Caprese Salad and Quick Wheat Irish Soda Bread

22 Nov

I just got back from shopping. We went to the grocery store and bought our Thanksgiving turkey! It’s so close–it’s practically here! I can feel it in the air! I can smell it on the breeze! Ahhhhhhhh.

(Oh, and while I was out shopping, I bought a new pair of jeans! That’s a first. I love them SO much.)

We had a lunch party today and ended up left with a ton of food. Carb overload for the next couple of days, hooray! But as a result of our delicious munching at noon, we weren’t very hungry for dinner and both agreed that something light and fresh seemed the most attractive dinner option. This is the problem–how do you get light, fresh flavors in the middle of cold weather when most of the ingredients that provide you with said flavors are very out of season?

While we were at the store, we picked up some fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. We figured that the fresh taste of the cheese would overpower whatever hothouse-ness taste might be in the tomatoes…and lo and behold, we were right! Throw on some of that basil-from-a-bag they sell in the produce section at the store, all on top of a bed of some red lettuce, and TA DA! Freshness in the cold of autumn. It was really surprisingly refreshing. There’s a reason that the caprese salad is a classic.

Of course, as a contrast to the acidity of the tomatoes and vinegar, we had as a side dish some of the leftover bread from lunch. We homemade a wheat quick Irish Soda Bread–always a favorite in our household because it has great dense texture and savory-yet-slightly-sweet flavor with whole grains, honey, raisins, and caraway seeds. Honestly, I could sit down and just eat an entire loaf of this bread. For second dinner.

Caprese Salad

2 medium-size tomatoes

1 8 oz ball of fresh mozzarella

about 10 leaves of basil

balsamic vinegar

extra-virgin olive oil

black pepper

Directions:

Cut the tomatoes and mozzarella into 1-centimeter thick slices. Lay pieces of the red lettuce on a plate, and top with alternating slices of tomato and mozzarella. Do a quick chiffonade on the basil leaves (cut them in skinny strips) and sprinkle the strips over the whole thing. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over, and top with freshly ground black pepper. DEVOUR HUNGRILY. (pictured below)

Quick Wheat Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups whole weat flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup buttermilk powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small chunks

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1/2 cup raisins

1 1/2 to 2 cups water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a large baking sheet and set aside.

Sift flours, buttermilk powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter, and rub into the flour using your thumb and forefinger until the butter lumps have disappeared. Add the caraway seeds and stir to mix.

Add 1/2 cup of the water, the raisins, and the honey to the dry ingredients, stirring to incorporate. Add only as much as you need of the remaining 1/2 cup of water, a little at a time, and mix JUST until dry ingredients are moistened and the dough holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead for a few minutes. Dough should be soft and a little sticky.

Form dough into a ball and place on the previously greased baking sheet. Dust top of loaf lightly with flour if desired (we don’t).

Bake for about 45 minutes or until loaf is golden brown. Makes one large loaf approx. 7 inches in diameter.

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One Response to “Caprese Salad and Quick Wheat Irish Soda Bread”

  1. LoveLace November 24, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    What the heck is buttermilk. And how do I get it? That’s the second time It’s come up in two days!

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