Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Autumnal Days

Yesterday was a glorious day--60's, clear, blue sky, the smell of leaves mingling with smoke---so I ditched my errands and daytripped in New Paltz instead. Packed up the baby and we strolled around, hitting the playground and town, ending up on Huguenot Street playing with pinecones and puddles while the sun got soft and low and everything had that fuzzy, warm look to it. Made my heart swell. Autumn fills me with the sweet melancholy that brings back memories from my first candy apple at a school fair in Cold Spring Harbor, to traipsing through crispy leaves on Mechanic Street, and all the way to lazing about with an upturned coat collar through the Shawangunks as a scruffy college student. Sweet fall.

When I got home, I had to think fast on my feet. A big container of stock in the fridge made my decision and what I ended up with was chicken and dumpling soup with leeks and parsley. The dumplings were gnocchi size and I will admit, could have been fluffier. But, I was in a rush. They were taken from a recent purchase: The Dumpling Cookbook, page 31, Hungarian Csipetke. How can you go wrong with a dumpling, even if it could be a little more tender?

After baby's bedtime, I made the Stayman Winesap jelly that I had prepared for all day. How did I prepare for it? Just chopped up four huge apples, skin and all, heated them with water and mashed them up. Then let them drain their juice while I was galavanting about. I am in love with apple pectin. This time I was patient and it yielded a soft, almost clear, jelly. Still, it doesn't have a strong apple-y flavor, which is interesting, but makes for all sorts of possibilities.

This morning was gray and quiet, so I threw together these golden raisin and fennel scones and they are unbelievably good for three tablespoons of butter and soymilk. The recipe is based on The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book for Old Fashioned Scones.

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp butter
1 cup plus two tbsp milk
1/2 cup raisins
tsp fennel seeds

I processed the powders and butter. Then mixed the milk, raisins and fennel in a bowl. Baked at 375 for fifteen minutes.

I used vanilla sugar and vanilla soymilk, so mine were super vanilla-y, which was delicious. I suggest adding lemon zest. I loooove fennel and golden raisins. I've made this a bunch of time varying everything from the flour to the milk, so have fun with it. It's so easy. You could have hot scones for breakfast!

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