Soda Bread Ice Cream

Soda Bread Ice Cream

This ice cream happened because friend saw a recipe for an ice cream made with brown bread. He thought it might be fun to make it with Irish soda bread, for St. Patrick’s Day. It worked out really well. When I first added the bread to the ice cream, I tasted it and thought it was good, but needed something more. I had already made the butterscotch sauce to serve with it, so I added a little and the end result was a really fun and different ice cream. The ice cream actually tasted a lot like butter pecan. I served it to a group of friends and family the other night and they loved it.

This would be a fun dessert for St. Patrick’s day, or any day really, and it was super easy to make. Thanks, Joe, for the inspiration.

So here is the recipe. I have also included the recipes for the bread and the butterscotch sauce, although, you can buy them already made.

Joe’s Soda Bread Ice Cream

1 ½ qts. Vanilla ice cream

4 cups crumbled soda bread*

½ cup butterscotch sauce**

Soften ice cream and fold in the soda bread and butterscotch sauce. Return to freezer to firm up before serving.

* You can just buy a soda bread or use the recipe below

** I made my own butterscotch sauce, then had extra for serving. Feel free to just buy a jar if you don’t want to make your own. Serve some sauce, warmed with the ice cream to drizzle over.  

Irish Soda Bread

2 c. flour

½ t. each baking powder and baking soda

¼ t. salt

2 T. butter

¾ c. raisins, currants or golden raisins, optional, I used golden raisins

2 t. caraway seeds

1 egg, beaten

1 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dust a baking sheet with a little flour. Combine dry ingredients in bowl and cut in butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Add raisins and caraway seeds. Combine egg and milk and set 2 tablespoons of this mixture aside. Add remaining milk mixture to flour mixture and combine just until dough forms into a ball. Place on baking sheet, brush with reserved egg mixture and cut a crisscross on top of loaf. Bake about 25 minutes or until bread sounds hollow. Makes 1.

Butterscotch Sauce

6 T. butter

½ c. half and half

½ c. brown sugar

1 t. molasses*

½ -1 teaspoon salt

1 t. vanilla

Melt butter in a heavy bottomed pan. Add remaining ingredients, except vanilla, to the pan. Stir to mix well, then bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Store in fridge and warm a little before using. Makes about a cup of sauce. Keeps for weeks in the fridge, but you’ll eat it long before that.

*The addition of a little molasses was because my original recipe called for dark brown sugar. I only had light brown sugar. I liked the flavor that extra molasses added to the finished sauce. Feel free to omit the extra molasses, or add a pinch more, depending on how dark you want your finished sauce.

Potatoes O’Brien

Potatoes O’Brien

In all honesty, I love potatoes in pretty much any dish.  Sometimes you just want to go with an old time classic. I always loved when my mom made potatoes O’Brien.

Potatoes O’Brien are hash browns, with onions and diced peppers. The combination is so tasty. To speed up the cooking process, I cooked the potatoes in the microwave first.  You could also just use raw, diced potatoes. Either way, the end result is sure to be a hit.

Potatoes O’Brien could also be a nice side dish for your St. Patrick’s day dinner.

Potatoes O’Brien 


1 medium onion, chopped

1 c. chopped sweet pepper- I used baby peppers, sliced in rings

2 lbs. potatoes, diced, peeling is optional

salt and pepper

fresh parsley and thyme, optional

In skillet, heat a couple of tablespoons of oil. Saute onion until tender, add peppers and cook until the peppers are tender. Remove from skillet and set aside. Add a few more tablespoons of oil to the skillet and let it get pretty hot. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring often, until the potatoes are browned. They should be cooked, tender in the middle, crisp on the outside. I cooked the potatoes in the microwave first, then diced them once they were cool enough to handle. This made them cook up faster, but raw potatoes are fine, too. Return onion mixture to skillet with the potatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste and add the fresh herbs, if you like. Stir together until heated through. Serves 4-6.

