Strawberry Rhubarb Scones

Earlier this month I was asked to start off a monthly breakfast club at work. I was pretty excited about the prospects of making a breakfast for more than one as I would finally have someone else to cook for besides Jack. He was quite happy as well as it gave him a break from all of the baked goods. It took me forever to decide what to cook as I really wanted the menu to be liked by most people, therefore I went with smaller recipes, but greater variety. I also wanted to incorporate my love affair with local foods into the breakfast items, and decided on using local rhubarb, and of course, local eggs. As spring progresses though, I hope to continue to utilize more and more of local foods.

I finally decided upon Orange Chocolate Chip muffins, a variety of cheeses and crackers, homemade buttermilk bread and jam, fruits, and Strawberry Rhubarb Scones. This was my first attempt at scones, and I must say, it was a hit. This particular recipe called for more heavy cream and less butter, so the baked good turned out less crumbly than most store bought scones. The dough is rather sticky and pliable, but this also made it easier to work with. The key in rolling and cutting it is to keep the flour handy and use plenty of it. Flour will be your best friend in this recipe.

The scones, and the breakfast itself, turned out magnificently, though the scones were a hit! I would definitely make them again, and look forward to berry season to try the same recipe with a different fruit!

Rhubarb Cream Scones (adapted from Gourmet via Smitten Kitchen via The Good Wife)

2½ cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar (3.5 ounces) plus 3 tablespoons
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 cups diced rhubarb (¼-inch cubes), about 3 stalks
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream

~Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Adjust a baking rack to the middle position. In a small bowl, mix the rhubarb with 3 tablespoons sugar.

~In a food processor, pulse the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt a few times, just to mix. Distribute the butter evenly over the dry ingredients and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl.

~Stir the rhubarb into the flour mixture. Lightly beat the egg, yolk, and cream together in a bowl (use the same one you used for the rhubarb), then add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.

~On a well-floured surface with floured hands, pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter). Using a 2-inch round cutter or rim of a glass dipped in flour, cut out as many rounds as possible, rerolling scraps as necessary. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer the scones to a cooling rack and let them cool slightly before serving.


Chocolate Bundt Cake=Delicious Disaster

Preface: I follow Joy the Baker’s blog like a criminal stalker. I love her recipes, pictures, and stories. I feel like I know every last tidbit about her life from my daily stalking of her page. And I am not ashamed one bit to even admit it.

Real Time: It was a lonely Wednesday night. I was trying to finish my menu for a breakfast I needed to prepare for my work group. I desperately wanted chocolate though to soothe my stressed and sad soul. Thankfully, Joy the Baker was there for me to lean on with the best ever Chocolate Bundt Cake.

Now, there’s a lot of people who claim to have the best this and the best that, so I admit it is hard to find a recipe to trust. But I am here to claim that this really is the best Chocolate Bundt Cake Ever. Hands Down. I have evidence.

You see, I wanted this cake so badly my knees quivered. After I had popped it out of the oven, and the aromas filled my apartment, I might have tried to flip the bundt pan a little early. Some might say wayyyy too early. Hence a disaster of a cake. Only half of it came out of the pan during my first flip. And then I tried again, and half of the leftover half came loose. Then finally, after much prying, the rest of the cake fell out in one big heaping chocolate cake mess.

I couldn’t waste it though after all of the hard work I put into it. So you know what I did? I treated this chocolate volcano like cake like a lava cake. I poured that yummy chocolately frosting all up and down this cake. Boy, am I glad I did. This cake was a smashing success, if even by my own standards. Thank you Joy for helping me on a yucky Wednesday night. You are the best.

Ohh, and so you know, here is what I learned, and you should too. When the recipe says to let the cake cool completely, do it. You won’t regret it. More importantly, when the recipe says to grease and flour the pan well, DO IT. Because really, you want that cake to turn out looking nice and pretty, not lumpy and dirt like.

The Best Chocolate Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze
~makes one 10-inch bundt cake

For the Cake:
1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tablespoon brewed coffee
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups plus 1 Tablespoon buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups, plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted

For the Glaze:
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 cup brewed coffee, cooled

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan and set aside.

To make the cake batter: Put brewed coffee and cocoa powder in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Remove from the heat and let come to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a whisk attachment, mix together sugar, salt, baking soda, eggs and egg yolk on low speed for about 1 minute. Add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract and mix on low again for another minute.

Add the flour and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the cooled cocoa mixture and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. The batter will be very loose. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely in the pan and then invert onto a cooling rack.

