Saturday, August 1, 2015

Cherry Garcia Scones

I have fond memories of my first encounters with Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream.

I remember laughing at the puns in the titles.  All the 'stuff' they added to the ice cream to make some awesome new flavors.  This ice cream flew into the stores with such a force it became an in-thing to eat Ben & Jerry's, and to try all the different flavors.

Some of my initial favorites were Half Baked, Chunky Monkey, and of course Cherry Garcia!  Oh that cherry flavored ice cream loaded with real cherries and fudge bits. They really had me at cherry. One of my favorite fruits of summer.  I wait patiently each year for cherry season to start, and then I pounce!  Buying bags of cherries weekly during the short season.

Cherry Garcia Ice Cream is my inspirations for this week's recipe for a heavenly scone.  It has all the flavor of the ice cream; fresh cherries, chocolate bits, cream for a soft moist interior.  It's a flavor combination that can't be beat.   

Now you may be saying...geez, I have to pit all thoses cherries?  Well not to worry. There is a wonderful gadget for that.  I use Oxo's Cherry and Olive pitter.  I picked mine up from Williams-Sonoma, here for $12.95, or you can find it on Amazon, here. Wouldn't be without this little beauty!

You will notice that I grate the butter into the flour mixture instead of the usual cutting in the butter with two knives or a pastry cutter.  I saw this technique on the TV when this chef was making biscuits so I decided to try it out.  I will say that I loved this technique.  It's very easy to do and the butter seems to get more distributed amongst the dough.  I will be grating my butter in many of my recipes going forward.  Try it and let me know if you like it.

You will absolutely love these scones.  Make them this weekend for a nice treat.  Enjoy!

Cherry Garcia Scones

Makes 12

             2 cups all purpose flour
             1/2 cup sugar
             1 teaspoon baking powder
             1/4 teaspoon baking soda
             1/2 teaspoon salt
             1 teaspoon vanilla
             8 oz butter, frozen
             1/2 cup fresh cherries, chopped
             1/3 cup chocolate chips
             1/2 sour cream
             1 egg
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl mix flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking flour.  Grate frozen butter into flour mixture. Mix with fingers until flour resembles small pebbles or peas. Stir in vanilla, cherries and chocolate. Loosely mix together.

In a small bowl whisk together sour cream and egg.  Add to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Form dough into a disc.  Place the disc on a floured surface and pat into an 8 " or 9" circle about 1/2 inch thick.  Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut into 12 triangles. Place each scone on a parchment lined baking sheet, 1 inch apart. (I used two baking sheets)  Bake 15 min or until golden brown.  Cool.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Turkey Spinach Panini with a Citrus Aioli

Summertime calls for quick yet hearty food.  Sandwiches for a weekend lunch are my go to meal.

Do you love all the combinations that you can make with a sandwich as much as I do?   I hope so cause today's sandwich is a real winner!

I love hot sandwiches.  It might be the gooey cheese melting over the hot meat...or it might be the toasty bread.  This one has it all plus a wonderful citrus aioli.  Aioli is a fancy word for a mayonnaise and garlic spread.  This spread really makes this sandwich, so don't skip it!!!  It will rock your world.

The light citrus in the spread is such a good compliment to the delicate turkey and tangy Swiss cheese.  Together this is a combination made in heaven!  You can change it up the way you like it as well by swapping out the spinach for lettuce or arugula, or choose your favorite bread.  I used a nice country sliced bread which toasted nicely.  

Anyway you build it will turn out a masterpiece.  Remember, don't skip the citrus aioli!


Turkey Spinach Panini with a Citrus Aioli

2 T mayonnaise 
1/4 tsp lime zest 
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice 
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
8 slices country bread 
1/2 lb sliced roasted turkey 
1 cup baby spinach
4 slices Swiss cheese
Cooking spray

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  For the Aioli: Combine ingredients from mayonnaise through garlic in a small bowl.  Spread evenly over 4 bread slices. Top evenly with turkey, spinach, cheese, and the remaining 4 bread slices.

Coat grill pan with cooking spray. Arrange 2 sandwiches in pan. Place a cast-iron or heavy skillet on top of sandwiches; press gently to flatten. Cook 2 minutes on each side.  Repeat procedure with remaining 2 sandwiches.  Slice in half and serve immediately.  

Monday, July 20, 2015

'Bakery Style' Orange Blueberry Muffins

Last week MGG and I took a day trip up to Santa Barbara.  I just love it there.

We spent the day doing a little shopping, walking along the beach, stopped at the Biltmore Hotel for a drink, and of course sampled some tasty food.

On the way we always stop for a nice breakfast at one of our favorites places in Summerland.  The food is always on spot. This time we opted to a continental breakfast that came with a basket of bakery items.  I spotted a large 'bakery' style muffin and I knew I would be in heaven.  Bursting with blueberries and a hint of citrus.   Yep, I was right....Heaven!

I'm a blueberry lover you see.  I've made many blueberry items in the past here and here.  So this past weekend I got out my mixing bowls and made my own version of 'Bakery Style' Orange Blueberry Muffins.  Bakery style, means that are a little larger than life!  Juicy, ripe, hot, blueberries, bursting in your mouth.  The background has a hint of orange.  The perfect contrast to the tang of the blueberries. Not much better than this!

Great to serve on a weekend summer morning, or make for brunch, or a ladies tea. Be sure to pick up some fresh blueberries.  They are in season and so sweet this year.  If you don't have any, frozen will do just as well, but be sure to thaw them so they don't bleed all over your batter and turn it blue!

Try them soon, and tell me how you liked them.   Enjoy!

'Bakery Style' Orange Blueberry Muffins 

serves 12

2 cups fresh blueberries 

1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
2 cups all purpose flour 
4 teaspoons baking powder 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 1/2 cups white sugar 
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs 
1 teaspoon orange extract 
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.   Spray muffins tins with cooking spray.

In a small bowl add your blueberries and sprinkle 1/4 cup flour over blueberries, toss to coat.

In a large bowl, add your flour, baking powder and salt and sugar. Whisk together. To a medium bowl, add your oil, eggs, orange extract, orange zest and milk.  Whisk to blend. Add to the flour mixture stirring just to combine. Fold in berries. Fill muffin cups almost to the top with batter.

Bake for 20 - 22 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  


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