Monday, November 09, 2009

Culture Clash

A childhood friend turned 35 this weekend, and I flew up to Oakland to help him celebrate. We spent the day before the party cleaning his apartment and cooking. He had planned a theme party, a white-trash-meets-crystal-and-china party, one that was attended by many, many fascinating people. The air in the penthouse apartment was smeary with bacon fat, steam rose in the candlelight from boiled peanuts, lentil and ham hock soup filled crystal compote cups. It was beautiful. It was funny. I had a great time.

I was so happy to come home.

This weekend:

Home:

This weekend:

Home:

This weekend:



Home:



Fall Quick Bread
Last night, I made the house smell even homier by baking this subtly sweet, softly spiced quick bread. Gorgeously crusty on the outside, the inside has a tight, moist crumb and calls for a smear of butter or better yet, a breakfast dollop of labne drizzled with honey.

You will need:
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons toasted oat bran
3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
3 tablespoons old fashioned oats
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup diced dried fruit (I used apricots and white peaches)
2+ cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon honey

To make the bread:
Grease a large loaf pan and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Toss the first ten (all the dry ingredients) together into a large bowl and stir with a fork until the ingredients are evenly mixed. As you would in biscuit or pie dough, rub the butter into the mixture with your fingers, lifting handfuls of mixture and rolling it over your thumbs to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture. Once there are no more large chunks of butter and the mixture looks "sandy," stir in the dried fruit, two cups of buttermilk, and the honey. Stir together completely. If the dough is still dry (it should be a moist, soft dough), add a healthy splash of buttermilk to moisten, and stir to combine.

Scoop the dough into the greased pan, place the pan in the center of the oven, and bake 40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Let the loaf cool, slice, and spread with something yummy.

8 comments:

AmyR said...

That is a brilliant idea for a party, and the photo comparison - also brilliant. That rug is terrifying.

Susan C said...

I might just steal that idea.

Will you come and help me clean my house before the party? : )

altadenahiker said...

All your photos are lovely, but I'm quite taken with the second one. Oh, and the hen. She knows how to wear a wig.

June said...

If I make that bread for my breakfast, I won't be able to sleep because of the anticipation... And yet I can't NOT make that bread for my breakfast.

Thank you. I think.

Christina said...

AmyR: And, it wasn't even the most terrifying thing in the absolutely gorgeous apartment!

Susan C: I can see you taking this idea, running with it, and uber-successfully turning it into your own version of a Black and White Ball.

AH: The view from my friend's place is breathtaking. I could have spent my whole weekend on the balcony watching the light change over Lake Merritt. The second picture is my favorite too.

June: I hope it meets your expectations. Drizzling honey on it is a must.

Linda Dove said...

I loved many things in this post--the white camels and the white hen house and the white peaches among them most of all.

Must try that bread.

Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

I want to go to your home. I so want chickens!

Loved the party idea...fun! I have got to get that cookbook!

Petrea said...

Being away, being someplace chic and slick--always a thrill. But returning to where you can put your feet up can't be beat.