Playdough

My most requested recipe:

In a large bowl, combine:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup salt
4 tablespoons Cream of Tartar

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.

Combine:
water that has just boiled
2 tablespoons canola oil
a few drops of paint or food coloring (optional)

Pour the water mixture over the flour and stir vigorously with a rubber spatula.
When all the flour is incorporated, dump the mass onto a smooth surface lined with wax paper and knead it. If it is sticky, add a bit of flour. Knead until smooth and then allow to cool. When it is cool, put it into a sealed container.

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Spinach & Pasta

Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
6-10 oz. fresh spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
garlic powder
chile flakes
Parmesan, freshly grated

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.
Grate the Parmesan.
Heat a skillet; then add the olive oil.
sauté the spinach leaves until just wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
Sprinkle the spinach with seasonings.
Serve with Parmesan on the side.

Barley Soup

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, minced
3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 pound beef, diced
1 cup barley
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
2 tablespoons Better than Bouillon vegetable base
6 cups water

Saute the onion, carrot and celery in olive oil.
When the onion is transparent, add the cubed beef and brown it.
Add the barley and stir. The add the seasonings and bouillon base.
Add the water, bring to a boil.
Simmer for 90 minutes or until the barley is soft.

Apricot Cream Scones

In Lei Shishak’s Beach House Brunch, Lei shares a lovely collection of recipes including one for “Apricot Scones,” which I used as a template for this recipe.

After baking her scones, I made another batch with these changes:

I reduced the dried apricots from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup.
I increased the amount of flour.
I replaced the butter and half-and-half with cream.
Because of the increased liquid, I increased the baking time to 24 minutes.
I also kept things simple and rustic and omitted the half-and-half glaze and added sugar.
I did not use an electric mixer–just a rubber spatula.

I highly recommend Lei’s cookbook, available here
Lei Shishak’s Beach House Brunch

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy baking my version of her scones! I also hope you enjoy using the cream instead of butter. It makes the scones that much simpler to mix up, and there is less to wash up as well. I first started replacing butter with cream when I lived in Vermont. As a college student at Middlebury College, I worked part-time on a hobby farm. The family I worked for had a cow who produced a prodigious amount of cream, which we skimmed off her milk to use in baking.

Ingredient for Apricot Cream Scones
2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dried apricots, finely diced
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon orange zest

1 and 1/2 cups cream
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

In a large bowl, mix flour, apricots, sugar, baking powder, ginger and zest.

Add cream and stir it in with a rubber spatula.

Knead briefly on a floured surface.

Roll or pat into a log about 3 x 16 inches.

Cut into 8 rectangles.

Arrange on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 375’F for 24 minutes.

Ginger, Pear & Blue Cheese Salad

For the salad:
6 leaves red leaf lettuce, torn into small pieces
1 cup blueberries
1 bosc pear, peeled and sliced into 7-8 wedges
1 handful walnuts, crumbled
3 mini-bell peppers sliced into ringlets
2-3 tablespoons Danish blue cheese crumbled

For the dressing:
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

This serves two. We ate it with tomato soup, toast, and maple yogurt for dessert. It was a very satisfying dinner.

Pain Bagnat

This is a great dinner in the summer when you want to avoid heating up the entire house.

Serves 3.

First, make the vinaigrette.

You will need:

1 lemon, juiced
a splash of red wine vinegar
1 red “boiling” onion, minced
several tablespoons of olive oil
a pinch each of garlic powder, herbes de Provence, salt & pepper
a tablespoon of feta cheese

Then, in a salad bowl, layer:

lettuce leaves
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 English cucumber, peeled and sliced thin (you may need only half)
lettuce leaves

In separate bowls, serve:

1 can tuna with olive oil (drained)
3 hardboiled eggs, chopped
additional feta

Serve with rolls.