A quick trip down South

I have to admit, after finally being done with my office job and all wedding responsibilities, and with the impending life-changing move around the world on the immediate horizon, I was a bit skeptical about the vacation to Nashville, Tennessee, that Farrell had spontaneously planned for us.

And if I could go back in time to remove any doubt I had about this trip, I totally would.

Nashville is awesome. Equal parts charming and modern, urban and rural, quaint and hip. Farrell’s aunt, uncle and cousins (and some dude who looks a lot like Zac Efron) graciously entertained us for the weekend, showing us around a local farmers market (my fave!), a Bluegrass festival, an outdoor concert on an old plantation (featuring a Jimmy Buffet tribute band)…

…and a flea market, which was the highlight of the weekend, and pretty much the only thing I took pictures of.


I wanted this so bad! I scoffed a bit when the guy wanted $60 for it, but unfortunately eBay later informed me that was quite a good deal. (Although, I didn’t have $60 with me anyway, so I guess it wasn’t meant to be. I miss you Rolleicord!)

If I thought I could pull it off, I would’ve bought that pattern and attempted that dress. Cause it’s adorable.

This was one of my favorite discoveries. That ancient-looking Polaroid camera weighed as much as a hefty newborn. Those records to the side of it? Huey Lewis and the News is the top one and Eddie Murphy’s hit single “Party All the Time” was underneath that. Pure gold, people. Pure gold.

Aunt Terrie was made aware of my humble blog prior to my arrival and said she was a bit intimated by my baking skills. As modest as I am, I knew I couldn’t pass up a chance to show off… so I made croissants.

I know! I probably could have thrown together something easy… like muffins… scones… cookies… Anything with a prep time of under 12 hours or so. But no, I had to pull out the big guns.

(Also, their gorgeous house is constantly flooded with the most amazing natural light, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to update the old pictures with some prettier ones.)

– Croissants – as before, adapted from Anice & Cannelle
1 1/8 cups water
2 1/2 tsp yeast
scant 1/2 cup sugar
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 sticks butter for the tournage
1 beaten egg for the egg wash

– Pour the water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl and let sit for about ten minutes, until yeast is bloomed and fragrant. Add flour (start with 4 cups and add more during the kneading stage if necessary), melted (and cooled) butter, and salt to form a dough.
– Do some push-ups and some stretching. Prep your arms for a workout.
– Knead the dough for about 20-30 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add water and/or flour as necessary if the dough is too dry or sticky.
– Put the dough ball in a bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Let rest and rise for between 3-6 hours.
– Form the butter into thin rectangle. Dust it with a bit of flour and gently roll it out between some wax or parchment paper. If it gets too soft, stick it in the freezer for a couple minutes.
– Roll out your dough to a rectangle that is 1/3 longer than your butter slab, with about an inch extra space around the other three sides. Place the butter slab on top, leaving the extra flap of dough along the top.
– Fold the dough down over the butter, covering the top half of it. Fold the bottom third of the dough (and bottom half of the butter) up over the dough you just folded up. Turn the folded dough counter-clockwise so that the fold faces the right, and pinch all of the open ends shut. Gently roll it out to something near its original size and thickness.
– Repeat. Wrap it in plastic and let rest in the fridge for about 40 minutes.
– Another turn, another 40 minute rest. Another turn, another 40 minute rest.
– Roll the dough out into a thin rectangle and cut it into triangles. Slice a little notch in the wide end of the triangle and roll them up, forming the croissant shape.
– Place on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and rest in the fridge for 2-3 more hours.
– Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush the croissants with egg wash and bake for about 5 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 and continue baking for another 7-8 minutes. If you think the tops might get too browned, cover with a piece of tin foil for the last couple minutes.