Cranberry Orange Scones

You may have noticed that I am a big fan of scones. A dear friend and I came across this recipe on the blog The Pioneer Woman and have been wanting to make it ever since, but time has not been on our side. After telling my mother about the recipe, she made it on a recent morning to share with my classmates. It was a huge hit and I became more determined to make it myself and share it here. It is easy to put together. The glaze really takes these scones above and beyond your everyday scone. For a larger group, you can make 2 small rounds, still cutting each into 8 equal portions or simply double the recipe.

I wasn’t able to find white whole wheat flour anywhere, so I just used an organic whole wheat flour. I also used salted butter because that was what I had. The result was still delicious.

 

Cranberry Orange Scones - A Pat & A Pinch

The Scones

1/2 cup chilled unsalted Butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

zest of 2 large oranges

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2/3 cup dried cranberries

The Glaze

1 1/4 to 2 cups icing or powdered sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

zest of 1 large orange

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

The Scones

Preheat oven to 425°F (400°F if using a convection oven). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest, breaking up any clumps of zest.

Mix together the buttermilk, orange juice, vanilla, and egg in a 2 cup measure or a small bowl. Set aside.

Cut the chilled butter into 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes. With a rigid pastry blender or two knives, cut in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-sized pieces. Add the cranberries and mix in, breaking up any clumps of the cranberries. Make a well in the center, and then add the liquid ingredients. Stir just until combined, taking care to not over mix. Try to work quickly so that the butter in the dough stays as cold as possible. If the dough gets too warm, the scones will lose their shape more easily in the oven and have a more relaxed appearance with less defined edges.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Working quickly, gently fold the dough on itself pressing it together to incorporate any dry bits that are not holding together. Do not over work the dough. Just make sure it is holding together nicely. Shape the dough into a 7-inch diameter circle and cut into 8 wedges. Transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the scones are puffed and golden brown, about 10- 14 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and let the scones sit on it for a minute before removing to a wire rack to cool.

The Glaze

While the scones are still slightly warm, prepare the glaze. Combine the juice, zest,vanilla and nutmeg in a small bowl. Begin to whisk in the sugar 1/4 cup at a time to achieve a smooth consistency that you will be able to drizzle over the scones, but which is not too runny. Although the original recipe specified 2 cups of sugar, I stopped at 1 1/4 cups of sugar and it worked perfectly. If your glaze is suddenly too stiff, whisk in another teaspoon of freshly squeezed orange juice. Drizzle as much of the glaze as you desire over the scones. Allow the glaze to set completely, then serve and enjoy!

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Fresh Herbs

When I was younger, my family enjoyed cucumber soup in the summers so I was excited to come across this recipe on the blog Dishing Up the Dirt. It looked so much quicker than the family recipe that I just had to give it a try on a lovely warm sunny day.

The result is a light tasty cucumber gazpacho, but I have to admit, I prefer the family recipe so I will make it and post it soon.

Chilled Cucumber Soup - A Pat & A Pinch

2 large slicing cucumbers, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups plain greek yogurt

3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup dill, stems removed and diced

1/4 cup parsley, thick stems removed and diced

1/4 cup olive oil

pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

a small handful of ice cubes

In a blender combine cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, dill, parsley, ice cubes and olive oil. Blend until smooth.

Keep soup chilled until ready to serve. If you use ice cubes it should be ready to eat right away.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.

 

Cauliflower & Couscous

This is the perfect vegetable side dish. It resembles a pilaf with the chewy pearls of Israeli couscous. It can be served warm as a side or it can be served at room temperature as a salad. I love dishes that I can make ahead of time and this fits the bill. What’s even better is that my eight year old son will eat it!

I’m not a fan of dates, but don’t leave them out. The subtle sweetness that they impart makes this dish work and the amount is so small that you hardly notice their presence as a distinct element of the dish. Don’t hesitate to vary the amounts given below to your own taste – they are for guidance only.  If you’d prefer a higher ratio of cauliflower to couscous, go for it. If you want a little more tang, don’t hesitate to add more wine vinegar. The inspiration for the dish is a recipe from Food Network.

1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous*, cooked as the label directs

4 cups cauliflower florets

2 shallots, sliced lengthwise

olive oil

salt

pepper

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup dates, chopped into 1/4 inch morsels

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley

*sometimes referred to as pearl couscous

Rinse the cooked couscous under cold water, drain thoroughly, and toss with about a teaspoon of olive oil. Set aside.

Cook the cauliflower florets and sliced shallots in olive oil in a large sauté pan, browning the cauliflower and shallots. If needed, cover the pan to help the cauliflower just cook through. Season with salt and pepper. Add the  cinnamon and chopped dates; cook 1 more minute to marry the flavours.

