Blueberry and Cream Scones

open-scone.jpgBursting with Blueberries and light as a feather, these moist and delicious scones are the perfect way to start your day. Recipe is inspired by Trang’s Lemon Blueberry Cream Scones from her site Wild Wild Whisk: https://wildwildwhisk.com/lemon-blueberry-cream-scones

Ingredients: (half recipe in parentheses)

blueberries on paper towel

1 heaping cup (1/2 cup) fresh blueberries

1/3 cup (2 Tb and 2 tsp) granulated sugar

Grated zest of one large lemon (preferably Meyer lemon)

2 cups (1 cup) all-purpose flour, plus extra to flour the board

1/2 tsp (1/4 tsp) Kosher salt

1 Tb (1 1/2 tsp) baking powder

2 (1) large eggs

2/3 cup (1/3 cup) heavy cream

1 tsp (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400′

Rinse blueberries, then spread out on paper towels to dry.

lemon sugarMeasure sugar into medium bowl. Grate lemon zest into sugar, and rub sugar over the grater afterward to scrub out all the zest from it. Whisk sugar well until it turns yellow and is fragrant with the zest.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into sugar, then whisk well to mix.

blueberries in flour mixAdd the blueberries to the flour mix and gently mix in with a large spoon.

In a smaller bowl, whisk eggs, cream and vanilla together until well blended.

Pour all but a tablespoon of liquid into the flour mixture. (You will use the reserved egg mixture to brush on the scones before baking.) Using your hands, gently mix the dough until all the flour mix is absorbed. Dough will be sticky.

sliced round of sconesGenerously flour a pastry board. Place the dough on the board and turn it several times until it is no longer sticky. Mold it into a large circle about an inch thick. Dip a large sharp knife into the flour and cut the circle into 8 pieces. Coat the knife before each cut. You may need to cut twice.

scones on baking sheetLine an insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper. This is an important step to prevent blueberry juice from making a mess on your cookie sheet! Using a metal spatula, arrange the scones on the paper lined pan so that they are not touching. Use a pastry brush to brush the reserved egg mixture on the top of each scone.

Bake for 22 minutes until golden brown. Transfer parchment paper onto a cooling rack and let scones cool until you can’t wait any longer.

 

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Cream of Roasted Mushroom Turkey soup

serving cream of mushroom soupOne of my comfort foods as a young woman was Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup over noodles. This post-Thanksgiving soup brings it up a quite few notches with roasted Cremini mushrooms. These earthy brown mushrooms, also known as baby bellas, are the middle child between the common white mushroom and the mature portobellos. I  add a large portobello and some shiitake mushrooms and a few pungent dried chanterelle and porcini mushrooms for extra savory umami flavor.

I used leftover turkey from Thanksgiving for the broth.

This soup takes a couple of days to make. Make the broth the first day. You can also roast the mushrooms the first day, or wait until the second day.

Makes about 8 bowls of soup

Ingredients:

roasted mushrooms1 turkey carcass with accompanying herbs, vegetables and drippings

about 16 cups of water (1 gallon)

1 pound cremini mushrooms

1 large portobello mushroom

5 shiitake mushrooms

5 dried chanterelle mushrooms

5 dried porcini mushrooms

4 Tb olive oil, divided

1 leek

1 shallot

3 handfuls (4 ounces) of egg noodles

1/2 cup cream, half and half or milk depending on the amount of richness and calories you desire.

several grinds black pepper

1/4 cup dry sherry

1 – 2 tsp salt to taste (I use sea salt)

8 oz (1/2 pound) frozen peas

Make a turkey broth using the skin and carcass of the Thanksgiving turkey and the accompanying roast vegetables and drippings, adding a gallon of water (16 cups) to a large pot. If you make a plain roast turkey, add several stalks celery, an onion, several leeks and a couple of carrots along with several sprigs of rosemary, sage and thyme to the broth. Scrape as much white meat and wing meat from the carcass, making this a bare bones operation (couldn’t resist that one!) Save some of the dark meat but add the thigh meat into the broth. Add salt to taste. Boil for a couple of hours, then pour through  sieve into a large container. Let sit in the refrigerator overnight until the fat separates.

