Tag Archives: leek

Leek and Rosemary Scones

26 Feb

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From my house, you can walk to a place to get seasonal handmade pie, two places to get Japanese noodles, a place that makes their own coconut milk to mix into delicious curries, and a place that makes cecina (also called farinata, cecina is a crepe-like flatbread made of chickpea flour) in an enormous wood-fired oven. This summer, there will also be a place to get delicious French pastries and a place to get small batch ice cream. What there will not be, and what there is not now, is a place to get a scone.

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Perhaps due to the proliferation of coffee places that serve the type of scones that are more closely related to a slice of cake or a doughnut, there isn’t a lot of represented variety in the scone world. Most scones encountered these days are sugary, glaze-covered, or chocolate-studded, and while I certainly have no problem with a good selection of sweets being offered, it would be nice to come across the occasional savory scone. Logic leads me to believe that, this being America, the biscuit is most likely the main culprit in the obsolescence of the savory scone, but, me being me, that doesn’t mean I am going to rest easy with that knowledge.

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So, if you are like me, and you are interested in delving a bit deeper into the world of the non-sugary scone, might I suggest you give this delightful leek and rosemary version a try? Flaky and buttery, it’s a welcome addition to a cup of coffee or tea, and it plays very well with the warm and cozy attributes of a bowl of soup. Come to think of it, these scones, so very savory and toothsome, go great with a big, crunchy salad as well, lending a balance of heartiness to the crisp lightness of a big plate of greens. Oh, greens! You could split one of these in half and pile it high with sautéed greens—chard, collard greens, kale, what have you—making yourself a sort of hybrid sandwich that goes a long way towards making a case for the presence of the savory scone. I could keep going with this case for scones, but I think I’ve made good headway so far. How long before a shop offering savory scones pops up near my house? I have no idea. But, so long as my kitchen and I keep up the pace, I don’t anticipate we’ll be needing the services of such a shop.

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Last Year: Marinated Goat Cheese and Savory Olive Oil and Walnut Sables–these go great together!

Another Savory Scone: Cheddar, Apple, and Poppy Seed Scones 

Leek and Rosemary Scones

4 medium leeks, white parts only

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

2 sticks (1 cup) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 ½ cups buttermilk or soured milk

Rinse leeks thoroughly, then slice in half lengthwise. Slice each half into thin half moons. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add leeks, then sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the leeks begin to soften. Reduce heat to low, cover leeks, and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the leeks from sticking to the pan. When the leeks are touched with crisp brown edges, uncover the pan, stir for a minute or so over low heat to allow the leeks to crisp up a bit more, then remove leeks to a plate to cool.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, rosemary, and lemon zest. Whisk to combine. Add the cold butter chunks and, using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few large pea-sized butter bits strewn throughout. Using a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula, carefully stir in the buttermilk until the dough appears quite shaggy and just begins to hold together. Fold in the cooled leeks.

Turned the dough out onto a floured surface. Carefully pat the dough into a long rectangle about 18 inches long and roughly 1 ½-inches thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 triangles.

Place the dough triangles on the prepared baking sheet. You might need to partake in a bit of creative arranging in order to make all 12 triangles fit on the baking sheet. Bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops of the scones have turned dark golden brown. Remove scones to a wire rack to cool slightly, then serve while still warm.

Makes 12 scones.

Cod and Leek Chowder

9 Jan

Last year, my son took up an interest in soup.  It was a sudden conversion, as previously, the mere mention of soup would instill a look of panic in my son’s eyes as he shook his head and whispered, “I don’t like it.”  Mention to him that he had not yet eaten soup before, ever, in his entire life, and the battle would come to a standstill.  In fact, my son would just leave the room at that point, leaving whoever was trying to foist soup upon him (most likely me) alone and slightly bewildered.

But then, for reasons that remain a mystery, my son requested that we make chicken soup.  Repeated queries followed, designed to make sure that what he thought was soup was, in fact, actually soup (he was four at the time, so one never knows), and then one day, armed with a chicken and a copy of Joy of Cooking, my husband and son made some chicken soup.  And then the doors opened, soup flowing every which way.  My son became obsessed with chicken soup.  When you asked him what he wanted for dinner, he would yell enthusiastically, “CHICKEN SOUP!”  When he got excited about something, he would inexplicably jump up and down and say, “Chicken soup!”  If he made his stuffed animals talk to one another, the conversion would go something like this, “Uh, do you like chicken soup?”  “Chicken soup!”  “Yay!  Chicken soup!”

So, yeah.  It got a little weird.  I don’t know if it was because of the Great Chicken Soup Situation of 2011, but after a few months of hearing about chicken soup all day every day, I sort of started to loathe soup.  Much like the well thought out entries on Lake Superior State University’s List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse, and General Uselessness the word soup had entered a place far out of my favor.

Leave it to the cold of winter, however, to give a person a change of heart.  Deeply entrenched in the soggy, dark months of the season, it soon became clear that soup was once again going to have to make an appearance on our table.  Steaming hot, slowly simmered, and studded with chunks of flaky fish and soft potatoes, this chowder was a welcome return to the world of soup.  It no doubt helped that I made this soup with cod, my son’s favorite fish, but after my son’s first few bites, he looked at me and said, mouth full of potato, “Mama, this is delicious.”  This is, I suppose, the difference between age four and age five.  Where four gives you a loud and manic parade that pops up without warning at every hour of the day, five gives you a mellow nod of recognition, like Farmer Hoggett praising Babe with perfectly toned affirmation.

Cod and Leek Chowder

I am not a big believer in adding copious amounts of cream and butter to all chowders.  Most of the time, I think the heaviness of the cream masks the taste of everything else in the soup, muddling what should be an otherwise nice experience.  This chowder, while plenty hearty, errs on the side of light when it comes to excessive fat.  Don’t stone me, but I don’t even use real bacon when I make it—I use turkey bacon, and it tastes wonderful, smoky, and delicious.

1 piece of bacon, finely chopped (pork or turkey are both fine)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 large celery sticks, peeled of any tough strings and coarsely chopped

1 large leek, green part removed and white part chopped in a ¼-inch dice

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into ½-inch cubes

2 quarts water

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper

2 cups milk

¼ cup heavy cream

1 pound cod fillets, chopped into 1-inch chunks

In a large stock pot or soup pot, sauté the chopped bacon over medium low heat until it is crisp.  Remove from pot and reserve to the side.  Add the butter to the pot, and allow to melt.  Add carrots, celery, leek, and potato to melted butter, and stir to evenly coat all the vegetables.  Add the crisped bacon back into the pot and stir to combine.  Cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer vegetables for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

After 20 minutes, add water, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste.  Increase heat to medium high, bringing the mixture to a boil.  Stir the ingredients, reduce heat to low, then cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently.

After 1 hour, add milk and cream and stir to combine.  Add the fish and stir to combine. Over very low heat, making sure the mixture does not come to a boil, cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the fish has been gently cooked through.  Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper as needed.

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