Sunday, January 27, 2013

Let the blogging commence!

I've finally done it, I've joined the blogo-sphere.  It two minutes to set this thing up, and then a lot longer to de-link it from my primary email address, but here I am.  I started this blog as a way to share the "fruits" of my labors borne out of my need to do something to keep from going crazy or too depressed.

I've finally realized that I'm  "stress-baker."  Fortunately, I'm much less of "stress-eater," although there is a certain inevitability of increased consumption when yummy stuff is lying around.  This tendency first manifested when I was about 12 or 13 years old and was had to spend my first night alone in our house.  Before my dad left, I was self-assured and confident, but the minute he was gone, all the noises got louder and scarier and I had to do something.  I went to the kitchen, which was pitifully bare, save for a few eggs and lemons and what-not.  The result was a lemon meringue pie.  I wasn't a particularly big fan of lemon meringue, but it was about the only thing I could figure out to make.  And it was good!  It got rave reviews the next day, and a stress-baker was born.

When my family was evacuated, I was left behind in a place that had been turned upside down and none of us knew what was next.  I was still amped up on adrenaline but couldn't go anywhere, including work, and I couldn't look at any of my kids' stuff without falling apart.  What I did have at my disposal was a very well-stocked pantry (thanks to a recent stock-up, just in case things got dicey..ha!), and a lot of time.  We needed to have an office meeting at a house, and I suddenly had people to feed!  It was a perfect storm.

Due to an abundance of frozen berries, the first recipe was:

I don't think I made any adjustments to the recipe, but I likely cut back on the sugar as I almost always do.  It turned out great and will definitely be a means to finish up more berries in the freezer.

With that, I also made an old favorite, Oatmeal Scones from the Joy of Cooking (if there is only one cookbook to buy, this would be the one!).  I think I actually had some of Tunisia's amazing dates on hand, so I used dates, but any dried fruit will do.  I thing I love about this recipe is the lack of a need to cut in butter (a real pain in the a**, and I don't have a food processor here).  These scones are perfect for a brunch or afternoon tea.

Oatmeal Scones with Raisins or Dates
Joy of Cooking, 1997 edition

Position rack in center of the oven, preheat to 450F

Whisk together in large bowl:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 TB baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Stir in, using fingers if necessary to separate the fruit:
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins or chopped dates

Whisk together, then add all at once:
1 lg egg
1 stick unsalted butter, melted (the recipe calls for 1 1/4 sticks, but one is more than enough)
1/3 cup milk

Mix until just moistened, batter will be sticky.  Transfer to lightly floured surface and pat into a 8" round, about 3/4" thick.  Cut into 8-12 wedges and transfer to an ungreased baking sheet, placing the pieces about 1/2" apart.  Bake until lightly browned 10-12 minutes.  Let cool on a rack, or serve warm. Delicious either way.

This initial baking spurt didn't get to last too long, as that night I was on a plane to Germany, where I stayed for 10 days.  Bernice came along, although I'm sorry to report that she was not on her best behavior, drinking whisky and flying down the hall of the hotel.  But I hope you'll excuse her, it was a stressful time.

Next time, Expat Hoarders...

1 comment:

  1. I'm loving your blog so far! Can't wait to read more.