lemon ginger scones

One of my all-time favorite fruits is the lemon. I don’t eat them straight up (I’m not that hard core), but I can’t get over how bright, crisp, and yellow they are. This isn’t new to most – lemons have been around for a while – but for some reason I am always shocked at how refreshing and exciting lemony flavored things are.

I’ve already hinted once or twice before at how tiny my kitchen is, but the only thing smaller than my kitchen is my counter space. Who would embark on a complicated baking endeavor, using a tray table as your only work space? The determined. The desperate. Me, in a fit of craving for lemon ginger scones.

I had been thinking about recreating a lemon ginger scone from a local coffee shop (that sells heavenly baked goods) for weeks. Thinking, thinking, thinking. Until finally one night I had to make them – now. It was an urge that overcame the need to clean the apartment, fold my laundry, or do my reading for the next day’s class. In the end, I was happy with my delinquency because these are the most flavorful, delicious, bright, flaky-but-not-airy scones I have ever eaten.

It might have been that I was craving them to the point that I couldn’t focus, or that they were hot out of the oven and dripping in a tangy lemon glaze. They may have been delicious beyond all imagination because I was shocked that they even looked or tasted like a scone. This was my first time making scones, and now I don’t know if I have the capacity to stop.

I was wearing flannel and was completely in the zone. And yes. Those are rain boots. I thought this was a judgment-free zone?

This dough is so light and flaky that I was getting nervous trying to coerce it to come together. Little did I know it’s all part of the design, because LOOK at how light and flaky and delicious these came out. Yeow.

A lemon-ginger glaze was well-received.

This image is tantalizing. I can’t stand it. You need to go make these, now.

Lemon Ginger Scones

This recipe is adapted from an Epicurious recipe for cranberry-orange scones.

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbs grated lemon peel
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chilled buttermilk
  •  

    For the glaze:
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tbs unsalted butter
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and get your baking sheet ready by throwing down a piece of parchment paper. While your oven is heating, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a good-sized bowl. Add your butter and mix together using your hands, until the butter is incorporated with the dry ingredients. The butter should be in small balls, and don’t worry about making it perfect. You want to mix it in well, but not so much that your hands melt the butter.
    Add your lemon zest to the mix, and then slowly add your buttermilk to the mix while stirring lightly with a fork. Stir only until the dough has clumped together. Dump your dough onto a floured counter top, and knead the dough very briefly (the recipe says about 4 turns – I ended up doing about 6 or 7 to get the dough to come together). Flatten out your dough so that it is about 1 inch high circle. Cut the dough into 8 triangles, and then place the triangles on your baking sheet with space in between them.
    Bake your scones for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown on top.
    While your scones are baking, prepare your lemon-ginger glaze. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk together until smooth. When the scones are done baking, let them sit for about 30 minutes until just cooled. Dip your scone “face-down” into your bowl of glaze, and then set on a cooling rack. Repeat for all 8 scones, and make sure the glaze can drip off the scones. Let sit until glaze has hardened.
    Enjoy!

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    faux-thanksgiving

    This past weekend I visited my mom, and was greeted by these:

    She had a plan. And it involved multiples of two.

    I thought I was seeing double.

    But then there was only one cat, so I knew I was doing alright.

    She thought it was time for me to learn how to roast a turkey (in time for Thanksgiving) so she bought two smaller chickens to be our practice fowl – one for her to demonstrate and one for me to do on my own. She specifically bought six-pound chickens. Why? I was a six pound baby. I think she’s sending signals to my reproductive organs.

    The recipe that we used to roast our chickens is my grandmother’s recipe. Every family has a way of cooking their Thanksgiving turkey (which is better than the way your family does it) so it was my turn to learn the way. We started with fresh herbs from the garden, which is probably the last we will get from the garden this season.

    We chopped the herbs to make a garlic-herb butter (secret ingredient spoiler).

    The secret family weapon… stuffing butter pads under the skin, and nesting one on top of each chicken breast. We only make well-endowed birds.

    About an hour and a half later, we pulled this gorgeous creature out of the oven. The whole house smelled amazing – a mix of garlic, herbs, chicken, and all the vegetables we had been roasting and cooking in the meantime. At one point we ran outside and took a deep breath of fresh air, just so that we could come inside to smell everything more intensely.

    This was, in all honesty, the moistest chicken I have ever eaten. I couldn’t believe how little effort (sorry grandma) went into this recipe, and yet how juicy and tender it turned out. Check out this spread:

    Now, check out The Man’s spread… not too bad for my first faux-Thanksgiving!

    Roasted Chicken

    • 6-lb chicken
    • 1 stick butter (softened)
    • handful of sage, rosemary, thyme
    • 8 cloves garlic
    • salt & pepper
    • olive oil

    Set your oven to 375 degrees. Roughly chop your herbs, slice your garlic, and mix both with your stick of room-temp butter. Take half the herb butter and form it into a patty, then take the other half and make a second patty. Be sure not to handle the butter too much or it will melt and be difficult to work with. At this point you can put your butter in the fridge to make sure it is hardened.

