Monthly Archives: October 2010

blueberry scones

Yes, I know it’s not blueberry season, and that I ought to be writing about the beef stew or the pumpkin pancakes I enjoyed last week. But something about scones (and muffins, come to think of it) reminds me of autumn. They’re a perfect treat to whip up while the coffee is brewing, to bake while getting ready for the day, and to grab on the way out the door in a sweater and scarf.

There’s some extra rolling-and-folding with this particular recipe, but I think it makes the scones extra flaky and really ensures that the blueberries are spaced throughout the scone without touching each other or clumping up.

Blueberry Scones
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen and Sweet Savory Southern

8 Tablespoons cold butter, plus 2 T. more for brushing
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, frozen
sanding sugar or regular white sugar for sprinkling

Grate the butter on the large holes of a box grater; scoop into a small bowl and place in the freezer for 5 minutes while prepping.

Preheat oven to 425. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium-large bowl.  Incorporate the frozen butter with a spoon (if you use your fingers, the heat from them may cause the butter to melt slightly).  In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream and whole milk, and stir into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Turn out onto a well-floured surface, and knead a few times.  Roll out into a 12×12 inch square.  Using a bench scraper, fold the dough into thirds, then fold into thirds again in the opposite direction to form a square.  Roll the dough out into a 12×12 inch square again and refold.  Place on a plate and freeze for 5 minutes.

Roll out to a 12×12 inch square for a final time. Press the blueberries into the dough in a single layer, getting all the way to the edges.  Carefully roll up as you would a jelly roll.  Flatten and carefully press the roll into a 4-inch wide rectangle.  Using the bench scraper, cut into 4 rectangles.  Then cut each rectangle diagonally to make 2 triangles.

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  At this point the scones can be baked or refrigerated overnight.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake 18-25 minutes, or until golden-brown.  Serve warm, with or without butter.

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Filed under Breakfast, Cookies, Summer

by the way, did you know that it’s fall?

At least from my kitchen window it is.

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Filed under Just a Thought

Chicken stew with homemade noodles

Now that I’ve got homemade noodles and I’ve thrown together some chicken stock, there’s only one thing to do:  make chicken stew with noodles.

Which isn’t quite the same as chicken noodle soup. To me, chicken noodle soup implies something lighter, more delicate; small shreds of chicken, petite noodles, a golden broth with little bits here and there floating around.

Chicken noodle soup is to ballerinas as chicken stew with noodles is to lumberjacks.

Big chunks ‘o meat, hunks of unavoidable veggies, thick noodles, and a touch of cream just to pull it all together.

Chicken stew with homemade noodles
Adapted from Cooking Light and Stolen Moments

One batch of homemade noodles
~1 lb. chicken meat
2 T. butter
4 carrots (about 1 c. chopped)
1/2 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
3 c. chicken stock
4 ribs of celery (about 3/4 c. chopped)
1 1/2 t. thyme 
1 t. sage
salt and pepper
1 T. flour
1 t. cornstarch
1/4 c. half-and-half or cream

Cut chicken into about 6 large pieces; set aside. Chop veggies, mince garlic. In a large skillet, melt butter on medium-high; add onion and carrots and saute, stirring ocassionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to saute and stir for another 3-4 minutes. Put a pot of water on to boil for the noodles.

Add the chicken stock to skillet and bring up to a simmer. Add in chicken pieces and herbs and cover, turning chicken after 5 minutes.

Once the chicken is cooked through, remove the chicken pieces from the skillet and set on a cutting board to cool. Add the celery and continue to simmer uncovered, stirring frequently.

This is where you should be boiling your homemade noodles, which can take anywhere from 5 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness.

Meanwhile, mix together the flour and cornstarch. Add the cream and shake or whisk well, making sure there are no lumps. Whisk the cream mixture into the broth and veggies over medium-high. While that reduces, cut chicken pieces into bite-size and add back to skillet.

Once noodles are tender, scoop them out of the water and add them to the skillet, stirring to incorporate. Serve hot in bowls.

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Filed under Chicken, Main dishes, Soups

Stock of the chicken persuasion

Have you ever made a chicken in the crockpot? If not, you should do so immediately. It is soooo goooood.  It falls apart and is juicy and tender and very enjoyable in general. This lady will give you some tips for delicious chicken a la crockpot.

