• Maple Moon Scones

    moon1

    Maple Moon Scones.

    Mother’s Day has come and gone, but Carolyn is such a cool Mom that she made these scones for us, her folks and friends for Sunday morning (don’t worry, Carolyn got a nice Mother’s Day dinner). She is indeed the perfect woman. And these scones are worthy of a special occasion. Big (huge, really), moist and with plenty of maple flavor, these are some serious scones. They do look like the moon, too. Cool.

    moon4moon3moon5The recipe comes from Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa), although Carolyn adapted a number of ingredients, including some oat flour, date sugar and maple essence for deeper flavor. But the standard Ina Garten formula of scads lots of butter and buttermilk stays the same. Ina never met a buttery scone or shortbread she didn’t like. But if you are baking from scratch, the recipe may as well work. And butter does make everything better. Add some real maple syrup and it is hard to go wrong.

    moon6moon8moon9And it truly is hard to go wrong here. This recipe is “scone 101”, plus some extra glaze. Mix dry ingredients, add in cold butter, mix the wet ingredients and add to the dry, roll, cut and bake. The glaze is super-easy as well, if you can stir, you will have glaze. So if your waistline can take it (or if you have hungry kids), you can make these scones whenever you like.

    moon10moon12Even better, you can cut the scones from the raw dough and refrigerate them for a few days without any loss of quality. So if you want scones during the week, make the dough and then bake the scones as needed. But you may as well cook the full batch, your crew will certainly eat them, and your friends will be happy if you share.

    moon2Finally, love and thanks to Carolyn from the boys and I. We are truly blessed to have her, and we are eternally grateful.

    moonMaple Moon Scones:

    (Adapted from Ina Garten)

    Notes Before You Start:

    It is best to dice the butter first, and then put it back into the fridge until ready to use.

    Also a good idea to measure and mix the wet ingredients first, and also store in the fridge until use. It keep everything colder, longer.

    This is a sticky dough- use lots of flour on your surface and on your hands.

    What You Get: Big, awesome scones with serious maple flavor.

    What You Need: A stand mixer really helps here. No other special equipment required.

    How Long? About an hour.

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  • Weekly Cocktail #51: The Queen’s Park Swizzle

    The Queen's Park Swizzle

    The Queen’s Park Swizzle

    Happy Friday everyone! We like Fridays here at the farm, and the best thing about them is they happen every week….So now that the weekend is here and the forecast is for sunny skies and 80 degrees, what to drink? When the sun is out we tend to look towards gin, rum and long drinks.  G n T or a Collins? Great, but we have been there (and will continue to do that). Tiki? Awesome, but often complicated. Punch? Always good, but then we have to throw a party (a good excuse, btw). But how about a Swizzle?  Now that is something worth exploring…

    swizswiz1What’s a swizzle? Basically it is a rum-based cocktail (almost always, although Chartreuse swizzles are very tasty) served with crushed ice that is then vigorously stirred or “swizzled” using a spoon or “swizzle stick”. When you swizzle the cocktail a nice layer of frost forms on the outside, and the drink itself gets very, very cold. Popular in the Caribbean, swizzles are meant for long, lazy sipping on hot days.

    swiz2swiz4There are all sorts of swizzle recipes out there, but this one, The Queen’s Park Swizzle, is one of our favorites. A combination of mint, Demerara rum (we add some aged Jamaican rum), lime juice, sugar syrup and bitters, the Queen’s Park Swizzle is a simple, smooth and flavorful drink. It is also very strong, with almost double the normal amount of booze, but these drinks are meant to be nursed over time. As it is, we usually have only one (and if we had two we probably wouldn’t remember anyway).

    swiz5The one surprise about the Queen’s Park Swizzle is the flavor. You might expect a big bold drink, but instead you get soft, mellow flavors. You get a big whiff of mint from the garnish, followed by a sweet, rich rum sip with just a touch of the lime, mint and bitters. This is really a rum drink, with the other players in supporting roles. Demerara rum (we use El Dorado 3yr old here), with its smoky flavors is the traditional choice for this cocktail, but we add the aged Jamaican for a little more funk and vanilla notes.

    swiz6As for the history of this cocktail, the recipe supposedly comes from the (now closed) Queen’s Park hotel in Trinidad. Some say this was one of the first swizzles, but like most things in cocktail history, the facts are a bit fuzzy. Pretty much everyone in the hemisphere had rum, sugar, limes and bitters. Most people had readily available ice by 1900, and they all know how to stir. So maybe this was the first swizzle, maybe it wasn’t. We just know the Queen’s Park Swizzle is our first choice when we swizzle….now we just need to swizzle more often…;-)

    swiz7The Queen’s Park Swizzle:

    Ingredients:

    • 8-10 mint leaves (plus more for garnish)
    • 2 oz. Demerara rum (or use 3 oz. and omit the Jamaican rum)
    • 1 oz. aged Jamaican rum (optional)
    • 1/2 oz. rich simple syrup (2 to 1 sugar to water)
    • 1/2 oz lime juice
    • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
    • Lime wheel, for garnish

    Assemble:

    1. Place the mint leaves in a highball or Collins glass. Lightly muddle the mint and rub it along the inside of the glass.
    2. Add the liquid ingredients to the glass and then fill it with crushed ice. Then, using a spoon or swizzle stick, stir the drink until it is very cold and a light frost forms on the outside of the glass. Top off with more crushed ice to fill the glass, if needed.
    3. Garnish with a big sprig of mint and a lime wheel. Serve.
  • First Harvest And A Farm Update

    Blueberries. They were good.

