happiness + soda bread.

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I hope this finds you well! I have a big smile on my face for quite a few reasons, but I’ll only divulge a few.

I read aloud to kids today, which pretty much always makes me happy. I love when kids laugh or feel empathy and realize that literature can engage them; it can be something to which they relate. Stories can articulate things they’ve thought or felt and help them feel more connected to themselves and others. The students are currently enjoying books by Sherman Alexie, a native Seattlelite, talented poet, and writer of young adult literature.

On the drive home, Alexi (this name has been recurring throughout my day, apparently) Murdoch was playing live on KEXP. I’d never heard his music before, but it’s so gorgeous that I’m excited to share it with you. Also, he recorded his entire new album on ONE NIGHT in Vancouver. Amazing. (Doesn’t he kind of remind you of Nick Drake?)

Lastly, a recipe for Irish Soda Bread. I almost forgot about St. Patrick’s Day (the horror!) until I went to the supermarket yesterday and was blocked from the fruit aisle by dozens of ugly unnaturally green bouquets. St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays; I have fond memories of going to pubs in Dublin, peering out the window and seeing kids playing soccer in the parking lots, while their parents sipped pints of Guinness. Most shops were closed, and it appeared that only the bar staff went to work on this particularly important day. It’s a true holiday in Dublin, one that’s only rivaled by NYC’s celebrations.

This soda bread goes wonderfully with good butter. Get Kerrygold, which is available from Trader Joe’s; it’s true Irish butter, and it’s so ridiculously delicious that it makes me wish I had a loaf of this bread baking right now. lv, molly

Whole Grain Soda Bread (Irish Style– none of that white flour and raisins)

1 C whole grain flour
1 C all-purpose flour
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp superfine sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put a large pot and its lid into the oven. Cast iron are great for this, but stainless steel will do.
In a large bowl, mix the flours, sea salt, sugar, and baking together with your fingers. Pour in the liquid, bringing a soft dough together and, working quickly (the soda will start work immediately), shape into a shallow round loaf about 1/2″ thick.
Remove the pan from the oven, dust the inside of the pan lightly with flour, and lower in the dough. Cover with the lid and return to the oven.
The bread should be ready after 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave in place for 5 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool slightly before eating. Soda bread is best eaten warm.

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