I made ours on Sunday, separated leftover chicken into one container and put the bones and skin in another container, then threw out all the unidentifiable bits.

Then, on Monday, take the leftovers and make stock with them.

Mmmmm…. I can almost smell the stocky goodness radiating from that picture.

Okay, here’s what you need:

chicken carcass- bones, skin, leftover chicken meat if you want
celery: leafy parts and 2 ribs
carrots: 3-5
onion: 1 medium, any variety
garlic: 4-5 cloves
dried mushrooms: 6-8 (optional)
lots of water
some herbs (dried are fine)
a big pot or two

I took my chicken bones and skin and divided it betwen two large pots, covered the bits with cold water, and put on the stovetop to boil. While it’s getting hot, chop up some onions, celery, and carrots, and roughly smash your garlic.

* Here’s a tip– the leafy green parts of the celery are SO GOOD in chicken stock. They are super flavorful and fragrant, and you don’t have to use as many actual ribs if you chop up all the leaves. I also don’t bother cleaning the carrots- just chop everything into rough mismatched-sized bits, and once you’re boiling, throw it all in. 

I also like adding 3-4 dried shitaake mushrooms into each pot. They add sort of a dark, earthy flavor to the stock.

Once you’ve got your veggies in and everything’s rolling in a nice, tight boil, it’s time to add some herbage.  Depending on your favorite flavors, you can pretty much add anything and any amount. Here’s what I use, from most to least:
Parsley
kosher salt
black pepper
thyme
sage (rubbed)
oregano (leaves, not ground)
2 bay leaves
rosemary

Now comes the tricky part-:  boil, uncovered, for at least 4 hours, stirring ocassionally. This part is tricky because your house is going to smell sooooo goooood that you will be salivating all over.  

If your stock gets some foamy white stuff on top, you can carefully spoon it out periodically and toss it down the drain.

I don’t really pay attention to time, honestly, but I try to reduce the amount of liquid in half. So if you’ve got one full pot of water when you start, you’re going to boil until it’s about half full. Since I used two pots (8 qt and 6.5 qt), I reduced both pots down, combined them into the larger pot, and reduced a little more to end up with 7 qts of stock.

It’s very scientific, as you can tell.

Once you’ve boiled and reduced, it’s time to strain and store.

Some people will tell you to use a fine mesh strainer; others suggest using cheesecloth to get a clear, attractive stock. That’s cool. I just used my big-holed collander because I’m going for flavor, not looks. Some teeny bits of onion and herbs floated through, and I’m okay with that.

I store my chicken stock in large canning jars in the back of my fridge. I also filled two clean icecube trays with stock and froze it, then broke the cubes into a plastic bag. Just another storing option that doesn’t take up all your fridge space.

Ta-Da! Homemade, low-sodium, delicious and nutritious chicken broth.  Almost makes me want to be sick, so I have an excuse to make chicken noodle soup.

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Filed under Chicken, Soups

Homemade egg noodles

I’ve heard nothing but great things about homemade noodles, but, aside from spaetzle, had never made them. But they’re really easy and not very time consuming! Egg noodles were a breeze and I plan to make them again soon. I ate them with a chicken stew that I should be posting soon. :)

Homemade egg noodles
from Stolen Moments

2 c. flour
1 t. salt
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 T. cold water + 1-2 T. more

Heap the flour in a shallow bowl or on a cutting board; sprinkle salt over flour. Make a well in the middle of the flour. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, and 2 T. water. Pour the eggs in the middle of the flour well and carefully cut in flour, starting with the outside edges.

Use your hands to form the dough into a ball and knead 10-15 times. Add water by the teaspoon if absolutely necessary, but you want a stiff dough- not tacky.  Roll out on a lightly floured surface until desired thickness- I made mine thick, between 1/4 and 3/8 inch.

Roll up the dough like rolling a jelly roll. Cut 1/4 inch slices all across the length. Unwind carefully; cut to desired length. Lay out to let dry for at least 20 minutes before boiling.

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Filed under Main dishes, Pasta, Side dishes