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Rites of Spring

Irish loaves and burning socks

This Sunday is the day to celebrate your Irish roots or embrace the Irish heritage and culture through food, drink and jigs. Some find their Irish thru green beer and shots of Jameson’s whiskey (which often helps with the jigs). A traditional favorite is slow-roasted corned beef and cabbage.
    Another staple is Irish soda bread. Great Harvest Bread Company in West Annapolis is offering a variety of Irish-inspired breads, including made-from-scratch soda bread, rye bread (for those Rueben sandwiches), Leprechaun bread (green-colored white bread with shamrock detail), Irish baked potato bread (with cheddar and chives), Guinness and Gouda bread and Irish coffee cake.
    Owner Pam Storm expects to sell upwards of 200 loaves of Irish soda bread and 75 loaves of the Guinness and Gouda bread. Quantities are limited and reservations are recommended.
    If you fall short or prefer to bake at home and enjoy that wonderful smell, here’s a recipe to get you started.

Irish Soda Bread
   3 cups all purpose flour
   1 Tbsp. baking powder
   1/3 cup white sugar
   1 tsp. salt
   1 tsp. baking soda
   1 egg, lightly beaten
   2 cups buttermilk
   ¼ cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk and add to flour. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 65-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil for several hours or overnight for best flavor. Erin go yum!

Oyster Roast and Sock Burn
    You know it’s spring when it’s time to bare you feet. A quintessential Annapolis custom is to stoke the bonfire and burn winter’s old socks. Join the local tradition at Annapolis Maritime Museum’s third annual Oyster Roast and Sock Burning on Saturday, March 23, noon to 4pm.
    Beyond sock-burning, it’s a full afternoon with the Eastport Oyster Boys, oyster-shucking competitions, nautical exhibits, burgers, beer, barbeque and oysters raw, steamed and roasted ($25 w/age discounts).
    Oyster lovers won’t want to miss the oyster cookoff, with eight restaurants competing for bragging rights. Join in tasting and judging the People’s Choice ($50).
    Last year’s winner, Deep Creek Restaurant, returns in hopes of a repeat victory. Owner Phil Hundemann is so confident about his oyster stew that he shares his recipe with The Dish — albeit without exact measurements. You’ll have to experiment. Come out and taste it first.

Deep Creek Restaurant Oyster Stew
   Heavy cream
   diced tomatoes
   thinly sliced leeks
   Worcestershire sauce
   hot sauce
   lemon juice
   salt and pepper to taste
   shucked oysters
Pour one pint of heavy cream (per serving) and other ingredients (except lemon juice) in a saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2-3 minutes. To serve, stir in a splash of lemon juice.

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