So here’s what a day off looks like–a day off nearing the second half of June where I try to squeeze in way too many things because I know I won’t have another leisurely day in awhile. Is that what you do on your days off? Oy.
There was a double espresso with almond milk, my favorite yoga class, and plenty of ball with Noel:
There were also drop biscuits to make. Whole wheat drop biscuits from Good to the Grain to be more specific. There were also strawberries to wash and slice. My sister’s boyfriend flew in tonight from Philly and I wanted to make dessert but didn’t have much time. Solution: drop biscuits with strawberries and cream.
After making the biscuits and prepping the berries, I hopped on the ferry to meet with some folks about a writing job in the city. I actually missed my first ferry and was late to my meeting but that’s a different story altogether–one involving sweat, racing down Market St. for blocks in ballet flats, and frizzy hair. But back to the ferry and the not-so-shabby views:
Off I went. My meeting rocked. And I raced back down to The Ferry Building to have a glass of wine with my old friend Katie. She’s awesome and it was happy hour. What’s better than that? Then back home (but first, I actually missed my second ferry. Yes, it was a stellar day of transportation for me) to a big dinner around the table with family, Zoe’s new boyfriend, a gaggle of dogs, fresh flowers, a few mosquitos, and a damn fine dessert. Here you have it. I hope you have a lovely June weekend.
Now remember my last post— how I sung the praises of the slump for all its simplicity and ease? Well, this tops the slump in that regard. These drop biscuits are unbelievably simple and versatile. They’re slightly crumbly, surprisingly light, and only subtly sweet. Once you get the biscuits in the oven, you can literally whip this dessert up as people finish the dishes and make coffee and tea. It’s that easy (and I’m not one of those people that likes to whip much of anything up last minute. But this is the recipe that’s changed me for good).
Putting it Together:
Preheat oven to 325 F and rub a baking sheet lightly with butter. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pour back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.
Add the heavy cream and stir using your hands or a fork until the dough just comes together. Don’t over mix: the dough is supposed to be shaggy. On the baking sheet, pile the dough into six mounds, leaving 3-4 inches between them. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. sugar for dusting. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the tops just begin to brown.
While the biscuits are baking, place the berries in a bowl and toss with 1 Tbsp. sugar. Allow them to sit and release their juices, uncovered, for 30 minutes (or until the biscuits are done). Meanwhile, whip the remaining cup of cream into soft peaks. Add 1 tsp. of sugar if you like your whipped cream sweetened.
When the biscuits are out of the oven, fill each bowl with a generous spoonful of berries, cream, and arrange a warm biscuit alongside.
Glimpses of Spring
We returned home from San Francisco on New Years Eve just in time for dinner, and craving greens -- or anything other than baked goods and pizza (ohhhh San Francisco, how I love your bakeries. And citrus. And winter sunshine). Instead of driving straight home, we stopped at our co-op where I ran in for some arugula, an avocado, a bottle of Prosecco, and for the checkout guys to not-so-subtly mock the outlook of our New Years Eve: rousing party, eh? They looked to be in their mid-twenties and I figured I probably looked ancient to them, sad even. But really, there wasn't much sad (or rousing, to be fair) about our evening: putting Oliver to bed, opening up holiday cards and hanging them in the kitchen, and toasting the New Year with arugula, half a quesadilla and sparkling wine. It wasn't lavish. But it's what we both needed. (Or at least what we had to work with.) Since then, I've been more inspired to cook lots of "real" food versus all of the treats and appetizers and snacks the holidays always bring on. I made Julia Turshen's curried red lentils for the millionth time, a wintry whole grain salad with tuna and fennel, roasted potatoes, and this simple green minestrone that I've taken for lunch this week. Determined to fit as many seasonal vegetables into a bowl as humanly possible, I spooned a colorful pesto on top, as much for the reminder of warmer days to come as for the accent in the soup (and for the enjoyment later of slathering the leftover pesto on crusty bread).
It turns out shopping for wedding dresses is nothing like they make it appear in the movies. Or at least it hasn't been for me. Angels don't sing. Stars don't explode. Relatives don't cry. There isn't a sudden heart-stopping moment that this is, in fact, "the one." To be honest, I always knew that I wasn't the kind of gal for whom angels would sing or stars would explode but I did think I'd have some kind of moment where I could tell I'd found the best dress. Instead, my mom flew into town and we spent three (yes, three!!) days shopping for dresses, and since then I've been back to the stores we visited -- and I'm more undecided than ever. Tomorrow morning I'll return with my friend Keena to try and tie this business up once and for all. Cross your fingers.
When I was single and living alone in the Bay Area, I made virtually the same thing for dinner each night. I ate meals quickly while in front of the computer. Or even worse: the television. This most often included what I call "Mexican Pizzas" which were basically glorified quesadillas baked in the oven until crispy. Sometimes, if I was really feeling like cooking, I'd whip up a quick stir-fry with frozen vegetables from Trader Joe's or a mushroom frittata using pre-sliced mushrooms. Mostly, though, it was Mexican Pizzas -- a good four or five nights a week. Today, thankfully, dinner looks a lot different. Meals in general look a lot different. How would I explain that difference? I think that ultimately how we feel about our life colors how we choose to feed ourselves and the importance that we place on preparing our own meals.
Today was 75 degrees in Seattle and it seemed the whole city was out and about drinking iced coffee in tank tops and perhaps not working all that hard. When we have a hit of sunshine like this in April (or, really, any time of the year), we're all really good at making excuses to leave the office early -- or, simply, to "work from home." I just got back from LA last night, unpacked in a whirlwind this morning, and took Oliver to meet up with three friends from our parents group at the zoo. The only other time I'd been to the Seattle zoo was once with Sam a few years ago when we arrived thirty minutes before closing and ended up doing a whirlwind tour -- sprinting from the giraffes to the massive brown bear to the meerkat. The visit today was much different: we strolled slowly trying to avoid the spring break crowds and beating sun. I managed to only get one of Oliver's cheeks sunburned, and he even got in a decent nap. A success of an afternoon, I'd say. Coming home I realized we didn't have much in the fridge for lunch -- but thankfully there was a respectable stash of Le Croix (Le Croix season is back!) and a small bowl of this whole grain salad I made right before I left town. It's the kind of salad that's meant for this time of year: it pulls off colorful and fresh despite the fact that much of the true spring and summer produce isn't yet available. And for that reason, I make a few versions of it in early spring, often doubling the recipe so there's always the possibility of having a small bowl at 1 p.m. while the baby naps in the car seat, one cheek sunburned, windows and back door open -- a warm breeze creeping into the kitchen.
On Monday our little family of three is headed to the airport at 6 am to board our first with-baby cross-country trip. We'll be visiting Sam's family in New Jersey for a few days, then renting a car and driving over to meet up with my family at my mom's lake house in the Adirondacks. Sam's younger sister and her kids have yet to meet Oliver; my grandpa has yet to meet him, and Oliver has yet to take a dunk in a lake, see a firefly, or spend quality time with energetic dogs -- of which there will be three. A lot of firsts. This week my family has been madly texting, volunteering to make certain meals or sweets on assigned days while we're at the cabin and it got me thinking about really simple, effortless summer desserts -- in particular, ones that you can make while staying in a house with an unfamiliar kitchen and unfamiliar equipment and still do a pretty bang-up job. I think fruit crisp is just that thing.