The beginning of April means Michelle’s birthday which also means starting to plan for her requested strawberry dessert. This year, for the second time in a row, we are opting for the cupcakes over the layer cake. Last year’s cupcakes were quite good. After baking as many cupcakes as I have over the past few years, if one still makes me sit up and take notice, it’s probably worth a repeat. So, after conferring with the guest of honor, we decided to do the vanilla cupcakes with strawberry filling and strawberry studded buttercream. The only catch was that I’d misplaced the recipes that had proven such a success last year.
Irish soda bread today looks nothing like what my great-grandfather probably ate. He would probably find our version just as puzzling and unappetizing as I’d find his. I’ve come around on soda breads. Take out the caraway seeds, use some raisins post-Nixon administration and put in a healthy slug of buttermilk and you have youself a decent treat. Not something you might make everyday, or even once a month, but something worth making once a year to help your stomach acid staunch the copious flow of corned beef and Guiness during that mid-March holiday.
I tried the bagel recipe from ABiFMaD this weekend. One of the things I like about this technique is the low level of handling. Dough can be scary. It can be disobedient, slipping and oozing out of one’s grip. Those long strings of protein can have minds of their own. Handle it the wrong way and you find yourself facing some tough questions. Where’s the bread for the stew? Why did it collapse? Why does it look like underbaked snot? I’m still trying to work up the nerve to try another pie dough after the Labor Day incident of ’07.
I love bread. In my mind that Atkins low-carb fad was simply old school, Cold War, Ruskie propaganda. A twisted cult existing solely to warp the minds of decent working folks. Who doesn’t love bread? It’s damn near un-American. I mean c’mon, it’s made from amber waves of grain and a double shot of rainbows. It’s a wonderful thing and supermarkets across this great nation are perpetuating a crime against our taste buds with those plastic sacks of bland, uniform masses of preservatives and chaff. I’ll concede in moments of weakness and convenience I’ve bought a sandwich loaf, but I’ve never enjoyed it.