Pumpkin and Ginger Scones - New York Times Recipes for Health

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pumpkin & Ginger Scones
Pumpkin and Ginger Scones
New York Times Recipes for Health

Howdy! It's definitely pumpkin season. And what goes best with pumpkin? Of course, my favorite flavor: Ginger!

Pumpkin & Ginger Scones
This is an easy recipe from the New York Times. And get this - it's a RECIPES FOR HEALTH! Whoo hoo. Using whole-wheat flour, buttermilk and only a 1/2 stick of butter (I've made scones with a stick of butter and a cup of cream), these are lower in fat. The pumpkin puree is great for adding flavor with no fat. Each scone is only 143 calories & 4 grams of fat.

You can make them in a food processor or by hand. I made them before work one day - they baked while I took a quick shower.

Pumpkin & Ginger Scones
The recipe calls for candied ginger. Sometimes, that is a term used interchangeably with crystallized ginger, so I'm not sure if this is what the author wanted. I've seen candied ginger that was poached in syrup and not as dry as the crystallized ginger with a coarse sugar. Anyway, I used crystallized ginger and it was great.

Pumpkin & Ginger Scones
The recipe yields 12 scones. I made two small rounds and cut each into 6 scones. Um, there are 11 on this tray because I had to eat one for quality control purposes. :)

Pumpkin & Ginger Scones
My friend Agnes made a cute Halloween pillowcase...perfect to bring along trick or treating! Thanks Agnes! What are you going to be for Halloween?

Pumpkin & Ginger Scones
Healthier whole wheat pumpkin scones. Go for it!

Recipe: Pumpkin & Ginger Scones
Recipe adapted from New York Times Pumpkin and Ginger Scone by Martha Rose Shulman, Nov 22, 2010

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour (I used Trader Joe's)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped candied ginger (I used Trader Joe's Crystallized Ginger)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
2. Whisk together the flours, salt, ginger, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl.
3. I made my scones by hand and used my fingers to cut the butter into the flour - until it resembled very coarse cornmeal. You can also pulse the butter and flour mixture in a food processor several times until it's the consistency of coarse cornmeal
4. Beat together the pumpkin purée, buttermilk and maple syrup in a small bowl. If making these by hand, add liquid mixture and crystallized ginger to the flour & butter mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon or fork until it barely comes together - don't overmix. If making these in a food processor, add liquid & crystallized ginger to the bowl and pulse just until the dough comes together.
5. Scrape dough and all the little flour bits onto a lightly floured surface, and gently shape into a rectangle or round about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes. I made two equal rounds and cut into 6 pieces each. Place on the baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned bottom and top. Cool on a rack. Enjoy!
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Cream Scones with Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cream Scones with Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits

You know when someone starts using email for the first time and writes everything in ALL CAPS, and you have to politely tell them that is the equivalent of screaming at their grandchild? (Happens all the time in the library)

Well, let me just tell you... MAKE THESE SCONES.

Cream Scones with Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits
These are fantastic. The scone is a great base for all sorts of goodies. Currants, mini chocolate chips, or, in my case, milk chocolate toffee bits. The scone is tender, light and a perfect treat.

I really love you Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits. Seriously love you.

Cream Scones Collage
You can pretty much make these scones in your sleep. That's why I love scones. I throw them together, pop them in the oven, jump in the shower and am rewarded with piping hot deliciousness before 6 am. Win.

I make my scones square because it is easier to shape and cut (and they look better when you are making small scones). You can also form them into a circle and cut into wedges - another very pretty thing. I hardly ever cut them with cookie cutter rounds because then you need to gather up the scraps and shape them again (too much effort and the scrap-made ones are always a bit lesser than the first round scones).

Anyway, however you shape them, make them. By the way, I also brushed some cream on top and topped with raw sugar.

I usually make my scones all by hand (with a pastry cutter), but I used a food processor to cut in the butter...and man, does it make it fast and easy!

Cream Scones with Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits
My co-worker IM'd me:  Hi Mary. I bet you could sell those scones for $100 dollars a piece. They are that delicious.

