In NW, Zadie Smith tells us, "Some days have a depressing thematic coherence." This was one of my recent Saturdays. Nothing horrible happened. It was just one of those days in which a couple of irritating events happen and add up to a day that somehow manages to be more annoying than the sum of its parts.
1) I somehow got it into my head that Seth wasn't going into work that day. But indeed he was.
2) One minute my grocery list is in my hand. Next, the wind is carrying it away, intending to take it to the bottom of a hill. I made the quick decision, that yes, I do need that list more than the bottom of the hill does, because I totally forget everything that I need. So I dove for it, scraping my knee in the process and ripping a hole in the knee of my pants.
3) Just a few minutes after that, I heard one of those annoying bell sounds from a bicyclist. She wanted to get ahead of me and Max on the sidewalk. I, perhaps immaturely, rolled my eyes at this request (being that she should have been in the bike lane), but I did move. I guess she saw my eye rolling and then proceeded to yell at me, telling me that it was, "unbelievable", and that she was "just" being polite.
I was most definitely taken aback. Then confused. What exactly was the polite part of this interaction? That she used a bell to warn me that she wanted to get ahead of me instead of ramming down Max and me?
4) After returning home, I was able to formulate much better responses to the mean bike lady than the one I had come up with ("bike lane," and pointing at the bike lane next to me). Then I was mad at myself for not thinking of it on the spot... Yes, I'm George Costanza...
It became clear that I really needed to change the feel of the day. So I threw together some scones - scones full of buttermilk, whole wheat flour for some heft and a bit of a nutty taste, scented with mandarin orange and star anise. And of course chocolate chips are involved. A pot of tea was made to go along with them. And indeed, it was just the thing to put an end to the thematic coherence of the day. That, and a giant hug from Seth once he returned home. Thematic coherence is overrated.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon mandarin orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground star anise
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons coffee
1 teaspoon mandarin orange juice
1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons coffee
1 tablespoon milk
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk flours, baking powder, sugar, salt, zest, and star anise in bowl. Use a fork or pastry blender to fold in the butter chunks. The mixture should resemble a coarse crumble. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, coffee, and the fresh orange juice. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the liquid into the center. Stir the mixture until a dough forms, adding more liquid or flour as necessary. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a circle about 1 inch thick, then run a knife through the dough to make 8 wedges. Alternatively, you can cut out small circles from the dough. Place on baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, until it has cooked through and the top is golden brown. To make the glaze, whisk powdered sugar, coffee, and milk until the mixture has come together. Let cool, then brush with glaze.