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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.

first lol.

banana bread.

This banana bread recipe is probably my all time favorite!  We first tried out the recipe on our anniversary trip in West Virginia back in November and we loved it.  I came across it on the Duggar’s family website — nothing like some good homecooking recipes from a family of 21!  Right out of the oven, top this bread off with some Woodbine Pumpkin Butter and you’ve got yourself some real tasty stuff.

Saint John Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 large bananas
1 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon melted butter
cinnamon-sugar mixture

Cream butter + sugar.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Mix in sifted dry ingredients.  Beat in mashed bananas.  Add nuts.  Pour into a greased + floured 9x5x3 pan.  Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.  While bread is still warm, brush with melted butter + sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.  Makes 1 loaf.

sweetness.

One normal day I got out of the shower, got dressed, and came out of the bathroom to find this package of sorts on my bed.  If anyone knows I love packages, it’s Greg.  But, there was no Greg to be found — just this brown paper bag.

IMGP3136As soon as I saw it, I knew my husband had come home from work.  So I quickly ran to the bag and took out its contents.  IMGP3108What was inside?

Delightful little items from Roots Market, like,

1.  pecan splendor granola — for our “crunchy granola” tendencies.

2.  rainbow pre-natal vitamins — because we don’t want that “government fortified junk” going to our baby.  Thanks Sue Williams.

3.  nitrate-free hot dogs — because after only one bite, I fell in love with Hebrew National hot dogs over the summer, but could not indulge myself because of those nasty things called “nitrates.”

4.  ginger brew — because Greg and I are always always up for new kinds of ginger ale.  This one did not pass our taste test.  We still have yet to taste one better than “Natural Brew Outrageous Ginger Ale” — yummy.

5.  heart-shaped “Love You” note — because I have a husband that falls under the category, “sweetness.”  The note didn’t come from Roots Market — I know because I found the paper he cut it from hidden in one of my drawers.

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india.

I was just looking at some photos we took in India earlier this year.  Found some of Greg that made me smile.  This guy could totally make it living in India long-term.  He’s got it in his blood. 

vintage nightgowns.

I have this thing for vintage styled nightgowns.

I guess you could call me a nightgown kinda gal — but not just any sort of nightgown!  Oh no!  I just love the kinds that remind me of old farm houses or large victorian homes.  The wonderfully cozy and romantic cotton canterbury kinds with the hint of lace at the cuffs and neckline.  During my college years I went to town purchasing them.  I’m sure glad I did, because I now have a dozen or so of these nostaligic beauties in various styles and cuts.  And they are the best during pregnancy!

A few years ago, my dear cousin, Betty Chachi, gifted me with a beautiful cotton, vintage styled nightgown from Garnet Hill.  I believe it was for my birthday.  I absoloutley love it!  (It’s just so dandy when people know exactly what you would have chosen!)  But, I think it may be more that Betty Chachi and I could be kindred spirits of some sort.  Maybe those years of her reading books to me rubbed a little of her onto me (and I’m sure glad it did!).  I fondly remember being read books like Mrs. Pigglewiggle, and Anne of Green Gables.  Oh, and the letters she would write me with her, oh, so elegant penmanship.  She would draw too.  She would draw ladies with sun hats and vintage dresses.  I still have those letters and drawings.

Anyway I digress.  The nightgown she got me below is so scrumptiously comfy, I could walk around my house all day in it.  It’s made of a clean white organic cotton, and crafted in Denmark.  I wonder where I can find pretty little white nightgowns for my girly?  If all else fails, I can always make them.  ; )

IMGP3693IMGP3692[white vintage-styled nightgown, from Garnet Hill.]

labor day fishing.

The hubster and I whisked ourselves away to the beach for this past Labor Day weekend.  What we encountered?  Wonderful Family.  Great Friends.  Beautiful Ocean.  Big Waves.  Tasty Grilled Food from a Grill Master.  Delicious Hand-Dipped Mocha Chip Icecream.  Savory Seafood.  Relaxing Fishing.     

A little more about the relaxing fishing…  I really hope Greg and I find a steady place to fish sometime in the near future.  It’s something we both love doing.  This past weekend we got the chance to visit some family friends, Terry and Ellen, who live on the water.  And when I say “live on the water”…I mean, live on the water.  Their house is right on the edge of the Chincoteague waters, and standing in their home and looking outside their great big bay windows feel as if you are standing on a boat and looking out across the water.  Terry and Ellen also have a great dock where they park their boat, go crabbing, and go fishing.  Sooo relaxing to just sit out on the dock, watch the water, and fish to your hearts content.  I caught two!  Two small ones. 

Not that I’ve caught many fish in my lifetime or anything, but I do feel like fishing comes naturally to me.  I feel like I can sense when a fishy is sneakily taking tidbit bites of my bait — and that’s when I go in for the kill and reel that baby in.  I love watching Greg throw his line out across the many waters, it always goes so so far. 

I also realized during that time that it’s nice when you have a husband that reminds you of Huck Finn.  : )   Thanks to my sister-in-law who took these fabulous photos!  Thanks Beth! 

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freshly cut.

The other day my lovely husband brought me home some lovely freshly cut flowers.  I found them after I awoke from my nap.  They were on the bed next to me and wrapped in newspaper.  He’s a special one for sure.  For sure sure.  His tale of how he procured them was also delightful to hear.  Something to do with happening upon some unpaved roads in Cambodia and an old man who didn’t speak a lick of English but motioned to Greg with his head.

I love my husband.  And I love this life we get to live and love together.

flowers

blackberry tea cake.

I made a cake to take to the beach a few weeks ago.  I came across this raspberry buttermilk cake recipe on Smitten Kitchen’s blog and fell in love with the website for it’s simple yet savory everyday food.  I liked how the writer + cook called this cake an everyday cake.  After making it, I personally would like to call it a tea time cake, because it brings to mind relaxing tea, pretty napkins, a soft breeze and good laughs.

I used blackberries instead of raspberries, but really any berry will do — even cherries.  It comes out very soft and flaky, so you don’t mind very much even if you have just a little bit more.  Oh, and the the grated lemon zest is a nice touch too.

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Raspberry Buttermilk Cake
from Smitten Kitchen

“You can just ignore the word “raspberry” up there and swap it up with any which berry you please, like blackberries or blueberries or bits of strawberries or all of the above.  Makes one thin 9-inch cake, which might serve eight people, if you can pry it from first two people’s grasp.”

1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (56 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (146 grams) plus 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 grams) sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 large (57 grams) egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries (about 5 oz)

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.  Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.  In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup (146 grams) sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes, then beat in vanilla and zest, if using.  Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.  Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top.  Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 grams) sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more.  Invert onto a plate.