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figgy buckwheat scones.

I awoke on Saturday morning ready to prep for a recipe I wanted to try so that we could indulge on Sunday morning before church.  Figgy Buckwheat Scones from Good to the Grain.  Gregory has been asking that we switch to whole wheat flour for our breads and desserts, so I thought I’d give it a shot.  I came across this recipe on 101 Cookbooks — I love this site because Heidi always incorporates whole and natural foods into her cooking — and what recipes I’ve tried of hers always tastes yummy. 

Heidi’s version of the figgy buckwheat scones came out beautifully!  Her scones had a tinge of earth purple, mine did not — I think it’s because I accidentally picked up the gluten-free buckwheat flour.  However, I must say that gluten-free or not, these scones were delicious.  The buckwheat flour gave the scones a very nutty, earthy taste — which I loved!  I didn’t have anise star in my spice cupboard, so I used cardamom.  And I realize that the recipe calls for red wine AND port — but the alcohol cooks out so nicely — it gives the fig butter a taste of pressed grapes.          

Fig Butter:

Kim’s headnotes: In this recipe, dried figs are cooked in a syrup of sugar, red wine, port, and spices, and then puréed until very smooth. Adding butter at the end gives the jam a wonderful richness and a beautiful gloss. Once finished, the fig butter can be smeared over the dough in Figgy Buckwheat Scones (above), creating a flavor-packed spiral. The scone recipe requires only half the amount of fig butter made here, so reserve the remaining spread for your morning toast–or use all the fig butter at once by doubling the scone recipe.

1/2 cup / 2.5 oz / 70 g sugar
2 whole cloves
1 star anise
1 cup / 240 ml red wine
1/2 cup / 120 ml port
12 ounces / 340 g dried Black Mission figs, stems removed
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ounces / 113g unsalted butter, softened
salt to taste (hs: suggestion)

1. To poach the figs, measure 1/4 cup / 60 ml water and the sugar into a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir the mixture together with a wooden spoon, incorporating the sugar without splashing it up the sides. If crystals do get on the sides of the pot, use a clean pastry brush dipped in water to wipe them off. (The goal is to prevent the syrup from crystallizing.) Add the cloves and star anise.

2. Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium flame and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the syrup is amber-colored. For even coloring, the flame should not come up around the outside of the pot.

3. Add the red wine, port, figs, and cinnamon, standing back a bit, as the syrup is hot. Don’t panic when the syrup hardens; this is the normal reaction when liquids are added to hot sugar. Continue cooking the mixture over a medium flame for 2 minutes, until the sugar and wine blend.

4. Reduce the flame to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The figs will burble quietly as they are jostled together by the flame; they are ready when the wine has reduced by half. Remove the pan from the stove and cool to room temperature.

5. Fish out the star anise and cloves. Pour the cooled figs, with their liquid, into a food processor and purée until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the softened butter to the fig paste and process until smooth. (HS note: At this point I folded in a few big pinches of salt as well).

The fig butter can be spread right onto the buckwheat scone dough or stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. If it is refrigerated, bring it to room temperature before using.

Makes 2 cups.

I awoke on Sunday morning, cut my logs into 16 scones, popped them in the oven, loved the smells coming from the oven for the next 30 minutes, and then carefully choose 6 beautiful scones and placed them on 6 beautiful dessert plates, put the plates on a tray, and lastly skipped around the house passing out some figgy goodness.  Now for my next batch.

Figgy Buckwheat Scones:

Kim’s notes: I was inspired to create a scone with buckwheat and figs when I realized how similar they are. Both are ripe and jammy, almost winey. Imagine a sophisticated Fig Newton but less sweet. Although this scone recipe may seem a bit more time-consuming than others, remember that the Fig Butter can be made ahead of time.

Dry mix:
1 cup / 4.75 oz / 135 g buckwheat flour
1 1/4 cups / 5.5 oz / 160g all-purpose flour
1/2 cup / 2.5 oz / 70 g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet mix:
4 ounces / 113 g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups / 10 fl. oz / 300ml heavy cream

1 cup / 8 oz Fig Butter (see recipe below)

1. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.

