Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Scones [MMAZ]

Spring is officially here! We even had a taste of summer last week, with a few days of 80 degree temperatures. Suffice to say I am craving lighter foods, fresh fruits, and delicate flavors like lemon (Meyer lemon to be exact).

Spring colors and flavors

Spring colors and flavors

Meyer lemons are actually a cross between a lemon and an orange, resulting in darker, deeper yellow skin and aromatic, less sour juice than a typical lemon. The taste is absolutely incredible in baked goods–light and “zippy”, taking a dish to a whole new level of “yum.”

It’s been a while since I cooked with new-to-me ingredients that required research… Enter the result of this weekend’s kitchen experiment: scones made with spelt flour and coconut palm sugar, inspired by the recipe Shanna shared, via her friend Kendra, last Tuesday. Shanna’s recipe used Einkorn flour, but I could not find any at the store, so I decided to use spelt flour instead.

Meyer lemon and blueberry oat scones

Meyer lemon and blueberry oat scones

Spelt is an ancient grain with a mellow, nutty flavor, and slightly higher protein content than wheat. Though it is not gluten free (it actually has more gluten than wheat), it is easily digestible. Sarah B of My New Roots explains more:

“Spelt is an excellent source of manganese, which helps protect your cells from free radical damage, keeps your bones strong, maintains nerve health, and promotes the function of the thyroid gland. Spelt is also very high in fiber and contains a good amount of protein.” (source)

Delicious!

Delicious!

Coconut palm sugar is made by tapping the nectar from the coconut palm tree and drying the juice in a kettle drum. It condenses into an unrefined brown sugar that can be used as a 1-to-1 replacement for white or brown sugar. It has a deep caramel flavor, perfect for baked goods. You can read more information here.

one scone

Perfect for breakfast or tea time

Meyer Lemon Blueberry Oat Scones

Adapted from Shanna’s recipe

Makes 8 scones

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (make your own by blending steel-cut oats until fine)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 1 – 2 meyer lemons
  • 8 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or, in a pinch, strained regular yogurt, per above note)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • Juice of 2 – 3 Meyer Lemons
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Method

Preheat your oven to 400°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, oats, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ginger and salt. Toss the lemon zest with the dry ingredients.

Add the cubed butter to the dry ingredients. Rub or cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles small, coarse peas (using your fingers or a pastry cutter). Add yogurt and honey, and toss everything together with a fork or your hands until all of the dry ingredients are moistened.

Add the lemon juice last. Use the juice to bring the batter together, adding a little at a time until the mixture forms a nice dough that will hold together in a disc shape–not too wet or too crumbly. Gently fold in blueberries.

Form the dough into a large, flat disc on the parchment paper, pressing with your fingers as needed. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown on top. Cool for 15 minutes before cutting into 8 pieces.

Cut into wedges, like a pie

Cut into wedges, like a pie

The “base” for these scones came from Shanna and Kendra, but the blueberry-lemon combo was inspired by this week’s Meatless Monday from A – Z link-up, hosted by Heather. Although I missed the last two weeks (avocado), I hope to make it to the party more often this round!

BWV-Round2-April-Blueberry_thumb

Though I did not notice a huge difference in taste using the spelt flour (versus my usual whole wheat), I like the idea of an easier to digest and higher protein grain. Have you ever cooked with spelt flour? Please share any recipes you have tried! 

Enjoy!

-L

WIAW — A Modified Food Lover’s Cleanse

Late in December, I received an email from Bon Appetit about a New Year’s Foodie Cleanse.  I bookmarked the details, but was unable to do the “cleanse” at the time.  Lately, I have not been listening to what my body needs, and instead have made unintelligent and unhealthy food decisions.  I decided to jump-start my return to conscious eating by doing a modified Food Lover’s Cleanse.  Based on my schedule, tastes, and single status, I have edited the meal plan.

I started on Sunday, and have enjoyed it so far! For today’s WIAW Party, hosted by Jenn, I’ll be showing you my meals from the first three days of the plan.

WIAW GOES GREEN

Day 1: Sunday

Oatmeal and tea

Oatmeal and tea

Sunday morning I topped a bowl of oatmeal with half a banana, berries, and chopped walnuts.  I’m cutting back to just 1 cup of coffee while on the cleanse, so I paired my oatmeal with a cup of tea.

I indulged in my one cup of coffee for the day before heading into the grocery store.  Limiting my coffee intake makes me savor it so much more!

Kale Salad

Kale Salad

For lunch, I had a kale salad with tuna, white beans, and homemade sherry vinaigrette.

