Delicious Sweet-or-Savory Scones

My first CSA box had a bag of frozen strawberries that had already thawed by the time I got home. I had to use those strawberries fast. Since thawed strawberries naturally seep out a lot of juice, they were perfect for a sauce, but (for once) I wasn’t in the mood for cake. This last weekend was chilly, dark, and rainy, so I wanted a warm treat for breakfast–and I had a guest to serve. So Mary and I made scones.

I made a rather basic scone recipe from Nigella Lawson. So basic, in fact, that it has no sugar! Fresh out of the oven, the scones were fantastic—light, airy and delicious. Crumbly, like a good scone should be. We halved them and spooned some strawberries and juice onto the bottom half. A little whipped cream and it would have been an excellent version of strawberry shortcake—as it was, it was exactly the warm treat I was looking for.

I had leftover scones for the next few days. The problem with scones is that after the first few hours, they become a little soft or soggy feeling. My solution to this was to pop them in the toaster over at 350° for a few minutes. The tops darkened slightly, but they were the perfect texture once again.
I also tried them with a savory topping with a dinner salad. I took the warm-from-the-toaster-oven scone, cut it in half, and added a slice of cheese and some roasted red peppers to the middle. It was just as good as the sweet version—the scone can be a great substitute for biscuits.
Sweet-or-Savory Scones
Adapted from “Lily’s Scones” in Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess*
  • 3 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cut in small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons shortening, in small lumps
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Shift dry ingredients together. Use a pastry blender to blend in butter and shortening until the mixture is even and crumbly. Add all the milk, and mix until just blended. Lay on floured surface and knead briefly–it will seem like a sticky mess.
The original recipe call for rolling out the dough and using a round cutter. I simply rolled it to a 1 in. thick rectangle and cut it into 12 equally-sized pieces.
Place scones on baking sheet–they can be close together–and bake for 20 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Serve warm or reheated.
* Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks! So many good recipes, with a focus on baked goods and other comfort foods. And her language is casual and food-passionate. She’s English, so I’ll admit there’s a recipe or two that I haven’t loved, but there’s at least a half dozen recipes in each of her books (and I own several) that’s in permanent rotation in my family.

Cooking from a CSA box, Part 1: Joining a CSA

A few months ago, I took a leap of faith and signed up for a CSA (that’s Community Sponsored Agriculture) option that was delivering to my office. Every week from late April to mid-November a bushel of vegetables will be dropped off at our headquarters cafeteria, filled to the brim with fresh-off-the-farm organic vegetables.
Why was it a leap of faith? After all, fresh organic vegetables are awesome, aren’t they?

I’ve looked into CSAs a few times and decided not to sign up for a few reasons:

1) A bushel of vegetables a week is a lot of vegetables! I hate wasting food, and I worry about my refrigerator being filled with rotten produce.
2) Members don’t have any say in what arrives in their box. So if it’s 3 lbs. of turnips or another vegetable I’m not too fond of, I’m out of luck.
3) Some of them are quite pricey, and don’t work with my food budget.
4) Trying to remember to drive over to the drop-off location, and arranging my schedule to make that happen seems very inconvenient.

The CSA offered through my office eliminated a few of my worries:

1) Since I’m a vegetarian (well, pescetarian, if you want to be technical), I eat a lot of produce anyway, so this wasn’t my strongest concern. A rep from the farm came to the office and answered a lot of my questions, including the one about the amount of food. They also offered a half-share with biweekly pick-up for the summer portion of the CSA (June through October).
2) I like trying new things, especially with food. Maybe I can learn to love turnips.
3) With the half-share and a monthly payment of $75 spread over the entire year, my concerns about the price were alleviated. Since I originally researched CSAs a few years ago, the cost of groceries has gone way up. Also, the grocery store nearest my home has TERRIBLE produce. So I often find myself running to the local organic co-op last minute, and that type of grocery shopping gets quite pricey. $75 a month for the bulk of my food will cut my grocery bill by quite a bit.
4) They deliver to my office. It can’t get easier than that–I’m there anyway!

So I’m very excited to have inexpensive fresh produce coming to me at work.

I received the first box on Thursday, and I’ll admit that I was a little overwhelmed. Look at everything inside:

Left to right, top to bottom: Mustard greens, radishes, scallions, green garlic, leeks, frozen strawberries, three types of beets, a bag of mixed salad greens, celeriac, more beets, a head of parnisse, arugula, mizuna, purple mustard greens.

Plus, there were two bonuses:

Frozen strawberries and roasted red peppers.

I didn’t start cooking until Saturday morning, when Mary and I experimented with an egg dish:

Baked Omelet filled with vegetables

Easy Baked Omelet

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup flavorful grated cheese (we used Feddoste)
  • 1 bunch arugula, rinsed, thoroughly dried and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small leek, cut in half length -wise, then chopped. Rinsed.
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped roasted red peppers
  • 1 scant tablespoon butter
  • splash of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Whisk eggs and milk together. Heat butter and olive oil in a pan over medium. Add mushrooms and leeks and cook until just soft. Add arugula and stir in until barely wilted. Turn off heat and stir in red peppers. Pour vegetables into 1 qt. casserole dish and add egg mixture, salt, pepper and half the cheese, stirring to mix. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350° F for 20 minutes, or until the omelet is puffed and golden brown on top. Serves four.
Wish me luck as I try to work through the rest!