Marcela is finally here, safe and radiant from her stay in Seattle and New York, ready to chill under the Southern sun. After many late night chats on Yahoo with Lisa over the past year or so, it is a blast to finally laugh in person instead of in front of the computer and discover the many facets of Argentina through her experiences and her eyes. As the nerds that we are, we spent most of the evening of her arrival Tuesday on Google earth checking out the country with the perfect guide. Today was spent downtown Charleston with us showing her some of our favorite places, streets, parks, etc… but I will get to that a little bit later.
After my post admitting that I was a clafoutis fanatic, going as far as eating it everyday, I stumbled on a great looking scone post by Julie of A Mingling Of Tastes. Her blog is one of my regular reads where I get my fix of yummy breakfast ideas, and after many weeks of thinking I ought to make scones again, because after all we do like them, she timely tempted me with these Lemon Buttermilk Scones with Currants. With Marce coming in town I figured it was high time I baked scones again and changed the clafoutis routine a bit. I liked her recipe a great deal but I had to adapt given the raisin hater I have in the house (B. who is by the way loving having two women cooking up a storm in the kitchen right now!!) and use the supplies I accumulate and only get around to use like Goji berries and pearl sugar (regular and brown, also found as rock candy or rock sugar). He still won’t go for the Goji berries as they look too similar to raisins but the scones sprinkled with sugar are already disappearing 3 at a time. If I catch him in the jar of dulce the leche that Marcela brought me….arghhhh!
For the scones I used a mix of whole wheat and all purpose flour and replaced the buttermilk with yogurt, same tang and creamier texture. I like to pat, roll and cut dough a lot so I went for round scones instead of wedges, plus there is more space for jam to be spread (or my dulce de leche). We fell in love with these and I may not need to attend a 12 step program for my clafoutis habit after all, although I feel it won’t be long before we can have a plum or a peach one for breakfast soon.
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tb granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup goji berries (optional, use raisins if desired)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to blend. Add the chilled butter, cut in small chunks and pulse until the mixture resembles pea size crumbs. In a large bowl, whisk the egg, yogurt and lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients and the goji berries to the egg mixture and stir just until moistened. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball. Pat or roll the dough out to about 1 to 1 1/4-inch thick. With a 3 inch cookie cutter dipped in flour, cut the dough into 10 and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Brush with a little milk and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. If you use pearl or rock sugar, sprinkle that on top of the scones after the brushing of milk so they adhere to the top better.
Unexpected sightings in Charleston or when to look high and when to look low: I guess I walk the streets downtown with a purpose and never the one to just look and breathe in the scenery. Well not after today when Marcela and I found dozens of Loquat trees downtown. We met a nice English gentleman who threw his hat up on the tree and made a couple fall in our hands. We almost knock on somebody’s door to see if we could harvest theirs since they seemed to be left to rot on the tree. What a shame! Loquats are the perfect balance of sweet and sour in one bite. I have to check with a couple of people if they have one of those trees close by otherwise I am coming back at night with my ladder and basket….
The second unexpected find of the day was bushes after bushes of wild blackberries in the woods in front of our house. I gathered a few at different ripening stage just to compare and was stunned to hear B. say "Oh yeah, the twins have been gathering them like crazy and I mowed a whole row on the side of the yard"….
Last but not least, above is what my eye catches when I am leisurely walking the streets downtown. Missing shutters on a house where only the hook testifies of its previous existence. Circles in the middle of intricate wrought iron gates. It is just a circle…but to me it was a circle with a day off in the company of a friend.