Apple-Blackberry Smoothie

Apple-Blackberry Smoothie

I had an apple-blackberry smoothie, modified to use soy yogurt instead of normal Greek yogurt, as an afternoon snack.  Yum!

Butternut Squash-Shiitake Ragout with Bulgur

Butternut Squash-Shiitake Ragout with Bulgur

Dinner the first night was delicious!  I made butternut squash-shiitake ragout and bulgur with parsley and lemon zest.  I ended the night with a dessert of fresh fruit.

Day 2: Monday

Raspberry Muesli

Raspberry Muesli

I had an early morning shift Monday, so I packed up breakfast and lunch the night before.  Breakfast was a tasty bowl of muesli, made with oats, raspberries, half an apple, soy yogurt, fresh squeezed orange juice, and walnuts.

Spinach salad

Spinach salad

Lunch was a spinach salad with lemon tahini dressing, topped with a hard boiled egg and some leftover grains.  I love the lemon tahini dressing!

Leftovers

Leftovers

For dinner, I had a bowl of leftover ragout and bulgur.  It was just as tasty the second time around.  I enjoyed another dessert of fresh fruit before hitting the hay.

Day 3: Tuesday

Smoked Salmon and Avocado

Smoked Salmon and Avocado

I normally go for sweet breakfasts, rather than savory, so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the breakfast for day 3!  Mashed avocado and smoked salmon atop rye crackers made a very tasty meal.

I snacked on a hard boiled egg before a noon ballet class.  Hard boiled eggs are another simple food that I often forget, but always enjoy!

Butter lettuce salad with ragout and radishes

Butter lettuce salad with ragout and radishes

I opted to combine the butternut squash ragout and butter lettuce salad in one big bowl, rather than serving them side by side.  Topped with sliced radishes and lemon tahini dressing, this salad was filling and full of flavor.

I “cheated” on the cleanse for dinner, and instead went out with a friend to discuss her wedding plans!  I’m thinking of this cleanse as the start to some permanent changes in my diet and lifestyle, so I am not being too rigid with the rules.  I am eating mindfully, avoiding processed carbohydrates, cutting back on sugar, and decreasing my alcohol and caffeine intake.  That sounds pretty clean to me!

Happy eating!

-C

Mocha Coconut Oatmeal

“The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.” (Source)

It’s no secret that I love oatmeal.

Mocha coconut oatmeal

Mocha coconut oatmeal

While a basic bowl is always delicious, sometimes I wake up feeling indulgent–and this bowl certainly is, with coffee AND chocolate mixed in. But an indulgent morning is about more than food.

Breakfast is served

Breakfast is served

Cooking helps me to slow down and to see the details within the everyday routine of my life. Starting my day with a bit of breakfast indulgence means more than adding chocolate to my oats, it means taking time to create a breakfast lovely enough to photograph and unique enough to make the day “special.”

Indulging in my morning means really noticing they way the soft spring sunlight streams into my apartment; feeling connected to my husband as we sit on the couch to eat breakfast and watch the Today show together; not responding to the inevitable buzz of my phone as work emails start to come in.

Coconut cream on top

Coconut cream on top

I increasingly find myself wanting to resist the “busy trap” of modern society, even as I say “yes” to too many things and inevitably overcommit myself. I need reminders that idleness is healthy, and spending time in the kitchen helps me to do just that. So oatmeal like this becomes a small way in which I am able to slow down and indulge a little, to notice the details and to enjoy my morning routine a bit more.

Digging in

Digging in

Mocha Coconut Oatmeal

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 banana, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat, from a can)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon raw cacao powder
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • top with coconut cream*, coconut flakes, and cacao nibs

*Place can of coconut milk in the freezer for 30 minutes. Skim coconut cream off the top. Pour the remaining liquid into ice cube trays and freeze for later use (in smoothies).

Method

Combine oats, banana, coffee, coconut milk, water, cacao powder, and cayenne in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir vigorously to combine. Cook about 5 minutes; transfer oats to a bowl; top with coconut cream, cacao nibs, and coconut flakes. Indulge!

Morning indulgence

Morning indulgence

How do you find small ways to slow down and indulge throughout your day?

-L

Linguine with White Beans and Tuna

I am moving away from San Francisco at the end of May, so I’ve been trying to enjoy the city as much as possible.  I have an ever-growing list of places to go and people to see!  I’ve balanced my galavanting with extra shifts at work, and while it’s been nice to be able to fund my frolics, I have no time left to take care of myself.  These days, I feel accomplished if I eat 2 homemade meals a day.

