Bread Furst Palladin

This morning, four darling kiddos came over for a play date. I'm grateful so many terrific families stayed local for spring break.
*As an aside, I have taken to calling it Winter Breakyourspirit as that's more accurate a moniker than spring break which implies both warmer, sunnier weather and a vacation of sorts. I've come to an acceptance of this but feel the need to share with you my updated name suggestion.

In any case, fab kids, lots of fun, great way to pass a rainy morning. Two of my fave moms stayed and we actually got to catch up, finishing full paragraphs here and there. Outstanding.

At pick-up, one dad fetching his daughter (isn't it great that the kids asked for a co-ed play date? I love it!) brought me a loaf of Palladin from Bread Furst, Mark Furstenberg's bakery on Connecticut Avenue, just north of Cleveland Park. Furstenberg is a bread guru, and his Palladin bread is his homage to famed DC restaurateur, Jean Louis Palladin.

I can't even talk about how perfectly spongy this bread's interior is or how deliciously toasty and crunchy is its shell. And toasted? It's lighter than air and appealingly chewy. Earlier, I shaved some sharp Irish cheddar on top of a slice and put it under a low broiler until the cheese was bubbling.

Tonight we're having BLTs, and I can't wait.

Three hours of spring & a hell of a meal

Y'all! I wore shorts OUTSIDE for three hours today. It was bliss, despite the glare from my fish-belly-white legs. I raked, trimmed, did some mulching and uncovered a toad. Maybe he was finishing up his under-leaf winter sleep. 

Jack thought he was awesome. Oliver asked to hold him and though he at first responded, "Ugh, he's mushy on my hand!" came around and cottoned to the little guy too. Jack stroked him gently and he croaked several times before we carefully placed him back under a quilt of wet, decomposing leaves. 

Nearly struck dumb by the beauty of sunlight glowing through a crocus's lavender petals, I told the boys to grab drawing pads and colored pencils and try their hands at memorializing the scene. I put towels down so the damp ground wouldn't soak their bums, and draw they did. I  took art for years as a child and am so happy that my boys love it too.

My cute bugs

My cute bugs

Jack's and Oliver's crocus drawings

Jack's and Oliver's crocus drawings

A dear sitter came, and I cleaned the room of my own (AROMO). It felt so good to work out there for a while, writing uninterrupted in the quiet hum of nature.

And then on to dinner.

This warm salad, my caramelized fennel, leeks and orange, never disappoints. It's such a simple combination of flavors and textures and pairs beautifully with a variety of entrees. 

caramelized fennel, leeks and orange

caramelized fennel, leeks and orange

Tonight, more halibut plus shrimp. T made a quick marinade of red pepper flakes, orange, coriander, olive oil, lemon and salt, and we tossed everything together, pan-roasted it and topped with cilantro. Satisfying.

Benedict, cherry-cardamom scones and lemon curd

Did y'all see that Benedict Cumberbatch was just found to be second cousin 16 times removed to King Richard III? As my friend Liz tells me, "You always knew he was royalty!"

Indeed. 

Related only geographically to birthplace of both Ben and Rich are the scones and lemon curd I made today. They made a fine lunch for the boys, a touch of dessert for me, and the curd served as a surrogate sunshine in today's sky of gray.