Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cheddar Cheese Scones!!!

Yum. Cooler weather has arrived and with it comes the craving for soups and stews of all different varieties. Chili is a must make during the fall, and of course cornbread to go with. However, I came across a jalapeno cheddar scone recipe on another food blog I follow that sounded like it would be good with chili. I know how picky my family is about their food so I made 1/2 the recipe with jalapenos, and the other 1/2 without. My brother was the only one who liked the spicy jalapeno ones, but everyone else loved the plain cheese ones. I loved them so much that I have made them twice in 5 days! The key to all biscuits and scones is to not over mix! Over mixing makes them become tough and dense...where is the ideal texture is light and flaky. This original recipe called for rolling the dough out and cutting it with a biscuit cutter, but that sounded too ambitious for my tired overworked self, so I just scooped and dropped instead...way easy, and way bueno. These are wicked fast to make, I literally whipped up the dough in less than 10 minutes...and they baked really fast as well!

original recipe from Smitten Kitchen Blog:

Cheddar Cheese Scones
adapted by moi.

- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces) cold butter, diced
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, diced*

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine the 2 cups of flour with the baking powder and salt. In separate bowl toss diced cheese with 1 TBSP of the flour/baking powder/salt mixture. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, fork or blend in stand mixer with paddle attachment until the butter bits are pea sized. Lightly whip the eggs and cream in a small bowl and add to the flour-butter mixture. (reserve the bowl and any egg/cream mixture that is left on the sides) Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture only until it begins to come together. Add the cheese to the dough and mix only until everything is incorporated. Scoop out scones with medium ice cream scoop onto parchment lined or oiled cookie sheet. Flattened slightly with palm of hand. Brush the scones with egg/cream remnants from small bowl. Bake for 7 minutes and then rotate pans, and then bake for 5 more minutes or until golden brown.

*I used extra sharp Vermont White from Cabot....very delicious!

A food history lesson: Taken from Wikipedia.

While I was writing this post the question popped into my wee little brain...what the heck is the difference between a biscuit and a scone?

A biscuit (pronounced /ˈbɪskɨt/) is a kind of small, flat-baked bread product that is usually made with a chemical leavener such as baking powder. The origin of the word "biscuit" is from Latin via Middle French and means "cooked twice". Some of the original biscuits were British naval hard tack; such hard tack was made in the United States through the 19th century. Throughout most of the world, the term biscuit still means a hard, crisp, brittle bread, except in the United States and Canada, where it now denotes a softer bread product baked only once. The word 'biscuit' transliterated into Russian or Ukrainian has come to mean 'sponge cake'. Biscuits have a firm browned crust and a soft interior, similar to British scones or the bannock from the Shetland Isles.

The scone is a small British quickbread (or cake if recipe includes sugar) of Scottish origin. Round-shaped British scones can resemble North American biscuits in appearance, but scones rely on cold butter for their delicate, flaky texture, while biscuits are more often made with shortening and are crumbly rather than flaky. Also, while scones are served with coffee and tea or as a dessert, biscuits are served more as a side bread often with breakfast.[7] In Scottish language the verb scon means to crush flat or beat with the open hand on a flat surface, and "scon-cap" or "scone-cap" refers to a man's broad flat cap or "bunnet".

After reading a few articles I found my answer here:

What is the difference between biscuits and scones? They use basically the same procedure to arrive at two different kinds of baked goods.

Summarized answer:
The main difference between biscuits and scones is that scones tend to have eggs and are sweeter and more elaborate, while biscuits don’t include eggs and have simpler, more savory ingredients. That doesn’t mean a biscuit has to be plain. It’s just that biscuits are more likely to have cheese or fresh or dried herbs in them rather than, say, currants or chocolate chips. Biscuits are also more likely to be served with a meal than as a dessert or tea item, which explains their savory nature.

Consider yourself educated.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fall Fest Take 2...

You know when you see a car on the road with a dog sticking his head out the window, with his ears flapping in the wind, and the biggest dog smile on his face? That makes me happy. On a completely different note...