To make the icing: Chop the chocolate into small pieces, put them in a heatproof bowl (or a double boiler), and set the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water. Be sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water. Remove the bowl from the heat when all of the chocolate bits have melted.

Melt the butter in a separate pan or in the microwave. Whisk the melted butter into the melted chocolate until thoroughly incorporated. Sift in half of the powdered sugar. Add the sour cream and whisk to combine. Sift in the remaining powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. The glaze should be thick and shiny. Lastly, add the coffee and whisk to create a glossy glaze.

Pour the glaze over the Bundt cake, covering it completely. Leave at room temperature until ready to serve.


Busy Busy Bee

I’ve been busy recently. No posts, lots of driving. Living in Mass certainly makes visits to family and friends take quite a bit more time. Instead of 2.5 hours, trips to see mom and pops take 6+ hours. Therefore, I have had no time to blog.
Finally though I have a weekend to catch up, and tell you about my mother’s day meal taken from Joy the Baker’s blog suggestions. I wanted to give mom the gift of a breakfast amongst other things because she so rarely gets to eat something cooked just for her. Mom’s day was special this year because we were all home, boyfriends included. I finally had the chance to meet my sister’s boyfriend, and we conversed about food as he is in the food industry.

Jack so kindly helped me out in making a crustless quiche of the mushroom and spinach variety. It turned out delicious, though next time we would switch blue cheese for Swiss and eliminate the walnuts altogether.

During the next the week, I found a nutty brown rice recipe to try from one of the blogs that I subscribe to. I changed the recipe a little to use red quinoa because I had it on hand, and quite honestly, because it is more nutrient rich. The result was delicious. Definitely use pecans as they are so creamy in taste and blend well with the avocado. The recipe was great for a quick dinner side, and lasted well through the week as leftover lunches.

During this busy time, I also had the wonderful opportunity to write a guest blog article for Edible South Shore magazine about my discovery of South Shore farms. The magazine is terrific for reviewing south shore local eateries, stores, and farmer’s markets. It has certainly helped me to discover many of the places I current shop for foods.

Lastly, I was given the chance to provide a breakfast for my work team of 15 folks this past Friday, which you will get to read about in the next post. It took me quite a few days to prepare with recipe researching and bargain food hunting…

Until then, Happy Eating!


Pasta sans KitchenAid Mixer

I had nothing to make for dinner on Monday. My fridge was bare, Jack wasn’t coming home for dinner, and I was desperately fighting the urge to get takeout for dinner or eat cereal. Don’t get me wrong, I love cereal for dinner, but I knew that the fridge being bare and eating alone were going to be common occurrences for the week, and for the weeks to follow. So I needed to save those really lazy nights for really desperate times.

I had a craving for carbs as they are my go to comfort food-they satisfy my hunger and occupy a lot of cooking time, er preparing time- exactly what I needed on a rainy Monday night alone, well alone with a cat. I turned to my new Mark Bittman cookbook and found an easy but delicious recipe for basil gnocchi. A stray from the norm, but nothing overly exotic other than a potato ricer. Essentially all that I needed was 3 ingredients, and a little bit of man power. Needless to say, the gnocchi was fairly easy to make, easy to roll, and easy to multiple quickly! 2 cookie sheets later, my hands were tired from rolling and pinching and pressing dough.

As mentioned before, the only really bizarre tool you need, or rather, is desired to have, when making gnocchi is a potato ricer. I picked mine up at Target for about $10. The clerk mentioned that she hadn’t seen a potato ricer in 50 years. It made me feel old, but slightly proud that I knew what one was, and how to use it. Otherwise, this recipe comes together fairly quickly after the potatoes have been boiled. It makes quite a bit, and the gnocchi is very easily frozen. The potato pasta tastes best with any red sauce that complements basil, though I used my standard olive oil, garlic salt, and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Basil Gnocchi from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything

1lb potatoes-boiled until tender and peeled
½ cup basil
1c APF


Put a pot of cold water on to boil. Place potatoes in cold water, bring to boil, and continue boiling until soft enough to peel and push through ricer. Take potatoes out of water. Allow to cool for a few minutes, but not long enough to harden again-roughly 5-10 minutes. Peel potatoes, and cut in half. Push through ricer. Add APF, basil and mix until a ball of dough forms. Take pieces at a time and roll out into ropes. Cut into bite size pieces and for added decoration, press down on pasta with fork. Place on a floured baking sheet. At this point you can freeze the gnocchi overnight and then bag, or place in pot of boiling water to cook. Fresh gnocchi only need about 4-5minutes to boil. Serve after draining water.