Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Hangry Hiatus

I can’t believe how long it has been since my last post!  I am sorry for all of my readers who have by now, given up on the Hangry Foodasaurus.  I’d like to think I have a pretty good excuse for not writing and my hope is that once I explain what’s been holding me back, you’ll forgive me.

As some of you know I’ve just completed my 200-hour Yoga teacher training, which took place over the course of 9 intensive weekends.  We traveled from Boston to Philadelphia about once per month and Nathan and I were hosted while we were staying there by some very gracious friends in the area :).  The weekends were extremely challenging physically and mentally, but one particular weekend I was more exhausted than ever.  I could hardly keep my eyes open.   The next morning I tried drinking some coffee and for those of you who know me coffee is a must!  After the first sip I could hardly keep it down.  Hmmmm…well after putting two and two together I surmised I might be pregnant, and it turns out I am!

Of the many interesting changes that come with being pregnant I found one of the craziest to be the absence of hangriness.  No shakiness, dizziness, extreme agitation.  In fact, for the first 3 months I could hardly eat anything at all and especially couldn’t fathom touching a vegetable.  Hummus became my enemy.  The thought of salad made me gag.  I was all about reverting to my childhood:  mac and cheese, pop-tarts, frozen waffles, pierogies.  Thank goodness I am over that hump because it was starting to get a bit unhealthy.

Don’t get me wrong, I still need snacks and treats, but at least I can say I eat vegetables again.  Way back in December I started to get a hankering for scones.  I found a really good recipe from Joy of Baking, which I’ve adapted slightly.  Since then I’ve made this recipe a total of three times, each time varying the ingredients ever-so-slightly with amazing results. 

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
  •  1 total cup of filling ingredients such as: chocolate chips or chunks, toasted walnuts or pecans, dried cherries or cranberries, fresh blueberries or candied ginger
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract OR almond or lemon extract
  • 1-2 teaspoons of lemon or orange zest
  • 2/3 - 3/4 cup (160 - 180 ml) buttermilk (I never seem to have buttermilk so you can use regular milk and sour it by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice and allowing it to stand for 10-15 minutes)
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Basically you want to pick things that sound like they’d work well together like:  Lemon-ginger, dark chocolate and dried cherries and walnuts, cranberry-orange, lemon-blueberry.

How to:

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and place rack in middle of oven.

2) Grease a baking sheet with organic vegetable shortening or use parchment paper.

3) Zest orange or lemon if using zest.

4) In a small measuring cup whisk together the buttermilk (or milk and lemon juice) and extract.

5) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

6) Cut the cold butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. I don’t own a pastry blender so I just ended up crumbling it with my fingers to get all the big chunks out.  (The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.)

7) Stir in the chocolate chunks, dried cherries, nuts, lemon or orange zest, etc.

8) Add wet mixture to the flour mixture. Very Important! Stir just until the dough comes together (add more buttermilk or flour as necessary). Do not over mix the dough.

9) Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches (18 cm) round and about 11/2 inches (3.75 cm) thick. At this point my dough is always on the flaky, dry side and not every bit of flour is mixed in but that is OK.

10) Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into 4 pie- shaped wedges (triangles). Place the scones on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with a little milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar for a nice effect.

11) Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Makes 8 scones.

Dark Chocolate, Cherry, and Walnut Scone: A. Andiorio
These have been an absolute winner every time I’ve made them.  They are moist, flaky and go great with your morning coffee or tea.  They are best consumed right out of the oven, but if you somehow have any leftovers they are also good warmed up in a toaster oven.