Monthly Archives: May 2012

Blueberry-Basil Scones

As much as I would love to cook for my blog full-time, I have to go to work each day, often work long hours, and many times eat lunch at my desk. I used to be able to skip breakfast but I just can’t do that anymore so I do my best to eat something healthy. I have to muster up every ounce of self-control not to run to the Dunkin’ Donuts for egg and cheese on a fattening bagel. I rarely bring in cereal because I don’t want to have to worry about running out to buy milk and I think it’s a pain to bring in egg whites to cook in the microwave. Despite the fact that my office building provides a two-story cafeteria for employees with stunning views of Philadelphia, I rarely go up there because I don’t trust myself to get something healthy with all of the other buttery, cheesy options available (I could eat the walnut-raisin cream cheese by the spoonful!). Generally, I grab a packet of oatmeal from home but every once in a while, I love to make muffins or scones to store in the freezer which are easy to grab as I’m running out the door.

Blueberries are ridiculously delicious right now so I keep buying packages of them each time I’m at the store or produce market. Wanting something a little more interesting than plain old blueberry scones, I decided to use up the last of some of my basil and make Blueberry-Basil Scones. It may sound like an odd combination but they are both fresh, vibrant flavors that just so happen to complement one another. These scones also have a bit of lemon zest as well, adding to the brightness of these scones. Eat these toasted with a little bit of butter or jam or just eat them plain and enjoy how the blueberries pop so perfectly in every bite.

Blueberry-Basil Scones (makes 8 scones)

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Blueberry Scones

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar or Splenda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, picked over and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
  • 1/3 cup 1% reduced-fat milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, and set aside. In a large bowl, combines flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into the flour mixture until incorporated. Stir in blueberries, basil and lemon zest. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together milk, vanilla and eggs. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture. Carefully combine the mixture with a fork just until dough comes together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and carefully knead a few times (do not overknead). Shape dough into an 8-inch circle and place on the baking sheet. Cut dough into 8 wedges, cutting into, but not through, the dough. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer scones to wire racks to cool. Optional: Brush 2 teaspoons of additional milk over surface of dough and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of additional sugar before baking.

The ingredients:

In a large bowl, combines flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into the flour mixture until incorporated.

Stir in blueberries, basil and lemon zest.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together milk, vanilla and eggs. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture. Carefully combine the mixture with a fork just until dough comes together.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and carefully knead a few times (do not overknead). Shape dough into an 8-inch circle and place on the baking sheet. Cut dough into 8 wedges, cutting into, but not through, the dough.

Bake until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer scones to wire racks to cool.

Tortellini Caprese Bites with Basil Vinaigrette

I could probably revolve my entire blog on different caprese recipes.  I could happily eat tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil at any time in just about any way possible.  Does anyone else feel this way?  Most people seem to like tomatoes and mozzarella together so when I went to my friend’s house for a cookout and pool party this past weekend, I decided to bring Tortellini Caprese Bites with Basil Vinaigrette

Simple cheese tortellini is cooked and cooled, skewered with grape tomatoes and mozzarella balls and bathed in a vinaigrette of basil, olive oil and white balsamic vinegar.  Never had white balsamic vinegar?  Neither had I.   In fact, I didn’t even know it existed.  I’m now in love with it.  This little appetizer was a big hit and there was nary a skewer left at the end of the hot, sunny day.  I used refrigerated whole-wheat cheese tortellini (only because the store was out of regular cheese tortellini) but I believe any flavor would be delicious (such as cheese & prosciutto or cheese & spinach).  This simple vinaigrette is a good one to remember for vegetables, salads or pasta as well.  Consider taking these vibrant and visually appealing appetizers to your next get-together.  They are sure to be a hit.

If you like this, also check out Cherry Tomato Bites.

The ingredients:

Prepare tortellini according to package directions and cool under cold water.  Cut grape tomatoes in half and drain mozzarella balls from the water it comes in.  On each skewer, thread 1 tomato half, 1 mozzarella cheese ball, another tomato half, and 1 tortellini.  Place the skewers in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

In a small bowl, whisk vinegar and salt until blended.  Slowly pour the olive oil into the vinegar, whisking constantly until well combined.  

Stir in basil and freshly ground pepper.

Pour Basil Vinaigrette over skewers, turning to coat.  Cover and chill 2 hours. 

Transfer skewers to a serving platter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Source:  Southern Living Magazine

Peach Lemonade

Yes, I know it is soooooooo super-easy to keep a container of Crystal Light or Country Time in your cabinet, put a scoop in a pitcher with some water and pour yourself a glass of lemonade in a few short minutes.  But let’s be honest, lemonade mix doesn’t hold a candle to an ice-cold lemonade made from freshly squeezed lemons, does it?  This homemade lemonade, Peach Lemonade, might take a little longer than lemonade from a mix but it’s so much better.  And on a nice spring day, fresh peaches and freshly squeezed lemonade are a perfect little marriage.

Peaches are simmered in water with sugar, blended, and strained, leaving a perfectly sweet, peachy syrup.  Fresh lemon juice is added and voilà!  Peach Lemonade!  The peach flavor is subtle in this thirst-quenching drink which would be perfect on a warm summer day or spiked with a little vodka or rum.  Afterall, when life gives you peaches and lemons, make peach lemonade.  Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

The ingredients:

Bring water, sugar, and chopped peaches to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes.

Place peach mixture in a blender and let stand for 20 minutes, allowing mixture to cool slightly.  Remove center piece of blender lid and place a clean towel over the opening.  Blend until smooth and pour into a large bowl.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. 

Press peach mixture through a sieve over a bowl, reserving liquid; discard solids.    

Stir in lemon juice.

Serve over ice and garnish with a peach wedge.

Additons:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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