These scones hold up well overnight, so they're perfect to make after the sun goes down and your kitchen isn't quite so warm. Don't be deterred from making these scones if you don't have preserved lemon--it's perfectly fine to make them with fresh lemon, or no lemon at all--the buttermilk will provide tang. However, if you can get your hands on some preserved lemon, the unique, slightly salty bite really puts these over the top. I preserve Meyer lemons when they're in season during the winter, but you can find them online.
These scones aren't very sweet (traditional scones aren't sugary, and that's how I like them), but if you want a sweeter treat, you can sprinkle coarse, organic sugar on the top of the scones just before baking.
Blueberry Buttermilk Scones
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper or greasing the pan with butter.
Blend together the dry ingredients by stirring them with a whisk in a large bowl (this also aerates the flour and helps to keep the dough a bit lighter). Rub the cold butter into the mixture with your fingers until there mixture resembles damp sand with a few pea-sized pieces still present in the dough. With a wooden spoon, gently begin stirring in the buttermilk, berries and zest, if using. You may need to use your hands to bring the mixture together (you can add a touch more buttermilk if it's too crumbly).
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat it into a 1 inch thick disk. Slice the dough like a pizza into 8 equal pieces. Place, spaced evenly, on the baking sheet and lightly brush the tops of the scones with a little more buttermilk. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the scones are lightly golden.
Makes 8 scones.
This recipe was created to use up a leftover ear of corn that I grilled one weekend. Adding the slightly smoky grilled corn (which I first cooked with the husk on until it was steamed through, then I peeled back to expose the kernels and get a little color on it) gives this polenta dish wonderful flavor and texture. If you don't have leftover corn, you can cook it under the broiler, giving it a quarter turn every few minutes so there's even blistering on each side (just don't let it burn!).
This polenta is good on it's own, without the relish, for breakfast. In which case I suggest you add a handful of grated cheese, such as Sequatchie Cove's Coppinger.
Polenta with Charred Corn and Tomato Basil Relish
Meanwhile, thinly slice the basil and combine with the tomatoes and cider vinegar. Season with a pinch of salt and allow to stand for 15 minutes.
To serve, fill bowls with generous portions of polenta and top with relish.
Almonds and green beans are a classic combination, but for this recipe I wanted to look a little closer to home and decided to use some Georgia-grown pecans. The result is a side dish that works well as an anchor for an all-vegetable meal (my summer go-to dinner), or alongside grilled meat. However it is totally transformed into a light but special stand-alone-meal with the addition of a poached or soft boiled egg served with each portion. The runny yolk coats the beans and toasted flecks of pecan and makes a wonderful sauce.
Afterward I'd highly recommend you serve peaches for dessert. It makes for a southern supper worthy of serving to your Georgia born-and-bred grandmother-in-law, Ruby Nell, if like me you are lucky enough to have such a person in your life.
Toasted Pecan Green Beans
Raise the heat under the pan to medium high and add the oil and garlic. Cook the garlic, stirring until it is golden and fragrant, than remove it and reserve for another use. You just want to lightly flavor the oil.
Add the green beans (this is where it's important that they're dry--if the beans are still damp from washing the oil will splatter), and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the beans are bright green and beginning to get a few browned spots. Add the ground pecans and a generous pinch of salt and fry one minute more, stirring.
Remove the beans, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the pan and serve immediately, topped with one or two eggs with runny yolks, if you like.
This recipe for gazpacho has been a staple in my kitchen for the last five years. It's the only version I make. The simplicity of it allows the flavors of ripe tomatoes to shine, and the no-heat preparation means this is a total joy to make when you're craving something homemade but can't face the stove.
2.25-2.5 lbs. ripe tomatoes, quartered (and cored if the interior is quite solid--I find smaller tomatoes don't need this step)
1 small piece of stale bread, such as sourdough, crusts removed
2 cloves of fresh garlic
1 t. Kosher salt
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. cumin
2 T. sherry vinegar
1/4 c. mild olive oil (optional, but very suggested)
Soak the piece of bread in a cup of very cold water for about one minute, or until well saturated. Remove and gently squeeze out the extra water.
Meanwhile, mince the garlic as finely as possible on a wooden cutting board, then sprinkle the salt over it and using the flat of the knife, crush the garlic and salt into a paste.
Add the tomatoes, bread, garlic paste, cumin and sugar to the bowl of a food processor. (I find a blender purées this mixture TOO well.) Pulse several times, then with the motor running, slowly add in the olive oil. When the soup is thoroughly blended, decant into a bowl. Stir in the vinegar, one Tabkespoon at a time, tasting in between. Adjust salt and chill for at least one hour before serving.
You can strain the gazpacho through a sieve before serving, but I prefer some texture in this soup.
Last week the weather was hot, humid and almost oppressive at times. While summer is my favorite season (swimming! tomatoes! Vitamin D!), even I am not immune to the effects of relentless, damp heat. In these instances I find that I need to stay well hydrated, and one of the best ways to do that, beyond drinking water and healthy tonics like beet kvass or kombucha, is to eat foods that help to hydrate the body. Fermented foods loaded with probiotics are a good option, and this salad is another: it uses raw zucchini as a base, meaning that none of the water is lost in cooking. It makes for a light, flavorful meal after a long day, and keeps well packed in a jar in the fridge for lunch the next day. You can add feta cheese to it (I often do), serve it with protein, or just eat a large and satisfying portion on its own.