Cream Scones with Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits
Cream Scones with Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (Dream Cream Scones) who adapted from America's Test Kitchen Cookbook (they used dried cranberries and currants in their recipe)

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits
1 cup heavy cream (I use Trader Joe's heavy cream - it's not ultra-pasteurized)

1 or 2 Tablespoons of cream
Raw sugar or sanding sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. You can cut the butter into the flour by hand or in a food processor. By Hand: Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl and whisk together to blend. Food Processor: Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into food processor (steel blade) and pulse a few times to combine the ingredients.
3. By Hand: Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, your fingers or knives until you have small pieces of butter in the mix. Food Processor: Place butter on top of flour mixture in food processor, and pulse in one second intervals, about 10 times until the butter is cut into small bits. Don't overpulse...you want texture. Transfer to a large bowl.
4. Stir in the the toffee bits into the flour mixture.
5. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds. It won't all come together and that's okay...you will knead it for a bit in a second.
5. Transfer dough to lightly floured countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds.
6. Form dough into a square about 3/4 inch thick and cut into 16 or 25 scones. Or you can form into a round and cut into wedges.
7. With a pastry brush, brush each scone with some heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar in the raw or sanding sugar.
8. Place scones onto a baking sheet lined with parchment (for easier clean up, but if you don't have parchment, it can be ungreased) and bake in the oven until the bottoms are golden and the tops light brown, about 12-15 minutes, depending on size of the scones and your oven. Remove from oven and cool on rack.
9. Best eaten the day (or morning) they are made.
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Rising Tohoku Fair - Mitsuwa Food Fair

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mitsuwa Marketplace Rising Tohoku Fair Oct 2013
Rising Tohoku Fair - Mitsuwa Food Fair

This weekend (10/17-10/20/2013), Mitsuwa Marketplace is holding the Rising Tohoku Fair. It's been a couple year since the Tokohu earthquake struck the Northern Japan region. At this fair, foods of the region were highlighted.

My friend Jun's family is from Sendai (you might remember Jun & David from the Wedding Dessert Bar and Zunda Mochi) so we met up at Mitsuwa in Torrance this morning. Their cute son came along for some noodles, rice and ice cream!

At each food fair, Mitsuwa brings in a chef from Japan to make their specialty ramen. This time, they brought someone from Sendai to make his "Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen" (tonkotsu based soup with fish & vegetables) ($9.90 for regular, $10.90 for spicy). The noodles were delicious and the broth really flavorful!

Mitsuwa Marketplace Rising Tohoku Fair Oct 2013
Omusubi Gonbei had a booth with all sorts of yummy rice balls. I got an ume (pickled plum) one...loved it. They were huge too. Off to the side, you can see workers shaping rice balls with their hands over and over again. ($1.80 each)

They also have little car plush toys of musubi with an ume inside. Kawaii.

Mitsuwa Marketplace Rising Tohoku Fair Oct 2013
After having a sample of kaki (persimmon) drink from the Yamagata region, I picked up 4 cans ($2.50 each). Dude, it's persimmons!!!

They also have lots of special foods from the region including apple drinks.

Mitsuwa Marketplace Rising Tohoku Fair Oct 2013
They are selling sweet and savory crepes and soft serve ice cream too. I loved the special - soft serve with mochi balls and zunda (sweeted edamame paste - a specialty of the Sendai region) ($3.50)

Little S is getting sooooo big! He's a cutie, isn't he?! Great seeing you J and D!

Rising Tohoku Fair at Mitsuwa Marketplace
This weekend - til 10/20/2013 in Torrance and Costa Mesa
Next week (10/24-10/27) in San Jose, Chicago, New Jersey

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I went, I paid for food, I ate, and watched a cute kid eat too.
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Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I saw these Pumpkin Bars on Kitchen Runway's blog and knew they would be a perfect into to autumn foods. This recipe is super easy - it's like a Texas Sheet Cake (one of my favorite treats to make) but with Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Frosting.

Be sure to read Kitchen Runway's post...you'll see who got a little bite of the cake! :)

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Baked in a half-sheet pan, it cooks quickly. You'll need to cool the cake before frosting (unlike the Texas Sheet Cake that has a warm frosting poured over a warm cake).

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
The resulting cake is soft and light. You can eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And why wouldn't you do that? ;)

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
It's Fall. It's also Time for Dodger Baseball! I'm here shouting: GO DODGERS!

