17 March 2012

Brack and Greens

Brack brack brack.  I’ve made this once every year for the past two years.  This year, I made Irish tea brack to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and I made it gluten-free.

Irish Tea Brack

1 1/2 cups brewed hot tea (I used golden assam that I steeped for 10 minutes)
1 cup raisins
1 cup prunes, chopped
1 cup dates, chopped

1 cup brown sugar, packed (I used Sucanat)
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 1/4 cup fruit-soaking tea

Place the dried fruit in a large bowl and cover with tea.  Set aside for at least an hour to soak.

When the fruit has soaked for at least an hour, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Oil a 9.25” glass baking dish.

In a small measuring cup, mix the flax and 1/4 cup of the fruit-soaking tea.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Drain the fruit but reserve the soaking liquid.  Add the flax mixture and the soaked fruit to the dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Add about 1 cup of the soaking liquid to make the dough come together (watch for dry pockets).  Transfer the mixture into the pan and spread to the edges.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.  Remove from the oven, cool in the pan for a five minutes, and then cool completely on a rack.  It’s pretty sturdy so you can slice it (with a serrated knife, please) and serve it warm.

I made black rice sushi rolls yesterday with a few sheets from my nori stash.  The rice stained that wooden spoon purple, tee-hee.

Colcannon!  I made sweet potato-lentil stew and had the other half of the bag of sweet potatoes to address.  Since the bag was kind of wet when I picked it up, I figured sticking a slightly damp bag of potatoes in a warm, dark pantry was a recipe for mould.  I made Southern-influenced vegan colcannon with a bag of frozen collards.

Colcannon is really simple: cook potatoes, cook greens, mash them together with a little milk (I used coconut).  I also threw in a couple of cloves of garlic with the boiling sweet potatoes.  See here for a basic recipe: http://www.bordbia.ie/aboutfood/recipes/potatoes/pages/colcannan.aspx.

This morning, I steamed red kale.

This is the cooking water, which I drank, since it was freaking purple!

I’ve been home for snowy St. Patrick’s days before, and today’s weather in Alexandria is darn near the definition of nice spring weather.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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