Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lemon Cream Scones

Well, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to post that scone recipe. Especially since the entry in the guild's cookbook is wrong! This recipe is from Bon Apetit magazine, 1996, I think.

Lemon Cream Scones

2 C. flour
¼ C + 2T sugar
1T baking powder
½ t salt
¾ C chopped dried apricots (about 4 ½ oz), optional (or dried cherries or dried cranberries)
1T + 1t grated lemon zest
1 ¼ C whipping cream, not ultra-pasteurized if possible (Trader Joe's has great heavy cream)
3T unsalted butter, melted (but I do use regular butter)

Preheat oven to 425. Mix flour, ¼ C sugar, baking powder & salt in a large bowl. Stir in apricots (or other dried fruit) if using, and 1T lemon zest. Add cream and stir just until dough holds together. Form dough into a 10-inch diameter, ½” thick round; cut into 12 wedges. OR divide dough in two; form into 5” diameter, ½” thick rounds; cut into 8 wedges each. Place on a large baking sheet. Mix 2T sugar & 1t lemon peel with the back of a spoon. Brush scones with butter & sprinkle with lemon sugar. Bake 15 minutes or until golden.

Serve alone or with lemon curd & softly whipped cream, or with jam.

This was our view on Sunday morning, the last day of the Valley of the Mist first annual quilt retreat. We stayed at Vina de Lestonnac http://www.vinalestonnac.com/ in Temecula's wine country. So peaceful and beautiful. The balloons are an every-weekend thing in the area, but this was the first time I'd seen them. Pretty spectacular.

The weekend was a lot of fun, with lots of food, prizes, laughter, and of course, sewing. Every finished top was greeted with oohs and ahs and cheers. We are such an enabling group! Of course, every single one of us was inspired by the others' workmanship, choice of colors and design. Check out the pictures in my Flickr badge, on the left.

Beginning Saturday morning with a nice massage was a real treat. Thank you, Linda! You can borrow my car any old time. I finally settled on a project, after rejecting three others. It took a long time to get a block made, after sewing lots of strips together and cutting them into smaller units, over and over and over again. Then, things began to come together, not just for me, but for everyone, it seemed.

The convent food was just OK. Maybe not even that, but there was plenty of it, and the atmosphere throughout the retreat center was a welcoming one. Our Friday afternoon tea, on the other hand, was a big hit, with lots of savory and sweet treats, along with a very nice assortment of teas. My scones were a hit, and I am now the official scone baker for future retreats. Works for me -- I'm happy to have an excuse to make them.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pearl's Narrow Escape

This is our Pearl, the trouble-maker mentioned in a previous post. We banished her from our bedroom, which turned out to be a mixed blessing: Little Grace was very happy to be alone again, but Pearl was lonely and began roaming through the rest of the house -- occasionally during the day, but mostly at night. Since I've been putting Buffy in the laundry room, safely behind a locked gate, I wasn't worried about Pearl at night. Until last week. The day after we returned from Chicago. I was lying in bed, playing with Little Grace and Mama, when I heard Buffy yipping (like she does when she's excited) along with some crashing and bashing. Little Grace headed for the closet; the dogs and I headed for the door, to see Buffy hell-bent for election, tearing into the bathroom. We ALL ran into the bathroom to see Buffy, Pearl in her mouth, shaking her head furiously back and forth, slamming Pearl into the toilet with every right-hand swing. Horrifying. After much yelling and smacking, I was able to get Pearl out of Buffy's mouth, and Buffy out of the house -- along with the other dogs. A quick once-over showed no outward damage to Pearl's body, other than a lot of misplaced hair. There was poop everywhere -- Buffy had literally shaken the shit out of her -- but after a quick cleanup, I still couldn't see any damage. After closing Pearl in the bathroom for the time being, I checked the gate on the laundry room: still securely locked, but standing wide open. That dog is Houdini reincarnated, I swear. Our neighbor, the vet tech, confirmed little outward damage to Pearl, but cautioned that the one puncture wound on her hip could become infected, and that internal damage was a possibility. She also told us about Buffy attacking our Gracie, the 85# German Shepherd dog, the day before we returned home. That was it for me. Buffy confirmed for me that she was the killer of our sweet Blossom, she attacked Gracie and tried to kill Pearl. She's out. She's been living outside for the past week while DH tried to find a home for her with no other animals, but so far, no luck. So it looks like she'll be going to either a shelter or Animal Control. I won't risk any more of the pets we love to her aberrant behavior. It's odd how good a hunter Mama is, but she's able to tell pet from prey. She didn't teach her daughter to do that.
Pearl seems to be fine now, although she's very wary of all of the dogs. Mama has been very solicitous of her -- maybe she's trying to make up for Buffy's awful behavior. Mama sticks her head in the sewing room each night at bedtime to say goodnight to Pearl. Very civilized of her.