BLT Scones for the 4th of July

July 1st, 2015

BLT Scones 2

The countdown has started for the 4th of July celebration.  We have geared up for a visit by the whole family.  What fun.  I have been cooking up lots of treats for everyone.  The freezer has been my friend.  I made these BLT scones this week.  We sampled one and the rest went into the freezer.  David declared it delicious.  I loved the bacon bits and basil, but thought the sun dried tomatoes a little too much.  The whole idea of the scones is the combination of bacon, tomato and basil (taking the place of lettuce).  Really good, but I will reduce the tomato component next time.

BLT Scones 3V

Breakfast scones are always a part of our breakfasts when the family gets together.  My DIL Kristen has become the scone master in the family.  She introduced me to the Triple Cinnamon Scones and makes a mean savory scone with Chorizo sausage.  The recipe for this BLT scone came from a blog called 3 Many Cooks.  It is written my Pam Anderson, cookbook author, and her two daughters.

BLT Scones 4

Enjoy your 4th of July weekend.  We have many reasons to celebrate.

BLT SCONES ( 3 Many Cooks )

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, frozen solid
  • ½ cup chopped sundried tomatoes, packed in oil
  • ½ cup chopped cooked bacon*
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup sour cream, light if you like
  • 1 large egg
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Grate ⅓ of the butter into the flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; toss. Repeating grating and tossing twice more. Using fingertips, work butter into flour a bit more. Mix in tomatoes, bacon, and basil.
  2. Mix sour cream and egg with a fork until smooth. Using same fork, stir into dry ingredients until large dough clumps form. Use hands to press dough against the bowl into a ball. (There may not seem like enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together. If necessary, flick a little water into bowl bottom to get the last bits to adhere.)
  3. Place on a lightly floured work surface and pat into a 7½-inch circle, about ¾-inch thick. Use a sharp knife to cut dough into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably silapat- or parchment-lined), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve—hot, warm, or at room temperature.

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Farro Salad: Insalata di Farro

June 24th, 2015

Farro Salad 1

I have been researching Italian recipes for our trip there in the Fall.  I have found several recipes using farro.  Farro is an ancient grain in the wheat family that is very easy to digest.  It has a nutty flavor and has healthy benefits.  Farro is grown in the Garfagnana region of eastern Tuscany.  It is also known as spelt and can be used as a grain or ground into flour for bread or pasta.

Farro Salad 3

I found two recipes for farro salad in my search and adapted them to my taste.  In the summertime there is nothing better than a cool salad with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, radishes and basil.  The farro pulls everything together and the lemon zest, juice and olive oil dress it to perfection.  As a luncheon dish it is paired with hard boiled eggs.  For dinner I served it with chicken piccata.  We loved the nutty flavor and the cool accompaniments.

Farro Salad 4V

We are looking forward to a happy 4th of July with our family.  We will be entertaining at least 14 family members.  It has become a tradition on Lake Lure.  I relish the memories that our 2 Grands and their 3 cousins are storing up; swimming, skiing, tubing, hiking, eating, wine tastings (Adults, LOL), crickets, porch lights, sleeping bags, cookies, s’mores, fireworks and love.  Will try to keep up here.

Farro Salad: Insalata di Farro

1 cup farro
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt, plus salt to taste
4-6 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 small cucumber, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into narrow strips
3 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered

In a bowl, combine the farro with water to cover.  Let soak for 2 hours.  Drain and pour into a large pot with the 4 cups water.  Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, until very soft, about 40 minutes.  (Cooking time may vary as much as 10-20 minutes.)

Drain and pour into a large bowl.  Add the radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, basil, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss well.  Place on a serving platter.  Arrange the egg quarters around the edge of the platter.  Chill and serve.

Printable Recipe

Chicken Salad with Wild Rice

June 16th, 2015

Chicken Salad with Wild Rice 1

Most evenings we eat on the screened porch overlooking the lake.  It has been pleasant most of the summer, but last week the heat hit us with a vengeance.  I didn’t want to give up our seats with a view, so I made this cooling chicken salad to keep us comfortable in the waning heat of the day.  This salad has it all; tanginess, crunchiness , beauty and taste.Chicken Salad with Wild Rice 3V

The wild rice adds an interesting twist to the ingredients of chicken, celery, dried cranberries, oranges and pecans.  The mayonnaise dressing is lightened with a bit of orange juice concentrate.  For some reason I have an aversion to heavy, gloppy mayonnaise dressings.  With this dressing I tasted a brightness to the chicken salad that is sometimes missing in your usual chicken salad.

Chicken Salad with Wild Rice 2

Hope you give it a try.

We will be traveling at the end of the week to Florida to honor the memory of one of our dear friends.  John Spangler Goodling died in late December and his wife Georgia will have a farewell ceremony for him at Atlantic Beach where he grew up.

John Spangler Goodling

He was a distinguished Professor of Engineering at Auburn University.  He and David were in Graduate school together and we have remained friends with John and Georgia throughout the years.  Oh, the memories.
Atlantic Beach

 

Godspeed dear John.  Your light may have been dimmed, but a flicker of your soul will remain with us always.

Talking about this recipe seems irrelevant now.  But I have to tell you a story.  When the guys were in graduate school, they would work hard all morning and then around noon John would say “Jeet jet?” David would say “No, Dju?”. John would say “No, squeet”.  And they would.  So let’s eat.  He would approve.