Irish Soda Bread Scones

Irish Soda Bread Scones

If you are in the mood for Irish Soda Bread- you can get the same wonderful flavor in a scone.

Scones don’t take a lot of time or effort to make. These would be a wonderful addition to your St. Patrick’s Day meal.

While traditionally served for breakfast or tea time, scones are really good any time of the day. They certainly can be served with dinner.

I used golden raisins, but you could use regular raisins, currants or cranberries, for a less traditional scone.

  Irish Soda Bread Scones

2 c. flour

3 T. sugar

2 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

½ t. salt

1/3 c. butter

½ c. golden raisins

1 t. caraway seeds

2/3 c. buttermilk

1 egg


Extra sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet. Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl and cut in butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds. Beat together buttermilk and egg and add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until mixture just coming together. Turn onto floured surface and knead 5-6 strokes or until ball of dough holds together. Dust an 8-inch round cake with  flour. Press dough into cake pan. Invert pan over onto prepared baking sheet. I find if I do this quickly the dough comes out more easily. Remove cake pan. This will give you a perfect 8-inch circle of dough. With a sharp, floured knife cut dough into 8 wedges. Brush top with milk and sprinkle with extra sugar. Bake 14-16 minutes. Makes 8.

Scones ready for the oven

Fried Catfish

Fried Catfish

I love fried fish. I don’t make it at home that often. It is more of a treat around here than an every day meal. This time of year, Friday night fish fries are very popular. I love them. You don’t have to go out to have great fried fish.

I toyed with the idea of baking it, but frying won out. Nothing quite as good as fried catfish in my mind. Had a few friends over and I knew they would like it. too.

This is going to be one of those recipes that is more narrative that exact amounts. I really am good about writing stuff out. I just can’t seem to locate my notes for this one- so I’ll share what I did as best I can remember. It is also so easy to fry fish. Don’t be scared to try.

I started with catfish fillets that were cut down into smaller pieces. The smaller size made them fast and easy to cook. It also made them fun to eat. Like chicken nuggets, only made with catfish. You could certainly use other fish in this recipe.

Since they had been frozen, I thawed them out, and dried them off a bit by patting them with paper towels. I started with a 2 pound bag of catfish. I seasoned a little over 1/2 a cup of flour with salt, pepper and paprika. Then I placed the flour in a bag and tossed in the fish pieces.

I made a mixture of 2 eggs, a little mayo, salt, pepper, garlic powder and a small amount of smoked paprika. I dipped the fish in this mixture and let it soak in there while I put the breadcrumbs in a bowl.

I took the catfish out of the egg wash a few pieces at a time and dropped them in the bread crumbs. I had the crumbs in a good sized bowl- but only filled about a quarter of the way with crumbs. I started with a cup of bread crumbs, but needed more. I added the fish and sort of tossed it in the crumbs by shaking and tossing the bowl. Made sure the fish all got coated. Pressed the crumbs a few times to make sure the breading stuck. Placed fish in a square container and kept adding it as I finished breaded the fish. Covered the dish and placed it in the fridge. I fried the catfish the next day. I could have fried it right away, but I knew I would be getting home just before my guests would be arriving. I wanted to get this part of the job out of the way. Breading sticks better if you do it a little ahead of time.

Once it was time for dinner, I put the oil on to heat up.

I was using an electric pot with a thermometer so I knew when the oil reached 350. I wanted to fry the fish between 350 and 375 degrees. If you don’t have a pot with a thermometer, you can tell if your oil has reached 350 degrees with the use of popcorn. Yes, popcorn. Just put in a kernel or two of unpopped popcorn when you start heating up the oil. Popcorn pops at 350 degrees. When the popcorn pops, you know the oil is ready.

I started to drop the pieces of fish, several at a time, into the hot oil. They were cooked in just a few minutes. I pulled them when they were golden brown. I set them to drain on paper towels, then held in a warm oven, while I cooked the rest of the fish.

I served the fish with lemon wedges and homemade tartar sauce- which is just sweet pickle relish, mayo and capers.