Shred and chop the turkey meat until you have 2 cups, and set aside.

Soak the dried mushrooms in a cup of water for at least 20 minutes until soft.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scrub fresh mushrooms with a soft mushroom brush or wet paper towel. Wrap a paper towel around a bunch at a time to dry them. Slice the woody ends off of the stems. If your creminis are really large, cut them in half. Cut the portobello into quarters. Place in an oiled roasting pan and toss with 2 -3 Tablespoons of olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes. Let cool, then slice them. Cut portobello into bite-sized pieces.

Slice the leek lengthwise into quarters, then cut crosswise into small pieces. Soak in a salad spinner and rinse three times until all dirt is rinsed away. Slice the shallot thinly. Saute the leek and shallot in 1 Tb olive oil.

Spoon the fat from the top of the broth and reserve 3 Tb. Heat the broth to boiling and stir in the roasted mushrooms, sauteed leeks and shallot.

chopped soaked dried mushroomsChop the chanterelle and porcini mushrooms finely and add to the broth along with the soaking liquid.

Cook the soup for half an hour. Let cool for half an hour.

Ladle out 1/3 of the soup into a blender. Blend on high.

Melt reserved fat in a frying pan. Whisk in 1/4 cup white flour and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in blended soup, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Stir into the rest of the soup and bring it to boiling, stirring constantly. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add a spoonful of salt. Stir in 3 handfuls of egg noodles. Cook for 6 minutes on medium heat. Drain noodles.

Add noodles to soup. Stir in pepper and sherry. Add cream, half and half or milk. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and adjust to taste. Stir in reserved turkey meat and peas and cook for 5 minutes.

Roasted Mushroom Barley Soup with Chicken Stock or Vegetable Broth

I made a simpler version of my roasted mushroom barley soup with rich chicken stock instead of beef broth and a mixture of fresh and dried mushrooms. I used Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup made with double the amount of bones and drippings. I save the bones and drippings from roast chicken in a container in the freezer, then boil them with the vegetables and herbs to create a rich broth. After letting it sit long enough for the fat to solidify, I spoon out the fat, leaving a spoonful for flavor. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan you can substitute Vegetable Broth

I use a variety of dried mushrooms, including porcini, shiitake, and chanterelle. I soak them in warm water for ten minutes, then chop them and add to the broth, along with the soaking liquid.

roasted mushrooms

Roasted fresh Crimini mushrooms make the bulk of the mushrooms in the soup. These brown mushrooms are a more mature version of the common white mushroom, so you can sub white mushrooms if you can’t find criminis in your grocery store.

I roasted fresh shiitake, king and oyster mushrooms. They stand up to roasting and add a variety of flavors and textures. You may be able to find them at your farmer’s market in the fall. You don’t need to buy too many of these more expensive but flavorful mushrooms. Feel free to mix up the mushrooms as you find them. King mushrooms can make some good food porn too, if your tastes run that kinky!

King and Oyster mushrooms

Ingredients

6 cups chicken broth

½ cup pearl barley

1 tsp dried thyme

1/2  tsp white pepper

several grinds black pepper

3 – 4 Tb olive oil

1 lb crimini (brown) mushrooms

6 fresh shiitake mushrooms

1 fresh King mushroom

5 fresh oyster mushrooms

4 dried shiitake mushrooms

5 dried porcini mushrooms

5 dried chanterelle mushrooms

3 Tbs dry sherry

1 tsp salt, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring broth to boil in a large pot over high heat.

While waiting for the broth to boil, soak the dried mushrooms in enough water to cover them by 2 inches.

Rinse and gently scrub the fresh mushrooms with a wet paper towel or mushroom brush and let them dry over paper towels.

When broth is boiling, Stir in barley, thyme and pepper.

Place fresh mushrooms in a roasting pan and toss with olive oil. until they are coated on all sides. Roast for 20 minutes. When they are done, let cool, then ladle a few cups broth over them, then remove the mushrooms to a cutting board and pour back the extra broth.  Chop the mushrooms roughly and stir them into the broth.

chopped soaked dried mushroomsRemove the dried mushrooms from the soaking liquid onto a cutting board. Dice them, then add to the soup along with the soaking liquid.