IMG_0773

I modified a recipe from Bon Appetit to make a quick and easy lunch dish earlier this week.  This pasta salad of sorts can be served warm or cold.  If serving warm, I’d suggest sauteeing yellow onion and wilting the spinach, rather than fresh red onion and greens.  I did a sort of awkward in-between version with wilted spinach and raw red onion.  You could also mix things up by using whole wheat or spinach noodles.

IMG_0771

Linguine with White Beans and Tuna

Serves 4

  • 8 ounces linguine
  • 10 ounces canned tuna packed in water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 2 cups spinach
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped

Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and rinse under cold water.

Meanwhile, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Flake tuna into the bowl.  Add spinach, pasta, beans, and onion.  Toss gently to coat.  Season lightly with additional pepper.

IMG_0768

This was a great meal to pack up and take to the studio with me.  With beans and tuna, it’s full of protein… Just what I need when I’m on the run!

I’m looking forward to a day off on Sunday.  I’m having some friends over for brunch (Tiramisu pancakes!), and then intend to spend the rest of the day in the kitchen.  I’ll get ready for another busy week by preparing some nice, healthy, home cooked food!

IMG_0770

Happy eating!

-C

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

When we started this blog almost a year ago, I wasn’t quite sure why I really wanted to try out this whole blogging thing.

I have worked to improve my food photography skills, sometimes with success, and other times, less successfully. But in the past few months I have realized that photography is not my passion.

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

Sometimes the lighting in my apartment is just right, and I love taking photos of my food. I love that I have learned to use my husband’s DSLR, and I am very proud of how far my photos have come.

But sometimes, the lighting is just blah and I am more invested in the process of cooking and sharing the food I make with others than in the process of photographing my food.

Sliced bread

Sliced bread

In the almost year we have been blogging, I have invented some delicious new recipes, but in the past few months I have realized that recipe development is not my passion.

I much prefer to be inspired by other peoples’ recipes or to just throw “a little of this and a little of that” into a dish, no measurements required. By the time Friday rolls around, I have pinned and bookmarked more recipes than I could ever tackle in one weekend, and I don’t really feel like creating something “new” of my own.

(Note: Mom got a new bunny apron this year!)

(Note: Mom got a new bunny apron this year!)

But blogging has helped me to learn more about myself and to find a way to articulate my true passion(s). It has helped me to understand why I cook, and it has awakened in me a curiosity about why other people cook.

Blogging has helped me to learn more about our food system, and to understand how my personal choices can and do have an impact on our larger food culture and food systems.

Blogging has helped me to understand that the pursuit of self knowledge and taking time out for self care make me a better person not only for those I love, but also enables me to work towards something greater than myself.

Hello gorgeous!

Hello gorgeous!

Blogging has helped my sister and I connect over food in a new way, and it has created a platform by which my family has begun to share stories about out “kitchen history.”

After losing our Grandma last August, these stories are more important than ever. They are slowing coming out—like a few weeks ago, when my Aunt Kris followed up on my post about pizza with an email telling me that Grandma used to make huge batches of pesto, with basil that the neighbors left on the porch for her (the whole plant, roots and all!), and froze it in ice cube trays to have on hand whenever it was needed.

Freshly baked

Freshly baked

All of this is to say that as life has gotten busy in the past few months, the frequency of our posts has decreased, and will likely continue to remain at 1 or 2 posts per week rather than 3 or 4. But I will continue to document and recount my kitchen adventures when I can! I assure you that I spend most weekends on my feet making one thing after another, even when I forget to take photos.

I whipped up this lovely loaf of bread last Saturday to serve on Sunday morning for Easter Brunch with the East Coast portion of my family (Casey was sorely missed). Inspired by Smitten Kitchen, I did what Deb said was not necessary, and adapted Bill Granger’s recipe for Coconut Bread. I wanted to incorporate the dried apricots that my sister’s mother-in-law brought as part of a house-warming basket for my parents, and this bread seemed the perfect use.

While I have no doubt that the original recipe was fabulous, I really love the addition of the apricots.

Served for Easter Brunch

Served for Easter Brunch

Apricot Coconut Quick Bread

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups canned coconut milk milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes 
  • 3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 

Method

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar and coconut, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Add butter, coconut, and apricots and stir until just smooth — be careful not to overmix.

Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or coat it with a nonstick spray. Spread batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in pan 10 – 15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Hope you had a happy Easter with your loved ones!

-L