they were perfect

The hotel where we stayed after our Lost Coast hike didn’t serve the most amazing breakfasts I’ve ever had in my life. There weren’t 3-course breakfasts complete with pancakes, stratas, poached eggs, and sticky buns. There weren’t fancy cappuccinos and passion fruit. Shoot, we were lucky to get the breakfast we’d “ordered” given the fact that a new chick was training.

But they were memorable, and that’s what matters at the end of the day.

Each morning, we rolled outta bed and walked to the porch to admire the ocean, thinking about our big plans of either reading or wine-tasting later that day. We’d let out a good stretch and walk over to the door, open it, and find a tray of treats way better than what we have at home – fresh fruit, coffee, and warm scones. I could have stayed in my room for the rest of the day, honestly, but instead we wandered downstairs for the rest of breakfast – an omelet, yogurt with fruit, or tasty steel cut oatmeal.

Like I said, the breakfasts were nothing spectacular, nothing fancy, nothing I couldn’t have easily made on my own, but at the same time, they were perfect. The scones were the best part, though. Flaky and tender, warm, and eaten while sitting in bed, I figured it didn’t get much better than that.

The scones, or lack thereof once I got home, had me a little sad the following week.  I guess I was on a little bit of a scone kick, salivating when I saw them at Peets that following weekend, and then finally just deciding that I’d make some myself. I need an excuse to eat some lemon curd anyway. And so did you, seeing as how I left you last week with a jar of the stuff and nothing but a piece of bread or a spoon to eat it with, right?!

So here’s the other end of the promise – lavender scones. I tossed in some buckwheat flour to give them a little heartiness, but you could use all-purpose all the way, or even whole wheat, if you prefer. And of course, if you’re already out of the lemon curd, first I’m sorry, and second, these are just fine on their own, too.

Buckwheat Lavender Scones
Adapted from Bon Appetit, May 2012; makes 16

time commitment: <1 hour

note: scones can easily be frozen prior to baking. freeze individually on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes and then toss them in a bag. add about 5 minutes to the baking time.

printable version

ingredients
2 c all-purpose flour plus more for surface
1 c buckwheat flour
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t dried lavender buds
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t baking soda
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 c plus 2 T buttermilk
2 t finely grated lemon zest
1 t vanilla extract
lemon curd, store-bought or homemade

instructions
Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 425 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flours and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter; rub in with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Whisk 1 cup buttermilk, zest, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until shaggy dough forms.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface; knead until dough forms, about 5 turns. Pat into a 10×6″ rectangle. Halve dough lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 4 squares. Cut each square diagonally in half into 2 triangles. Divide between baking sheets. Brush with remaining buttermilk.

Bake until scones are golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 13–15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon curd.

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lost & found

I can’t even begin to describe to you how awesome this past weekend was, but I’m going to try. I know that, without a doubt, the words that come out of my mouth and the pictures I share with you won’t even do this weekend a portion of the acclaim that it is due. I just know it.

But again, I’m going to try.

Do you remember our Pacific Coast Highway vacation? You know, the one we took before we had any clue whatsoever that we’d be moving out here less than a year later? Yeah well, it was then that we discovered this amazing portion of land in Northern California called The Lost Coast. While driving, we’d occasionally look up to the mountains and see hikers, and think about how lucky they were to be out there, wandering through those gorgeous hills, turning corners after a treacherous uphill climb, and being constantly rewarded with what is most certainly one of the most amazing views in the country.

This past weekend we got to be those people.

We “signed up” for this trip a few months back, knowing it would be hard (the words “very. strenuous.” in the hiking books gave us a little warning!) and knowing we’d need to prepare. We practiced by hiking a lot and by slowly accumulating a good supply of backpacking goods. We took a couple of overnight trips, too, before we finally decided that we weren’t going to get any more ready for this trip than we were, so we forged ahead with our planning. And then, Memorial Day weekend crept up on us like nobody’s business, and all of a sudden it was time to get movin’. So we did.

We drove up to Leggett Friday night and hopped up early the next morning where we drove to Usal Beach (and for serious – the Mini just about died out there on those roads, but she’s a tough one, that lil’ thing) and met our shuttler, who drove us up to Needle Rock for the start of our 20-mile 1-way hike. The hike was killer – the hills were relentless on multiple occasions (both down and up), the trails shoddy since the park lost it’s ranger not too long ago (apparently California funds don’t make it to supporting State Parks like they used to…), and the views of the mountains, the Redwoods, the rocks, and the ocean were breathtaking – every time. We were only on the trail for two days, but had we not had a hotel reservation afterwards, we could have easily stayed longer (in fact, we were told more than once that we probably wouldn’t make it out in two days, but we proved them wrong, and with “ease”).

Next time, we will.

Amidst the sweating, the paranoia that poison oak was around every corner, and the tick gnarling it’s way into my stomach, we found a serenity like no other. We found peace and quiet. We found the joys of no cell service and the sounds of the ocean while we slept. We found a hike that was worth every bit of planning, every ounce of weight on our backs (literally), and every blister on our feet. We found The Lost Coast, and it was so amazing that I almost couldn’t even stand it.

And to think, we only had to take a little road trip over a holiday weekend to make it happen.

We finished the trip off with a couple of nights in a town of <300 people, at a hotel that continued the theme of serenity. We stared out at the ocean that we slept in front of the night before. We read, we napped, we ate, we complained (rather, I did) about our sore muscles and we (ahem, I) searched constantly for the first signs of poison (and found none!). We relaxed, feeling lucky that we had AT&T, which meant absolutely no service, again, for miles. I turned my phone off and left it in the car until we headed home.

And then, to make the trip complete, we did a little wine-tasting on the way home.

I tell ya, it just doesn’t get any better than this.

The rest of the pics can be found here.

Also, Chris just made a fancy lil’ video for your enjoyment:

Hootie hoo!