The fish was a big hit.

As to the oil. You’ll have plenty left over. I let it cool and strained it out. Then I poured it in the bottle it came from. You can save it for your next frying project, but don’t use it again and again. Just a couple of times, then toss the rest. There were 4 of us for dinner and there was fish leftover. The 2 pounds of fish was easily enough to serve 6-8.

Corned Beef Hash

Corned Beef Hash

My mom used to make the best hash. I didn’t have any specific recipe for hash, so I made a point of writing down what I did, and measuring ingredients, so I could share the recipe with you. The hash tasted a lot like my mom’s. That made me smile. Here is the recipe. Hope you give it a try.

Corned Beef Hash

4 T. oil, butter or bacon fat

2-3 medium onions, peeled and chopped

1-1½ lbs. potatoes, 4-5 medium, cut in cubes, peeling optional

1 lb. corned beef, cut into ½- inch cubes

Salt and pepper

Eggs, optional

In skillet, heat up your fat of choice. Cook onions over medium heat until translucent. Add cubed potatoes and cook until potatoes and onions are starting to brown. Rather than constantly stirring, I let the potato and onion mixture cook a few minutes, then turn over sections with a spatula. It seems to get them brown faster. Check a few random potatoes to make sure they are tender. Add the corned beef and continue cooking until everything is starting to get a little crispy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. At this point you can serve it. I like to add the eggs. To add the eggs, crack and add eggs, one at a time, to the pan. Keep some space between the eggs, if you can. Turn heat down to medium low and cover the pan. It should take about 5 minutes for the eggs to cook, with the whites firm and the yolks runny. Try not to keep peeking. I know you want to, but every time you remove the lid, the heat dissipates. Wait 3 minutes to check the first time, if you can. Don’t set the heat too high, or you will burn the bottom of the hash while the eggs cook. I usually add one egg for each person I am serving. Feel free to allow more eggs per person, depending on your guests. Serves about 4.

Note: If you want to save yourself from dicing potatoes, you can use frozen hash browns. I prefer diced fresh potatoes, but the hash browns will save you time.

Hash, crisping in the skillet
Hash with the perfect runny egg.

Irish Soda Bread- Bread Pudding

Irish Soda Bread- Bread Pudding

This is a great dessert for St. Patrick’s Day. Simple and not too sweet, it is a perfect way to finish your holiday meal. It is made with a traditional Irish soda bread. I used a loaf of soda bread I had baked the day before. You could buy a loaf of soda bread, if you prefer. I included the recipe for soda bread at the bottom of this post.

The bread was cubed up and allowed to sit around for a day, to dry out a little. You can also cube the bread and toast it in a low oven for 10-15 minutes. A slightly dried bread will stand up better to the custard.

For the custard I used milks, eggs, flavorings and a little whiskey. I would have added Bailey’s, if I had it. The addition of alcohol is optional.

Store cooled bread pudding in the fridge, but take out before serving- or warm a little before serving. It is great just as is, but you could dust with powdered sugar, or top with a scoop of ice cream or a spoonful of whipped cream.

Irish Soda Bread – Bread Pudding

6-8 c. cubed, day-old soda bread- recipe follows

2½  c. milk or half and half

5 eggs

½ c. sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top

¼ c. whiskey, optional

1 T. vanilla

1 T. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9×9-inch baking pan. Place cubed soda bread in prepared pan. Set aside. Beat together remaining ingredients and pour over the soda bread. Sprinkle top with a little extra sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bread pudding is set and a little golden on top. I used a glass pan- it might take a little longer in a metal pan. Bread pudding should be golden around the edges, too.  Cool a bit before serving. Serve as is, or with whipped cream or ice cream. Serves 6-8.

