Friday, March 28, 2014

Blackberry Morning

Good morning! In this indecisive season of March (65 tuesday, snow yesterday, cold today), I have had enough of winter mode. I found a muffin recipe a few weeks ago on Pinterest that I had to try. I started to make them last Saturday for breakfast, but ran out of time. How do I always think there's more time than there is? This morning there is plenty of time. It's my last weekday morning off and it's an off Friday for my fella (I love this schedule of every other Friday off!), so we get a free day together. Muffins that taste like summer are the best way to start such a day.

The recipe was for blueberry jam muffins, and their photo looks fantastic. They are blueberry with blueberry jam & lemon zesty sugar topping. This berry and citrus combination is something I've always enjoyed, and when I think of the colors of blueberry & lemon I have to smile. It's so so summery and fresh, no? I have been thinking about those muffins ever since I pinned them, but with no time to make them. I haven't baked since Christmas. What?!

Alas, I have no blueberries. Nor a lemon. But there is a handful of blackberries (frozen, but from the new Natural Grocers store that just opened in town! They'll do) and a handful of raspberries (frozen too, but I picked them at my friend Mary's house last summer to round out a super fun quintessential summer day). I rather enjoy when I find I have exactly the amount of something I need. I needed two cups and had a cup of each. So I made these muffins and just ate one with a full cup of hot, uninterrupted coffee and I'm a happy girl.

I adapted the recipe from Damn Delicious, and am looking forward to baking them just as she instructs in the very near future. In the meantime, my muffins have raspberries inside and blackberry jam on top. Sprinkled with a little bit of sugar, they've got such a good light crunch on the top. Yum.

You can find the original recipe for the blueberry muffins here. To make my Raspberry Muffins with Blackberry Jam Topping, I used one cup of blackberries for the first step (making the "jam") and one cup of raspberries for the batter.

And so I start my day with a tiny taste of summer. These muffins reminded me of a raspberry jam from last summer that I made. I am very, very much looking forward to doing that again soon. Not soon enough. I hope you have a fun Friday, and are staying warm wherever you are. Has it stopped snowing back East yet?!


With summery thoughts,


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Break

I just went for a run in shorts and a T-shirt. short sleeves! It is 65 degrees at the moment, and I decided to take advantage of the sunny, warm afternoon. I started out for a quick out-and-back that would have been about a 1/2 hour, then decided once I was out there that going back would be a waste of weather. It snowed this time last week, and it's supposed to be miserable on Thursday, so I needed to take in all I could.

While I was out there I saw a flock of new, tiny, black lambs and their mommas, got hit with a bug (the deep freeze is over!), and spied so many teensy buds on tree branches. I had to go around a parked landscape truck in two different places, and can smell the burn of the farmers clearing the canals of overgrown, dead grass and leaves. We're a week into spring and I'm getting teased by the indecisiveness of March. It generally makes me crazy waiting and wondering when warm is going to start and finally continue until further notice, but I've started to take it as it comes and try really hard to not worry about tomorrow's forecast while I enjoy today.

Including a full glorious hour in the garden just before putting on my running shoes, I've been outside for two hours straight. With no coat. Or hat. YAY! I weeded, hung out with the cats as they patrolled the fence line, and took a count of rhubarb buds and leaves. TWENTY SEVEN! If I can remember to do it, I'm going to take a picture daily of the plant and see what it looks like growing in time lapse. Two days ago there were 25; it's taking off! We'll see how it goes.

So, day two of spring break. Warm or not, I don't have to get up early, I'm drinking hot coffee, and I don't have any lesson plans to write. It is nice. Hope you're having a great week and a taste of warmer days!

with open windows,



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Real, Good, Slow Food

We went to dinner with a friend from Charleston tonight.  Rob and he worked together in South Carolina and are still with the same company, but he's in Pittsburgh now and we're here in Idaho.  This gentleman came out for work--he's Management now--to see "The Site," as it's locally known, and learn what goes on out here, as some of the Idahoans do when they go inspect East occasionally.  Anyway, we've been planning on dinner out with him for some time now, and weren't sure where to take him.  We noticed a new restaurant several weeks ago, and wondered how it was.  It looked great, but unique and interesting restaurants don't really happen in this town.  There's the clever and refreshing Snake Bite Restaurant and the fancy, date-night Cellar, but that's it for interesting here.  Tonight we decided to try this new place with the modern sign and hip web page (and two terrific Yelp reviews!).

We came from Charleston, a town with more James Beard Award winners per capita than anywhere ever (that might be not quite right, but it cannot be far off the mark), and I miss good food so much.  I have a thing for food that was thought about, really and truly cooked with love, with ingredients that are appreciated and enjoyed, and served by happy, attentive and vouching waitstaff.  I am not a snob, or a foodie, or an afficianado of any sort--i can't even spell afficianado--but i LOVE food that is good.  I especially like food that is good that was raised and grown here.  I like a glass of wine, a conversation, laughs, some stunning food, flavor I can't stop thinking about, and someone who genuinely wants to know if we're enjoying the meal.  I like when my food makes me think, this is it.  this is where i want to be, doing this.  This was my dinner tonight.

Who knew this town had Tapas?!  It does.  Fried goat cheese with cracked-pepper honey.  Chorizo-stuffed jalapeno poppers.  Sea salt fingerling potatoes (local, of course, and purple!), bacon wrapped dates, crab cakes.  Oh my.

Good conversation, laughter, and catching up ensue.  We have a third good restaurant.  One I won't see in another town, on any other day.  It is going to be something that makes us who we are, a town with a personality and a fight for what's good and what's important.  Somewhere we can visit, enjoy and contribute to what's local and good.  We'll be back!