CHICKEN SALAD WITH WILD RICE

1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
3 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken ( 1 1b.)
1/2 cups pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 orange, segments removed and chopped
1 large celery rib, cut into small dice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup wild rice
1 cup water
Lettuce leaves for serving

Whisk together mayonnaise and orange juice concentrate in a large bowl.  Add chicken, nuts, cranberries, orange,celery, salt and pepper and mix well.  Chill, covered, at least 1 hour.

Rinse rice in a fine sieve under running cold water, then drain.  Bring water to a boil in a heavy saucepan and stir in rice.  Simmer, covered, until rice is tender but not all grains have split, 40 to 50 minutes.  Drain rice and cool, then stir into chicken salad and serve over greens.

Printable Recipe

Grilled Herb Chicken with Red Onion Jam and an Outing

June 12th, 2015

Grilled Herb Chicken 1

With a little planning ahead, this was on the table in 15 minutes after I got home late the other night.  I marinated the chicken in herbs, olive oil and lemon juice before I left for the day and left instructions with David on how to make the red onion jam.  We accompanied this with fresh sweet corn and an orzo and spinach salad that I picked up at Whole Foods while I was out.  Dinner couldn’t have been easier or more delicious.

Antique Shop Greenville

I spent the day with my friend Penny (The Other Penny), from The Comforts of Home.  She has recently moved and it was the first chance that we had to get together this summer.  We spent a day antiquing and lunching in beautiful Greenville, SC.  Greenville is such a vibrant city with over 600 restaurants and many antique shops.  The above picture was taken at Southern Estates Antiques, Inc.  The vignette at the front door was very welcoming with cooling lemonade to greet us.

Antique cookbook holder

I spotted this metal cookbook stand and almost bought it.  I was curious about the word on the oval embellishment.  As it turns out, it is the French word for belt or a sash for the waist.  I would assume that this was originally a display stand for belts.  Now I am sorry that I didn’t buy it.

Passerelle Bistro Penny

After visiting several antique shops, Penny and I had lunch at Passerelle Bistro on the river in downtown Greenville.  It was our second time eating there. Even though the day was warm, the breeze off of the river made it pleasant to eat outside.

Trout on Toast

I had the Mountain Trout on Toast with Lemon Vinegar and Gribiche Sauce.

Passerelle Bistro Mussels

Penny had the Basquaise Mussels and Frites.  Lunch was delicious.  It is always a treat for us to get together.

Grilled Herb Chicken 2

This chicken with red onion jam was also delicious.  It would make a nice dish to serve on the 4th of July.

GRILLED HERB CHICKEN WITH RED ONION JAM (Saveur Magazine)

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CHICKEN:
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup minced parsley
¼ cup minced basil
2 tbsp. minced rosemary
2 tbsp. minced thyme
1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to ¼” thickness, halved

FOR THE RED ONION JAM:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 large red onions, sliced thin
¾ cup dry red wine
½ cup sherry vinegar
½ cup sugar
¼ cup black raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Make the chicken: Mix oil, parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme, chile flakes, garlic, and lemon juice and zest in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag; add chicken. Seal bag, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (or overnight).

2. Meanwhile, make the jam: Heat butter in a 12″ skillet over medium heat. Add onions; cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, about 15 minutes. Add wine, vinegar, sugar, liqueur, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring, until thick, about 40 minutes; let jam cool.

3. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high. (Alternatively, heat broiler to high.) Working in batches, grill chicken, turning once, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve with jam.

Printable Recipe

Crab Cakes with Cucumber Salad

June 4th, 2015

Crab Cakes with Cucumber Salad 1

Crab cakes are such a treat.  We rarely have them because of the exorbitant cost of crab meat.  You can buy premixed crab cakes at most Super Markets these days, but I find that they have too much breadcrumb filler.  But, I still think that some filler is an added bonus and does not take away from the sweet taste of the crab meat.  The idea is to achieve a balance, especially when you have three kinds of diced peppers in the mixture.

Crab Cakes with Cucumber Salad 3v

A wonderful cooling ingredient in this recipe is the cucumber salad that compliments the crab cakes perfectly.  We found this to be a perfect meal with grilled sweet corn.  I even had the crab cakes the next day for lunch with a tossed salad.

Crab Cakes with Cucumber Salad 2v

I feel like I owe all of you an update on my health issues.  My sprained ankle has healed.  I still need surgery to remove plates and pins in my leg, but I can probably wait until later to have it done.  We have so much going on this summer and a 3 week trip to Italy in September that it is one of those things that I thought could wait until the quiet months of late fall to confront.  When life is so full, why mess it up with surgery?  My Doctor agrees.  Thanks to all of you for your support.

These crab cakes with cucumber salad are worth your attention.  Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.  We have a beach party on the shores of Lake Lure this Saturday with The Ocean Boulevard Band performing.  If you have never heard of beach music or dancing “the shag”,  it originated in Myrtle Beach, SC. and is popular in our area.  Our Lake Lure Association president is Garrett Humphries.  Here is a you tube video of his award winning dancing. David and will try to keep up.  Ha!

CRAB CAKES WITH CUCUMBER SALAD

Cucumber Herb Salad:
2 cups cucumber, seeded and julienned
2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped (or 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon)
1 teaspoon fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Crab Cakes:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 green bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

In a medium serving bowl, mix cucumber, herbs, lemon juice and oil until cucumber is completely coated; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a large mixing bowl, gently combine all crab cake ingredients except olive oil.  Using a 1/4 cup, measure out 16 cakes.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat.  Sear 4 to 6 cakes until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Turn crab cakes over and sear for an additional 2 minutes.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining oil and crab cakes.  Bake in oven for about 6 to 8 minutes and serve over Cucumber Herb Salad.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.