Archive for the 'breakfast' Category

Maple Scones

Maple Scones 1 Maple Scones

Every once in awhile, I decide I’m only going to do things that are awesome. And I forget that even with superhuman optimism, a lot of things aren’t awesome, and you can’t forgo invoicing and homework and laundry in favour of making things or playing with new projects on the internet.

But I have stuck to my new rule of only eating baked goods that are awesome – life is too short for bad bread. Right? And although I do enjoy a good muffin/scone/cookie/cinnamon bun any time of year, there’s something about cooling weather and crunchy leaves that demands something freshly baked alongside your coffee or tea.

(Related: no kitchen yet. It’s moving at glacial speed. But I have a sink! Update soon.)

Maple Scones 3 Maple Scones

Eons ago, I got to the point where I could mix up a batch of scones from memory, knowing just how much flour/sugar/baking powder/butter/cream would yield a perfect carb vehicle for anything from berries to chocolate chunks. A scone truly is the ultimate blank canvas; if you have the basics on hand, you can wing the rest. They take tasty care of squishy fruit and cheese ends, and scraps of things that might not otherwise add up to much. And even if a rummage through the fridge results in no more than a bottle of gin and maple syrup, you can make maple scones. (Or gin scones?)

Maple Scones 2 Maple Scones

Even though maple syrup runs in the spring, it feels like fall to me. I wish I had seen Joy’s apple pie biscuits before I made these – next time I’ll envelop sugared, spiced apples in maple dough and splatter maple drizzle over them, Jackson Pollock-style. I may go do that now.

Maple Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup half & half
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

Drizzle:
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. half & half

Preheat the oven to 425F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and blend it in with a pastry blender, fork or your fingers until well combined, with lumps of butter the size of a pea remaining.

Add the half & half and maple syrup and stir just until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a parchment-lined sheet and pat into a circle an inch thick. Cut into 6-8 wedges and pull them apart on the sheet. If you like, brush them with a little extra milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Meanwhile, whisk together the icing sugar, maple syrup and cream, and drizzle it over the warm scones with a fork. Makes 6-8 scones.

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September 27 2014 | bread and breakfast | 9 Comments »

Back to Busy: Pecan & Berry Breakfast Quinoa

quinoa 1 Back to Busy: Pecan & Berry Breakfast Quinoa

Every September, I come to a screeching halt and resume eating warm oatmeal for breakfast in the morning in place of my standard summer pie/crumble/piles of granola with berries and yogurt. This year was more abrupt than usual, when we went from a sunny 25 degrees to zero overnight, with enough snow to crush nearly every tree in the city.

Early mornings in the dark combined with enough wet snow to keep us shoveling off everything beyond the front door and going from flip flops to damp, cold socks really requires some extra effort to adjust to being awake – at the very least, plenty of espresso and a bowl of something warm. (Half a foot of snow a week into school is also a free pass to get a pain au chocolat at the coffee shop, just FYI.) Oats are my usuals, although I recently discovered that quinoa can be eaten for breakfast in the same way – warm with brown sugar and raisins and milk. Its light texture and mild flavour reminds me of the cream of wheat I grew up with, only quinoa is far more nutrient-dense, with more protein and fibre. (I usually make blonde quinoa, but happened to have some red on hand.)

quinoa 2 Back to Busy: Pecan & Berry Breakfast Quinoa

I’ve heard rumours that you can cook quinoa in a rice cooker. I’ve never owned a rice cooker, nor even used one, but know owners of them, and from what I do know those who own rice cookers tend to be over-the-top enamoured with them. And so to make up for my extended lack of kitchen, I’ve allowed myself to accumulate a small army of small appliances in the dining room. Who needs a kitchen? Maybe we’ll just keep it taped off and keep doing the dishes in the bathtub forever.

steel cut oats Back to Busy: Pecan & Berry Breakfast Quinoa

With a rice cooker I can go back and forth between quinoa and steel-cut oats, which also do well in a rice cooker – combine 1 part oats to 3 parts water and turn it on – add some cinnamon, stir in some raisins, whatever your usual is. I like to chop up a tart apple and stir it in – the apple softens but doesn’t compromise the texture of the steel-cut oats, which hold their own.

For my first rice cooker experience I decided to go a little higher-end with a Cuisinart, partly because it’s BPA-free, partly because I was wooed by the insert that allows you to steam veggies, chicken or fish at the same time, and once the machine detects that all the moisture has been absorbed from your rice (or quinoa), it flips itself over to warm until you’re ready for it.

I’ll be honest – my first try didn’t go well. Not sure if I wound up with a dud.. it kept prematurely flipping itself over to warm, and when it did get going boiled violently, spewing much of the liquid out from around the lid and through the blowhole. Maybe it’s me? It can detect my indifference to rice cookers? So many have convinced me they’re worth the cupboard space though – one friend set hers out on the table at a party recently, so that friends to serve themselves rice bowls and Korean lettuce wraps – and I do love the idea of not having to tend to a pot on the stove-especially when I don’t have a stove. There are plenty of other rice cookers in the sea, so if this relationship fails, I’m moving on.

Because I do love the idea of dumping quinoa + water into it in the morning while I make coffee and starting the day feeling like I’m on top of things.

Pecan & Berry Breakfast Quinoa

2 cups water, or half milk, half water
1 cup quinoa (rinsed in a sieve if it needs it)
a shake of cinnamon
1 cup fresh raspberries, blackberries or blueberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
a drizzle of honey or maple syrup
milk or cream, for serving

Combine the milk, water, quinoa and cinnamon in the rice cooker. Cover, turn it on and let cook until it turns itself off. (Alternatively, combine the milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes.)

Transfer to bowls and top with berries and pecans. Drizzle with honey or maple syrup and serve with milk.

Serves 4.

* This post was sponsored by London Drugs to help get through the back to school crunch – and to help me pay my web hosting fees – but all words and thoughts are my own. Thanks, London Drugs!

pixel Back to Busy: Pecan & Berry Breakfast Quinoa
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September 11 2014 | breakfast | 7 Comments »

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