Friday, March 11, 2011

Hanger Management

Well, I'm back!  Maybe you didn't know I was gone.  I got hit hard and fast by a flu that left me feeling that the only thing I wanted to do was sleep, eat lozenges and drink hot water with lemon and honey.  Those days are over now and I am proud to say this is the first day I made it through without taking a nap--but the day is young!

One interesting thing to note was that during this one-week period of illness, I didn't experience any symptoms of hanger.  I was rarely hungry, but did get a few cravings for popsicles, toast, soup and ginger ale.  Once the senses of taste and smell are gone, the HF is left to ponder the question, "What is there to life besides eating?"  I guess that's one way to control your hanger (but it isn't very fun)!

You know that weird feeling you get when your eyes become glassy, you have the occasional cough or sneeze and you just feel off?  As soon as I felt it coming on I immediately decided to make some chicken soup and bread.  My darling cousin gave me a wonderful gift for Christmas entitled, The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, by Dinah Bucholz.  There were some fun recipes I had been meaning to try that were perfect for the upcoming St. Patty's Day holiday.  I made a Mulligatawny Stew and served it with an Irish Soda Bread.  This bread made the most delicious toast to accompany something savory or to eat alone with some preserves.  It was more like a pastry or scone than a bread.  

Irish Soda Bread adapted from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

4 C flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t cream of tartar
1 t salt
3 T  sugar
 (4 T) butter (cut into small pieces)
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 C buttermilk (or powdered buttermilk with added H2O)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and grease and flour 9-inch round baking pan/dish.  Glass or metal can be used.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, soda, powder, cream of tartar, salt and sugar.  Rub in small bits of butter with your fingers.  The mixture will seem very floury but that's OK.  
  3. With a large spoon, fold in the egg and buttermilk until a dough begins to form. Remove now-beginning-to-form-ball from bowl and knead briefly on floured surface until dough comes together.  Will be a little flaky in appearance.
  4. Form dough into a round shape and dust top with flour.  (I used a little wire strainer to get the dusted effect).  Place dough into the prepared pan and using a sharp knife, score with an X-shape about 1/2 inch deep on the top of the dough.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake another 40 minutes until the bottom is dark golden brown.  Each oven varies, so keep an eye on it.  Remove from oven, and after a few minutes place on wire rack to cool.
  6. Yummy served slightly warm.  Makes amazing toast after the first day.  Great served alone, with butter and jam, and also works well with savory soups.   
My friends have been raving about this and saying it tastes like and has texture of a cornbread/scone hybrid.  Since it looks artisanal, it is fun to bring to a potluck!

Makes 1 loaf (and an explosive floury mess in your kitchen, but if you're sick you can leave it and hope your housemate/partner will feel sorry for you and clean up).  It worked for me!