Friday, September 2, 2011
Bigger than my head
What you see above is not a distended watermelon; it is a pumpkin. It is the pumpkin that was bigger than my head. We conquered that pumpkin. It was actually a lot easier than it would seem. Pumpkins are surprisingly soft on the inside. How we came to acquire said gourd is no mystery either. The kitchen has suppliers. Sometimes they supply us with pumpkins bigger than my head. We made soup with it. The type of soup that goes over couscous. It's a good soup, made with summer squash, chickpeas, onions, cilantro and turmeric. But that soup is not the subject of this post.
There are a few other things in my life right now that feel bigger than my head and one of them is this: in a few days time there will be a new page on Hungry Souls entitled "Food For The Eating". On that page there will be a menu and some rules (no kicking, no biting, etc). The baked goods on that menu, which will include muffins, cookies, cakes and tarts will be for sale. The menu will change with the seasons, but the basic outline will remain (there will always be muffins).
I've been planning this for a while. After all, the point of my work in the kitchen is to prepare me for the world of culinary businessdom. And yet, (things one probably shouldn't admit in public), I don't feel at all prepared. It feels entirely bigger than my head; more than I can chew; water up to my neck. So this morning, after having spent most of my week ensconced in front of my computer working on an urgent translating project (deadlines!), I went into my kitchen and made Kim Boyce's Strawberry Barley Scones. I bruised butter into soft flour. I felt the smoothness of the rich dough between my hands. I moved slowly. I ate two scones with my coffee, hot and buttery, directly from the oven. I remembered why I love this and why I want to do this. So here it is, Hungry Souls' other page, Food For The Eating. Let me feed you.
Strawberry Barley Scones lightly adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
Here's the thing about Kim Boyce's wonderful book. Sometimes it is a pain in the butt, because sometimes you get it into your head that you really, really need to make Chocolate Chocolate Cookies, but you don't have any spelt flour in the house and you don't feel like dragging yourself all the way to the shuk to get some. Sometimes, you realize you have no idea what kamut flour is, nor have you ever seen teff flour despite the large Ethiopian population in Israel. Usually, in situations like that, I just say screw it, and make the recipe with whatever I have on hand. But not with Kim Boyce's recipes. When she says use barley flour, I use barley flour. It just so happened that I had barley flour in the house since I have been playing around with barley-mango muffins, so I was able to make these scones. If you find yourself in a similar situation, that is to say with barley flour in the house, please do make these. They are spectacular.
One more thing (ok, two more things)- I find that Boyce's recipes often have too much salt. This may have to do with Israeli coarse salt versus American coarse salt. It just seems saltier. I've left the salt as written, but if you're in Israel you may want to cut it down significantly. The second thing is that though these are Barley Strawberry Scones, I didn't use strawberry jam. But that's really neither here nor there.
1 cup plus 2 tbl barley flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
4 oz (1 stick, 113.4 grams) cold, unsalted butter
1/2 cup buttermilk or yogurt
1/2 cup Strawberry Jam (or any other jam that suits your fancy)
1 tbl butter, melted
1 tbl sugar
1. Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350. Rub a baking sheet with butter. Sift together dry ingredients
2. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces and add them to the dry mixture, rubbing the butter between your fingers until it is in small bits (somewhere between grains of rice and small peas). Do this quickly so the butter doesn't soften too much
3. Whisk together the buttermilk/yogurt and egg and pour into dry mixture. Mix until barely combined.
4. Turn the dough onto a well floured surface, and fold it together a few times. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. With floured hands, pat each piece into a disk about 3/4 inch thick and 7 inches in diameter.
5. Cover one disk with jam and top with the other disk. Press down lightly. Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 wedges and carefully place them on the baking sheet.
6. Bake the scones for 22-26 minutes.
7. Eat warm with coffee (or tea, if that's your thing).