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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ohhhh... to be IRISH!


I've seen a lot of green this past week - due partly to St. Patrick's Day, and also to the coming of Spring.  I've learned a little about Irish food, but there's a lot more out there that I'm not sure I want to try (yet).  

I've always enjoyed what I thought was called Scottish Oatmeal, but (go figure!) it's also called Irish Oatmeal.  I like to make it for breakfast on a day I'm not in a hurry to get somewhere, as it takes both cooking AND standing time to develop the tender chewiness I like.  The Irish love their oats...

Rye bread will do you no good
Barley bread will do you no harm
Wheaten bread will sweeten your blood
Oaten bread will strengthen your arm.
(Popular Irish Rhyme)

Irish Oats are easy to find in most large grocery stores.  It's also called Steel-Cut Oats.  I can guarantee you won't be hungry for at least four hours after a bowl in the morning.  Some people soak theirs overnight (similar to a bean soak), then boil it in the morning.  My mother makes hers in the microwave.  I like to boil it for about ten minutes, cover it with a lid, and then return to enjoy it at least a half hour later.  By then it's perfect.  


The McCann's website (here) tells you everything you need to know about "Irish" Oats.  I decided to be adventurous and try their recipe for Mrs. McCann's Oat Brown Bread.  All I can say is... interesting.  I'm totally American in my taste for quick bread.  Here is the recipe, and a few photos from my attempt.  I won't be making it again - but it was a good experience!




Here are some other traditional Irish dishes - see if you can guess what they are (before clicking through to check yourself...)






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