Leap Year

Film (with rating): Leap Year (PG)


Studio: Universal


Summary: Anna Brady (Amy Adams) plans to travel to Ireland
to propose to her boyfriend on Feb. 29 because, according to Irish tradition, a
man who receives a marriage proposal on a leap day must accept it. But getting
there is filled with obstacles, issues and a stubborn, yet handsome, Irishman
named Declan (Matthew Goode).


Review: In light of both Feb. 29, 2012, and St. Patrick’s
Day, I figured I’d dig one out of the vault for this column. “Leap Year”
fit the bill. While this film isn’t an award-winning romance nor is it an
unforgettable comedy, it is a pleasant stroll in the Irish countryside with
some likeable characters thrown in for good measure. This rom-com is
predicable, but really, what romantic comedy is not? It is also hobbled a bit
by some one-dimensional and rather stereotypical Irish characters (sorry, about
that ire!). But all of that can be overlooked because of the charming
performances by Adams and Goode, and the spectacular eye candy known as the
Irish landscape.


In “Leap Year,” Adams plays a high-maintenance
career gal with a plan to finally get her stick-in-the-mud boyfriend to marry
her–by popping the question herself. But as she heads out to Ireland from the
East Coast in order to meet up with said boyfriend at a conference, she’s
sidelined by one travel problem after another. When she finally arrives on
Irish soil, she must find a way to Dublin. Enter Declan, who of course hates
Anna and the feeling is mutual. But remember, this is a romantic comedy. The
hate won’t last forever.


So while "Leap Year" isn't going to shock anyone, it is a worth a watch just for the likeable Adams and the sensational Irish setting. So on this St. Patrick's Day weekend, enjoy some food and scenery from the homeland. And to all my readers, saol fada chugat. 


What to serve for dinner: Corned beef sandwiches with spicy
mustard, green beer and Irish soda bread (simplyrecipes.com). Finish up with a
scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with Bailey’s Irish Cream.


4 to 4 1/2 cups flour

Tbsp sugar

teaspoon salt

teaspoon baking soda

Tbsp butter

cup raisins

large egg, lightly beaten

3/4 cups buttermilk


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together 4 cups of flour,
the sugar, salt, and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. Using two knives or
a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles
coarse meal, then add in the raisins.


Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add beaten
egg and buttermilk to well and mix in with a wooden spoon until dough is too
stiff to stir. Dust hands with a little flour, then gently knead dough in the
bowl just long enough to form a rough ball. If the dough is too sticky to work
with, add in a little more flour. Do not over-knead! Transfer dough to a
lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf. Note that the dough will
be a little sticky, and quite shaggy (a little like a shortcake biscuit dough).
You want to work it just enough so that the flour is just moistened and the
dough just barely comes together. Shaggy is good. If you over-knead, the bread
will end up tough.


Transfer dough to a large, lightly greased cast-iron skillet
or a baking sheet (it will flatten out a bit in the pan or on the baking sheet).
Using a serrated knife, score top of dough about an inch and a half deep in an
“X” shape. The purpose of the scoring is to help heat get into the
center of the dough while it cooks. Transfer to oven and bake until bread is
golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 35-45 minutes. Check for
doneness by inserting a long, thin skewer into the center. If it comes out
clean, it’s done.


If the top is getting too dark while baking, tent the bread
with some aluminum foil.


Remove pan or sheet from oven, let bread sit in the pan or
on the sheet for 5-10 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool briefly. Serve
bread warm, at room temperature, or sliced and toasted. Best when eaten warm
with butter and honey.


What to talk about over dinner: What is your most memorable
St. Patrick’s Day? What is the history behind this holiday? Do you have any
roots in Ireland? Have you ever been to Ireland? What’s your favorite spot in
that country? What was your favorite scene in the movie? Your favorite movie
location? Ever kissed the Blarney Stone? Did you find the movie unbearably
predictable, or comfortably predictable? Do you enjoy romances, or romantic
comedies more? What’s your favorite Amy Adams movie? Why is she so likeable?
She named her daughter Aviana Olea. Like, or no?