Sunday, January 29, 2012

Daring Bakers make Scones a/k/a Biscuits

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!  His recipe for basic scones (see below) was very simple and fail proof.  It was a thrill to say I had made them from scratch!!  Thanks Audax!!

Basic Scones (a.k.a. Basic Biscuits)
Servings: about eight 2-inch (5 cm) scones or five 3-inch (7½ cm) scones
Recipe can be doubled
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour

2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) fresh baking powder

¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt

2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)

approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones

1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.

2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)

3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.

4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)

6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.

7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.

8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.

9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

French Fridays with Dorie - Broth-Braised Potatoes

This wonderfully rustic dish can go nicely with any roasted meat or poultry.  Just a few staple ingredients and you're done. I used a variety of fingerling potatoes and just before serving I drizzled them with the concentrated broth. The aroma in your kitchen will bring everyone to the dinner table on time....Bon Appétit!

As part of French Fridays with Dorie we are cooking our way through Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.  Next week we'll be making Gorgonzola-Apple Quiche.... join us.

Friday, January 27, 2012

50 Women Game Changers in Food - Week 32

Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian are the stars for week 32 of 50 Women Game Changers in Food.  They co-founded Edible Communities which publishes over 70 magazine across the country and Vancouver, Canada. Each focusing on regional foods, growers, and chefs. They collaborated on their first cookbook Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods, written by Tracy and all photographs were taken by Carole (her true calling).  It's a work of art.

The moment I read this recipe I knew it was the one for this week.  It was extremely simple to make and the flavors were intense.  It's on the spicy side but you can tone it down be reducing the amount of cayenne pepper. I love spicy foods but my husband prefers it a little milder.  Either way it's a delicious dish and makes a great presentation without a lot of work.  The nutmeg should definitely be fresh, it blends in perfectly and the aroma is wonderful.  Enjoy!

Sullivan's Island Shrimp Bog 
Courtesy of Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian (Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods)

Serves 6


Saturday, January 21, 2012

50 Women Game Changers in Food - Week 31

Week 31 takes us to the lady from "down under", Donna Hay.  Known as the Australian Martha Stewart, she is the countries leading food editor and writer of several cookbooks.  She began as food editor for Marie Claire and now edits her own magazine Donna Hay.  Most of her recipes are simple, not complicated, and delicious.  These fish cakes are really tasty and can be made on the spur of the moment.  You can get really creative with them too; you can add grated onions and parsley, or your favorite spices.  Serve as an appetizer, for lunch or a light dinner.  These are definitely a keeper!!

Lemony Fish Cakes


  • 1 lb. (500 g) mashed cooked potatoes
  • 7 oz. (200 g) flaked salmon
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • Pinch salt and pepper

Combine roughly mashed potatoes with salmon, lemon rind, egg, salt and pepper. Shape into patties and fry in vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes per side. Serve with mayonnaise and lemon wedges.

For more recipes by Donna Hay please visit the rest of the group:

Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen

Friday, January 20, 2012

French Fridays With Dorie - Quatre-Quarts

Dorie's version of Quatre-Quarts (pound cake) is crumbly and delicious.  A very simple and fast recipe.  A few simple ingredients and in 30 minutes I had made a wonderful treat for my family.  For a little kick I added 2 tablespoons of spiced rum...Salut! 

As part of French Fridays with Dorie we are cooking our way through Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.  Next week we'll be making Broth Braised Potatoes.....join us.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

FFWD - M. Jacques' Armagnac Chicken

Monsieur Jacques' Armagnac Chicken is simple and delicious. It takes just a few ingredients to make what I believe will become a family favorite: chicken, onions, potatoes, carrots, spices, brandy or cognac.  Saute the vegetables slightly in a dutch oven, add the whole chicken and place in the oven for an hour. Can it get any easier than that?!

Since I joined French Fridays with Dorie I have learned so much; from how to "spatchcock" a cornish hen to how to stuff a pumpkin to make the most delicious appetizer, but this dish has to be not only one of the tastiest but the easiest to make. Next week we'll be making Quatre-Quarts (pound cake) from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Week #29 Betty Fussell

At number 29 of the 50 Women Game Changers in Food, is Betty Fussell, an American writer. She has written 11 books covering from silent movie screen star Mabel Normand, to American beef, to seasonal food, to the history of corn.  She has lectured at state fairs, universities, museums, and a wide variety of other venues all over the country. She's really quite an interesting lady and you can read more about her at her website

"So let’s treasure and pleasure it while we may, with all our senses flashing a red alert of joy. To look, taste, touch, savor — nothing does that better than sex but food."
                                                                       -Betty Fussell

While doing my research I came across her chili recipe which is truly off the charts!!
You can make it just as the recipe states...

...or add cheese to your hearts content. Enjoy!!

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ to 1 medium onion, chopped

3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon oregano

1 to 2 teaspoons ground red chili (medium hot)

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 pound ground round or chuck

1 can (16 to 24 ounces) chopped tomatoes

1 can (1 pound) red kidney beans

Salt & black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan, add the onion, garlic and spices and cook until the onion softens. Add the meat and stir well until it’s lightly cooked.  Add the tomatoes and their juices, add beans with their liquid. Add seasonings and taste thoroughly.  
Adjust spicing to your taste. Depending on the heat of the chili you use, if you want more heat, add some cayenne or Tabasco. You can also add Worcestershire Sauce.
If you need more liquid, add vegetable juice or water, plus a beef bouillon cube. If you want a thicker stew, add tomato paste. If you want a chewier meat, use cubed beef from the chuck and brown it just as you do ground meat.
You can use any kind of beans, like pinto, black, navy. To cook dried beans: Cover beans with water 2 inches above the height of the beans. Bring to the boil, boil rapidly uncovered for 2 minutes. Put on a lid, remove the pan from heat and let sit for an hour or more. When ready to use, add more water (if needed) to  cover about 1 inch above the beans. Bring liquid to the simmer, cover partly with a lid, and simmer until the beans are tender (1 to 2 hours, depending on the beans). If desired, add chopped green or sweet red peppers, chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped fresh chilies like jalapeno or Serrano. Don’t salt the beans until nearly done or it makes them tough.
Anything can go into the pot, like salt pork, chopped sausages, pork on the bone, lamb on the bone, whatever you have that will withstand long slow cooking.
Serves 1 big guy, 2 medium guys, or 3 girls

For more recipes by Betty Fussell, please visit the rest of the gang: