Thursday, July 30, 2009

the ocean...

It's calling me. I'm getting ready to go back here. Bliss.

Last January we booked a week in Laguna Beach at our favorite place. Last January I had no idea we'd put our house on the market, sell our house, buy a house, not sell a house, sell a house, not . . . you get the idea. For a planner like me - ugh. The vacation we initially booked was for the Saturday before Labor Day until the Saturday after Labor Day - I had no idea I'd be teaching Seminary again. Hooray(typed with happy emphasis). The week before last we scrambled to change the dates at Manzanita . . . we were lucky. This time we are staying in the Red Cottage. Did I mention this little bungalow is 4 short blocks down the hill to the ocean and 4 short blocks down the other hill to downtown Laguna Beach? Sigh...

I made my first trip to the library to pick up reserved books. That stack of carefully chosen books is screaming my name. I am excited. I've also been making small grocery lists full of beachy things to snack on, things like Huntsman cheese and Trader Joe's crackers. And fruit. I bookmarked the Lido Theatre where we will sit in the balcony and watch a movie under ceiling fans. I might have even called to find out what the movie is already.

And maybe, just maybe . . . I might have downloaded Sprinkles' cupcake schedule . . . because who would want to miss that coconut cupcake? It leaves all the others in the dust ...

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Coconut Shortbread Cookies

Rather than roll these cookies out I formed them into cookie logs and sliced them to bake. Buttery deliciousness.

* 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut* (about 3 ounces)
* 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread coconut on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until coconut is light golden, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.

Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Mix in salt and vanilla. Beat in flour in 2 additions. Stir in toasted coconut. Gather dough together; divide in half. Flatten each half into disk; wrap each in plastic and chill at least 1 hour. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out 1 dough disk on lightly floured work surface to scant 1/4-inch thickness. Using 1 3/4- to 2-inch-diameter cookie cutters, cut dough into rounds. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Gather dough scraps and reroll; cut out additional cookies. Repeat procedure with remaining dough disk until all of dough is used.

Bake cookies until light golden, about 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. (Can be made ahead. Store airtight at room temperature up to 1 week.)

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

weekend = necessity

Biggest Saturday decision? Where to have lunch. This is a ritual with us now, meeting up around noon after Saturday mornings full of errands and exercise. Then we are off. Sometimes we have a list of things that need to be accomplished. Sometimes not. It's awesome.

won this week. I've talked about this place before. Delicious. Their special for the week was a white pizza . . . fresh mozzarella, salame (huh?), caramelized onions, roasted garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper. It may be my new favorite thing there. Napoletani pizza is out of this world.

Home Goods (where they had a rug that happens to be current Pottery Barn inventory), Nordstrom Rack and Anthropoligie. Fun.

The newest Woody Allen movie
, perhaps the worst Woody Allen movie ever made. I recognize there is no middle ground with Woody. You love or you hate. Nothing in between. I love. I'm a fan. The movie was just awful.

Baking. Because I'm home again. That Ina Garten brownie tart, Sugar Cookie Bars and a Cherry Tomato Salad with quartered cucumbers, red onion, fresh basil and crumbled feta cheese.

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