This last Sunday was the second week of the farmers market here in Omaha and it was a gorgeous day. Just a week ago, the sky was overcast and there was a biting wind slapping us in the face. Not a fun trip to the market at all. The start of the farmers market always gets me excited because it signifies the beginning of strawberry season. In fact, my strawberries in the garden are starting to flower as I type this…
Now, we didn’t see any this last Sunday, but it’s okay, as I had picked up a container of organic strawberries from Whole Foods. They were plump and flavorful, and I knew I wanted to make scones with them. Luckily, one of my favorite websites, The Kitchn, had the same idea!
These scones were destined for dessert, but of course would be great as a breakfast or brunch item. You could even substitute different fresh fruits for the strawberries. I think they would be lovely with fresh blueberries, chopped fresh peaches, or even fresh apricots.
Scones are probably some of the easiest baked goods to make. If you consider yourself kitchen-challenged, scones are definitely do-able.
The recipe from The Kitchn calls for sour cream, but I prefer to bake with crème fraîche when given the option. If you can’t find crème fraîche, just use full-fat sour cream. Both offer a nice tangy bite to baked goods.
The trick to successful scones is using cold butter and not working the dough too much. This recipe also calls for some wait time in the fridge prior to baking. It’s an essential step, as it makes cutting the dough much easier and helps keep the butter cold.
The brown sugar crumble is a lovely addition to the scones. When baked, it turns a deep brown color and the crunchy texture is perfect. However, if you’re not into the idea of a crumble, I’m sure a sweetened glaze or even sweetened whipped cream would pair well.
Strawberry and Crème Fraîche Scones with Brown Sugar Crumble
Adapted from The Kitchn
For the scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup crème fraîche
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup roughly chopped fresh strawberries
For the crumble:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Dice the butter into small cubes and toss with the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter (or fork), work the butter into the flour until it looks like coarse bread crumbs.
Whisk together the crème fraîche, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour the crème fraîche mixture into the well. Using a stiff spatula, mix and fold the ingredients together. Be gentle and don’t overwork the dough.
When most of the flour has been incorporated, turn the dough out onto a clean surface. Pat into a wide rectangle and sprinkle half of the strawberries over half of the dough. Using a bench scraper or large spatula, fold the dough over onto itself and pat again into a wide rectangle.
Sprinkle the remaining strawberries over half of the dough and fold it over itself again. Fold it once or twice more to work in the strawberries, being as gentle as possible. If any strawberries fall out, press into the top.
Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. Shape it into a disk roughly 1-inch thick.
Place in refrigerator for at least an hour (or cover and refrigerate overnight).
A half hour before baking, heat the oven to 400ºF. Combine flour, brown sugar, and salt for the topping, and then work in the butter using a fork until it becomes a smooth paste (it’ll look like sand).
Remove scones from the refrigerator. Crumble the topping evenly over the surface of the scones. Using a bench scraper, pizza wheel, or large knife, slice the disk into 8 equal-sized wedges. Reposition the wedges on the baking sheet to put a few inches of space between each scone.
Bake for 18-20 minutes until scones are firm on the sides and golden-brown on the top. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
What do you think of this artsy photo of my tortellini?? Pretty yummy looking. Am I right??
I woke up yesterday thinking, “Today I will make pasta.” I wanted to challenge myself and make a style of pasta I’ve never tried before. Tortellini it was.
Now, I know that if I had a tortellini craving I could just shop the freezer section of my local market, but why do that when fresh pasta tastes infinitely better?? And besides, fresh pasta is so simple to make. All you need is flour, eggs, salt, and a little patience and elbow grease.
As for the filling, typically tortellini is filled with a meat or cheese mixture. I decided to go with a trio of cheeses – ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Asiago. I love the silky texture of ricotta, and I love the salty bite that Asiago and Parmigiano-Reggiano provide. Fresh parsley is a natural choice in terms of herbs, and I added a touch of freshly grated nutmeg to warm up the flavor a bit. After a few grinds of black pepper and a little kosher salt, my filling was done. Super delicious, super fast and easy, and you can spread the leftover mixture on slices of toasted baguette for a snack! Yum!
Making fresh pasta shouldn’t be intimidating. Really. I mean, you get to use your hands and mix things up! It’s easy, and once you do it a few times, you’ll have the feeling for it and from then on you’ll choose fresh over frozen or dried pasta any chance you can.
The only warning I’ll give to you is that making fresh pasta can be a little time-consuming. So, your best bet is to make it when you have a couple of hours to spare, or you can always make it the night before and store it covered in the fridge prior to rolling it out.
It is important to let your dough rest for at least 30 minutes after you have kneaded it. This allows the gluten to develop and as a result, the dough becomes more pliable. Some might say otherwise, but why not take advantage and give yourself a rest while you’re at it?
I think the last time I posted I lamented the sluggishness of the oncoming spring weather here in Omaha. Well, surprise surprise, it’s still not here. We’ve had freezing rain, snow, rain, clouds, wind, and pretty much everything else you can think of that isn’t spring weather. To top off the disappointing weather, I have been deep in finals for this semester at school.
With this easy version of strawberry shortcake, I hoped to usher in the sun, the budding trees, and the singing birds. For the moment, it lifted our spirits, but ultimately, spring has yet to be sprung here in my lovely city.
This isn’t so much a shortcake as it is a sponge cake. It’s light and airy due to the whipped egg whites, but it retains a tender cake texture because of the egg yolks, sugar, and small amount of flour.