2. Add the butter to the dry mixture. Rub the butter between your fingers, breaking it into smaller bits. Continue rubbing until the butter is coarsely ground and feels like grains of rice. The faster you do this, the more the butter will stay solid, which is important for the success of the recipe. (HS note: for those of you who like to make short doughs in a food processor, that is what I did, and it worked out great).

3. Add the cream and gently mix it into the flour with a spatula until the dough is just combined.

4. Use a pastry scraper or a spatula to transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface. It will be sticky, so flour your hands and pat the dough into a rectangle. Grab a rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangle that is 8 inches wide, 16 inches long, and 3/4 inch thick. If at any time the dough rolls off in a different direction, use your hands to square the corners and pat it back into shape. As you’re rolling, periodically run a pastry scraper or spatula underneath to loosen the dough, flour the surface, and continue rolling. This keeps the dough from sticking. Flour the top of the dough if the rolling pin is sticking.

5. Spread the fig butter over the dough. Roll the long edge of the dough up, patting the dough as you roll so that it forms a neat log 16 inches long. Roll the finished log so that the seam is on the bottom and the weight of the roll seals the edge.

6. Use a sharp knife to slice the log in half. Put the halves on a baking sheet or plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (The dough can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 days.) While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

7. After 30 minutes, take both logs out of the refrigerator and cut each half into 6 equal pieces about 11/4 inches wide. Place each scone flat, with the spiral of the fig butter facing up, on a baking sheet, 6 to a sheet. Give the scones a squeeze to shape them into rounds.

8. Bake for 38 to 42 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. The scones are ready to come out when their undersides are golden brown. They are best eaten warm from the oven or later that same day.

Makes 12 scones.

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3 months old.

Today marks 3 months since a delicious little cupcake joined our lives on a blustery Christmas morning.  This little one has seen her fair share of snow in her mere 90 days of life (So glad I ended up choosing this one!).  But spring is here, and with it comes long walks to show her just how much she will love the great outdoors. 

Thus far, Dhara has been a pure delight.  She is so curious, she has quite the stare for pretty much everything she lays eyes on.  Her hand-eye coordination is picking up — with much wobbling, she’s able to purposely touch my face.  She holds her head up so high when she’s on her tummy.  She still has that bashful smile where she smiles and hides her face in your shoulder.  We think she’s going to be a calm one — not a crazy wild little beezer like I was.

She talks alot.  Lots of fake crying too.  I’m not sure what she’s thinking when she fake cries.  I wish I knew.  But it’s so fun to watch, because it sounds like she’s complaining about something.

Dhara has also recently noticed that she has hands.  She will accidentally see her hands, and then stare at them as she turns them back and forth.  She also loves to look in the mirror and see the other little baby girl staring right back at her.  She always seems so mezmerized by that girl.  She loves to smile and talk to her.  She doesn’t yet realize that the other baby girl is her.  It’s the sweetest thing to see!

She likes to stand on her feet.  She also likes to put her fists in her mouth — a habit we are trying to get rid of!  She enjoys licking your face and eating your nose if she can catch it in time before you move it away.

luke·warm.

I don’t usually write about my walk with Jesus on this blog.  I think it’s because I’ve been feeling lukewarm for quite a while now.  But just recently, in addition to feeling lukewarm and inadequate as a verbal follower of Jesus, I’ve been feeling fear.  Fear of my lukewarmness from Revelations 3:16.  Fear of not being ready for a King whose coming back for a spotless bride.  Fear because I have many many spots.  And fear of current events going on in the world which undoubtedly bring us closer to Jesus’ Second Coming — whether we want to believe it or not.  If you are familiar with scripture, you can already see world events aligning with end-time prophecy.

The reason I fear is because I know I’m not ready.  I know if He came last night, I would still be here.

Last night I couldn’t sleep.  Neither could Greg.  I lay in bed as he slipped quietly to the floor and went on his knees.  I asked him, “What’s wrong?”  He said, “I need to find my rest in Him.”  Once he was done praying, he came back to bed and went to sleep.  I was still awake and totally not at peace with the secret state of my heart.  So I quietly got out of bed and went over to the couch, put my headphones on, and listened to a song we sang in church the day before, called “Offering.”  It had been playing in my head since Sunday.

