Posts Tagged ‘food blogging’

Cranberry-Orange Scones, with a Low-Fat Option

Have I told you I’m on the board of the League of Women Voters of South Hampton Roads? Yesterday was our annual program planning/general membership/holiday party meeting, and traditionally, board members, and sometimes others, bring brunch-type goodies to have during the meeting.

I got up early to make scones and realized I was out of whipping cream. So I used what I had – I substituted a few tbsp. of low-fat cream cheese and a half cup of skim milk for the whipping cream. I’ve made these scones for this event for several years now, and I got more compliments than ever, so I guess low-fat is the way to go.

Ingredients for cranberry-orange scones

Cranberry-Orange Scones

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) firm unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries (such as Craisins)
2 tsp. grated orange peel
1/4 tsp. orange extract

Optional: Instead of whipping cream, cut 3 tbsp. low-fat cream cheese into flour with the butter and add 1/2 cup skim milk with the liquid ingredients.

Optional: Sprinkle with candy sprinkles – I used fall colors with leaves.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or spray with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or fork, mix butter, and optional cream cheese, into dry ingredients until mixture is the size of small peas. Add remaining ingredients, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moist.

Using a small spoon, scoop out golf-ball size pieces of dough, put on the baking sheet, and pat down lightly, or you can turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a circle 3/4-inch thick, then cut dough into 8 to 10 wedges. I like a more rustic look, so I spoon it out.

Place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and optional candy sprinkles. Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 20 scones.

Platter of cranberry-orange scones

Paper Chef: Scones with Honey, Ricotta, and Dill

I like participating in food blogging events when I can, because they challenge me to come up with variations or to try food combinations I probably would not have thought of on my own. Paper Chef provides a random collection of ingredients and you prepare a recipe using all of those ingredients, like Chopped on the Food Network. Unfortunately, I missed the deadline, but here’s the recipe anyway :-)

This one is an especially interesting mix: honey, ricotta, dill – and an egg.

A recipe came immediately to mind when I saw those ingredients, though. In 2008, I won a cookbook called “Covered in Honey” in a recipe contest at Joelen’s Culinary Adventures, and made Scones with Honey, Rosemary and Goat Cheese. So I thought, why not replace the rosemary with dill and the goat cheese with ricotta, and see what happens?

I was afraid the dill would be really strong, so I used a rather light hand with it – should have used more. The scones have a very light dill scent and flavor, but I think I could have doubled it and had a better result. The ricotta gives the scones a very creamy texture and the honey sweetens them just perfectly. This one is well worth repeating, with some extra dill – I doubled it in the recipe below.

Savory Scones with Honey, Ricotta and Dill

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup herbal honey
1 large egg
1/2 cup cream or whole milk
1 tbsp. dill, chopped
5 oz. ricotta cheese
Additional cream or milk for glazing

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl, lightly whisk the olive oil, honey, egg, cream or milk and 2 tsp. of the dill. Use a pastry cutter or fork to blend the ricotta cheese with the flour mixture until the mixture makes pea-size crumbs.

Make a well in the flour mixture and add the olive oil mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough ball forms. Remove the dough ball to a lightly floured surface and knead lightly, just enough to form a workable ball.

Pull off about 1/8 cup-size pieces of dough, roll each in your hands to form a ball, and lightly flatten a bit. Place dough pieces on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a Silpat, about 1 inch apart. Brush tops with more cream or milk and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp. dill. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Honey, Ricotta and Dill Scones

GYO: Antipasto Pesto Pasta

I love the sound of that :-) And the dish was pretty good, too.

We had about 16 people over for Thanksgiving, and since we had spent two weeks in Europe, including a week in Italy, in September, naturally I wanted to serve antipasto for an appetizer.

But most people were holding out for the main event, so there was quite a bit left over. What to do with all these preserved meats and veggies? Put them in a pasta, of course! I found this great-sounding recipe and modified it for what we had and like, and it turned out great. I’ll definitely make it again.

This is my entry in Grow Your Own, the foodie event started by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes and hosted this month by House of Annie. GYO celebrates the food we grow ourselves. We grew the basil and parsley for the pesto in this dish, and I froze pesto to use during the winter, since the basil was so prolific. The round-up of all the entries has been posted, so check them out!

Antipasto Pesto Pasta
1 medium roasted red bell pepper, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup marinated cocktail onions, halved
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
3 ounces salami, chopped
1/2 cup marinated mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup refrigerated pesto
8 ounces uncooked bow-tie pasta (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

Place the roasted pepper, onions, olives, salami, mushrooms, and artichokes in a large bowl and mix gently.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, omitting salt; drain. In a small bowl, mix together the pesto and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; add to bell pepper mixture, and toss to combine. Add pasta to bell pepper mixture and stir.

Sprinkle each serving with 2 tsp. remaining cheese and 2 tsp. pine nuts.


