Thursday, May 20, 2010

pirate soda bread

pirate soda bread is the invention of a bread genius named eric that i worked for age 21 to 22.

i call it pirate for two reasons: 1. that i recreated the recipe from observation, but was never given the recipe, making the recipe technically stolen, and 2. the whisky, so loved by pirates.

this bread is so irresistible i usually give the second loaf away. it is best eaten toasted with unsalted butter.

pirate soda bread

1 1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. white flour
1 1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. molasses
2 oz. melted butter
1 egg, lightly beaten

20 turkish apricots or prunes, soaked overnight in 1/4 c. whisky

3/4 c. currants

1. whisk together dry ingredients and make a well in the center.

2. add all wet ingredients and dried fruits and mix quickly until just combined.

3. form into 2 balls and bake at 375 for 10 minutes, and lower to 350 and bake for 20-25 minutes more.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

portland part three

a lot has changed since my trip to portland. mostly i changed jobs. the right way this time with a respectful letter of resignation, two weeks notice and a plan. i'm at local 123 now on the green belt of san pablo in berkeley, california.

i'll be making soup again. we have a sandwich on the menu that i made up called the salty goat. it has goat cheese, happy boy farms letttuce and my recipe for olive tapanade, with a whisper of orange zest and thyme. i'm a chef again. savory and sweet.

everyone has their own strengths in the kitchen, and every person i work with and job i have leaves me with a little something i learned. a little system or trick, a different way of doing something. even the people and jobs that i didn't like.

when i went to portland i knew i needed to get away and look at my life from a different angle. luckily i fell deeply back in love with food. when i arrived in portland and my sweet chefriend tressa introduced me to everyone as the first chef that she worked under i was in a fog of self doubt.

a few days later in her kitchen at home i teased and reprimanded her about chopping wet parsley. i saw her struggle to slice olives off of their pits. she didn't know that you can pit olives by crushing them under a juice glass. a good chef is a teacher.