The sun cannot compare to the glory of Your love
There is no shadow in Your Presence
No mortal man would dare to stand before Your throne
Before the Holy One of heaven
It’s only by Your Blood and it’s only through you mercy
Lord I come

I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus may You receive the honor that You’re due
O Lord I bring an offering to You
I bring an offering to You

The baby started crying during this quiet time I was having.  I picked her up and brought her back to the couch.  She stopped crying and quickly went back to sleep.  For several moments I just sat there and watched her as she slept in my arms.  It brought a smile to my face to just watch her.  In those moments I felt God tell me, “This is how I watch you.  This is how much I love you.”  Tears literally rolled down my face, because I know how much I love my daughter; similarly, what made me emotional was knowing that the Holy One of Heaven loves me and watches me, His creation, with great delight — as a father looks over his dear child.  He’s not too busy.  He doesn’t have other things to do.  He’s satisfied just watching me and loving me.  But it’s not a father’s earthly love, but a love so far exceeding than what I know.

I felt my lukewarmness begin to dissipate.

I was reminded of what I read that morning in Exodus 34:6-7, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.  Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

His desire is to be compassionate and gracious towards us.  But, He cannot stand lukewarmness [Rev 3:16].  He cannot stand for people who love the things of this world and love Him.  He wants us to choose.  He wants us to choose, because it’s His greatest desire to have our entire heart.  It’s His desire that we go with Him when He comes.  To spend eternity with Him.  I can’t fathom eternity, but it doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Isaiah 30:18, “Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you for the LORD is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him.”

I’m writing all this to say that lukewarmness does not have to be a constant thing even if it feels like it’s going to be.  We’re lukewarm because we choose other things over Him.  Only we know in our own hearts the things that keep us from Him.  I think the reason we become lukewarm is because we lose sight of God in our lives.  We know He’s there, but we lose sight of the fact that we desperately need Him everyday — every hour.  Without Him, there is no future.  The wonderful thing is that He’s always there, trying to get our attention.  He’s always there, watching over us.  He’s there always hoping we’ll regain sight of Him.  But time is running out.  He will only be there for so long.  What will we choose?

film.

The photos above of Chris and Dhara were taken by Josh using the Canon AE-1 35mm.  The field of depth and color in these shots makes these awesome, awesome shots.  Such richness, as Greg would say.  Really makes me want to go back to using film.  Maybe I should.

stop motion.

stop-motion (also known as stop-action or frame-by-frame) is an animation technique to make a physically manipulated object appear to move on its own.  The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence.”  (wikied)

My brother, Josh, showed me this music video by Oren Lavie, called “Her Morning Elegance.”  It’s done in stop motion format — very cool idea.  Josh is a film major and also doing a project in stop motion.  To do his project, he borrowed a camera bag full of camera goodies I got off of ebay for $90.  The bag has an old Canon AE-1 35mm camera, a telephoto lens, filters, and other neat pieces of equipment for old school camera fun.  He dropped off two rolls of film today to get developed.  It’s so weird that I developed film at one point in my life — and lots of it!

first beach.

Thanks to Greg’s mom who got these neato “30 plates” with Greg’s baby picture on them for his surprise party.  She always comes up with such great ideas!

[photo plates, from hallmarkparty.com.]

lemon yogurt cake.

I made him three different kinds of lemon cake for his birthday last week.  Why would I do that?  Well he loves him some lemon cake — so I went ahead and made him a connoisseur of them.  It felt really nice to make these cakes from scratch compared to the boxed cakes we made in the past.  Plus, I’d forgotten how tasty homemade cakes were! 

Our favorite of the three was Ina Garten’s recipe for Lemon Yogurt Cake — and I’m not even a fan of lemon cake, but this one was so good!  The lemony zest and yogurt gives this cake a nice moist density. 