Simmer  the soup for 30 minutes. Correct seasonings, stir sherry in and salt to taste.

serve.jpg

Serve the pearl barley inside the oyster mushrooms for good luck!

 

 

Buckwheat Whole Wheat Blinis

on dish.jpgBlini are Russian crepes. They can be made full size and wrapped around sour cream, lox, and if you have the money, caviar. You can also make them silver dollar size for canapes, and top them with piped sour cream and lox (and if you can afford it, caviar.)

I love the yeasty taste and spongy texture of blini. I added whole wheat flour to the traditional mix of buckwheat flour and all purpose flour for extra nutrition. The sugar helps offset the bitterness of the buckwheat.

Makes about 40 small blinis or 10 large crepes

Have ingredients at room temperature

Sponge:

1/2 cup warm water. Be sure it’s not too hot to kill the yeast!

2 tsp sugar

1/2 cup active dry yeast (not instant yeast)

1/4 cup all purpose white flour

Batter:

1 cup milk (I used 1% but most recipes call for whole milk)

2 Tb butter

2 eggs, separated

1/2 cup all purpose white flour

1/3 cup buckwheat flour

1/3 cup finely ground whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp salt + a few shakes to add to egg whites

2 Tb sugar +a pinch to add to egg whites

Directions:

Stir 2 tsp sugar into warm water until it dissolves. (I found that 20 seconds in my microwave heats the water). Sprinkle in yeast and stir again. Let it proof for 10 minutes.

sponge

Then whisk in 1/4 cup white flour. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let the sponge rise for an hour until bubbly and doubled in size.

While sponge is rising,  prepare the ingredients for the batter:

milk n butter unheatedPour milk into a heatproof container, such as a Pyrex measuring cup. Add chopped butter.

heated milk and butter Microwave for a minute and stir until butter melts and milk is warm, but not hot.

Separate eggs, pouring whites into a mixing bowl. Stir egg yolks into milk.

After the sponge has risen and is bubbly, whisk in milk mixture, flours, salt and sugar until smooth. Cover with parchment paper and a clean dishtowel and let rise in a warm place free from drafts for an hour.

egg whitesBeat egg whites with a few shakes salt and a pinch of sugar until stiff.

batter with egg whitesFold them into the batter.

fryingHeat a cast iron skillet and wipe it with oil on a paper towel. To double your production, use two skillets (if you can keep up and not let the blinis burn!) With stove on medium, pour spoonfuls into the pan to make silver dollar sized pancakes.

flippedWhen holes form, flip them over and cook until they are golden brown.

Alternatively, you can pour enough into a pan to make a full sized crepe, turning the pan until it is covered with batter. Wipe the pan with the oiled paper towel between batches.

many

Put blinis on parchment paper and place a piece of parchment between the stacks of blinis.

Spread crepes with sour cream and a few slices of lox. Roll them up and serve.

servingOr pipe sour cream over the pancakes with a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and top with a piece of lox (and or caviar) and sprinkle with dill weed.

 

 

 

Chocolate Banana Bread

top of loaf

I added cocoa to my recipe for 4 Bananas Low-fat Banana Bread or Muffins and achieved the perfect balance of rich banana and chocolate flavor that’s not too sweet. I used four soft, speckled bananas to add natural sweetness to this delicious bread with minimal oil and sugar. The bananas and just one tablespoon of olive oil make this bread very moist.  Add strawberries for a taste of strawberry jam.

I used whey from draining my yogurt into Greek yogurt instead of the milk and lemon. But you can go either way. (Pun intended).

Ingredients

1/3 cup 1% or skim milk

1 tsp lemon juice

3/4 cup unbleached white flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

3/4 cup finely ground whole wheat flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

¼ cup ground flax seed

A dash each of nutmeg and cinnamon.

2 eggs

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 Tb turbindo sugar for sprinkling on top.

