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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

For the record I did end up making sauteed red beans on wednesday, but I never got around to blogging about due to falling asleep in a great heap as soon as I got the kids to bed that night. Walking over 10 miles whilst toting strollers, bags and toddlers will wear a girl out!

Today is St. Patrick's Day and since I am blessed with just a wee bit of the blarney (and an even wee-er amount of Irish ancestry) I am celebrating tonight. The kids and I wore green all day, and for dinner tonight we are making corned beef with carrots, potatoes, cabbage and onions and I am making a loaf of very simple Irish Soda bread.

First the bread, a very easy and economical loaf, simply use 3 1/2 C of cake or all purpose flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp of sugar, 1 C (or a bit more) of buttermilk or "soured" milk (made by adding lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk), and a 1 tsp of baking soda. MIx the dry ingredients up, make a well in the center and add the buttermilk, soured milk or even clabbered milk and mix it quickly. Form the dough into a rough, roundish mass, and make 2 sharp slashes across the top to make a "cross". These slashes should be fairly deep (half way or so?) so that the dough can rise properly. This will not be smooth and elastic like yeast dough and you must work quickly so the carbon dioxide bubbles can work with the heat and steam of the dough to make it rise.

The corned beef is made simply by covering the roast with water, and boiling with added onion and garlic and cooking until done. Add the potatoes and carrots to the pan of water and boil for 10 minutes and then add the cabbage and boil for another 10 minutes or so until all is done. Serve with warm soda bread and a Guinness.

Today we went to the Air and Space Museum in the morning and did the whole first floor and then we came home to meet a friend here in Alexandria for lunch and tour the historic sites of old town Alexandria. We saw the COOLEST apothecary shop that had been in continuous business from the late 1700's until it closed in the 1930's. Then only the downstairs had ever been opened and used as a museum for 65 years until in 2009 the entirety of the building was finally opened. They discovered jars and boxes still on shelves just where they had been for 65 years. Bottles, bills of sale, recipe books for making medicines, kits for "cupping and bleeding" apothecary drawers labelled "dragon's blood" and "unicorn's horn" and other "herbal" treatments like "opium", "cocaine" and of course "cannabais". Unreal! You can read more about it here.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

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