What I love so much about strawberry shortcake is that there are many variations or additions one can make. For instance, one could add Cointreau or Grand Marnier to the strawberries as they macerate. Instead of a liqueur, one could add a splash of balsamic vinegar or even the seeds from a vanilla pod.
As for the cake, I could see orange zest as being a nice addition to the batter. Or perhaps a dash of cardamom for a floral note? I enjoy adding fresh herbs to my desserts and I think a little fresh thyme would be lovely in the batter!
The weather here in Omaha is on the fence. It doesn’t know what it wants. Sunny? Overcast? Chilly? Rainy? Make up your mind already and move on! Yes, it is Spring, but my brain wants nonstop sunny weather. Anyway, I woke up the other morning unsure of what to make for that night’s dinner. I knew I had some things going on during the day, so standing over the stove for hours wasn’t an option. I wanted something fresh, something Spring-like, something easy.
After my day’s activities, I stopped at the market. Wandering around the produce section, I spotted some bright orange carrots. They were exactly what the overcast day called for. I thought, “Well, I could roast these and maybe have pork chops or something on the side.” But I wanted to do something more with them. Carrots are an under-utilized vegetable, if you ask me. They have a natural sweetness that comes out during the roasting process, but I didn’t want to stop there.
Soup. I came up with soup. Sounds boring, right? Or weird, maybe? Well, you’d be wrong on both accounts. This soup was easily one of the tastiest vegetable-centered dishes to come out of my kitchen. I could hardly believe it! Not that it was without faults, but those aside, it was hearty, spicy, a little sweet, and totally satisfying.
This recipe was also just enough for Scott and I to have dinner and then leftovers the following day for lunch. It reheated on the stove quite nicely and paired well with a sliced baguette and salted butter.
Roasted Carrot Soup
**You’ll need an immersion blender or regular blender for this soup.
1 1/2 – 2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds or half-moons
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
cracked black pepper
1 leek, white and light green parts only, sliced lengthwise and then into half-moons
3 large shallots, chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ginger paste
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake (adjust if you like it a little spicier)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 quart chicken stock (use vegetable stock if you want to go vegetarian)
Heat oven to 400ºF. Place carrots in a medium bowl and drizzle evenly with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper and kosher salt. Toss with your hands so the carrots are evenly coated and turn out onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
When carrots are done, heat remaining 1 tablespoon in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add shallots and leek to pan, sprinkle with kosher salt and cracked black pepper and sauté until tender, 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often. Be mindful not to burn the shallots and leeks, adjust heat if necessary.
Add minced garlic and ginger paste, stir well. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in crushed red pepper flake, ground cumin, and ground coriander and stir until fragrant. Add sherry vinegar and honey, stir into mixture. Add roasted carrots and chicken stock.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow it to simmer for at least 15 minutes. Use an immersion blender or regular blender to purée. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil. A dollop of crème fraîche or some chopped fresh cilantro would be lovely, as well.
Last week Scott and I spent five days in one of our favorite cities, New Orleans. We went with two of our closest friends, Sarah and Matthew. It was their first time to the Crescent City, but Scott and I have had the pleasure of visiting many times. It was a treat to spend time with them, enjoying all the wonderful food and drink that New Orleans has to offer.
And eat and drink we did! Scott and I were so excited to introduce some of our favorite places to Sarah and Matthew. Of course, we hit up Café du Monde for beignets and café au lait. We also visited The Napoleon House for a muffaletta sandwich and a Pimm’s Cup, The Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel for, what else, a Sazerac, and we ate fresh oysters shucked by Thomas at Pascale’s Manale.
I have been so behind on posts lately! Ack! I’m sorry. Hopefully, this super simple recipe for ricotta gnocchi will make up for my absence. I made this not long ago and served it with roasted broccoli and it was delicious. It had the flavor of ricotta cheese and maintained its pillowy texture – not heavy at all.
Most gnocchi is made with potatoes, but frankly, the prep for potato gnocchi was way too time consuming for that particular night. Ricotta it was!
All that is required for this recipe is one bowl and a large floured surface – and some patience. Because the dough itself is a bit soft, you’ll need to flour your hands well and make sure the surface is floured, in order to roll the dough into ropes. Be patient and don’t worry about the way they look. They’ll taste amazing.
As for the ricotta – go for whole milk ricotta when choosing at the store. It’ll be thicker and have more flavor. If you find that there is a lot of liquid in the container when you open it, dump the whole lot into a fine mesh strainer and let it drain. The less liquid, the easier it’ll come together.
Yes…it’s true. The past two weeks have been two of the busiest weeks so far this year. School is really throwing down and it seems like just when I have it all under control, my classes knock me down again. Oh, and I should mention our furnace died earlier this week and it’s winter in the midwest. Stressed! Fear not, though, as a new furnace is being installed at this very moment!
My sincere apologies to all of you dear and devoted readers. You are out there, right?
I have only made a few things worth sharing in the last two weeks – ramen and some lovely snacks I brought to an Oscar party.
Now, this dish was no easy feat. Just ask David Chang, as it was his recipe I followed. I’m absolutely loving my Momofuku Cookbook and I’ve been trying to make at least one thing from it every week. The ramen broth was quite an ordeal. I had to order five pounds of pork bones from the butcher and then wait. And wait. After about five days, I got the call that they were ready. I had all the other necessary ingredients: kombu, dried shiitake mushrooms, scallions, chicken legs, smoky bacon, onion, and carrots. I couldn’t wait. Into the oven went the pork bones!
Just let me tell you, after all was said and done, after all the roasting, simmering, and waiting – the flavor of the broth was divine. I wish I could hug David Chang and thank him for bringing something so amazing into my life.