07 April 2015

Weekend Highlights and A To-Die-For Scone Recipe

Spring is finally here, and I was super excited to enjoy some beautiful weather this weekend! Here's the recap...On Friday afternoon, I enjoyed my first long run outside in the s u n s h i n e! Whoohoo! I'm slow as molasses these days, but it felt great to be outside moving!

Saturday was spent cleaning and doing chores. And then we celebrated Easter! Baby Girl is already being spoiled by her grandparents well before her arrival! She received her first Easter basket filled with girly goodness from Grandma and Grandpa!

Four pairs of shoes, hair bows and headbands, and one outfit to wear with the Sailor and one to wear with me. Can't get enough of these adorable newborn shoes! (I know that all of you moms out there are probably thinking that they're impossible to get on and stay on!)

And I ordered this pink dress for Baby Girl to wear next Easter (spring). I couldn't resist especially since it's on sale now!

I know, I know. Enough with the pink overload! After we failed at planning a weekend getaway for Easter, the Sailor and I threw together a last minute brunch for the two of us on Sunday. I decorated with some stuff I had around the house and a couple of little knick-knacks from Pier One. The Sailor isn't big into clutter as I've mentioned, but I did want to brighten up the dining room since he went to the trouble of cooking an elaborate (in my opinion!) meal.

He used recipes from a cookbook that I got him for Christmas, A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus by Renee Erickson. Click for a peek inside.

He's declared it his favorite cookbook...And that's saying a LOT coming from a man who reads cookbooks all of the time. I appreciate it because it's simply a beautiful book, from the illustration on the cover to the blue satin bookmark. He appreciates it because the recipes are logical, meaning the techniques and timing make sense.

"One of the country's most acclaimed chefs, Renee Erickson is a James-Beard nominated chef and the owner of several Seattle restaurants: The Whale Wins, Boat Street CafĂ©, The Walrus and the Carpenter, and Barnacle. This luscious cookbook is perfect for anyone who loves the fresh seasonal food of the Pacific Northwest. Defined by the bounty of the Puget Sound region, as well as by French cuisine, this cookbook is filled with seasonal, personal menus like Renee’s Fourth of July Crab Feast, Wild Foods Dinner, and a fall pickling party. Home cooks will cherish Erickson’s simple yet elegant recipes such as Roasted Chicken with Fried Capers and Preserved Lemons, Harissa-Rubbed Roasted Lamb, and Molasses Spice Cake. Renee Erickson's food, casual style, and appreciation of simple beauty is an inspiration to readers and eaters in the Pacific Northwest and beyond."

It's been described as a cookbook that encourages readers to get out of their comfort zone by trying new things like preserving lemons or pickling well, just about anything. Though the Sailor didn't say it, I'm guessing that's another reason he loves the book. He's never happier than when he's trying something new in the kitchen, and most of the time, the trials are huge successes!

Admittedly, the recipes in A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus seem a little complicated for this less-than-skilled chef. Most require ingredients that I doubt the ordinary cook would have on hand, and they're heavy on seafood since the author is from Seattle. The stories written to go with each recipe or menu are charming though, and it's easy to be swept away to the Seattle coast by the author's writing.

The brunch menu that the Sailor prepared included bacon and two recipes from the cookbook -- strata with button mushroom, leeks, cheddar and dill and the best.scones with blackberry jam and honey butter.ever.

Strata with button mushrooms, leeks, cheddar and dill

Not the prettiest dish but soooo yummy! Beware when baking- It puffs up to about double the height of the baking dish, so place something underneath to catch any drippings or else there will be a mess to clean in the oven!  

Yep, there's a little nibble missing from one of these! With a cream base and white flour, there's nothing healthy about them. But they're worth every calorie consumed!  

If there's one thing that you do this weekend, BAKE THESE SCONES! Neither of us is really even a huge fan of scones. I have one maybe once a year, but I loved these. The lemon zest actually gave them a light flavor, and they weren't too dense despite the cream and flour. So impress your loved ones, and whip up a batch this weekend!

Boat Street Cafe Scones
Prep time: 20 minutes; Total time: 40 minutes; makes 12

4c flour plus more for forming the scones
1/2c granulated sugar
2T baking powder

1/2t salt
1/2c dried currants (or craisins)
grated zest of 2 large lemons

2c plus 2 T heavy cream
2T sugar in the raw

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Sift flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Whisk in currants and lemon zest.

Slowly add 2 cups of cream. Stir it in with a large fork until dough forms. Using floured hands, pat the dough together a few times to encourage it to hold together. Then transfer it to a floured surface.

Divide the dough into two parts and form each into a disk roughly 6 inches in diameter and 1 inch tall. Using a sharp knife, cut the disk into 6 equal wedges. Brush the tops of the scones with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream and sprinkle with sugar in the raw.

Using a spatula, transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they're puffed and the tops are browned. Serve with butter and blackberry jam.

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