I participated in my second Church Fall Festival last weekend. What an ordeal and an operation....let me tell you. This time around I was determined to be more organized, more professional, more efficient, and basically more successful than last year...and I was. Last year I did fairly well for 6 hours of cookie selling with about $500 in sales...that's a lot of cookies. I way over baked though, and even though I had a steady stream of customers I had a lot of product leftover. The festival this year was a 2 day ordeal in a better location, with the promise of a huge turnout. Unfortunately the weather didn't feel like cooperating with me this year and it was overcast all day Saturday, and then monsooning all day Sunday...which means people stayed home where it was dry. Fortunately, the Church was so kind and found places inside for all of their outdoor vendors on Sunday. Still, the crowd wasn't very large because the bad weather. My motto going into this was "sell out or go home" - I was sure I would sell out this year. I started out with low sales, but then my wonderful family rallied and whipped out their mad crazy sales skills and boom-we were rocking it! Considering the size of the crowd we did really well with about $950 in sales, and less leftover product than last year. Go us! My favorite part about selling my stuff is the look on peoples faces when they bite into something, and then when they come back and buy more! Here are a few memorable things that happened...

1) My 5 year old niece jumped in and walked around with samples for people - it was so cute, and she got so many people to come buy stuff from us...her line was "Isn't it good? No I didn't make it, you can go buy some over there from my aunt." She had a blast...and I don't think I was breaking any child labor laws. : )

2) One older dude kept coming back to my tent - about 4 times to buy stuff...his comment about my heaven bars to another customer was, "I am old, and if I had died without getting the chance to eat this heaven bar, I never would have truly lived." : ) I almost cried : )

3) A middle aged lady came to my tent 6 times! Each time she brought someone new with her and got them to buy stuff from me as well! Talk about a dedicated customer!

4) My younger sisters and one of their friends helped me out so much - two of them were my support throughout the three day ordeal helping me set up and tear down, another one jumped in mid day and really upped my sales...she is a wicked good salesperson even though she doesn't think she is. My mom was my baker and on Friday she baked all my cookies off for me, 9-7 baby! My older sister and her husband made me beautiful business cards that are hip, and cool, and awesome...very awesome!

5) At the end of the day my neighboring vendor had already bought two bags of cookies from me and offered to trade me 3 pairs of earrings for another yah baby, and free earrings for me!

Overall, I had a good time, and I realized 3 things.

1) If you offer something different then your regular run of the mill chocolate chip cookie - people will be interested...if it is good, they will buy it, and then come back for more!

2) I really can't do this alone and definitely need a business partner who is better at numbers than I am.

3) I really am good at what I do, and I love making people happy with just one bite. : )

the end.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Chicken Soup Weather...

Recently the weather changed here in Texas...I guess you could say we got a cold front, but's not that cold. Anyway, we were all feeling yucky -congested and sore throaty, so I decided to make a big batch of my chicken soup. Now this is not an exact recipe, I just throw stuff in a pot and hope for the best, so its more like an idea that you can take and roll with it.

1-rinse a whole chicken. Place into a pot and cover with water. Add a few tsp.s of salt. Boil water and cook until chicken is falling off the bone- this usually takes a good 35-55 minutes depending upon the size of your bird. You can also roast, grill, or bake the chicken if you like. I like to boil the chicken because it is less pots and then I also make chicken broth at the same time.

2-while your bird is boiling away...cut up whole carrots - I keep the skin on because that is really where the nutrients are, and I cut my carrots into disks. Then I dice a bunch of onions and celery. I like to saute my vegtables in coconut or olive oil first for a few minutes to achieve a nice carmelization...I do this in a large saute pan.

3-when the chicken is cooked remove it from the water and allow it to cool on the counter. Meanwhile add a few cups of wild rice to the chicken water, and return to a boil Add a few tsps. of better than boullion chicken paste and cover pan.

4- While the rice is cooking prep the chicken. Remove the skin and bones and shred the chicken or tear into peices with you hands. Return to the chicken/rice/ water.

5- After the rice has been boiling for 15 minutes add the chopped up and sauteed vegtables to the pot. Continue to cook until rice is cooked and vegetables are tender. Add seasoning accordingly. I usually just do salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, and little bit of cayenne pepper.

Chicken soup is so versatile and awesome. You can use different meat, different vegetables-squash, cabbage, green beans, asparagus, shallots, kale, bok choy - yeah, pretty much anything works. You can also use different grains -pasta, quinoa, barley, white/brown rice, risotto...yeah-it all tastes good.

I am also curious to hear what other people's cold remedies are...if you have any please let me know what they are.

When we get colds or are sick we OD on vitamins - Vitamin C, Echinacia, silver...etc. Also, I make a drink concoction of 2 TBS apple cider vinegar, 1 tbs honey, 1 tbs lemon juice, and 1 cup boiling water. It tastes awful, but really helps. Any other crazy ideas out there?