Antipasto Pasta

Photo Friday: Homemade

We grew a nice variety of lettuces in the garden last spring, and most of them did very nicely. We had salad from the garden regularly all spring and into the summer.

This is a composed salad I made one day last summer. Since the high is supposed to be about 42*F today, I’m hoping the thought of a cool salad on a hot day might warm me up. If not, I’ll make some hot chocolate.

Photo Friday: Homemade

This is for Photo Friday’s weekly photo challenge. This week’s topic is Homemade.

Parmesan-Rosemary Focaccia in a Bread-Machine

grow_your_own_logo-2009-bldgWow, where did October go? Oh, yeah – work, work, work. Come home and guess what? Don’t really want to hang out at the computer. So the blog has suffered a bit. Ah, well, maybe it will get better during the holidays ;-)

Anyway, last night we went to a Halloween/Birthday party and I took a platter of sandwich bites made with homemade bread-machine focaccia. I let the bread machine make the dough, and then I spread the dough in a pan for the last rise and bake it in the oven.

A friend asked me for the recipe, so here it is. I’ll save the sandwich recipe for another post. This recipe is a hybrid of one from Cook’s Illustrated magazine and one in the cookbook that came with my bread machine. As it happens, I used fresh rosemary from the garden, so this qualifies as a long-overdue contribution to the food blogging event Grow Your Own, created and hosted by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes.

Bread-Machine Rosemary Focaccia

1 cup water at 80 degrees F
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 2 tbsp.
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 cups bread flour
1-1/2 tsp. active dry yeast, or 1 tsp. QuickRise yeast, or 1 tsp. Bread Machine Yeast
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped, or 1 tsp. dried rosemary, crumbled

Place the ingredients – except the Parmesan cheese, rosemary and 2 tbsp. olive oil – in the bread-machine pan in the order given. Turn to the dough setting and turn it on. Watch it for the first minute or two – you may need to use a spatula to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the dough ball. Then let the bread machine do its thing through the first rise time, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Generously oil a jelly roll pan – I use a Pampered Chef 9″x13″ stone baking pan. Remove the dough from the machine, wet your hands with water (to prevent sticking), and press the dough flat into the pan, pushing it into all the corners. If it resists, let it rest for 10 minutes and continue. Use your fingers or a pair of chopsticks to press dimples into the dough at even intervals – your yummy toppings will collect in these. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave in a warm, draft-free place while you heat the oven, at least 20 minutes. I put it in the microwave – no drafts in there.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Press dimples into dough again. Drizzle with 2 tbsp. olive oil, then the cheese and rosemary. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Cut into squares or wedges to serve immediately. To serve later, cool completely and reheat at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.

Cooled focaccia can also be frozen for up to one month. To reheat, thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F, then heat directly on oven racks for 10 minutes.

There are lots of variations on this basic recipe: You can add garlic powder and/or onion powder and/or herbs to the dry ingredients, or add caramelized onions to the topping. Focaccia is great for dipping in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or you can slice it lengthwise and use for panini.

Rosemary-Parmesan Focaccia
This is half the recipe.

Tasty Tools: German Potato & Sausage Soup

Tasty Tools: Soup/Stock PotWhen we were in Germany recently, we had a late lunch in Potsdam with our former exchange students Olaf, Hannah and Josi, and Hannah’s parents, Bettina and Frank. We had seen Olaf in April when he visited the U.S. and stayed with us for a week, but it’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen the girls and Hannah’s parents. It was great fun to see them all again.

I was pretty hungry, with the time change, so while most of the group had a coffee of some type and a pastry, I had the potato and sausage soup. I was expecting something creamy; it came out more brothy, although it was thick from the potatoes being cooked in it for so long. Our first full day back home was chilly and rainy, so I found this soup online and made a half-batch. It’s so good, next time I’ll make the whole recipe, so we’ll have more leftovers.

I used my lovely Flame Le Creuset Dutch oven for this wonderful soup.

Tasty Tools: Soup Pot with German Potato and Sausage Soup

German Potato and Sausage Soup

5 pounds potatoes peeled and diced to 1/2″ pieces
6 carrots peeled and diced
1 large white onion peeled and diced
4 celery stalks chopped
2 teaspoons salt
3 pounds Polish kielbasa
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground

Put potatoes, carrots, onion and celery in a large pot then add water to cover about 1 inch. Add half the salt, then cover with lid and set on medium flame.

Cut sausage into 2” pieces. Add water to cover bottom of frying pan and cook sausage piercing skin as it starts to harden. When cooked through, remove sausage to cutting board and dice into 1/2″ pieces; add to soup.

Add parsley, black pepper, red pepper, remaining salt and garlic. Cover and continue cooking on low heat for 2 hours; serve immediately.

This is my contribution to Tasty Tools: Soup/Stock Pots, a food blogging event hosted by Joelen of Joelen’s Culinary Adventures.

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