    Remove your chicken from any wrapping, and discard bag of giblets. Rinse the bird thoroughly, and make sure to pluck any remaining feathers. Using a wooden spoon, separate the skin from the breast on each side, leaving the skin attached down the middle of the bird. Insert one butter patty under the skin on each side. Place the bird in a baking dish, and drizzle with olive oil. Using your hands, spread the oil evenly the top, and then liberally salt and pepper. When your oven is heated, place the bird in a middle rack and let cook for about an hour and a half.

    When done, look to see if the wings and legs have relaxed, instead of being tight to the sides as they were when the chicken was raw. We could tell ours were done because the meat was falling off the bone. Let stand for at least 20 minutes before serving.

    Enjoy!

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    november resolutions

    In the spirit of November resolutions (yes, this is a thing) I am totally revamping my gym schedule. A few days ago my amazing friend and I decided that we were going to change the way we schedule our day, completely. We both stay up too late at night and wake up with too little time before work in the morning. We’d both separately been thinking about going to classes at the gym before work, and when we realized that we were on the same page we decided to go for it.

    This morning we dragged ourselves out of bed for a 6:15am spinning class and met bleary-eyed at the gym, me with my shirt on backwards and she having raced up and down the stairs of her apartment three times for forgotten items. After finally settling in (I forgot my towel, she forgot her water) and rubbing the sleep wrinkles out of my face, we started spinning. I’ll spare you the details, since spinning is pretty uninteresting when you’re not there, but I will say that I feel fantastic. My body is tired, my mind is awake, and I have 45 minutes to kill before I have to even think about getting ready for work.

    I think I’m going to like this.

    We’re going to meet for classes four times a week, for starters, and build up (if we can stand it). I’ll let you know how I feel tomorrow morning… I may be a little less excited.

    Two more things:

    1. This weekend I learned how to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner. Including dessert. My mom taught me some tricks and some family recipes. I will unveil this feast soon.

    2. On Sunday I decided to try a new class at the gym. For those of you who go to Healthworks, you must take the Gravity class. This was the most intense workout… ever. I am in pain. Here is the only image you need:

    It’s like a medieval torture device.

    On that note – happy Monday!

     

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    roasted veg

    There’s something innately soothing about chopping vegetables. It’s rhythmic and it’s tangible, there is a beginning and an end, and (if all goes well) you get a pretty little end product.

    Many times on the weekends I bake a handful of whatever vegetables I have around. Just for fun-sies you could say.

    They are to-die-for when they are fresh and hot out of the oven, and the roasting leaves them with enough flavor that they are great leftovers for the week.

    Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables, and roasting them just makes them more fabulous. I may mostly like them because I thought they were mini trees when I was little. As a youth, I could eat an entire forest.

    But who am I kidding, acting like you didn’t already know that everything is better when roasted with olive oil, salt & pepper. Truly, everything. This picture makes me want to lick my screen, since they’re already gone from my kitchen.

    I wish I could show you a pretty picture of the roasted veggies, all plated and gorgeous (and not lumped on my gnarly baking sheet). Instead, The Man and I stood at the stove and ate these – with our fingers. Before we knew it they were mostly gone. They are really that good.

    Roasted Broccoli, Potatoes & Brussels Sprouts

    • 2 medium potatoes
    • 2 large heads of broccoli
    • 1 small package of Brussels sprouts
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • 5-6 glugs of olive oil
    • Salt & pepper

    Chop all vegetables and mince garlic. Make sure potatoes are sliced thinly, and cut Brussels sprouts in half. Lay out on baking sheets (I used two, and put potatoes on one, all things green on the other). Sprinkle minced garlic on each pan. Drizzle olive oil over each pan of veggies. Salt & pepper each pan liberally. Use your hands to mix vegetables, making sure they are evenly coated with oil. Cook in oven at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Keep potatoes in longer – they may need more time depending on how thinly you sliced them.

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    pomegranate, deconstructed

     

    One of my all-time favorite fruits is the pomegranate.

    Look at this thing – how could you not love it?

    I dare you to find me a fruit that is more colorful, more sweet & tart, more hands-on, and more interesting than the pomegranate.

    It’s like fruit-fireworks.

    Although sometimes intimidating, the pomegranate is completely conquerable. Just don’t wear white.

    It also goes well with flannel. Very fashion-savvy.

    It can be quite elusive. You have to dig deep – be careful not to miss anything.

    Be sure to fit as many seeds in your mouth as is physically possible, to get the full effect. Finally, spit out the half-chewed seeds, in an artful manner, and proceed with the rest of your day feeling {happy}. It’s a completely normal side-effect.

