Rank lists are in, 20 days until Match Day! That’s all I’m going to say about that — you can go ahead and read more about it if you like.
I want to share with you one of my oldest, trustiest recipes. These scones redefine the way you think about scones. Most people hear the word and imagine a softball-sized chunk of dry, crumbly carbs that are hardly worth the extra coffee you need to drink to choke them down. No, these are totally different: they’re small, flaky, buttery, and so worth the 30 minutes it takes to make them. They are the perfect way to get a house full of people to appreciate you, and all you have to do is hit the snooze button 3 fewer times.
These guys originally call for an egg wash to make them very pretty to photograph, but in my experience a batch does not last 25 minutes out of the oven, so who cares what they look like. Save your egg for something useful, like dropped in a bowel of ramen or baked into a cake or fried on a burger or one of the other 9274857 amazing things we as humans have figured out we can do with unfertilized chicken ova.
recipe: cream scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries, blueberries, currants, or mini chocolate chips
6 Tbsp cold butter
2 large egg yolks
3/4 cup heavy cream, plus another 2 Tbsp
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in your fruit of choice (or chocolate). Grab a pastry blender and cut the butter into the dry mixture, until the butter pieces are about the size of peas.
- In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 3/4 cup heavy cream. Pour into the flour mixture and toss with a fork to combine.
- Knead gently and briefly to bring the dough together in two equal portions. Shape each into 4-5″ rounds and slice into 6 triangles for a total of 12 scones. Arrange on the baking sheet, with equal spacing between each scone.
- In the bowl that held the egg yolk mixture, add a couple more tablespoons of cream and stir to pick up any extra yolk. Brush this mixture over each scone, then sprinkle some sugar over the tops. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden or the scones no longer look/feel raw. Let cool for a couple minutes before enjoying warm.
It’s no secret (to those who know me, anyway) that I’m a math & science person at heart. Numbers speak to me, process comforts me, and exactness is a standard I treasure. I think that’s how I got into baking in the first place — it’s all math and science. Precise quantities and timing and chemical reactions. I’ve always felt comfortable with a reliable recipe, as it gives me confidence that I’ll be able to replicate the outcome (assuming my oven isn’t a total pile of poo that day). It’s a recent development that I’ve ventured into cooking, into playing with flavors, and into just… winging it. It’s part of this long-term project I have to loosen up more as a person, and has been accompanied by immersing myself in the arts, and talking about my feelings, and sometimes being late to parties, and wearing mismatched socks, and dripping egg yolk down the front of my newest blouse…
So, the other day, I was making banana bread, which is kind of an old stand-by “I am making this SOLELY for the purpose of not having my kitchen smell like rotting food” project. I had my own recipe, but I apparently hadn’t had any coffee or meth or ATP that day so halfway through I realized I had been arbitrarily pulling ingredient quantities from like three different recipes. All of which made different numbers of loaves.
A few minutes of winging it and about an hour of baking time later, I had the best damn banana bread I had ever tasted. And then I made it two more times and it was still the best. So… here you go. A loaf of personal-development banana bread.
Here’s to having NO IDEA what you’re doing sometimes.
Recipe: nutella banana bread
- 5 very ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup nutella
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a loaf pan with parchment.
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Do it with your hands. It’s fun.
- Whisk in butter, eggs, and brown sugar.
- In a separate bowl, mix together baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour. Add to wet mixture and mix until incorporated.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Drop nutella on top of the batter and swirl with a knife to distribute it a little more evenly across the top and to marble it a little into the batter.
- Bake for about 1 hour, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean (or, only covered in nutella).
Guys! Spring is coming!
Which means ordering pad see euw in bulk from seamless is no. longer. fly.
How about this: a well-balanced bowl of grains and veggies and protein that’s actually kind of good for you and tastes so fancy that you start to feel guilty about wearing jeans (or pajamas, or no pants at all… because really, we’re adults now and we aren’t afraid of a little buttcheek anymore). Nice restaurants could serve this and impress you. A nice restaurant probably wouldn’t serve this to you in your underwear.
