Archive for the ‘Breakfast and Brunch’ Category

Anna and Caity’s Chocolate-Chip Scones

Friday, April 13th, 2012
Caity (left) and Anna

Stu Cosby is one of the most warm-hearted people I know. He loves being a father. He has two terrific kids of his own who have now grown up and made him a proud grandfather. When he married sweet Cathy a few years ago he happily acquired stepchildren.

At the time of their mother’s marriage to Stu, Caity and Anna were small, but they are now growing into lovely young ladies. (The photo above was taken at their confirmation in March.)

The two can be a little shy—but once they get to know you they show their smart and loving nature. They are also EXTREMELY tactful: when Anna sent me the confirmation photo she gently labeled it so that I would know which of the twins was which. (I’m learning; really, I am!)

One thing I know for sure is that these girls are getting to be great cooks. I salivated when I saw a photo of the scones on Facebook so Anna kindly sent me the recipe. I had never actually made chocolate-chip scones because, frankly, they are not precisely the sort of thing one needs. A scone has plenty of sugar and fat without chocolate.

Nevertheless, the mini-chocolate chips in this recipe don’t overwhelm the scones or their eater’s waistline. And Anna and Caity inform me that if one wishes to be truly virtuous one can substitute raisins or currants. I didn’t. I DID cut a couple of smaller scones, however, so that I could try the things with less guilt!

Caity and Anna’s scones looked a little nicer than mine. I couldn’t find my pastry brush so my egg wash got a little messy. And cutting dough has never been my specialty. My scones tasted just fine, however.

The Scones

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar, plus additional sugar for topping off (I used sprinkles for the latter.)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter (cold), cut into small pieces
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla (I added this)
1 egg yolk for glaze (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400. Grease a cookie sheet or line it with a silicone mat.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With knives or a pastry blender cut in the butter. Stir in the chocolate chips.

In a small bowl or measuring cup whisk together the sour cream, whole egg, and vanilla. Using a fork, stir this mixture into the dry ingredients until large clumps of dough form. Do not over mix.

Use your hands to press the dough into a rough ball. (This is a little tricky, but as you press the dough will come together!)

Place the dough on a lightly floured cutting board. Pat it into a 7- or 8-inch circle (about 3/4 inch thick). If you wish to use the egg wash, beat the egg yolk briefly and then paint it onto the circle with a pastry brush. Top with additional sugar for crunch.

Use a serrated knife to cut the circle of dough into 8 triangles. Place them on the cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. If they seem too crowded, use a second cookie sheet.

Bake the scones until they are golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool them for 5 minutes before removing them from the cookie sheet. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 scones.

A Family Affair: Davenport Maple Farm

Friday, March 2nd, 2012
This photo was taken three years ago, but the ambiance hasn’t changed much! (Courtesy of Davenport Maple Farm)

March is Massachusetts Maple Month, and an annual pilgrimage for many syrup lovers is now underway. Nothing beats a visit to a sugarhouse restaurant at this time of year to watch sap being boiled and consume food made with fresh, hot syrup.

At Davenport Maple Farm, high on Tower Road in Shelburne, Norman Davenport and his wife Lisa are boiling sap furiously in their evaporator and greeting crowds at their restaurant, which is open only on weekends during maple season. The farm has been in the Davenport family for generations.

“We’re actually approaching our centennial,” Lisa Davenport told me recently. “Norman’s great grandfather Walter Davenport purchased the farm in 1913. There was always sugaring going on here prior to that. And they’ve always had cows here.”

She noted that the restaurant, which opened in 1990, was the brainchild of her husband’s father. At that point the family’s old sugarhouse was in need of substantial repairs, and Russell Davenport and his wife Martha decided to expand it into to a restaurant.

Two decades later the senior Davenports can still be found at the restaurant during maple season. Russ Davenport helps Norman run the evaporator and chats with customers, and Martha Davenport runs the cash register. Lisa and Norm’s daughter Maegan runs the kitchen while daughter Daina serves as head waitress.

“Norm’s sister Barbara Goodchild comes up and helps, too. It’s really a family affair,” said Lisa. “I supervise everybody. I do all the ordering and the payroll, I go out and do the shopping, and I fill in for somebody when they stop working.”

She admitted that while she enjoys maple season she can also find the family’s restaurant weekends intense.

