Live in the Leap

Archived | March 18, 2014 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Tail end of Spring Break and I pretty much lost consciousness on the living room rug (comfortably so) while Karan Casey and Aoife O’Donovan sang “Home.” The break began with a flurry of shopping for supplies and packing, and two 3 a.m. airport visits. That was last weekend. In the time since, I’ve caught up on just about everything, and over the weekend I was in that good place where I could do what I felt like doing for a day or two. Which included baking, and sleeping in (it’s been a long time) and making wonderful meals for myself — reubens and roasted asparagus with pureed peas and pine nuts, and mini pizzas topped with caramelized baby bellas and real Italian sausage.
We’re at the Inbetween Time now, with snow on its way, and warmth to follow, and maybe more snow. Inbetween is a good place to be. You’re neither here or nor there. You’re in the leap between the stepping stones, on the bridge, on an oddly pleasant emotional bus ride. You know where you’re going, but you’re not sure when you’ll get there. Don’t put away the mittens yet, but don’t unpack the shorts. There’s flurry here, and excitement, and everything’s shifting gears.
Met a man named Louis at a writing workshop in Vermont some years ago who was as taken as I am with what it means to “live in the leap.” We had several conversations about it, and I learned later that he had the words tattooed on his chest. I didn’t take it quite that far, but I do think about it, and believe it can mean something different to just about everyone. It could mean that one should not stop, or shut down, when things are up the air. Or it could be a rally to take more risks. Or a challenge to not rush through but to fully experience the unpredictable.
Or it could mean we ought to dance a little more. Kick your heels up, sashay about the kitchen, do a little Irish jig. And when you’re done, we’ll have a Irish coffee topped with homemade whipped cream. Go mbeannaí Dia duit!
Get out the butter and jam. All there is to it.
Cranberry Orange Scones
1¾ cups all purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 T sugar
grated zest of an orange
½ cup dried cranberries
1 stick cold unsalted butter
⅔ cup buttermilk (plus extra for brushing)
coarse sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
Cut the cold butter into small cubes ¼-½ inch. Mix until butter is just coated with flour, leaving large chunks. Stir in the cranberries and the zest. (You may briefly soak dried fruits in hot water or rum, then drain and toss in sugar before adding).
Stir in ⅔ cup buttermilk and mix just until the liquid is absorbed and the batter begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Scrape the dough down with a spatula and form into a ball.
Flatten the dough into a circle ¾-inch thick, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, a silicone baking sheet or a buttered sheet of wax paper. Divide the circle into eight wedges and separate the wedges out leaving a ½-inch space between them.
Brush the tops with remaining buttermilk or egg white. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Dust scones with confectioner’s sugar, if desired, and serve warm with butter and jam or honey.