Know what else is cool? After dropping some money ($15) on the base ingredients, thereby securing you delicious repeat dinners for weeks, each serving size is like $4 out of your pocket.
It also all comes together in less than an hour and I may or may not have eaten this like 6 times in the past three weeks.
Remember the part where I said this tastes fancy??
Yeah, my mind is blown, too.
Recipe: miso salmon & veggie bowl
most of this recipe is straight from smitten kitchen.
For the bowl:
- 1 cup dried rice (I used half brown, half wild red)
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 head broccoli
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 4 4-oz salmon fillets (I keep the skin on)
- sesame seeds
- pinch of ground ginger
For the dressing:
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced/pressed
- 2 tbsp white miso
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400. Cook your rice however you like.
- Peel the sweet potato and cut into bite-sized cubes. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and spread in a single layer in a baking pan (I use my 9×13″ pyrex). Sprinkle with salt and pepper (don’t go nuts with the salt), and roast for 20 minutes.
- While potato is roasting, cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces as well. When 20 minutes are up, add to the sweet potato and toss with a little more olive oil. Roast for another 10-20 minutes, until everything is tender.
- Prepare salmon fillets by seasoning with freshly ground pepper, ground ginger, and sesame seeds. Line a broiling pan with foil and place a well-greased wire rack on top. Lay fillets on the rack and stick under your broiler for about 10 minutes, flipping once if you want, until salmon is cooked through.
- While salmon is cooking (what a great multi-tasker you are!), combine dressing ingredients and mix well.
- Serve bowls with rice topped with veggies and salmon, with a drizzle of dressing over the whole thing.
I don’t want to always sound like a grumpy fart on my shiny new blog, but it just so happens that I made this thing in the midst of a fairly grumpy, farty time in my life. C’est la vie.
I mentioned the januaries earlier, which constitute a phenomenon I fairly predictably experience every year, for one reason or another (or, perhaps more simply, for no reason at all). The sun shines a little less brightly (that’s science), my stresses accumulate and weigh on me daily (that’s partly mostly my fault), and I indulge in copious amounts of carb-binging and sleeping (that’s hibernation). Recognizing and confronting this sort of… dysthymia? has helped me better deal with it in recent years, and frequently exercising my “life effing rules!” muscle has allowed me to drift through the januaries with a more balanced (if slightly reclusive) calm, rather than wild emotional flailing.
I can sometimes defend my affect by citing awful things that tend to happen to me during the winter months. This season has, perhaps, reached an all-time low on the “jesus christ that sounds miserable” scale, but I’m okay. Life has given me enough awesome for me to know that I’ll get through this. When I start to forget that, I can just break out a pint of my favorite ice cream or whip up a batch of these cookies. Because seriously: if you’ve got ice cream on your chin, or a cookie in your mouth, life can’t be all that bad.
Here’s to enjoying yourself.
And to the magical combination that is butter, sugar, and chocolate.
And to eating your feelings.
C’est la vie.
Recipe: chocolate chip cookies
Note: I like my cookies chewy, with crispy edges. And loaded with chocolate. There is a time for flat, greasy, cracker-cookies; this is not that time.
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold-ish
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used dark)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup flour (I used half whole wheat, half all-purpose)
- 1 bag semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 325°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment. Pizza stone works well, too.
- In a medium bowl (or stand mixer), cream butter and sugars together until smooth, 3-5 minutes.
- Mix in egg and vanilla.
- Add baking soda, salt, and flour and mix on low until fully incorporated.
- Dump in the whole bag of chips because, you know, feelings. Fold them in.
- Chill the dough in the bowl for at least an hour. Spend this time on the couch, watching something cathartic, with an alcoholic beverage in hand.
- Scoop tablespoon-sized (or larger) balls of dough onto baking surface, leaving at least 2 inches between each one.
- Bake for roughly 18-20 minutes, until cookies are golden. Let cool on a wire rack before stuffing your face.
Makes ~25 cookies.