Scones

12 June 2007

Hmm.  The new layout doesn’t attach names to posts.  This is Mark.

As an undergraduate, I didn’t do a lot of baking. It’s time-consuming, for one thing, but more importantly I’m not very good at it. My products are usually edible, but the cookies are always unevenly cooked and the pies have slightly burnt crusts and so on.  However, I had friends who were undergrad bakers, and so if you tend to have the usual baking supplies sitting around, it’s nice to have scones ready to eat with your tea or coffee.  (I’m moving to grad school in a couple months, and have already discovered that the town contains a small restaurant where they roast and sell their own exquisite coffee blends.  I am therefore looking for things to have with the coffee which I will no doubt be consuming by the gallon.)

This is a really good scone recipe — I’m not a fan of raisins or currants in my baked goods, so I had to look around for a recipe that didn’t call for them.  It’s really easy to make, too, and since I’m barely a mediocre baker you know that must be true.

Notes:

  • I cheated and used about a teaspoon of lemon extract in place of the zest, which seemed to work pretty well — I can tell you from a prior experiment that dried lemon rind, such as you might find in the spice aisle, really doesn’t cut it.
  • I’m used to cutting in butter with a pair of knives, but, as the author says, for this recipe I find I wind up using my hands to crumble the butter finer.
  • I usually need to add a little extra cream to get the dough to cohere properly.  Have some standing by.
  • You can cook this on or in practically any oven-worthy dish.  It doesn’t rise much, so even a flat, rimless cookie sheet works fine.
  • This isn’t like the overgrown cookie-scones one finds in Starbucks.  It’s barely sweet at all, so, again as the author suggests, serve with lemon curd and clotted cream (if you can find any).  And, it goes without saying, some tea or coffee.

Applesauce

23 October 2006

Late fall is apple season, of course. Where I grew up, in the Appalachian Mountains, people would be outside making apple butter in large vats over open fires through October and November. I don’t have an apple butter recipe for you, but I do have applesauce, which is apple butter that didn’t quite make it. The recipe’s a little loosy-goosy because of my experience with the variability of apples, but it’s pretty easy to work out as you go.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb apples (~8-9 apples, if medium-sized)
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks, to taste
  • 0.75 cup water, or apple cider if you have it
  • <= 1 cup sugar (borrow from your next door neighbor if necessary)
  • Ground cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

  • Core and slice apples. Peel if desired. Cut into 0.5-in chunks.
  • Place apples in large saucepan or pot. Add 0.5-0.75 cup water or apple cider, depending on juiciness of apples. Add cinnamon sticks and cook over medium heat until apples are soft and almost mushy, stirring frequently. (This may happen fairly rapidly or may take quite a while, depending on your apples.)
  • Mash (with potato masher, a relic of a bygone era when the kitchen wasn’t tricked out like NASA Control in Houston) or blend to desired consistency — some people like chunky applesauce and some like smooth.
  • Add sugar and ground cinnamon to taste and stir.

Notes:

  • Joy of Cooking recommends seasoning with a small amount of mace. I advise against this as it only creates a bitter taste that requires more sugar to counteract.
  • Be cautious when adding sugar or cinnamon. Some apples require no sugar at all. Ground cinnamon should be required only if the apples cooked down too rapidly to absorb enough from the cinnamon stick(s). A very little ground cinnamon goes a long way in any case — dust lightly, stir, and try again.
  • If your applesauce lacks a tart zing, you can add a small amount — no more than a tablespoon — of lemon juice and stir it in to give it a little life.

Later, when I’ve worked out the recipe properly, I will try to share an applesauce cake recipe here — it’s a little dry and crumbly yet.

Deviled Eggs

16 September 2006

12 eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoon mustard
5 teaspoon vinagar
chopped onions (optional)
paprika

Hard boil the eggs. Peel the eggs and slice length-wise. Remove the yolks into a mixing bowl. Add the remaining indredients (other than paprika) to the bowl and mix well. Spoon the mixture back into the egg halves. Garnish with paprika. Serve or refridgerate to set the mixture a bit.

Artichoke Dip

16 September 2006

1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 can artichoke hearts (still not sure on the size of the cans)
1/4 to 1 tsp garlic powder
splash of lemon juice
garnish top with paprika (optional)

Combine all ingredients, draining the artichoke hearts, in a bakable/broilable container. I find that smashing the artichoke hearts with a fork to break them up a bit helps with the consistency of the dip. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, and optionally broil to brown top. Serving with low sodium Triskett crackers is delicious and the dip reheats wonderfully if there’s enough left to store!