The Dodgers always hold a special place in my heart, since they've been my hometown team forever. It's an exciting time for the team, especially after the years of terrible Frank McCourt ownership. Go Dodgers!

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
I love my offset spatula. It's a must-have in the kitchen. I have a bunch of them (bought a few at the restaurant supply place for the kid's cake decorating party), and use them all the time.

For today's meeting, it's "Go @Dodgers Pumpkin Cake w Cream Cheese Frosting"
Updated: I also made this in a 9 x 13 pan. You'll get a taller cake, and baking time is about 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Kitchen Runway who adapted Paula Deen's recipe.
I reduced the amount of sugar and used a pumpkin pie spice blend instead of cinnamon and nutmeg.

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar
1 cup (200 grams by weight) canola oil
15 ounces pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (I used Trader Joe's Pumpkin Pie Spice that has cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves and cardamon)
1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour or spray with Pam with Flour a half-sheet tray (18" x 13")
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, pumpkin pie puree, and vanilla.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder & soda, spices and salt.
4. Slowly add the flour mixture into the pumpkin. Stir to combine until completely blended.
5. Pour into tray and spread evenly in pan.
6. Bake for 20 minutes until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
7. Place on wire rack and let cool.

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2 cups (6 ounces) sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Using a mixer with paddle attachment or an electric mixture, blend the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
2. Gradually add the powdered sugar.
3. Add the vanilla. Blend until complete mixed.
4. Using an offset spatula, spread frosting over cooled cake.
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Happy 46th Anniversary Mom & Dad!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mom & Dad
Happy 46th Anniversary Mom & Dad!

Happy 70th BDay Mom! with my dad who turns 81 this month! #marchbdays #folks

Love you, Mary

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Oatmeal Jam Bars - Williams-Sonoma

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Oatmeal Jam Bars
Oatmeal Jam Bars

It's Chuck Williams of Williams-Sonoma's 98th Birthday today!! See this handsome photo from the W-S blog. Seems fitting to post a recipe I found on the Williams-Sonoma website. I find lots of good recipes on the site. Happy Birthday Mr. Williams - I love your stores!

Oatmeal Cherry Jam Bars
Oatmeal Cherry Jam Bars
Bonne Maman jams were on sale at Fresh & Easy recently for $2.99. What a great deal! I wonder what will become of Tesco's expensive failure in the United States marketplace. I hope the new owner will keep them open as they are convenient stores around town, but my dream is that Fresh & Easy gets married to Trader Joe's.

I like that F&E has name brands, unlike Trader Joe's - dude, sometimes you need to buy Diet Coke for that dinner party and Hansen's soda just ain't gonna cut it (also, as noted above, they have Bonne Maman jam). Unfortunately, F&E's store brands are inferior to Trader Joe's...TJs has excellent buyers who get such unique goods and/or convince name brands to sell under TJs store brands. Sometimes, I like the self-check out at F&E when you have less than 5 items, but it drives me crazy that no one helps when you buy $70 of stuff, and it made me really appreciate TJs efficient cashiers. I like that Fresh & Easy opened stores in more impoverished areas of Los Angeles (where there are not many grocery stores), but I didn't get their decision to stock all the stores with the same products - regardless of the neighborhood demographic. I shopped at the Compton store once and an employee asked me what the Crème fraîche and Brie were - how much of that were they selling in that store? But I did enjoy their in-store "heating up bakery" - they have ovens in the back where they bake frozen par-baked breads and then package for sale (what is that system called? it's very effective in making the place smell good and convincing you to get more carbs in your cart).

Oh, sorry. I digress.

Anyway, the Cherry Preserves is delicious. They are from France, purchased in a formerly English-owned shop in Los Angeles by a Japanese-American gal. Win.

Oatmeal Jam Bars
This recipe is crazy easy. You only need a bowl and a food processor. Just measure out the dry ingredients, pop into the food processor with some butter and then you have both the TOP and BOTTOM. Love recipes like that! Open a jar of jam for the center deliciousness. It really couldn't be easier.

Oatmeal Cherry Jam Bars
Of course, you can use most jams. The original recipe calls for Apricot or "other seedless jam"...but I don't see a reason to avoid seeded jams.

