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Friday, March 18, 2011

Irish-ish Eats

The night before St. Patrick's Day, a friend and I got together to make some festive foods for the occasion. On the menu: Irish soda bread, green salad with homemade green goddess dressing, and potato-leek soup.

For the Irish soda bread, we followed the recipe in The Joy of Vegan Baking, but split it in half, using regular flour for one mini loaf and Bob's Red Mill's All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour for the other. Neither of us had ever used this gluten-free flour before, so we weren't entirely sure what to expect.

Immediately upon opening the bag, A remarked that it smelled like hay. I sniffed and confirmed this statement. With trepidation, we mixed our separate batches and plopped the batters into the mini pans and cut our Xes on top.

Regular flour loaf (Before)

gluten-free flour loaf (Before)

Regular flour loaf (After)

Gluten-free loaf (After)

The gluten-free loaf was DISGUSTING, and I think the GF flour is to blame. It smelled weird, and it tasted way too earthy: like grass and dirt and who knows what else. It's made with garbanzo, potato starch, tapioca, sorghum, and fava bean flours. This blend of flours is not a good fit for such a simple recipe, and I'm hesitant to use it in sweeter baked goods (cakes or cookies) because I feel that the earthy flavor will overpower it. I don't plan on using this flour in the future.

I tasted the regular loaf, and it was okay. Nothing spectacular, but that's kind of what Irish soda bread is all about. A didn't like it at all, though.

Moving on to the salad -- we used this FatFree Vegan Kitchen recipe for the dressing. (This dressing is not actually fat free, but it's much lower in fat and calories than the Annie's version.) This was a breeze to make. We upped the garlic content a bit, so that plus the green onion made for quite a tangy dressing. (Personally, I feel that two whole green onions was too much for my tastes, but I have issues with onions to begin with.)

Salads were a success! On to the soup!

We followed another Colleen recipe for the potato-leek soup, this one coming from The Vegan Table (which is an absolutely GORGEOUS cookbook). This is only my second time (knowingly) eating leeks, so I was pretty excited to cook with them. (Yes, they are related to onions, but they're quite mild and don't bother me.) We pureed most of the soup, which made it velvety smooth. A had some Follow Your Heart cheddar and some Bac-Uns on hand for toppings, which I tried, but really, the soup is just perfect as is.

So there you have it: one failure overshadowed by two successes! Sounds like good luck to me.


  1. LOVE potato-leek soup, but since I am useless in the kitchen and places that offer it use chicken stock, I rarely get to enjoy it. The gluten-free flour sounds like a post-modern “masterpiece” – too many disparate ingredients thrown together. And it looks like sliced couch cushion. I’m sure you did your best with it, but it sounds like the stuff just isn’t suitable. Bob’s stuff is pretty good, otherwise. Irish brown bread is also tasty; they seem to serve it with every meal over there.