4 bananas (1 ½ cups mashed)

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 Tb olive oil

3/4 cup roughly chopped strawberries (optional)

½ cup walnut and/or pecan pieces

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Add lemon juice to milk. Let it sit while you are mixing the other ingredients. The milk should curdle, resembling buttermilk. (You can skip this step and use buttermilk or whey instead if you prefer).

Sift both flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add nutmeg, cinnamon, and flax seed.  Stir well to combine ingredients.

Whip eggs in mixer until well combined. Add brown sugar and whip on high speed for 2-3 minutes until creamy.

Mash bananas with a fork or potato masher. Add them to the egg mixture, along with olive oil and vanilla. Whip for another minute.

With mixer on low, add half the milk and half the flour mixture, and then repeat. Mix only until ingredients are almost combined. Fold in nuts and strawberries until they are just combined.

Spray a loaf pan or muffin tins with non-stick spray. (because of the low fat content of the ingredients, you should spray paper muffin cups with non-stick spray if you choose to use them.) For extra buttery flavor, wipe a smear of butter at the bottom. Pour in batter. Sprinkle the top with turbindo sugar.  Place on the middle shelf of preheated oven. Bake loaf 50 – 55 minutes, muffins for 35-40 minutes,  just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out somewhat dry. Remove bread from pan and let cool on a rackchocolate banana bread before slicing.

 

 

Very Gouda Cheesy Grits

Cheesy grits with fried eggs

These creamy, cheesy grits make an easy, perfect breakfast topped with fried eggs. The melting quality of Gouda cheese marries the flavor of sharp cheddar in a perfect match. Unlike many Southern recipes, this California girl adds no cream and just a smidgen of butter.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

grits box

cheese

2 cups water

A few shakes salt (I use sea salt)

1/2 cup quick cooking hominy grits

1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (2 oz)

1/4 cup grated Gouda cheese (2 oz) (2 small rounds)

1 tsp butter

Bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in grits. Turn burner to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in butter and cheeses until they melt. Cover pot while you fry the eggs.

Fried eggs:

Warm eggs in a large pot of hot water for 10 minutes. Or even better, leave them out overnight. Melt a teaspoon of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Break eggs into pan and let them cook over medium heat until the whites begin to harden on the edges. Lift the edges in a few places and pour in a spoonful of warm water underneath them. This makes the whites more tender. Cook until the whites are opaque. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

Poached Eggs: I used Alton Brown’s method: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/perfect-poached-eggs-recipe/how-to-make-poached-eggs-like-alton-brown

Heat about 1 inch water in a non stick frying pan. Add 2 tsp vinegar and 1 tsp Kosher (or regular) salt and stir well. Break cold eggs into separate ramekins or teacups. Gently pour each egg in separate parts of the pan. Turn off heat and cover pan. Set timer for 5 minutes for eggs with a liquid yolk, or 7 minutes for a soft yolk. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.

Pour the cheesy grits in a cereal bowl and gently place the eggs on top. Stir and enjoy.

poached eggs on cheesy grits

 

 

 

Huevos Rancheros

Hevos Rancheros with frijoles

Huevos Rancheros con frijoles pintos is my favorite hearty Mexican breakfast. I like to make a batch of beans the night before and let them slowly cook in the crock pot overnight. Then I pour them over the huevos rancheros and sprinkle them with salty cotija cheese or queso fresco (fresh cheese).

tortillas on comalIngredients: (serves one)

2 corn tortillas

nonstick canola oil spray

2 tsp butter

2 eggs

2 Tb warm salsa

2 teaspoons cotija cheese or queso fresco

about 1/4 cup frijoles pintos

Directions

Warm eggs in warm water for about 5 minutes.

Heat the comal. Spray comal and both sides of the tortillas with nonstick spray and heat over medium.

fried eggsMelt butter in a nonstick skillet. Fry the eggs. When the whites begin to harden, divide the eggs so the whites are not touching.

Pour salsa on eggsWhen tortillas begin to crisp, transfer them to a plate. Carefully place the eggs on top of them, Pour heated salsa over the eggs.

eggs-with-salsa-and-cheese.jpg

Sprinkle with half the cheese (about one teaspoon).

Hevos Rancheros with frijolesLadle beans over eggs and on the side if you wish. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on the beans. Disfrutalo!