Fresh Berry Scones with Lemon Glaze

I love this time of year, when the produce aisles are stacked with an abundance of fresh berries for much cheaper than usual. This week I found strawberries, blueberries, and cherries, all sweet, juicy, and ripe and all on sale. I’ve been packing them in my lunches this week but today I celebrated the holiday (and a day off from work) by baking some of them into scones as well.


I remember making scones back in high school. To be honest, I had never actually tried a scone, but they sounded elegant. In books, the characters always seem to eat scones while sipping tea in fancy parlors. This seemed to seep the word sophistication. I imagined scones as a dainty and delicate treat.

Well, my scones turned out anything but dainty and delicate. They were dry, dense, and lacking flavor. In retrospect, I think I probably made them with margarine (what we readily had on hand growing up) and probably over-mixed the dough as well. Regardless, I decided that day that I just didn’t like scones. A couple summers ago, though, some friends hosted a tea party. Naturally, several people brought scones . I tried one, just to be polite, and was surprised to find that I liked it. It was tender and subtly sweet and not at all like my dense attempt at scones.

So this past winter I finally tried baking scones again. And they were delicious! Unfortunately, I forgot to copy down the recipe I used then, but this recipe (adapted from this one) seems pretty similar:

Fresh Berry Scones with Lemon Glaze

Ingredients:

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Zest from 1 lemon
8 Tbsp. cold butter (not margarine)
1 c. fresh berries (I used blueberries in one batch and cherries in the next)
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. yogurt (I used plain)
lemon glaze (recipe follows)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a baking pan.

Grate the cold butter through the large holes of a box grater (or cut it into small pieces by hand). In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest. Stir in the butter pieces (I mixed it with my fingers to help work the butter into the dough).

Wisk together the milk and yogurt. Add to the flour and butter mixture and stir just until combined.

Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface. Sprinkle the top with flour as well. Knead with well-floured hands 6-8 times, kneading in more flour as needed (be careful not to over-mix it). Roll the dough into a 12 inch square. Fold the dough into thirds like you would fold a letter. Then fold the short ends in thirds again to make an approximately 4 inch square. Place the dough on a plate and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Return the dough to the floured surface. Roll into a 12 inch square again. Sprinkle the berries  over the dough and press them into the dough slightly. Then fold the sides of the dough in so that the berries are completely covered. Press or roll the dough into a long, thin rectangle, about 1 inch thick. Cut into triangles. (Alternately, you can roll it into a circle and cut wedges from that).


Place the wedges on the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool slightly, then drizzle with the lemon glaze.

Lemon Glaze

Ingredients:

1/2 c. lemon juice (I used two lemons)
Zest from 1 lemon
2 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. butter

Directions:

Combined the ingredients and microwave for 30 seconds or until the butter is melted. Wisk the glaze, adding more sugar as needed until the glaze is runny, but slightly thick. Drizzle over the cooled scones.

 

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What’s Cooking Good Looking?

(note: I’m chuckling/wincing at the cheesiness of that title. But I can’t come up with anything more creative right now, so there it stays)

I know I haven’t been writing much lately (more because of lack of time than lack of things to write about) but I have been cooking a lot.

Several weeks ago Derek and I sat down with our budget and decided we needed to go back to buying our own groceries to have a little more control over what we spend on food each week (rather than doing mostly community groceries like we had been, which was getting expensive and usual didn’t cover all the essentials for the week). So for the past three weeks, I’ve been making a weekly menu and doing our grocery shopping.

Now, instead of half-heartedly rummaging through the refrigerator and cupboard when I get home from work to see what I can possibly throw together quickly, I’ve been making dinners in the mornings so Derek has something to eat when he comes home from class and I don’t have to worry about it when I get home from work. I’ve been spending more time cooking, but trying new recipes and enjoying being a little more creative with what I make. It’s been refreshing, actually, having things planned out like that.

I’ve tried a number of new recipes in the past few weeks, but I’ll just share the one (based off of this recipe but altered to fit what I had and like) for Guinness stew that I made for our date night. Derek is a fan of beef and Guinness, so this made his list of top recipes recently:

Guinness Beef Stew

Ingredients:

1 lb. lean beef stew meat, cubed
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. flour
salt and pepper to taste (I used seasoned salt)
dash of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 c. Guinness (or other stout  beer)
2 large onions, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large potato, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. rosemary, crushed

Directions:

Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet. Dredge the meat in the flour mixture, then brown on all sides in the oil. Transfer the meat to a crock pot. Add about a cup of water to the skillet where you browned the meat and bring it to a boil, scraping the pan. Add this to the crock pot as well, along with the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours (I did a combination of the two).

Saturday Morning Breakfast for Two

I tend to cook in larger quantities these days, so there’s plenty to share with whoever is around, but sometimes I like to make something special for just Derek and I.

This morning was one of those times. Our collective retreat this weekend was snowed/iced out, so we slept in and drank coffee together while I baked these eggs:

Lemon Baked Eggs with Spinach

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. milk
1 c. chopped fresh spinach
1 tsp. fresh grated lemon zest
1/2 c. shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 eggs

Directions:

Lightly butter two individual ramekins (or other oven safe dish). Put a tablespoon of milk in the bottom of each one, then top with chopped spinach, lemon zest, cheese, and garlic. Break two eggs on the top of each dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until eggs are set. Serve with toast.

Cooking Redemption

The zucchini and cucumbers just keep coming. This was all from one day! I’m bringing a load of them to the Boiler Room tomorrow night to give to people. And I think I’m going to try to make pickles this week….

But in the meantime, we’re still eating zucchini almost daily (we went a day without it, but only because Derek suggested we go out to eat…ha!). Tonight I brought the polenta and zucchinis out again and tried another combination. I think it turned out well this time (much better than the vomit-looking version) and Derek liked it too.  So, here’s a zucchini and polenta dish, take 2:

Polenta with Garden Vegetables

Ingredients:

For the polenta:
6 c. water
1 1/2 c. cornmeal
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. olive oil

For the sauce:
1 pint tomato sauce (I used a jar I canned with Stacey last summer!)
1 c. zucchini, diced
1 tsp. sugar
Italian seasoning, to taste
Salt, to taste

Directions:

For the polenta:
Bring the water and salt to a boil. Very gradually, whisk in the cornmeal (if you don’t do it gradually, you get lumps…trust me, I’ve done it…). Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring often, until thick. Stir in the thyme, Parmesan cheese, and oil. Spread in an oiled loaf pan and refigerate overnight.

Slice the polenta into 1/4 in. slices. Saute in a frying pan with a little bit of oil (I used about a tablespoon) until brown on both sides. Set aside.

For the sauce:
While the polenta is cooking, simmer together all the sauce ingredients. Serve over the polenta slices. If desired, top with Parmesan cheese.

What do you think? Does this make up for the zucchini and polenta cooking catastrophe the other night?

(p.s. I also cooked green beans from our garden! Yes!)