Oatmeal Cherry Jam Bars
Baked in a 9-inch square pan, you can get from 20-36 bars, depending on how small you cut them.

Oatmeal Cherry Jam Bars
As I said on my Instagram photo:  It's Fruit and Fiber....and butter and more butter.

Oatmeal Jam Bars

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma website of Oatmeal-Jam Squares, who adapted from Food Made Fast Series, Desserts, by Elinor Klivans (Oxmoor House, 2007)

12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup apricot or other seedless fruit jam (I used one whole jar of Bonne Mamam jam, Cherry Preserves.)

1. Prep a 9-inch square baking pan by lining it with parchment paper or aluminum foil to create a sling for easy removal. Butter or spray the lining.

2. Preheat oven to 325°F.

3. In a food processor, combine the flour, oats, powdered sugar, brown sugar & cinnamon. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the mixture forms fine crumbs.

4. Remove 2 cups of the flour mixture and set aside. Place rest of mixture in the pan and press it down to form the bottom crust.

5. Spread the jam over the crust. An offset spatula works great for this task. Squeeze the reserved mixture in your hands to form small clumps and sprinkle evenly over the jam.

6. Bake until the edges are lightly browned and the jam filling is just beginning to bubble, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

7. Lift the bars from the pan by pulling the parchment or foil sling. Cut squares on a cutting board and enjoy.
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Cidney the Girl Dog - What breed am I?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cidney with her Clifford Toy
Cidney the Girl Dog

Cidney the Girl Dog has graced the blog on several occasions (okay, all the time, but she's so cute!) and I'm constantly asked, "What breed is she?" by strangers on our strolls. With her flowing blond hair and sweet face, she's very approachable and always wants a pat on the head.

Cidney was adopted from the County of Los Angeles Animal Shelter and my cousin was sooo lucky to find a perfect match. She was about one years old when she was adopted and will be four-ish in October of this year.

Okay, Dog People. Please help me and my cousin out. What do you think she is...we know there is a a combo of many breeds - definitely part golden retriever...but what else? Her mix is what makes her a sweetie!

Some things you might want to know:

We know she is part Farrah Fawsett. Dude, look at all that hair that seems to be everywhere in the house. Unbelievable how much hair she has. I need to brush her with a plastic bag in one hand to collect all the hair that comes off. She has these feathers off her legs that are totally pretty when brushed out.

Cidney the Girl Dog - Christmas
She often gets a pedi-pedi to tame some of the feet hair. It gets trimmed so that she doesn't drag in as much dirt.

Cidney Christmas Collage 2012
Her temperament is amazing. She hardly barks. Really. Months will go by before I hear a bark out of her. If she is with other dogs though, she will join in the barking. If there is another dog on the walk, she'll make a excited whimpering noise, but not bark. And she let's us dress her up. Enough said...totally mellow.

Cidney the Girl Dog at the Beach 2013
You know those Navy SEAL dogs or agility doggies that are way, way AP test 5 scoring smart? Um, Cidney is more sweet than rocket scientist. Sometimes, she has a hard time realizing that when she goes on the other side of a pole when on a leash, we'll get stuck. Once, we were jogging on the beach and she went on the other side of the parking meter (she was behind me) and then we just whip-lashed ourselves when the leash wrapped around the pole. Of course, a paramedic truck was sitting there and the hot first responders saw the whole thing and laughed as we untangled ourselves. Sigh.

I think there should be a caption with what she's thinking. #dog #beach #latergram
She's not food motivated. We used to have a big box of dog bones in an open box on the floor and she wouldn't bother it. She just loves, loves, loves walks. It's her favorite thing in the whole wide world. My instagram is filled with photos of us at the beach or on walks.

You can make fun of LA, but it is seriously the best place on earth. #mydayinla

Cidney the Dog AKA Conehead

Cidney and her Laundry
She has to be part retriever because she loves to carry toys in her mouth. All the time. And she has a bunch of them.

So, your thoughts would be fun to hear. What breeds do you think are within Cidney?

(by the way, we aren't going to do the DNA testing. Cidney's vet doesn't even believe it as she got back very different results at two different labs...besides that money is better spend on more toys and food! :) THANKS for the help! - mary
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