Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dipping My Toe in the Oven...

I know we have been gone a long time...but you all understand, right? Thanks for your patience.

I know I probably write about cooking more than anybody cares, but I have special reason to rejoice today...I FINALLY have a stove again. My oven conked out last June and it has taken until now to get it fixed. Now I admit it is partly because we are gone so much so the scheduling of service appointments gets difficult. But a large part of it is the imcompetent manufacturer and back ordered parts, non-existent parts, wrong parts and parts that don't have anything to do with fixing other parts. Sooooo, a $1,000 later, my oven works and we move on...

to scones! About 30 seconds after the repairman left, I fired up the oven and it has hardly had time to cool off! This morning I made Cherry Almond Scones for a leisurely Sunday morning breakfast. Heaven! So to thank you to you for your patience, here is a simple satisfying recipe with endless variations. This goes together in a flash and will make you look like a rock star.

Basic Scones

Pre-heat the oven to 425 F.

Place a shifter over a large mixing bowl and sift all the dry ingredients into the bowl:

2 cups AP flour (300 g.)
2 t. baking power
1 t. salt
1/4 c. sugar

Cut in 6 T. unsalted, cold butter until the butter is in pea sized pieces.

Add any other dry ingredient desired now: dried cherries or raisins or walnuts or fresh blueberries, orange zest - you get the idea.

In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients:

3/4 milk
1 egg
and any wet flavoring desired like a teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Mix gently until reasonably combined. Scrape it out of the bowl onto a well-floured counter. It will be messy and wet, so use enough flour and knead no more than ten times. The less handling the better.

Pat the mound of dough into a square or a round about 1/2 to 3/4 inch high (it will be about a 7" round) and cut into squares or triangles. Or use a cookie cutter to make large or small rounds. I like triangles.

Bake on a ungreased cookie sheet for 12 to 15 minutes.

Make these savory scones by omitting the sugar and using minced onion, spices, herbs or chives.

I found this scone recipe in a cookbook from one of the windjammers that glide by Ash Island out my Maine living room window with their week-long compliment of guests. I figure my house guests would have to like them too...

I was so frustrated without my oven as I use it almost every day. For example, yesterday I roasted root vegetables for a soup recipe I am trying to re-create from Chase's Daily in Belfast, Maine where we had lunch a couple of weeks ago. Here is an article in the Boston Globe about them. Big chunks of oven roasted beets, potatoes, turnips, carrots and shallots in a garlicy vegetable broth, drizzled with olive oil and croutons. I am drooling just thinking about it. This afternoon I am slow cooking beans to use during the week. Tonight will be shepard's pie with oven roasted brussel sprouts that I guarantee will have even the most ardent brussel sprout hater asking for seconds. Maybe an apple crisp or rustic tart for dessert if I have time. And tomorrow no-knead bread will make an appearance on our table once again. Oh my, have I missed baking bread. And pizza!!! Toasting nuts for salads and making spicey hot roasted tomatoes or caramelized chunks of butternut squash to marry with cool globs of goat cheese over brown rice or lentils. Sorry...I'll stop now.

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