Confession time: I used to talk a lot of trash on New Jersey. I grew up in the Philly suburbs, and that meant that the yellow licence plates signaled bad drivers, the state was covered in fist-pumping, hair-gelled bros, and the area between the bridges and the shore was a dead-land. But then we moved here. And I realized that New Yorkers are really the worst drivers, Philly has more hipsters than Jersey has bros, and New Jersey is full of hidden treasures beyond the shore. We discovered the cute old towns like Haddonfield and Collingswood. We spent our weekends enjoying the expansive parks and strolling along the Cooper River. More importantly, we met fantastic people. There is such a sense of community in South Jersey, and I feel privileged being able to join in.
I’ve learned more than a few things watching Steven brew beer, but one of the most valuable things I’ve learned is “Don’t fear the yeast.” He recognizes that yeast can be tricky and doesn’t always cooperate, but the results are surely worth the effort. Baking with yeast always seemed daunting. Monitoring temperatures and making sure the bread would rise would send me into a mini-panic attack, which is certainly not something I am used to in the kitchen. My approach to cooking has always been that recipes are rough guidelines and if I have to be completely sober while cooking it probably won’t work out.
What to make your love for Valentine’s Day breakfast? Soda bread, of course! This recipe screams love. So much love that it is welcome every day after Valentine’s Day. And since this bread is so easy to make, I threw together a homebrewer’s version on Sunday night using spent grain flour from our Armistice Brew Co. Dark Saison. Because true love deserves a dinner of Irish soda bread and Champagne. Serve with Earth Balance and pure maple syrup to really pump up the flavor.