s the forecast for the next week or so here in Seattle. Yuck. If it’s going to be that cold, it needs to be snowing. Huge pillowy flakes dumping from the sky. Fluffy mounds of white happiness. That’s what I’d like. Come on! The current weather conditions called for drastic measures in my kitchen. You know what I’m talking about…chili. Is there anything better on a winter day with a damp chill in the air? More on that tomorrow. First, the delicious beer bread I made to go with the chili. It’s full of sharp cheddar and totally non-hot green chili peppers. A perfect companion to a hearty bowl of warmth.
I was given a big bag of pears from my mom last week from the bounty of her orchard. Ok, it’s not a real orchard, just a few trees in her yard. But my mom’s green thumb is absurd. She’s like the plant whisperer. There’s so much fruit on her trees, you’d think she had fruit fairies painting them on at night. What? Fruit fairies are totally a thing. When I returned home that day, I had more pears from my neighbor on my front step. She’s also a crazy awesome fruit and veggie magician. See? I don’t need to learn to garden…people just give me produce. It’s luxurious. None of the work and all the rewards! Since I kill every growing thing I touch, I need people like this in my life.
Monkey bread is the devil. I cannot resist it. I especially enjoy a new spin on it, like adding some kind of new flavor to the delicious combo of cinnamon sugar and buttery goodness. I can more readily call it breakfast if it includes fruit which makes this blueberry filled bread perfect for supporting my delusion. So, breakfast it is. That’s when I served it to my family anyway. But, I also ate it for lunch and dessert so it’s really all-encompassing food. The oatmeal practically makes it a health food…so I figured it was ok to have it for more than one meal.