 Soda Bread

2 c. flour

½ t. each baking powder and baking soda

¼ t. salt

2 T. butter

¾ c. raisins, currants or golden raisins

2 t. caraway seeds

1 egg, beaten

1 c. buttermilk

melted butter, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dust a baking sheet with a little flour. Combine dry ingredients in bowl and cut in butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Add raisins and caraway seeds. Combine egg and milk and set 2 tablespoons of this mixture aside. Add remaining milk mixture to flour mixture and combine just until dough forms into a ball. Place on baking sheet, brush with reserved egg mixture and cut a crisscross on top of loaf. Bake about 25 minutes or until bread sounds hollow.  Place on rack to cool. You can brush the loaf with a little melted butter, if you like. Makes 1.

Irish Soda Bread

Reuben Calzones

Reuben Calzone

There is more than one way to enjoy corned beef. This time of year, because of the St Patrick’s Day specials, corned beef is on sale at lots of stores. These calzones are a fun way to serve corned beef.

While more often made with Italian ingredients, you can make calzones with other fillings, too. I made these for a friend a while back and we were talking about them the other day. I decided to make them again.

These are a fun way to make a Reuben, but with a twist. You can leave the sauerkraut out, if you like.  I add some thousand island dressing to the calzones, but serve extra on the side. They also freeze well, so you can make a batch, enjoy some fresh, and freeze some for later. I thought I would share the recipe with you.

Reuben Calzones

3 ¼ c. flour

1 c. rye flour

1 T. sugar

1 t. salt

1 package quick-rising yeast

1⅓ c. hot water

1 T. oil

1 c. Thousand Island dressing, recipe follows

1 lb. thin sliced corned beef

8 oz. shredded Swiss cheese

1 c. sauerkraut, squeezed dry

1 egg , beaten

Caraway seeds, optional

Set aside 1 cup of the all-purpose flour. Combine remaining flour with the other dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir in water and oil and gradually stir in enough flour to make a soft dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cover dough and let rest 20 minutes. Divide dough into 8 pieces and roll one piece into a 6-8 -inch circle. In the middle of the dough, add a spoonful of Thousand Island dressing,  place 1 ounce of the Swiss cheese and 2 ounces of the corned beef. Add a tablespoon or two of the sauerkraut, if using. Brush the edge of the dough with water. Fold over the dough in half and press the edges to seal. Brush the edge again with water and roll the edge over again. It will give you a prettier look and seal the calzone better. Repeat with remaining dough and fillings. Place calzones on greased baking sheets- or on a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper liner. You will end up with 8 calzones in all. Only put 4 on one baking sheet. Cover and let rest 15 minutes while preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Before placing calzones in the oven brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with the caraway seeds, if you like. Also poke a few holes in the tops with a fork to help steam to escape while baking. I put both baking sheets in the oven at the same time and switch them halfway through baking. Bake in a preheated 400-degree for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. If baking both at once switch them after 10 minutes or so. Cool slightly before eating. Serve warm and refrigerate leftovers.

If you want to use regular yeast use warm, rather than hot water. Also, allow a little more time for the dough to rise the first time, about 40 minutes. Everything else will work the same.

If you want to make your own dressing, here is the recipe

Thousand Island Dressing

1/2 c. ketchup

1/2 c. mayo

1/2 c. sweet pickle relish

Mix ingredients together and serve, or chill until needed.

English Muffins

Fresh English Muffins

English Muffins are fun and easy to make. They also taste so much better than store bought. What you might not know, if you never made them, is that English muffins are not baked. They are actually cooked in a skillet, over medium low heat, until cooked.

The dough is pretty much a bread dough. Once they have gone through their first rise, you roll them out and cut them out in circles. They rise another 30 minutes, then are cooked in the skillet. You can use a 4-inch cutter for full sized muffins. I used a 3-inch cutter and got a few more out of the recipe.

The recipe is correct when it says to roll them a bit under 1/2-inch thick. They rise and then get thicker when cooked.

English Muffins

2 packages yeast

5-6 cups bread flour

2 T. sugar

2 t. salt

2 c. milk

¼ c. butter


In large bowl combine yeast, 4 cups of the bread flour. Warm milk and butter and add to flour mixture and beat 3-4 minutes. By hand stir in enough flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.  

