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.
Healthy Comfort Food
People describe raising young kids as a particular season in life. I hadn't heard this until we had a baby, but it brought me a lot of comfort when I'd start to let my mind wander, late at night between feedings, to fears that we'd never travel internationally again or have a sit-down meal in our dining room. Would I ever eat a cardamom bun in Sweden? Soak in Iceland? I loved the heck out of our tiny Oliver, but man what had we done?! Friends would swoop in and reassure us that this was just a season, a blip in the big picture of it all. They promised we'd likely not even remember walking around the house in circles singing made-up songs while eating freezer burritos at odd hours of the day (or night). And it's true.
Oliver is turning two next month, and those all-encompassing baby days feel like a different time, a different Us. In many ways, dare I say it, Toddlerhood actually feels a bit harder. Lately Oliver has become extremely opinionated about what he will and will not wear -- and he enforces these opinions with fervor. Don't get near the kid with a button-down shirt. This week at least. He's obsessed with his rain boots and if it were up to him, he'd keep them on at all times, especially during meals. He insists on ketchup with everything (I created a damn monster), has learned the word "trash" and insists on throwing found items away on his own that really, truly are not trash. I came to pick him up from daycare the other day and he was randomly wearing a bike helmet -- his teacher mentioned he'd had it on most of the day and really, really didn't want to take it off. The kid has FEELINGS. I love that about him, and wouldn't want it any other way. But, man it's also exhausting.
I just finished washing out Oliver's lunchbox and laying it out to dry for the weekend. My favorite time of day is (finally) here: the quiet of the evening when I can actually talk to Sam about our day or sit and reflect on my own thoughts after the inevitable dance party or band practice that precedes the bedtime routine lately. Before becoming pregnant for the second time, I'd have had a glass of wine with the back door propped open right about now -- these days though, I have sparkling water or occasionally take a sip from one of Sam's hard ciders. Except now the back door's closed and we even turned on the heat for the first time yesterday. The racing to water the lawn and clean the grill have been replaced by cozier dinners at home and longer baths in the evening. You blink and it's the first day of fall.
I'd heard from many friends that buying a house wasn't for the faint of heart. But I always shrugged it off, figuring I probably kept better files or was more organized and, really, how hard could it be? Well, I've started (and stopped) writing this post a good fifteen times which may indicate something. BUT! First thing's first: we bought a house! I think! I'm pretty sure! We're still waiting for some tax transcripts to come through and barring any hiccough with that, we'll be moving out of our beloved craftsman in a few weeks and down the block to a great, brick Tudor house that we wanted the second we laid eyes on it. The only problem: it seemed everyone else in Seattle had also laid eyes on it, and wanted it equally as much. I'm not really sure why the homeowner chose us in the end. Our offer actually wasn't the highest, but apparently there were some issues with a few of them. We wrote a letter introducing ourselves and describing why we'd be the best candidates and why we were so drawn to the house; we have a really wonderful broker who pulled out all the stops, and after sifting through 10 offers and spending a number of hours deliberating, they ended up going with ours. We were at a friend's book event at the time when Sam showed me the text from our broker and I kind of just collapsed into his arms. We were both in ecstatic denial (wait, is this real?! Did we just buy a house?) and celebrated by getting chicken salad and potato salad from the neighborhood grocery store and eating it, dazed, on our living room floor. Potato salad never tasted so good.
If your house is anything like ours, last week wasn't our most inspired in terms of cooking. We're all suffering from the post-election blues -- the sole upside being Oliver's decision to sleep-in until 7 am for the first time in many, many months; I think he's trying to tell us that pulling the covers over our heads and hibernating for awhile is ok. It's half-convincing. For much of the week, instead of cooking, there'd been takeout pizza and canned soup before, at week's end, I decided it was time to pour a glass of wine and get back into the kitchen. I was craving something hearty and comforting that we could eat for a few days. Something that wouldn't remind me too much of Thanksgiving because, frankly, I can't quite gather the steam to start planning for that yet. It was time for a big bowl of chili.
Porridge is not the sexiest of breakfasts, it's true. It doesn't have a stylish name like strata or shakshuka, and it doesn't have perfectly domed tops like your favorite fruity muffin. It doesn't crumble into delightful bits like a good scone nor does it fall into buttery shards like a well-made croissant. But when you wake up and it's 17 degrees outside (as it has been, give or take a few, for the last week), there's nothing that satisfies like a bowl of porridge or oatmeal. It's warm and hearty and can be made sweet or savory with any number of toppings. The problem? Over the years, it's gotten a bad rap as gluey or gummy or just downright boring or dutiful -- and it's because not everyone knows the secrets to making a great pot of warm morning cereal. So let's talk porridge (also: my cookbook comes out this month! So let's take a peek inside, shall we?)