Monday, June 20, 2011

Strawberry & Blueberry Scones

I have tons of beautiful, fresh summer Berries hanging out in my fridge. I wanted to make a dessert that wasn't super sweet and recipe test for some family that I am having this weekend. These were just right. I have made scones before, and sometimes they turn out dry. These were perfect. I think they would work with any fruit. I used Blueberries and Strawberries. The key to keeping the water content of the fruit from creating soggy scones is to freeze the fruit before adding to the dough. I sliced the Strawberries into bite sized pieces and froze them in a bowl with the Blueberries for probably 20 minutes while I made the dough.  I think you could even use frozen fruit if you wanted to- making sure to keep it frozen until ready to bake.

8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen whole (you are going to grate it into the dough)
1½ cups (7½ oz.) fresh blueberries (I used 1 cup Blueberries and 1/2 cup sliced Strawberries)
½ cup whole milk
½ cup sour cream
2 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (to brush on top prior to baking)
Adjust an oven rack to middle position and preheat to 425˚ F. Place the blueberries (fruit) in the freezer until needed.
Whisk together the milk and sour cream in a medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. Combine the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Grate the butter into the bowl using a box grater or a food processor.  Toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.
Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula just until combined. Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour, and knead with well floured hands, 6-8 times, just until the dough holds together in a ragged ball. Add small amounts of flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Roll the dough into a 12-inch square. Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter (a dough scraper really helps with these steps). Fold the short ends of the dough into the center in thirds, to form an approximate 4-inch square. Transfer the dough to a plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Return the dough to the floured work surface and roll into an approximately 12-inch square again. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the surface of the dough, and gently press down so that they are slightly embedded in the dough surface. Roll the dough up to form a tight log. Lay the log seam side down and press the the log into a 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using a sharp, floured knife, cut the rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.
Brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar. (If freezing ahead of time, flash freeze on the baking sheet for 20 minutes, then wrap individually and store in a freezer bag until needed.) Bake until the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

 Entertaining from Cook’s Illustrated, Spring 2009

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


... A few good cooks!
Taste Buds & Blossoms is growing!  
We have two new ladies contributing to the blog now.  
We are so excited to be collaborating with Elisabeth and Emilie.  
 Elisabeth just posted her first below, Crockpot Carnitas.
Comment on her recipe and show her the love!

Crockpot Carnitas

Okay folks, this is my first post and I gotta tell ya, I'm a bit nervous...
What to do when you're nervous about posting food for the entire world to read/see...?
Post killer food.
Hence, this recipe for Carnitas.
It's "off the hook" yummy.
No, I don't normally talk like that.
Please stay...
I promise it'll be worth it.
So first thing you do is get either a pork shoulder roast or some boneless pork country style ribs. I think the ribs are easiest, cuz if you get the roast you have to take the time to cut it into chunks. I have four kids. I do not have time to cut meat both before I cook it and before it goes into their mouths. So I get the ribs.
Rub it all over with salt and let it sit in the fridge overnight. If you accidentally skip this step (eg. fall asleep on the couch with your mouth open at 9pm like I do) just salt the pork before you stick it in the crockpot.
Next, brown it in a big heavy pot. Put some oil in the bottom of the pot and sear the meat. If you are too lazy (or running late), never fear, cuz you can just throw it in the crockpot as is.
Salted, that is.
Above is the meat simmering away while I fold laundry.
Don't you love a crockpot meal?
And yes, that is a recipe for The Barefoot Contessa's Outrageous Brownies in the background, complete with chocolate smear.
Mix together in a small saucepan:
Some water,
1 Tbsp chile powder
1 Tbsp ancho chile powder
1 cinnamon stick
garlic (as much as you like)
2 tsp cumin
Warm the water and whisk the seasonings in. Pour it over the meat in the crockpot. If you decide you have the time to sear the meat first, you can do this in the pot you seared it in so as to deglaze the pot. This is not rocket science. You don't have to boil the water or even heat it up very hot.
Add 2 bay leaves to the crockpot, along with more water until the meat is 3/4 covered, and close the lid.
Cook on high for about 5 hours. My crockpot is veeeeeeeeeery old, however (as is my microwave, which takes about 5 min to pop a small bag of popcorn) so you may want to turn yours down to low. Just get the meat cooked until it's falling apart.

Next, shred the meat.
Spread it on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan and heat your oven to 400.
Take the juice from the crockpot and put it in your gravy fat separator (aren't you glad you have one and are using it more than one time a year at Thanksgiving...? You're welcome).
After about 15 minutes of roasting the meat, I pour a little of the juice over the meat, stir it up with tongs, then stick it back in the oven. I repeat this 2-3 times. This is the crucial step. You don't want dry Carnitas. But you do want them CRISPY. So set your timer and make sure you don't forget about them while you're eating your BonBon's, reading your novel, taking your bubble bath....ahhhhh....
It should look like this (ignore the double jointed thumb and fingernail I chopped off with my BIG knife while slicing tomatoes, please):
We love this meal.
It doesn't even matter if it's on paper plates.
Top with coleslaw (mix up some mayo, lime juice, cilantro, and apple cider vinegar for a quick dressing), avocado, Cotija cheese, sour cream, spread refried black beans on the tortilla, whatev's...
Toast your corn tortillas and you'll be in heaven.
And make the Barefoot Contessa's Brownies for dessert.

(Courtesy to David Lebovitz, adapted from his Carnitas recipe)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Lemon-Basil Pasta

I love a good lemon sauce. It goes with so many of my favorite foods, fish, chicken, pasta... Bacon.
I love basil - I could eat it with toast and butter everyday. But my family is looking for something a bit more substantial for dinner.

In one of my lemon sauce moods, I threw in the basil and crisped up some bacon - and Wa-lah. Dinner was served.

Here's the basics for the sauce:
1 Lemon, juiced and zested & another lemon for a fresh squeeze over the top in the end
4 T butter
4 T olive oil
A handful of Basil leaves
Crumbled Bacon
Parmesan Cheese, grated or shredded for topping.

Cook up some Pasta & reserve some water. (I used linguine)

Over a low heat, melt butter. Combine olive oil and slowly add lemon juice and zest. Making sure to stir between each addition.

Pour the sauce over the linguine - this is where you add some reserved pasta water if you feel the noodles are sticking. Just add a tablespoon at a time - you don't want to water the sauce down. Then sprinkle in the chopped basil. Stir to evenly combine.

Spoon portions into a pasta bowl, and top with more fresh basil, bacon and parmesan cheese. And squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the top for a fresher tasting pasta.

Try it as a light dinner with some crusty bread. Or add a grilled chicken breast or your favorite fish to make it more substantial.