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.

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Simone

Take Love for Granted

A painting and a poem for this Day of Love. As the poet says, Wake it every day… Happy Valentines Day, everyone.

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Assume it’s in the kitchen,
under the couch, high
in the pine tree out back,
behind the paint cans
in the garage. Don’t try
proving your love
is bigger than the Grand
Canyon, the Milky Way,
the urban sprawl of L.A.
Take it for granted. Take it
out with the garbage. Bring
it in with the takeout. Take
it for a walk with the dog.
Wake it every day, say,
“Good morning.” Then
make the coffee. Warm
the cups. Don’t expect much
of the day. Be glad when
you make it back to bed.
Be glad he threw out that
box of old hats. Be glad
she leaves her shoes
in the hall. Snow will
come. Spring will show up.
Summer will be humid.
The leaves will fall
in the fall. That’s more
than you need. We can
love anybody, even
everybody. But you
can love the silence,
sighing and saying to
yourself, “That’s her.”
“That’s him.” Then to
each other, “I know!
Let’s go out for breakfast!”

—Jack Ridl

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Jack

Those Pesky Immigrants

Columbus Day is an opportunity to ponder immigration, an especially rich subject during the current election season. The image below, created for this holiday, is part of the all-media Op-Ed exhibit at the Art League Gallery at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia. Come to the opening reception October 13th for a look at a range of opinionated work.

(click twice to enlarge)

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Solstice Moon

Don your leafy crown and pagan garb and prepare to dance ’round the bonfire, for (in the Northern Hemisphere) ’tis the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, a time to celebrate our warming sun, our greening earth, and fertility in all its forms. And this shortest night is graced by a full moon, an unusual conjunction of events. Reason enough for dancing!

Solstice

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Don 2006

Mothers Day/Mr. Darcy’s Birthday

A double celebration: today the tribute to mothers was shared with the dog’s 11th birthday. And where our family’s dog is concerned, this is of equal significance. Celebrated with a trip to the Palisades Farmers Market, brunch on the porch, and a visit to the last day of “Wonder” at the Renwick, a stunning exhibit well worth the long lines. (Mr. Darcy did not attend.)

MothersDayDarcyBday

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Celeste

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Uncle Mike

February Festivals

A happy sequence of events, all signifying that we are now halfway through the winter: The First of February, Groundhog Day/Candlemas, and Setsubun. This means that, although there are still heaps of snow along every sidewalk and intersection, we can celebrate with crêpes, candle-making, watching one of our favorite movies, eating sushi rolls, and tossing beans into the garden. Happy February! Wishing you much joy and no demons!

FebFestivals2016

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Anna

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Corinne

Celebration

So fittingly on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we listened to many touching, fascinating, and funny reminiscences during the moving celebration of Al Bronstein. This is a man who infused all his life’s undertakings—from social justice to education to family life to fabulous cooking—with his fierce determination, courage, brilliance, humor and kindness. Thank you, Al.

AlBronsteinCelebration

 
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Matilda

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Susan

Hark!

For Christmas Day, a painting and a poem. Merry Christmas, everyone, as we go onward together holding hands, listening for angels.

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A little girl is singing for the faithful to come ye
Joyful and triumphant, a song she loves,
And also the partridge in a pear tree
And the golden rings and the turtle doves.
In the dark streets, red lights and green and blue
Where the faithful live, some joyful, some troubled,
Enduring the cold and also the flu,
Taking the garbage out and keeping the sidewalk shoveled.
Not much triumph going on here—and yet
There is much we do not understand.
And my hopes and fears are met
In this small singer holding onto my hand.
Onward we go, faithfully, into the dark
And are there angels hovering overhead? Hark.
— Gary Johnson

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Ann

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Stephanie

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Noah

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Nevin

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Tony