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Food & Dining // Heart-y Chef
Diana Helfand

Wolfing Down Fresh Irish Soda Bread

Michel Wolf, aka Mr. Tinker, has lived in Hawaii for 30 years and has enjoyed doing handyman services for 25 years. Michel is adept at minor plumbing and electrical work, carpentry and painting, but he also does all kinds of household and home improvements.

His friendly personality and professional style have made many friends among his clients, and that’s what he loves about his job.

Michel also plays guitar and sings every Thursday evening at Boardriders in Kailua. He has performed as Wolf and Sideman, opening for different bands at Crossroads at Hawaiian Brian’s in Honolulu. In his free time, he spends quality time with his son surfing, body boarding and partaking in the many outdoor activities Hawaii has to offer.

This column is dedicated to “Mr. Tinker.”

Whenever St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, I get requests for Irish soda bread.

Here is a lower-fat version with raisins that is sweeter than the basic Irish soda bread, and sour cream gives it a moister consistency. There are scores of Irish soda bread recipes available, and depending on your particular taste, the addition of raisins, nuts and caraway seeds makes tastier versions, so you can mix and match ingredients.

The bread may be frozen. If wrapped well and put into a freezer bag, it should keep for three months. Serve with honey drizzled over the slices, or slathered with cream cheese and some jam.

Raisins usually are sold in sealed packages, so make sure to check the expiration date carefully to ensure freshness. They should be stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. Raisins are a quick energy food, as the drying process concentrates the nutrients. They are an excellent source of potassium and a good source of iron, magnesium and copper, and contain calcium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin C.

IRISH SODA BREAD WITH RAISINS

* 4 cups unbleached flour
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 3/4 cup raisins
* 5 beaten egg whites plus 1 tablespoon water
* 1 pint low-fat sour cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat two 8-by-4-inch loaf pans with cooking spray.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder until well-combined. Toss in raisins until coated with flour mixture. Add the egg whites and sour cream, and mix until just combined. Pour batter evenly between the two pans.

Bake loaves for about 1 hour (tops should sound hollow when tapped and cake tester should come out clean from center).

Makes two loaves, about 20 slices.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Slice:

Calories: 200
Fat: 3.9 grams
Cholesterol: 12 milligrams
Sodium: 102 milligrams

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