Combine the cauliflower mixture with the cooked couscous, adding the red wine vinegar,  chopped parsley, and more salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Blackberry & King Apple Crumble

My parent’s home on Salt Spring Island has a small orchard and is, like much of the island, surrounded by blackberry bushes. The blackberries are perfect for the picking this time of the year and this year, our gravenstein trees are ready to harvest. While the gravensteins aren’t the best for baking with, we keep a supply of apples from our old King apple. (This year for fathers’ day, I got my dad a new one which I have since named B.B. King – these are his favourite and I thought the name was rather clever). The other trees in the orchard are great for cider and should be ready to harvest within the next month.

We have a mechanism which cores and slices the apples as you turn the crank and which gets a lot of use this time of year (apple butter to come). If you are preparing a lot of apples, these are a godsend. To preserve our extra apples, we then freeze the cored and sliced apples for crumbles to come.

This crumble (or crisp as you may wish to call it) is a slightly modified version of Betty Crocker’s Apple Crisp recipe, the main modification being blackberries.

Blackberry and King Apple Crumble - A Pat & A Pinch

Blackberry and King Apple Crumble

3 cups sliced apples (we use king apples for their perfect tartness and texture)

5 cups blackberries

3 tbsp corn starch

1 1/2 c. brown sugar

1 c. flour

1 c. oats

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg (fresh – if you want to know if your nutmegs are fresh enough, prick them with a pin and oil ought to ooze out)

2/3 c. butter

1 c. chopped pecans

Preheat the over to 375 F. Fill a greased 9 x 13 inch glass dish with the fruit. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the fruit. Mix together the sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and work the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers.  Mix in the pecans and spread this crumb mixture gently over the fruit.

Bake until the top is golden brown, the apples are tender, and the fruit mixture is bubbling (approx. 40 minutes). If the top begins too brown too much before the fruit is cooked, gently lay a piece of parchment over the pan to slow the browning.

Blackberry and King Apple Crumble - A Pat & A Pinch

Smoke Infused Potato Salad with Chorizo and Asparagus

We are at the end of the local asparagus season and I wanted to do something different with the last of the local harvest.

Smoke Infused Potato Salad with Chorizo and Asparagus - A Pat & A Pinch This recipe, adapted from a recipe by Heather Christo, did the trick for me taste wise. Unfortunately, it was not as photogenic as I hoped. Next time I will look for smaller yellow fingerlings to provide more of a visual contrast for presentation.

Smoke Infused Potato Salad with Chorizo and Asparagus - A Pat & A PinchWhat the recipe lacks in presentation is made up in flavor. The smokiness infuses the sautéed onions which, when combined with the freshness of the asparagus and the spiciness of the chorizo, makes for a refreshing combination of flavors. The salad is a perfect simple meal that is easily assembled.

Smoke Infused Potato Salad with Chorizo and Asparagus

1 pound small fingerling potatoes

1/3 pound chorizo sausage

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ red onion, thinly sliced

1 pound trimmed asparagus, each stalk cut into thirds.

1/3 cup water

¼ teaspoon liquid smoke

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

 

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until just fork tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan or heavy skillet, cook the chorizo over medium heat, breaking it up as you cook, about 2-3 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, the liquid smoke, and the red onions and sauté another 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and sauté two minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the potatoes from the pot of water and add them to the pan. Stir to coat and cook, add the water and a lid and cook 2 more minutes.

While that is cooking, whisk together the remaining paprika, garlic, vinegar and olive oil.

When you remove the lid of the pan, make sure that the water has all cooked off. Turn the heat to low and add the oil and vinegar mixture. Toss everything together.

Transfer to a serving platter and garnish as desired: I used some micro-greens. Serve hot or warm.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Opa’s BBQ Pork Ribs

My Opa (grandfather in German) is one of the most fascinating people I know. His skills range from welding to cooking to removing blackberry stains to growing the best tomatoes in his greenhouse (which as you can likely guess he built all by himself). He is a man of all trades but most of all, he is a family man who loves to be surrounded by good food and company. Back in the day, I honestly have no idea when a company, then called Western Natural Gas in Alberta, Canada, provided recipe suggestions to its customers.  This recipe, which has been lovingly modified and bulked up since, came from that company oddly enough.  It is one of my absolute favourite recipes to make as it is simple and a definite crowd pleaser.  Unless you are vegetarian, I guarantee this will be a hit!

Opa's BBQ Pork Ribs - A Pat & A Pinch

Opa’s BBQ’d Pork Back Ribs

2 pounds, preferably back rib rack

Sauce

1 1/12 cups ketchup

1 cup brown sugar

4 tablespoons liquid smoke

4 teaspoons celery seed, optional

4 tablespoons hot horseradish (preferably not creamed)

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Mix the sauce ingredients together.

Brown the ribs on the BBQ. Then place them in a disposable aluminum pan and cover with the sauce. Cover the pan with foil.

Cook on the BBQ on a low heat until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally to prevent the sauce from burning.  Back rib racks take approximately one and one-quarter hours, country style ribs take longer.

Opa's BBQ'd Pork Ribs - A Pat & A Pinch Opa's BBQ'd Pork Ribs - A Pat & A Pinch