D and I both have a bit of the blarney in our blood (actually, he has more than a bit; his last name stars with O’) and St Patrick’s fell on a Saturday this year, so I felt compelled to make something a special meal for the holiday. On the menu: Beef and Guinness Stew from The Gourmet Slow Cooker, Classic Irish Soda Bread from Cook’s Illustrated, and Baileys Pots de Creme from the San Francisco Chronicle.
The stew, to my disappointment, tasted pretty much like every other beef stew I’ve made, though the Guinness flavoring was pleasant. The Pots de Creme were remarkably easy and so tasty that D made himself sick eating two. But the real star, in my opinion, was the Soda Bread. When I put it in the oven I was concerned that I’d overmixed and/or overkneaded, which would result in tough bread. The loaf I pulled from the oven 45 minutes later was dense but light and buttery. It’s been some time since I’ve felt so proud of something I’d made. It was the perfect accompaniment to the stew and we devoured the rest with fruit preserves and some fresh asiago cheese for breakfast the next morning.
Next on my list: fresh pasta (I found a quality pasta machine marked way down at Tuesday Morning and talked them into knocking even more off the price because the instruction booklet was missing) and black-bottom cupcakes.