“It’s a short season, six weeks long, but you’ve got a couple of weeks beforehand when you’re getting ready for it. There are some all-nighters. If the sap’s really running, you’ve got to keep boiling.”

She observed that she sometimes sets her cell phone to wake her up in the morning only to hear it ring in her pocket at the end of a long night at the evaporator.

“And we still have the cows to milk and regular chores to do,” she added. “It’s a long schedule, but it’s fun. You’re right in the middle of it all the time.”

Most visitors to the restaurant order breakfast, which is served all day, although the Davenports also offer lunch items. These include hamburgers made from their own beef, corn chowder, maple baked beans, and grilled cheese.

Asked to sum up the farm’s cuisine, Lisa Davenport thought for a minute. “Good home cooking. We don’t use any mixes; it’s all made from scratch. I bake all the bread.”

At home the Davenports use maple syrup in a variety of dishes. “My kids didn’t like spaghetti sauce or the tomato sauces,” Lisa told me. “They’d just have buttered pasta with maple syrup drizzled over it.” I am NOT telling my nephew Michael about this practice!

She also tops her tuna-noodle casserole with maple syrup and crackers. And she recommends a drop or two of syrup on scrambled eggs.

I’m not sure I’m ready for the tuna casserole or even the eggs. Nevertheless, I did enjoy making and eating the Finnish pancakes that are the restaurant’s most popular breakfast offering.

The recipe below served four of my family members, although Lisa explained that she doubles it for four. Portions are generous at Davenport’s!

The pancake tastes a bit like a rich custard as it doesn’t use a lot of flour.

Davenport Farm Finnish Pancakes

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 cups fresh milk
4 large eggs
2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Melt the butter and place it in an 8-by-8-inch pan or a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Mix the milk and the eggs lightly with a beater; then add the sugar, the salt, and the flour. Pour the mixed batter over the melted butter and bake for 20 to 23 minutes.

Serves 4.

Photo by Michael Weisblat, who helped eat!

Mystery Apple Pancakes

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

The sleepy child can barely manage to pour syrup on his pancakes.

In my continuing celebration of apple season I decided yesterday to try putting apples into pancakes. My nephew Michael was sleepy when he got up for school but endorsed the idea as well as a drowsy child could. 

Michael’s mother Leigh had to go run an errand as I was preparing to throw the pancakes together. I found most of the ingredients in her kitchen, but the flour was a mystery. I had NO IDEA what Leigh had in her flour bin.
 
It looked like plain old flour—but Leigh has been known to use white whole wheat flour and even gluten-free flour in her cooking. The child was stirring in his bed so I decided to take a chance and use whatever it was.
 
When Leigh returned home she informed me that I had in fact made the pancakes with King Arthur Flour’s gluten-free multi-purpose flour blend. This blend worked like a charm. I’m a little fussy about consistency, and I had nothing to fuss about here.
 
Young Michael—and everyone else—pronounced the apple pancakes a roaring success. He even finished the meal looking much more perky than he does in the photo above.
 
The Pancakes
 
Ingredients:
 
1 cup gluten-free flour (or the flour of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 medium apple, finely chopped
butter as needed for heating
 
Instructions:
 
Using a whisk combine the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and sugar.
 
In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and melted butter.
 
Gently stir the wet ingreidents into the apple mixture. Do not overmix. Stir in the apple pieces.
 
Heat a frying pan or skillet to medium heat (375 on an electric skillet), and melt a small amount of butter into it.
 
Dollop a generous serving spoon of batter onto the pan for each pancake. Do not crowd the cakes in your pan.
 
Turn the pancakes after a minute or two, when they are nice and bubbly on the surface and easy to lift. Add a bit more butter as needed to prevent sticking. Remove and serve with butter and warm maple syrup. 

Makes about 12 pancakes.

Easier Than Pie Apple Fritters

Friday, November 5th, 2010

 
The first weekend in November in our corner of western Massachusetts is reserved for Cider Days, our annual celebration of the end of the apple harvest.
 
Events are scheduled all over Franklin County this year. They will include a special tribute to the late Terry Maloney of West County Cider, who started this festival in 1994 with his wife and business partner Judith.
 
Local food lovers should plan on attending some of the events on Saturday and Sunday, which include orchard tours, cider-based meals, and (my personal favorite) a cider salon.
 