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    two fat ladies

    There is something that I’ve been meaning to share with you. Something essential in your life, that you didn’t even know was missing.

    Behold: The Two Fat Ladies cooking show… really incredible stuff, especially if you already have a fondness for cooking programs. The show features two British cooks, Clarissa! and Jennifer! (that was my attempt at typing the British accent) who cook hefty meals with hefty humor. Some of their recipes feature butter, rendered fat and drippings, anchovies, raw eggs, and unpasteurized milk products. Mmmmm. While their recipes aren’t always waist-friendly, and sometimes unappetizing, their hilarious banter is what makes this show a gem.

    There’s really nothing like this show. The opening trailer is of Clarissa and Jennifer driving their “double-wide” Thunderbird motorcycle and sidecar… how can that not pique your interest? Keep watching until you get to the part about the “randy vegetarians.”

    Buenos dias, indeed.

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    chicken soup

    In my post-camera-catastrophe fog I completely forgot to write about what I did with those heavenly, bite-size cipollini onions! (Pardon the oversight.) Here’s a hint: two words, the first word starts with a “c” and sounds like “hicken.” The second word.. ah jeez, it’s in the title.

    On the way home from the Open Market my mind was racing with my favorite onion-y dishes, and I fell upon a classic: chicken soup. I have never made it before (*gasp*), it’s fall-perfect, and it would nicely feature the cipollinis. Don’t they look like little marshmallows when they’re naked?

    Another reason that I wanted to make a soup is because The Man and I have been exploring recipes that can be made in bulk. We need more meals that will last for a few days, to make sure we’re: a.) eating, and b.) eating well, when we get busy with work and school. Anything we can cook in our giant 3-gallon pot is best, and chicken soup just made sense. We made our soup even bulkier by adding (literally) bowl-fulls of veggies.

    I really enjoyed making this soup because it was a test of my cooking skill – one that I’ll have you know I failed, initially. All legit cooks know how to make a good broth. Prior to this soup I had no clue, and I’m honestly not convinced that I have a clue even after. Our chicken soup came out a little watery, despite hours of cooking, and cheating with a little store-bought broth (just a little). In the end, we decided to strain out the veggies and chicken, and continue to boil the broth on it’s own until it became thicker and more flavorful –> jackpot. The soup turned out delicious.

    This soup is best served with a healthy grating of parmesan reggiano. It’s an intense cheese that adds serious depth in flavor. It takes a while to cook, but homemade chicken soup is worth the wait. As you can see, we started cooking in the afternoon, and finally sat down to eat in the dark. Regardless, it was chow-worthy.

    Chicken Soup

    • 2 tbs olive oil
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 2 cups cipollini onions
    • 1 large yellow onion
    • 1 whole chicken (2-3 lbs)
    • 6 whole carrots
    • 3 cups chopped kale (raw)
    • 1 bag of celery stalks
    • 2 tbs oregano
    • Pasta (any kind)
    • Salt & Pepper to taste
    • Grated parmesan reggiano for garnish

    Prep veggies: mince garlic, chop onion, peel cipollinis (keep these whole), chop celery & carrots.

    Sautee garlic and large yellow onion in pan on medium heat, until see-through. Add half of the non-green vegetables (cipollinis, carrots & celery) to the pot, and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes on medium heat until about half-cooked. These vegetables will melt down to add flavor to the soup. Save the other half and the kale to add later.

    Once the vegetables are about half-way cooked, take the giblets out of your chicken & discard (ew). We did keep the neck and added it to the soup, at The Man’s insistence. I could handle that much. Put the chicken in the pot with the vegetables, and then fill the pot with enough water to cover the chicken. (In the future I will use a fowl. These are adult – “worldly” – chickens, which hold up to cooking better than younger chickens). Cook for about hour, keeping the soup at a simmer, and stir periodically. Make sure to check your chicken, using a meat thermometer, to see if it is cooking appropriately. Adjust your temperature as needed.

    After about an hour has passed, remove the chicken from the pot. Using a knife & cutting board, remove all meat from the chicken. Cut meat into bite-sized pieces (or larger if you like!) and add back into the pot. Make sure not to put any skin back into the soup, otherwise…it won’t be nice. Finally, add remaining vegetables and kale to the pot, along with your oregano, salt & pepper. Cook until vegetables are cooked through. Serve hot, over pasta (cooked separately) and garnish with parmesan.

    If you end up with a watery soup like we did at first, strain out the veg + chicken and cook down the broth like we did. The key to a thick and flavorful broth is really cooking down that first batch of veggies. The longer you cook that part, the better. Of course, this is coming from a chicken soup novice, so please defer to your aunts’, grandmothers’ and mothers’ tips – and then let me know what they are.

    Enjoy!

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