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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cheddar Scones for Tea

I’ve been on the hunt to replicate a cheddar herb scone that I had this spring at a tiny little coffee house near where I work.  (It has changed hands, the scones are no longer there – and the recipe would not likely be forthcoming anyway). 
Most scones do not impress me – they are dry and crumbly.  I think that coffeehouses sell them that way so that you want more to drink.  Hmmm?
There is a little teahouse not too far from work that makes delightful scones – but alas, not the cheddar herb variety (I’ll be working on getting my hands on some of their recipes in the near future)
I wanted a scone that would go nicely with a tomato sandwich for tea and this really fit the bill. 
I found this recipe from Ina Garten for Cheddar Dill scones – and I adjusted the herbs (not a fan of dill, here) --- I’m pretty happy with it – still not quite the scone I’m seeking --- but good enough for now
Ina Garten’s Cheddar Dill Scones -- adjusted
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 lb cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, beaten lightly
1 cup cold heavy cream
1/2 lb extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese, small-diced
1 cup minced fresh chives, basil, and tarragon (heavy on the chives, please)
1 egg, beaten with
1 tablespoon water or milk, for egg wash
1.     Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2.    Combine 4 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Mix the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss together the Cheddar, dill, and 1 tablespoon of flour and add them to the dough. Mix until they are almost incorporated.
3.    Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it for 1 minute, until the Cheddar and dill are well distributed. Roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. Cut into 4-inch squares and then in half diagonally to make triangles. Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outside is crusty and the inside is fully baked. Makes 16 large scones.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cucumber Mint Salad

This is one of our family favorites and its EASY and inexpensive.  But it feels super elegant and ritzy...

1 Cucumber -- peel and quarter lengthwise -- scoop out ALL of the seed and pulp and then slice into little chunks
2-3 stalks of green celery cut into small slices (only use the sweet green part)
Mint -- use however much you like -- we like alot!!  Roll the leaves in your fingers and use kitchen shears to make tiny snips of mint for the salad
1/3 cup of crumbled Feta cheese (I never measure this -- just toss in a handful)

Mix it all together and let it sit while you make the rest of dinner ---
Sprinkle it with the lightest vinaigrette you can find -- we like Vanilla Vinaigrette from Baldwin's Extracts

We serve with grilled meat or salmon and some warm pita breads ---