Gary's Third Pottery Blog
“But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”
― Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, The Little Prince
Gary's third pottery blog

WRITE TO ME! garyrith@yahoo.com Come see me! Binghamton, NY: Cloth and Clay May 10-11, Unitarian Church; and July fest, July 11-13. Gallery 41 Owego, NY May 4 and 18. All material on this blog unless stated otherwise is copyright Gary Edward Rith 2013-2014

Monday, January 30, 2012

getting ready for St. Pat's.....


In my family, our background is, OH, a little Hungarian maybe, a little German maybe (the last name is German protestant), a lot of Welsh for sure (therefore my compact height!), a small sprinkling of English and then maybe you have some protestant Northern Irish, and the biggest dose of all, using math and applied physics, Irish Catholic--you look back, and see YES, the great-grandfather was a cop in NY city, typical, typical..... We all know that there are a) a whole lot more people of Irish ancestry in the US and Canada than there are in Ireland, and also that b) Ireland is an unusual country, from what I understand, in that there are many fewer people living there now than 100 plus years ago. They had good reason to leave alright, and I am, like so many other North Americans, a huge mixed jumble of ancestral material, but since I can pick and choose when I feel like it, I can, for example, a) hugely enjoy German beer (I used to love Irish and English beers too, until I found out they are made with FISH GUTS, which is illegal in Germany) and b) hugely enjoy English literature and c) hugely enjoy Hungarian pastry and d) hugely enjoy, ah, um, err, being compact thanks to the Welsh bits (ride a bus or plane--the compact people aren't uncomfortable--although I am 5'8" or 9", the downside to compact is needing a stool in the kitchen to reach the upper kitchen shelves
)
and, of course, e) hugely enjoy Irish stuff. Americans love to pick and choose all their favorite Irish stuff! Like WHISKEY! Like THICK WOOLY SWEATERS! I also love Irish breakfast tea, my favorite, and McCann's original-takes-forever steel cut oatmeal for breakfast. I'd love to go to Ireland. I was talking to Goofy Kim Saturday and she wants to visit our mutual friend Denis in Africa, and her niece is going there this summer and she is like "I want to GO BACK to Africa myself, and see them" and
I am like "No WAY...bugs, snakes, malaria, ebola, all that crap. I wanna go to some of those snake-free places, like Ireland". I mean, you look at the green hills, and you imagine yourself in the wooly sweater wandering around amongst the cows and sheep and rain with your cup of tea....pretending you are a very handsome Aidan Quinn, Liam Neeson or Michael Fassbender...the best spoken accents on the planet? IRISH. So silky and lyrical!

Anyway, I used to make Irish soda bread all the time. It is so easy and tasty, easier to make than yeast bread. BUT, my 2 recipes call for milk and butter, and for several years I have had the dairy allergy and not made them. Until Sunday. I was like "what if I use rice milk and margerine?" Flippin' PERFECTO!

Here is the simpler of my 2 Irish soda bread recipes. The other has raisens etc in it, a good breakfast loaf, this one is just brown. I have had the recipe so long I don't know where it came from, but she explains that Irish flour is a lot more coarse than American, therefore all the wheat germ and bran she adds here.

Preheat oven to 350 and place cookie sheet in there to warm---or like me, use your iron skillet.

In an enormous mixing bowl, add 2 cups whole wheat flour, 2 cups white flour, 1.5 cups wheat bran, 1 cup wheat germ, 1.5 teaspoon baking soda and 1.5 teaspoon salt (I never add salt though)
Cut up half a stick butter (I use margerine, as I say) and mix into flour etc. with your fingertips, mixing everything together that way. Stir in 2 1/4 cup buttermilk (I used rice milk this time, as I say--next time I will add a spoonful or 2 of lemon juice for a buttermilk tang). Turn out onto counter, knead a few times into a nice round loaf, flatten a bit. Pull out heated bake sheet or skillet, lay dough in, cut a deep cross across the top and bake 30 minutes, pull out and rotate around then bake a further 30 minutes. Put onto cooling rack covered with a clean dish towel for at least an hour before slicing. Great any way you want, with cheese, butter, jam whatever!

Speaking of awesome Irish Americans, loooove Dropkick Murphys...this live clip in Bahston has all these women dancing onstage...my niece has been a student at Hahvad these last few years, and looking on stage here, you are like..."is that.....?"....but maybe not, all young women look the same anyhow.....

Had a glaze firing Sunday, this is the before and after on top...looking pretty good....

16 comments:

kate & jim said...

Denis went to Africa? Wasn't he in Vermont?

Gary's third pottery blog said...

Denis has been, I kid you not, commuting back and forth to Africa lately :)

Ron said...

I've never had Irish soda bread but that looks super tasty. May have to give it a go this week. Cheers, have a great Monday!

Kimberly said...

I just love Irish soda bread with lots of raisins and caraway seeds. It dries out fast but good if toasted with irish tea and milk and honey...yummmyyyyyyy!!!

smartcat said...

Yum! This is a classic soda bread and looks gorgeous. I've been experimenting with slow rising breads lately; soda bread would make a nice break!.

Looks like a terrific firing...love all those Godzillas! Does Godzilla enjoy tea?

Lori Buff said...

The steal cut oatmeal that you mention is really awesome. Good choice. The bread sounds yummy too, I'll have to try it.

Elizabeth Grimes said...

Now, that is a recipe I may actually attempt. I love Irish Soda bread! (Is that little dwarf flipping me off?!) LOL!!!

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

Ay, the wee bit o' Irish in me likes this post. Don't let the red hair fool you, we're mostly Germans here except for the Scotch Irish bit on dad's side. Either way, I love your idea of picking the best things from your heritage. Irish Whiskey, yes! Soda Bread, absolutely! I've never tried to make it before but yours looks so good, I think I must give it a go!

Julia said...

That soda bread sure looked delicious? And what lovely topping were you having on that slice?

Gary's third pottery blog said...

topping is peanut butter and strawberry jam-the wife had picked those berries and made that jam :)

gz said...

Try a soda bread with walnuts and chopped dried figs.
As made by a good Irish friend of mine who is a baker in Abergavenny!

Joe Troncale said...

Besides having the same sweaters, our kiln shelves look have the same loss of surface area...
The bread does look great... I might have to mix some up tonight (after I pull out the sweater)

Reverend Awesome said...

I am basically the whitest person ever. German, Scottish, English and Norwegian. I'm just a mutt that can't tan. I do get freckles though. So I just stay pasty. Keep the freckles at bay.

I'm not big into beer, but I do like bland food. That's an english thing, right?

celeste said...

That explains why he's not been returning my calls. Bugger.

kate and jim said...

I was trying to find the 'like' button for Celeste! lol

k.a. barnes said...

You'd love Ireland, Gary. Except for the Full Irish breakfast- it has blood pudding, which is only slightly less disgusting than it sounds! But oh, the porridge! And once they find out you're not a typical "ugly American" who wants to be driven everywhere and won't walk a couple yards, they're immensely friendly and interested in you. We had such a grand time there; I can't wait to go back!

Me and Missus Tastycakes

Me and Missus Tastycakes

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I am a part-time pottery instructor at Cornell University Pot Shop and a full-time studio potter and sculptor, married to superhawt Missus Tastycake.