I am lining up some cider and apple recipes for the West County Independent. They will doubtless find their way onto these pages eventually.
 
Meanwhile, here is a preview to get you in the mood.
 
These apple fritters are the brainchild of Sheila Velazquez of Pen and Plow Farm in Hawley, Massachusetts.
 
The recipe couldn’t be simpler. If you slice the apples quite thin and make sure the batter is spread throughout the apple pieces, you get a lovely combination of sweet and tart, crispy and slightly soft. The fritters can be used as an accompaniment for pork or stew—or as a simple dessert or breakfast treat.
 
Sheila says she omits the sugar and uses this same recipe for corn and zucchini fritters. I can’t wait until next summer to try those. The apple version is absolutely addictive.
 
Sheila’s Apple Fritters
 
Ingredients:
 
1 cup flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar (I actually couldn’t find confectioner’s sugar and used regular sugar, which worked just fine!)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional–Tinky’s addition!)
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
2 cups thinly sliced apples (try for a relatively crispy apple; I used galas)
canola or vegetable oil as needed for frying
 
Instructions:
 
In a bowl whisk together the flour, the baking powder, the salt, the sugar, and the cinnamon (if you are using it; I loved it). In a smaller bowl whisk together the milk and egg.
 
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stir just until they are blended. If your batter is a little too wet, add a tiny bit of flour; if it’s dry, add a small amount of milk.
 
Toss in the apples, trying to coat them lightly but thoroughly.
 
Cover the bottom of a nonstick frying pan with oil and heat it until the oil shimmers. Pop in a few apple pieces at a time and reduce the heat so that the fritters won’t cook too quickly. Fry the apple fritters on one side; then the other.
 
Keep the fritters in a warm oven until their relatives are ready to serve. Or just dole them out to those waiting eagerly at the table as they are ready. 

Serves 4 to 6.

Corn Waffles

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

cornboy2web

 
Today is Shrove Tuesday, a.k.a. Mardi Gras, a.k.a. Pancake Tuesday.
 
Pancakes are a traditional food on the day before Ash Wednesday since they contain several substances Christians traditionally gave up for Lent—milk, eggs, and butter.
 
My family has rechristened the day Waffle Tuesday so that we can eat our newest breakfast creation, Corn Waffles. We first made them last week to help my nephew Michael study for a test.
 
Michael lives in Virginia. Recently in school he has been studying Virginia’s past—specifically, the state’s part in the Revolutionary War.
 
The other day we were quizzing him on material he had been asked to learn.
 
He did a great job mimicking John Paul Jones and declaring, “I have not yet begun to fight.”
 
He knew where Thomas Jefferson lived even though we have yet to visit Monticello. (I hope we’ll get there in the spring!)
 
For some reason, however, he had trouble remembering details about the Battle of Yorktown—specifically, the name of the British General who surrendered at Yorktown to George Washington, Lord Cornwallis.
 
In order to make Cornwallis’s name more memorable we started calling him Lord Corn Waffles.
 
Soon we decided to reinforce the lesson by allowing Michael to taste the general’s namesake.
 
The rest, as they say, is history……
 
cornwafflesweb
 
Corn Waffles
 
Ingredients:
 
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) sweet butter
1-1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons sugar
 
Instructions:
 
Melt the butter and set it aside to cool slightly while you assemble the other ingredients.
 
In a medium bowl use a whisk to combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking soda.
 
In a larger bowl combine the buttermilk, milk, and egg yolks. Stir in the dry ingredients.
 
In a clean bowl beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Beat in the sugar. Gently fold the sugared egg whites into the milk combination.
 
Cover the batter and place it in the refrigerator overnight. (You may just let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes, but your waffles will be fluffier if the batter can stand overnight, and the cornmeal will be better blended.)
 
The next morning take the batter out of the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
 
Brush your waffle iron with butter and preheat it. Cook the waffles as needed (usually 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your waffle iron).
 
Serves 4 to 6.
 
 
The Surrender of Cornwallis by John Trumbull (Architect of the Capitol)

The Surrender of Cornwallis by John Trumbull (Photo Credit: Architect of the Capitol)

 

If you enjoyed this post, please consider taking out an email subscription to my blog. Just click on the link below!

Subscribe to In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens by Email.