I also made The Kitchn’s, Lemon Yogurt Cake with Ginger-Thyme Syrup, and Chockylit Cupcake’s, Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting.  Oh, and the frosting!  The frosting was so very light and fluffy, and so very tasty!  I couldn’t stop taking sneak licks of the batter.  : )  I absolutely love Chockylit’s cupcake website — this awesome site is dedicated to cupcakes galore!!! [Mazhalai, thanks for sharing the cupcake recipe!]. 

Below is the recipe for Ina Garten’s delicious Lemon Yogurt Cake.

Ingredients + Directions:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  •  

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

    Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

    Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

    When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

    For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

    Lastly, add a bit of that old-time charm with some parchment paper and linen twine.  Enjoy.

    awed.

    I am completely awed by the power of God.  Today during my quiet time I read Jeremiah 5:22.

    “I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea,
       a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass;
    though the waves toss, they cannot prevail;
       though they roar, they cannot pass over it.”

    It’s so amazing that most of the known and unknown world is covered in water, yet, the seas and oceans cannot overtake land — and that is only because God says it cannot pass over.  If you’ve ever stood before the ocean, you know the overwhelming feeling of awe that I speak of.  It’s amazing that with one word from God, the oceans stop in their tracks.  If He wanted, we could all be consumed, but it’s only because of His great great love for the children of man [Proverbs 8:31] that we are not consumed [Lamentations 3:22].  “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”  How great is our God.

    30.

    [The following celebrates my husband, while also documenting our travels in India in 2009.]  So, my husband has officially reached his thirties.  I can remember a time 7 years ago when I first met him.  He was the “boy-next-door-friend” — you know, the kind in the movies.  Just to clarify, I don’t mean boyfriend.  I mean “boy-next-door-friend.”  The kind you race with as kids.  Or the kind that your Indian mom lets come over because she knows, “he’s just a friend.”  Anyway, I never had a boy-next-door-friend growing up, so I was excited to finally have one in college.  

    Little did I know that we would be married, have a darling Dhara, and live this beautiful life together.  God’s ways are amazing; that is, if we are willing to go there with Him.  And that’s what I love about my husband — he was willing to go.  

    I’ve heard people say that when you’re in love, everything is more beautiful.  It’s true.  When in love, the world has a specialness about it.  It’s kind of like when you put on a pair of sunglasses — the world is tinted a different color — the same goes for when you love.  Life has a feeling of rarity, exhilaration and beauty because you want to live it with the one you love.  I feel so blessed to be married to the one I love.  On a God note, I think this is how Jesus wants us to love Him.  He wants us to love Him in a way that changes the way we view life — in a way that makes this life more and more beautiful each day we love Him.

    One of the main reasons that drew me to this man was his devotion to Jesus.  [Second, was his playfullness and ability to love life and river dance.]  He inspired me to love Jesus more — and he continues to do so.  He’s always had a desire for righteousness and more devotion.  I love his understanding of growing in Christ.  We can’t rely on our yesteryear devotions — it must be a constant and ongoing relationship.  Greg is so good at reminding me of this.  I love his desire to see this kind of love for God unfold in other peoples lives.

    The photo below was one of those beautiful moments I mentioned earlier.  As Greg was reading his bible one morning on a balcony overlooking Cochin, a pretty yellow butterfly found it’s way to his arm.  It perched there for several seconds before it flew off.  I personally feel that when God lives in us, even his creation is drawn to us.      

    I think it’s neat that him and I could be going on a nightly stroll outside, and he always seems to be the one who sees shooting stars.  I always miss them.  He’s seen so many over the years I’ve known him.  I’ve only seen one.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that he’s like a watchman on the wall from Ezekiel 33.  God has given him the gift to watch and see the things that people wouldn’t normally see.  It’s even neater to see this characteristic in our daughter.  She is also an observant one. 

    Happy 30th Birthday to the love of my life who makes this life so much more beautiful.  I love your enthusiasm for life.  I love the way you love our daughter.  I thank you for your selflessness — for putting the needs of others above your very own on a daily basis — it does not go unnoticed.  I love Christ in you, and who He’s made you to be.  I love you.  — your susie.

    But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.”  Proverbs 4:18