Sunday, August 3, 2008
Months ago--last April or May, I think, before we went to Australia and New Zealand, I was planning to give a shower for two women who were expecting babies around the same time. Then one of them had her baby five weeks early (don't worry; everything is fine), and so we didn't have the shower. Finally, now that both babies are big, happy, healthy kids, I decided we'd just have a non-shower, at which there are no presents and the guests of honor are out-of-utero.
Here are the guests of honor:
This is Nora. She's the one who arrived early, but she's all caught up now. Usually she's smiling and laughing, but she was a little discombobulated by Jim and his ever-present camera.
This is Alex. Come to think of it, he's usually smiling too. Jim just has that effect on people. Alex was right on time and is now in the 99% of height and weight. He is known, affectionately, in his household as "Fatty."
It was supposed to be 95 and humid today, so I planned to do the baking early in the day. I served bellinis or mimosas (or orange juice for people who don't drink at 10:00 a.m.), cranberry scones, orange blueberry muffins, cucumber salad with smoked salmon and smoked trout, and yogurt with berries and caramel.
The scones were a new recipe from the NYTimes. The reason I wanted to try this recipe is because it specifies a particular kind of flour that I didn't have. After I saw the recipe, I decided that I must have it--it's King Arthur mellow pastry flour, and it did make the most tender, mellow scones I have ever had. And a breeze to make--a few pulses in the food processor, roll them out, and they're ready for the oven. I'm definitely going to use this flour the next time I make pie.
Oops--I forgot to add the dried cranberries to the dough, but no harm done--I just kneaded them in and rolled the dough out.
They're brushed with a little cream and beaten egg, which gave them a nice sheen.
The blueberry-orange muffins are from Dorie Greenspan's big fat baking book. Guess what they have in them? Three-quarters of a cup of buttermilk. Guess how much buttermilk that leaves for me to use up? Um, I think the answer is 26 ounces, which seems like a lot. Fortunately, hundreds of people on the internet have already typed out this recipe, so I don't have to. This is from the Miami Herald
I bought some really fat blueberries, which are great to eat, but not ideal for muffins because they burst open during baking.
You can see the difference between the whole berries in the unbaked batter, and the big patches of purple after baking.
I can't show you pictures of the babies eating muffins because these young mothers are so persnickety about letting their babies eat real food. I think I was advised to give Sarah cereal and bananas when she was five weeks old, and then I'm pretty sure she moved directly on to hot dogs, which were considered an ideal food for babies because they had protein and were easy to chew. I'm not making this up, you know.