    Blueberries. They were good.

    “Harvest” is a relative term around here. We have herbs and potatoes most of the year, and citrus over the winter (and spring). But each year’s harvest really starts when we get blueberries and strawberries. To us, these are the signals of a new year in the garden.

    harvest2harvest5And so it begins again. Use whatever cheesy metaphor you want about springtime, it still rings true. Life continues, life starts again. It is a worth an extra moment to take a step back and enjoy the miracle of life, and tending a garden (preferably with the ones you love) is a very good place to do it.

    harvest4harvest6And the work also starts again. We will cop to getting some help this year with netting and (organically) spraying the orchard. The trees are too big to do it ourselves, and the varmints will take everything if we don’t have the nets. But we are back to thinning, planting, spreading compost, acidifying soil and generally schlepping around the garden. But a few early blueberries and strawberries are a very welcome reward. A big heat snap got the berries going and (along with the artichokes, herbs and roses) they are off and running, with no end in sight.

    harvest1harvest7We also have hints of what’s to come. The Van cherries are a week or two out, the Bings probably a few weeks later. Golden raspberries will get sweet with the next stretch of warm weather. Peaches, nectarines, apples, pears and figs are all maturing on the tree, but have months to go. The lavender is sending up canes, and when they flower the bees will be here from dawn to dusk. And we have our first tomato blossoms. Nice. Slugs ate our young eggplant. Not so nice.

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    Tomatoes are coming…just not soon enough.

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  • Smoky Cauliflower Frittata

    Smoky Cauliflower Frittata.

    Smoky Cauliflower Frittata.

    frit2We almost never do this, but we are enjoying Yotam Ottolenghi’s (YO) cookbook “Plenty” so much that we are posting another recipe. This wasn’t exactly by plan, but we like this recipe a lot and have the photos, so why not? And the other new cookbook we are working from that will go nameless Nigella, isn’t working out quite as well- at least, not yet. But if this keeps up, YO may end up in Alice Waters’ territory as far as being a “go-to” source for vegetable recipes. In our part of the world that is lofty company (although we gather that this wouldn’t be a surprise in the UK).

    frit6frit7Oddly enough, this frittata is more about the eggs and cheese than the cauliflower, but it is easy to make and tastes good (and the vegetables give at least the appearance of a healthy dish). That makes us happy. And using scamorza (smoked mozzarella) makes us even happier. This cheese melts evenly and has smoky, but clean, flavor that works incredibly well with the sweet, caramelized cauliflower. And YO then adds some smoked paprika and aged cheddar to accent the scamorza even more. If you haven’t tried smoked mozzarella, this recipe is worth a try. We bet you will want to use it in other recipes.

    frit8frit9frit10The other key to this dish is that YO uses crème fraîche, Dijon mustard and chives in the egg mixture (we added a little tarragon, as well). This adds sharp, herbal and tangy notes that cut the richness of the overall dish (even as the crème fraîche adds a good dose of fat). It’s these little things that make a big difference in the final dish. Without a little tang, this recipe might be all smoky cheese and eggs, good on the first bite, but probably overwhelming as a main dish. But those brighter notes make for a dish that is good from beginning to end. And if you serve this frittata with a nice green salad with a basic vinaigrette, the balance is even better.

    frit11frit12frit13Another good thing about this dish is that it is quick and easy. It will take about 30 minutes total, without a bunch of work. The only extra step is to boil the cauliflower a few minutes before you caramelize it. But this does soften the cauliflower and give you an even texture, so we think the work is worth it. And since the rest is so easy, you barely notice the extra work. Otherwise, this is frittata 101. Start it on the stove top, finish in the oven, let it cool just a bit and serve. A good payoff for the time spent. Happy Monday.

    frit14Smoky Cauliflower Frittata:

    (Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Plenty“)

    Notes Before You Start:

    What You Get: An easy dinner with extra flavor. A perfect weeknight dish.

    What You Need: No special equipment required.

    How Long? About 30 minutes, and an easy 30 minutes, at that. Anytime dish.

    Ingredients:

    (Serves 4-6 as a main dish)

    • 1 medium cauliflower cut into small florets
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 6 large eggs
    • 4 tablespoons crème fraîche
    • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    • 2 teaspoons sweet, smoked paprika
    • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
    • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon (optional)
    • 5 oz. scamorza or smoked mozzarella, including the smoky rind, grated
    • 2 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

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