It’s hard to pick my highlights from the week, since on Wednesday night I flew out of Seattle (55 and rainy) and into sunny San Diego (blue skies and 80 degree temps). Icing on the cake (or rather, the cake itself, since he’s the reason for my visit – the sunshine is the icing), I got to meet my very dear friend Amanda’s 7 week old baby, Max. I only get to stay for a few days, so we’re going to pack in as many happy hours, beach trips, and Mexican food dinners as an infant’s schedule will allow. Luckily he’s one of the most easygoing babies I’ve ever seen, so that might be more than one would think.
My idea of decorating consists mainly of changing out my Glassybaby displays for the seasons and holidays. I love this St. Patty’s Day trio with the mini green hydrangea (at least that’s what I think they are). Technically two of these are “Christmas greens” – Elf was a birthday gift from my friend Kelly and Mistletoe I bought as a gift for someone else, but accidentally kept for myself. Oops! (Grass was a “thanks for helping with my wedding” gift from my cousin Anna). Last year they had a color called “Leprechaun” that I meant to get and didn’t, and now they no longer carry – but I think I need to add Emerald and Lucky to my collection for some true St. Patrick’s Day greens.
I bought a loaf of soda bread from a bakery near my house last March, and it was so delish that this year I was inspired to make it myself. I know I said I would stop with the Melissa Clark recipes, but I guess I meant after just one more. This one is so easy and so good – and if you’d like a more detailed explanation of soda bread, with better pictures, the recipe I used is almost identical to this one. The only differences are mine uses half the sugar, yogurt or sour cream rather than buttermilk, and part whole wheat flour rather than all white – but you could play around with the recipes and use whatever you have on hand.
Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread with Raisins and Caraway
From Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (see notes)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups plain whole milk yogurt (see notes)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 10-inch round cake pan (I just used a cookie sheet with parchment paper).
2. In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined, taking care not to overmix. Fold in the raisins and caraway seeds. (Note: I had to quasi-knead the dough with my hands to get it combined, so it felt as though I was certainly overmixing, but my loaf still turned out great).
3. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a round about 7 inches in diameter (it will spread to about 10 inches) and place it in the prepared cake pan. Score the round with a cross and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Bake until golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Serve warm if possible, or toast slices before serving.
Note: if you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour (I’ve never been able to, although I suppose I haven’t looked that hard), Melissa suggests using half whole wheat flour and half white – that’s what I did and mine turned out perfectly.
I popped into J. Crew on Tuesday in search of some warm-weather pieces for San Diego, and found another sale going on. This locket necklace was 40% off final sale – originally $48, and I paid $17. The little lockets all open up and everything – if only I had eight tiny little pictures.
Yesterday Amanda, Max and I had an amazing lunch at Tartine, a delicious French bakery “on the island” (that’s what locals call Coronado:)). I had an amazing spinach quiche, and then we split a mango cheesecake for dessert. I wish it could be vacation every day!
After lunch, we headed to the Hotel Del Coronado for an early happy hour. When I saw a drink called “blackberry basil” on the cocktkail list, I had to try it. If only it had been blueberries instead! It was to die for, and I think I might have to start putting basil in all my drinks now!
I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend, wherever you may be! TGIF!!