Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras: celebration and surprise

Today is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Day and Shrove Tuesday. This is the day that the Roman Catholic calendar marks the end of Ordinary Time and switches to Lent, which starts tomorrow.

Today is always a fun day around here because of the "need" to eat up, drink up and basically finish up all the non-Lenten goodies.

We don't HAVE to do this ... but it makes for a great reason to have pancakes for dinner! Tonight I made a recipe recommended by Jenn over at Feast & Feria -- this is a recipe for "Irish Potato Pancakes" but really, the pancakes come out much like normal pancakes with grated potato to add bulk. We served them with homemade applesauce, butter and sugar, and Jimmy Dean sausages. Ice cream, a movie and Jane Brocket's Fruity Rock Buns finished off the evening.

I slightly changed the original recipe -- we didn't have buttermilk in the house so I used milk and plain yogurt; they were amazing! Here's the recipe (with my changes noted):

Irish Potato Pancakes (also known as Boxty)
2-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2-1/2 cups buttermilk (I used 2 cups milk and 1 cup plain yogurt)
1 cup freshly grated raw potato (I used 2 medium potatoes)
2 Tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix and sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat eggs slightly in large bowl; stir in buttermilk. Stir in dry ingredients, mixing just until blended (batter will be slightly lumpy). Stir in grated potato, butter or margarine, and vanilla. Ladle batter, a scant 1/4 cup for each pancake, onto greased heated griddle. Bake 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbles cover the top and underside is golden; turn; bake 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve at once, with plenty of butter. Sprinkle generously with sugar, as the Irish do. Makes 3 dozen 4-inch pancakes.

Recipe Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965

The Fruity Rock Buns from Jane Brocket's book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity, always seem to just make very large cookies. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong ... maybe the butter is too soft? Anyway, they taste sensational and the family doesn't mind that they're cookies instead of "buns" ... so c'est la vie! Here's the recipe in case you'd like to try them too:

Fruity Rock Buns (makes 12)

1-1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup softened butter
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup candied fruit
Finely grate lemon
1 large egg
1-2 tbls milk

Preheat oven to 375
Sift flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the sugar and then the butter. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs and feels sandy. Stir in the fruit and rind.

Whisk the egg and 1 tbls of milk together. Add to dry mix and mix quickly with a fork. If the mixture is too dry add a little more milk; it should be a stiffish dough.

Using your hands, pile the mixture into 12 even “rocks” on a greased baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a rack and eat while still just warm.

The surprise was from the mailman ... thanks to a wonderful friend on 4real, I received ... not one, not two, but THREE gorgeous knitting books. Seems she's moving and she thought I'd enjoy the books. Is she kidding? An Alice Starmore that I used to own ... but gave away in one of my many moves; and TWO Kaffe Fasset books that are simply eye-candy for knitters! Wow! I couldn't believe my "haul". Can't wait to delve into them and start planning my next knitting project.

What a sweetie ... and now I'll need to think of some suitable knitterly gift to send to my online pal!

Tomorrow ... Lent 2009 starts. I'm excited about this Lent. I am so ready this year to really "get into it". I started by attending tonight the first of a 7-week, 1-hour theology course given at dh's school. I've got my Lenten readings all worked out, a calendar is posted to help us walk this journey, and we'll try to make it to daily Mass and bi-monthly confession. We have so much to be thankful for ... and so much to pray for ... that this Lent will be quite a blessed time for our whole family.

I pray that your Lent 2009 is fruitful and blessed!

1 comment:

Carmen said...

Mary, don't you just love The Gentle Art of Domesticity. I got this book at the library a few weeks ago. It totally inspired me to start a new quilt. I'm looking forward to your book as well! I'm just about done with my first sweater. I'm getting the hang of the kichener(sp?) stitch. I have to knit this sweater again for Luke and really, I'm afraid I might not remember how I made the first one! I didn't know Kaffe Fassett was a knitter as well. I'm familiar with his quilt books. Happy Lent!