Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Green Tea and Dark Chocolate Scones

I have a weakness for all things British, especially proper tea time. I think there is something lovely about breaking the day just before evening falls with a light snack and some caffeine. The caffeine part is probably not the best habit for a good night's rest, but I do love strong black tea! 
Scones are a traditional offering for tea, the soft crumbly texture goes down very well with a strong cuppa. These scones use the same ingredient in a Starbucks Green Tea Latte, Green Matcha. Matcha is a finely ground high grade green tea, and you can find it at tea stores, or online. I got mine here and you can use it to make green tea lattes at home, as well as scones! A little goes a long way and the flavor is more intense than with the whole leaves. 
In this recipe, the bitterness of the chocolate perfectly offsets the sweet, fragrant green tea and helps keep the scone a little more moist. I also think that chocolate makes everything better! 

Green Tea and Dark Chocolate Scones

2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup of Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
6 Tablespoons of Cold Butter, Chopped into Small 1/2 inch Cubes
1 Ounce of 70% Dark Chocolate, Chopped into Small Bits
1 Large Egg
1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream, plus 2 Tablespoons
2 Teaspoons of Green Matcha


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and whisk together. Put in the cold butter cubes and with a pastry blender or a fork, mash the butter into the dried mixture until the mixture is crumbly with pieces no larger than a pea. Put the chocolate into the dry mix. Meanwhile in a saucepan, pour 1/2 cup of the heavy cream and the matcha powder. Whisk the two together on medium heat. Remove the cream from the heat as soon as it starts to bubble. Whisk occasionally until the cream comes to room temperature. Whisk the egg into the cream. The cream must be room temperature or it will cook the egg. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir with a spatula until the dry ingredients are moistened. Take your hands and gather the dough into a ball against the bowl. When it is coming together in one piece, roll or flatten the mound out on a lightly floured surface. You can use your hands to flatten the dough. It needs to be about an inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into wedges. Place on a greased cookie sheet or a silicone sheet. Brush the tops with the remaining heavy cream. Bake for 10-12 minutes. They cook very quickly. You want the edges to be just lightly browned, but no more than that as they will get very dry. Remove and allow the scones to cool before serving.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apple and Smoked Bacon Salmon Patties

Growing up part of a large southern family, you learn to cook for many, rather than few and the recipes shared are always budget-friendly. I can remember going to my grandparents house, helping to make drop biscuits and salmon patties for twenty people, while busily catching up on the weekly gossip. Sometimes when I'm feeling especially nostalgic, picking the bones from a can of salmon, squishing the mixture between my fingers and hearing the sounds of grease spattering soothes the longing for days past. 
Apple and Smoked Bacon Salmon Patties


1 Can of Salmon
4 Slices of Smoked Bacon
1 Small Apple, Diced
1/2 Red Onion, Diced
2 Tablespoons of Water
1/2 Cup of Whole Oats
1/4 Cup of Flour
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon of Salt and Black Pepper, Each

Carefully pick the bones from the salmon, and then wash the salmon in a fine mesh strainer to remove most of the fishiness. Fry the bacon in a large pan and reserve the grease for frying the patties. Remove the bacon and chop. Toss in your onions and apples into the bacon pan. Add the water to degrease the pan, be sure to scrape up the brown bits from the bacon. Once the onions are translucent, pour them into a large mixing bowl with your salmon, bacon, oats, flour, eggs, salt and pepper. Stir until combined. In the same frying pan, pour a tablespoon of grease back into it, and bring it up to medium heat. Take a ball of mixture about 2 inches in diameter and flatten into a 3/4 inch disk. Place into your frying pan. You can add multiple patties, but there should be about an inch around each patty for even frying and maneuvering. You will probably need to do this in several batches, adding more grease as needed. Fry each patty until golden brown on each side. Remove and place on a baking sheet. Once all patties are fried, finish them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 

The classic preparation for a salmon patty is in a drop biscuit with yellow mustard, but you can eat them in any way. In the picture above, I used a dijon mustard with capers and honey.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes

With the last rays of summer drifting away, I am slowly, slowly adapting to fall. Actually, I think I'm getting into fall, and then, with a new week, another cold front moves in and I want summer back all over again! So, clinging to the last warmth of the year, but acknowledging that summer is gone and we need something hearty,  I'm sharing my Quinoa Stuffed Tomato recipe. 
Quinoa, if you haven't already heard of it, is an amazing Peruvian grain. I use it like couscous, and it's so much better for you. It's a fantastic source of protein, and it takes flavor wonderfully!

Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes

4 Large Beefsteak Tomatoes
1/2 Onion, Diced
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Cup of Quinoa (Black or White or Mixed, as Shown Above)
2 Cups of Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 Tablespoon of Butter
1 Teaspoon of Cumin
1 Teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes
4 Tablespoons of Crumbled Feta Cheese
Salt to Taste


Slice the tops off the tomatoes, just at the apex of the curve so that you have a nice bowl shape. Take the tops and dice the edible bits to reserve. Scoop out the innards of the tomatoes carefully with a spoon and place those with the diced tops. You may need a knife to cut away the spines from the outer walls of the tomato. 
In a small dutch oven, pour in your olive oil and saute your onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add in the the reserved tomato guts, cumin and red pepper flakes. Stir for another minute. Add in the quinoa, butter and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the stock is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add salt to your taste. Removed the quinoa from the stove. 
On a baking sheet, place your 4 tomato bowls. Fill them with the quinoa mixture and top with a tablespoon of feta. Place into an oven at 375 degrees. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the feta is browned just slightly at the top.