True Confessions of a Mid-Life Cook

There's a definite correlation between my profound love of music and how and what I've taught myself to cook. My favorite music to listen to and to perform is soulful, sensual, sometimes funky and always bluesy in nature . . . and that's exactly how I cook. I like to get my hands in the food. I chop, I knead, I stir with my hands. Sometimes I wear my big rimmed cowboy hat, nightie and Old Gringo boots in kitchen, sometimes a coonskin cap when the mood strikes and sometimes just an apron and a smile. Using the freshest of ingredients, I love to bringing a new spirit to old favorites. I am so to drawn dishes seeping in both Texas and Southern tradition,with a special affinity for those authentic old jewels found in South Louisiana.
Because they, too, are so powerfully soulful?

I've discovered being a good cook is a journey and not a destination. (Yes, I stole an over-used corporate slogan and made it my own--but it's still the truth) Every time we screw up, we learn. And in part, that's what this blog is about. Cooking fearlessly. With heart, with soul -- and with some damn good music to inspire. (If your three layer chocolate cake ends up looking like a Jerry Springer rerun or you cut the tip of your thumb off while making New Year's Day gumbo, WHO CARES?Proclaim Francine Reed's "I'm a Handful" your theme song. She would like that.)
We cook because we find ourselves kinda empty if we don't.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Savory Scone aka "My Uppity Texas Biscuit"

Scones are to the English what biscuits are to Southerners. Originating in Scotland in the 1500's, this quickbread has evolved from being made of oats and griddle baked, to a more delicate flour based bread, baked in the oven.  In England, they're served with afternoon tea.  At my house, this particular savory scone is served with a cup of coffee in the morning, or even a beer in the afternoon.

You will love my uppity Texian biscuits with apple bacon, sharp cheddar cheese and jalapenos.  Especially during this particular week, remembering the Alamo and all.  EASY to make. If I can, you can.

Should  you be baking these for breakfast, you can prep the night before.  (ie: frying the bacon and chopping stuff) If your mornings are like my mornings, time is of the essence.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
At least 2 teaspoons black pepper, I add more
1 stick chilled unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 1/2 grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 green onions, thinly sliced (note: sometimes I brown a little chopped 1015 or other sweet onion with my apple bacon in addition to the green onion - just drain well on paper towels and pat the grease out of both the bacon and onion)
7- 10 slices apple smoked bacon
4 oz ham finely chopped (optional)
2 jalapenos, finely chopped (you can seed them if you want, I seed one but not both)
1 cup to 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 410
I use my hands for most everything but if you have a mixer and would rather do it that way, have at it.
Mix first four ingredients in large bowl.
Add butter and work with hands/fingers (or pastry blender or mixer) until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add all other ingredients EXCEPT for milk and mix just until evenly distributed
Make a well with the mixture and add one cup buttermilk, quickly and lightly mixing JUST until it sticks together. If the dough is too dry and won't hold together, add the remaining buttermilk one tablespoon at a time until dough can be formed into a ball.  DO NOT OVER WORK THE DOUGH, handle it as little as possible to ensure a light, not heavy, scone.

Flatten dough on floured surface to an 1/2" thick circle, using your hands or a rolling pin.
Cut into 8 pieces as you would a pizza. At this point, you can use an egg wash by whisking an egg and 2 tablespoons of water and lightly brush each wedge.  It makes a prettier scone, but it's not necessary.
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet  and bake for 20 minutes until bottom of scones are light brown and tops have browned slightly.

These may be just a tiny bit resistant to come off of the cookie sheet because the melted cheese likes to stick.  But with any spatula, you'll be able to remove completely.

Oh my, I just took a batch out of the oven and have taken that first, unbelievable bite. Mmmmm.
You just HAVE to try these!  And honestly, you want to eat scones the day you make 'em.  The next day, well, you might find them not so . . . uppity.

Suggested listening: "Breakfast Time" by Lightnin' Hopkins

(This is the first time I've used my Canon Power Shot to take original photos. I'm learning more about photographing food each day. I'm sooo excited but have a LOT to learn.)


Britt said... ganna try this one tonite ty tina

Tavern on the Concho said...

Tina - You and your family will love them. Let me know how they turn out. As you can see, the method is just like making biscuits!