Place dough in greased bowl and turn to grease top. Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 ¼ hour. Punch dough down and allow to rest 10 minutes. On lightly floured surface roll dough to just under ½-inch thick. With 4-inch biscuit cutter cut out rounds of dough, re-rolling and cutting scraps. Dip both sides in cornmeal and cover, allowing to rise about 30 minutes. In ungreased griddle pan or skillet cook muffins over medium-low heat, turning frequently, until they are golden on both sides and cooked through. This will take about 20-25 minutes. If they are browning too quickly, turn down the heat a little. To serve, split and toast. Makes 12-18, depending on the size you cut them.

cutting out
“baking” in the skillet

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

It’s that time of year. Irish food in on the mind. This soda bread is a classic. Simple and fast to make, it can be served with breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The soda bread is  like a big scone or biscuit. It has a crisp, outer crust, with a crumbly, soft center. I like to serve soda bread with butter and jam.

I used raisins, but you can substitute currants, golden raisins, or just leave them out, if you prefer.

I make soda bread all through the year, not just for St. Patrick’s Day.  Right from the oven with some butter and jam. Yum.

Irish Soda Bread

2 c. flour

½ t. each baking powder and baking soda

¼ t. salt

2 T. butter

¾ c. raisins, currants or golden raisins, optional

2 t. caraway seeds

1 egg, beaten

1 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dust a baking sheet with a little flour. Combine dry ingredients in bowl and cut in butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Add raisins and caraway seeds. Combine egg and milk and set 2 tablespoons of this mixture aside. Add remaining milk mixture to flour mixture and combine just until dough forms into a ball. Place on baking sheet, brush with reserved egg mixture and cut a crisscross on top of loaf. Bake about 25 minutes or until bread sounds hollow. Makes 1.

Cheesy Chocolate Hamantaschen

Cheesy Chocolate Hamantaschen

A friend shared this recipe recently, and I was intrigued. I had to try these cookies. The filling for these traditional Jewish cookies is inspired by the filling used in cannoli. I made a few changes from the recipe he shared, and was very happy with how they turned out.

The dough, which contains no sugar, has a wonderful, pastry-like texture. It pairs up well with the filling. The drizzle of chocolate is a perfect finish for them. They aren’t a gooey, overly sweet cookie, which I really like.

They pair up nicely with tea or coffee. I confess,  I had a couple for breakfast with my morning tea. I would definitely make these again.

Thanks, Jared, for sharing this recipe.

Cheesy Chocolate Hamantaschen


¼ c. ricotta cheese

5 oz. cream cheese

½ c. powdered sugar

1 t. cinnamon

½ c. mini chocolate chips


½ c. (1 stick) butter, softened

3 oz. cream cheese

½ c. half and half or milk

1 t. vanilla

½ t. salt

2½ c. flour


1 egg white

2 T. water

½ c. chocolate chips

Powdered sugar, optional

Prepare the filling. Beat together the ricotta and cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the milk and cinnamon, then stir in the chips. Chill until ready to use. Make the dough by mixing the cream cheese and butter together. Add the milk, vanilla and salt and mix until smooth. Stir in the flour until a stiff dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, or put in a bag and chill at least an hour – or up to a couple of days – before proceeding. On lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a little less than ¼ – inch thickness. Cut dough out into 2-3 inch circles. Place a scant teaspoon of filling in middle of each dough circle. Combine the egg white with water and beat together. Brush a little of the egg white mixture over the edges of the dough circle. Fold the dough up in thirds towards the center, pinching the edges to seal. They should look like little three-corner hats. Repeat with remaining dough, re-rolling the scraps. Brush folded cookies with a little more of the egg white mixture. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets and bake in a 375-degree- oven for 15 minutes, or until golden on the bottom. Remove to cooling rack. Once cooled, melt the chocolate chips and drizzle over the cookies. You can top with some powdered sugar, if you like. Makes 2½-3 dozen.

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