Baked some scones the other morning — such an easy, rewarding little chore — and stirred in some grated cheese and minced parsley.
With a dollop of good jam — my favorite Christmas gift from Carolyn Inge — and a cuppa coffee all’s right with the world. At least for a while.
My classic scone recipe comes from the Amish and Mennonite Kitchens cookbook, a staple in my cooking library. Here’s the recipe, along with another of their special goodies. Enjoy!
2 cups flour
1 scant tsp. baking soda
1 scant tsp. cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons shortening (butter, if you wish)
1 cup sour milk, buttermilk or half-and-half
In a bowl, work dry ingredients together with shortening to make fine crumbs.
Add milk, stirring with fork until soft dough is formed. Roll or pat to a round ½-inch thick and bake as is or cut into wedges or use a biscuit cutter.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. I bake mine on buttered foil on a baking sheet. (The photo pictured above shows the results.)
Apples are coming on, and just in time for this moist, delicious versatile apple cake that can be served with soup or supper as bread or with whipped cream for dessert.
4 cups peeled, cored, finely chopped cooking apples
1 cup cane sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon EACH baking powder and baking soda
¼ teaspoon EACH ground allspice and cardamom
1/8 teaspoon salt
Set oven to 350 degrees.
In large mixing bowl combine apples, sugar, walnuts and melted butter; stir in eggs and vanilla.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon and all remaining dry ingredients. Mix well and add to apple mixture, stirring until just combined.
Grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch baking pan and pour in batter, spreading evenly.
Bake about 30 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before serving warm.
For dessert, garnish with fresh apple slices, more chopped walnuts, or powdered sugar, as desired (or bathe in rich cream in a bowl)!
Our apple cake does beautifully served with the following savory soup!
2 cups cooked, mashed squash (acorn, sweet dumpling, butternut, etc.)
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium sweet onion, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely minced candied or preserved ginger
1 14-ounce can vegetable broth (or your own)
Salt and ground white pepper to taste
Crème fraiche or heavy whipping cream for 1 tablespoon per bowl of soup when served
Fresh thyme or sage sprigs
In saucepan, melt butter; sauté onion and ginger over medium-low heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add squash, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or until heated through.
Pour into bowls and swirl a 1 tablespoon dollop of the cream through each serving.
Add a dash of nutmeg or curry if you wish. Garnish with thyme sprigs or snipped tarragon or sage leaves.
Note: Your choice of spice/herb determines a definite flavor variation. Pick your favorite.
With cabbages joining other seasonal greens at the farmer’s market and on produce counters, it’s time to add coleslaw to summer’s green salads. Simple shredded cabbage works great alone, or joined with grated carrots, fennel bulbs, or other options. This old-fashioned recipe is sooo good!
Coleslaw W/Fennel Vinaigrette
1 large head green cabbage
2/3 cup EACH of finely chopped red and green bell peppers
2/3 cup tarragon vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
½ cup olive oil
1/3 cup sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed (I pound lightly in a mortar)
Core cabbage and peel off 6 (nice) outer leaves; cover and refrigerate*. Quarter remaining cabbage then thinly slice enough to measure 9 cups.
Slice and chop further to your preferred texture. Combine with chopped peppers in large bowl.
Combine vinegar, oil, sugar and crushed fennel seeds in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture is heated through. Pour over salad mixture and toss well; season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, tossing occasionally. To serve, place a reserved cabbage leaf on each salad plate and fill with coleslaw.
* Note: Using outer leaves as salad holders is charming but not really necessary. It’s up to you. I don’t do it, but I do garnish the bowl of salad with fennel fronds.
Valle Novak writes the Country Chef and Weekend Gardener columns for the Daily Bee. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 208-265-4688.