St. Patrick’s Soda Bread

Up early this morning, to prepare the St.Patrick’s Day table and bake soda bread for breakfast. There are many choices, and this recipe (below) is my current favorite. But I was out of wheat germ, so I substituted bran, resulting in a gutsier product. Great with Irish cheddar, or yogurt and jam (or all of the above, if that is to your taste). Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Irish Brown Soda Bread

1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ (or bran)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 T cold unsalted butter cut into bits
1-1/3 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt (I’ve tried both)

Preheat oven to 425º.

Sprinkle baking sheet with a little flour.

In a large bowl whisk together flours, oats, wheat germ/bran, baking soda, and salt. With fingertips rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk/yogurt and mix quickly until dough is evenly moistened. DO NOT OVERMIX.

Turn dough onto floured surface and shape quickly into neat sphere, sprinkling with more flour as needed. On prepared baking sheet pat dough out into 7-inch round. With sharp knife cut shallow X in top.

Bake 25 minutes or so (depends on your oven) until bread looks set in center. Cool before serving.

CakeGreen

Simone

Mom’s Apple Pie

On my mother’s birthday, I always bake her an apple pie in honor of the hundreds of apple pies she made for us, and we light a candle and sing, our voices some years joined by those of friends (thank you Karla, Rob, Kathy, and Ivan). I’m sure my mother is getting much better pie in the Great Beyond, but we continue the earthly tradition. Happy birthday, Mom!

MomsApplePie

PieForJMom

Valentine Treats

A giant chocolate-chip scone on the table this morning, and a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). Happy Valentines Day, everyone.

ValentineScone

Love’s Philosophy

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the Ocean
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle.
Why not I with thine? –

See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain’d its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?

—Percy Bysshe Shelley

CakeCandyStripesJack

CakeChocCurls2Bill

Pie Love/Paris Love

My husband doesn’t care for cake, so every year we celebrate his birthday with an apple pie. Here is this year’s model.

He also shares his birthday with Alfred de Musset (1810-1857) and so I include a poem, along with a poor translation for which I apologize. In honor of my husband’s birthday, I tried to find a jolly poem among all the melancholy meditations on de Musset’s difficult love affair with Aurore Dupin (Georges Sand); but, failing that, I include a poem set in Paris, where my husband and I lived a happier love story than did poor Alfred. (The poem’s use of both forms of second person singular shows what we’ve lost in English when we gave one up.)

JBdayPie3788

Que j’aime le premier frisson d’hiver ! le chaume,
Sous le pied du chasseur, refusant de ployer !
Quand vient la pie aux champs que le foin vert embaume,
Au fond du vieux château s’éveille le foyer ;

C’est le temps de la ville. – Oh ! lorsque l’an dernier,
J’y revins, que je vis ce bon Louvre et son dôme,
Paris et sa fumée, et tout ce beau royaume
(J’entends encore au vent les postillons crier),

Que j’aimais ce temps gris, ces passants, et la Seine
Sous ses mille falots assise en souveraine !
J’allais revoir l’hiver. – Et toi, ma vie, et toi !

Oh ! dans tes longs regards j’allais tremper mon âme
Je saluais tes murs. – Car, qui m’eût dit, madame,
Que votre coeur sitôt avait changé pour moi ?

—Alfred de Musset

How I love the first winter chill! the stubble,
Under the foot of the hunter, refusing to bend!
When the magpie comes to the hay-scented fields,
In the depths of the old château the household awakens;

This is the time of the city. – Oh! when last year
I returned, I saw the good Louvre and its dome,
Paris and her smoke, and all this lovely realm
(I still hear in the wind the shouting postilions)

How I loved this gray time, these passersby and the Seine
Beneath its thousand lanterns seated supreme!
I would see the winter return. – And thee, my life, and thee!

Oh! in thy long looks I would drench my soul
I would salute thy walls. – For, who would have told me, madame,
That your heart had so soon changed toward me?

PieForJJimmy

CakeStrawberriesChris