Jalapeno Cheddar Scones

Sometimes, inspiration is the best when it comes from people you love (because then they have to bake with you!) Like in the following conversation with my roomie.

Me: I do not know what to make for Café night.

RM: Scones! They are perfect for tea and coffee!

Me: OOHH! Savory scones! With Cheese!

And this, my friends, was literally the conversation that led to these marvelous, fluffy, glorious scones. I honestly don’t think the pictures do them justice. The texture is just a little bit doughy – more biscuit than scone – and the jalapeno adds a wonderful, subtle bite of spice to the scone. But the cheese by far steals the show. When they’re fresh out of the oven, the cheese is still warm and melty, and the bottom forms a lovely cheese crust in the pockets where the cheese has oozed out. AHH. It will make you swoon. These are great by themselves, with soup, or even with a little (dare I say it) blenheim apricot jam from We Love Jam! I’ve eaten them every which way imaginable, and these babies do not disappoint.

Go on, give them a try! Of note: scones are best served the day they are baked. The second and third days never taste as good. Trust me; I didn’t believe the scores of bloggers across the internet that said the same thing, and then I was left with slightly stale scones. Not Fun. I chose to flash freeze most of mine. This way, when you want one, just pop it into the toaster oven (still frozen) and bake. And voila! Freshly baked scones! Enjoy!

Jalapeno Cheddar Scones -- Inspired by Smitten Kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces) cold butter, diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs, divided
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, diced
2 small jalapeños pepper, minced (I wimped out and used only one only to find my scones entirely heat-free)

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter and sauté the jalapeños in it until soft, about two minutes. Let them cool, then place them in a small bowl with the cheddar cheese and coat them with one tablespoon of the flour. Combine the remaining flour with the baking powder and salt. Cut in the remaining butter with a pastry blender, fork or two knives, until the butter bits are pea sized.

Lightly whip two of the eggs and cream and add to the flour-butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture until it begins to come together. Add the cheddar-jalapeño mixture to the dough and mix until everything is incorporated.

Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for less than one minute. Pat dough out to a 3/4- to 1-inch thickness and either cut into 8 triangles or the shape of your choice with a biscuit cutter. Make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with a teaspoon of water. Brush the scones with egg wash and place on a parchment-lined (or well-oiled) baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.


goin' to the zoo...zoo...zoo

I mean, aquarium. Monterey Bay Aquarium, that is! That was the first part of my birthday actually. There we sampled a delicious clam chowder and oyster po'boy.

Yum! After meandering through the aquarium, we explored the surrounding area for a bit and found a piece of our childhood.

Dippin' Dots!


la bicyclette

We're still alive, I promise! This post, is long overdue, but then again, what posts of mine aren't? My birthday this past April was particularly filled with culninary goodness, and this little gem in Carmel, CA, was no exception.

Named La Bicyclette, this French restaurant was tucked away on a side street. It didn't look like much on the outside, but we (D and I) were instantly charmed by the atmosphere once we stepped inside.

It was like stepping into a little French town (not that I know what that's like). The smells of bread and other foods were incredible. The waitresses were dressed in nautical stripes and skinny black ankle pants (I suppose it's J. Crew's version of French). One such waitress apologized that our table wasn't ready and offered us some wine as we waited. D told her what he wanted--of course, I had no idea what he said, or what wine would be good, so I dumbly nodded that I wanted the same. When we finally sat, I made D take a picture of this miniature bicycle next to us.

La Bicyclette offers a prix fixe of sorts--the meal comes with a set first and second course, and you get to choose the third. They also have breads and pizzas a la carte, which seemed to be popular with the locals. A dessert menu is also available.

The first course was a lovely terrine. At first we weren't sure what it was, to be honest--some kind of paste? But it had a wonderful creamy, cheesy texture that went so well with the lightly toasted bread. Very herb-y and light.

The second course was a soup. They served it to us in a copper kettle pot, which I thought was so charming. It was a curried soup, with really deep, rich flavors. I wanted to drink it all, but I also wanted to save room for my actual entree.

For our entrees, I got the filet mignon and D got the lamb. I don't think I need to describe the wonders of beautifully cooked meat.

Afterward, D told one of the faux Parisian waitresses that it was my birthday and they gave us dessert with a candle on it! A nice gesture on their part, and a very delicious panna cotta.

It was a wonderful birthday dinner. I couldn't have asked for more.


chocolate covered orange peel

My mom really likes these. Not just oranges...but chocolate covered oranges. Everywhere we go, if she sees the chocolate covered orange peels, she'll want to buy it, except that it's supersuper expensive for some orange peels (which people throw away) and chocolate! Ridiculousness. Though I'm sure theirs tastes super delicious and yummy...but how hard can they be?

I decided to make them for my mom when she came to visit me and m. It's not hard at all, just time consuming. You have the cut the peel first, then boil it in water. Not just once, but three times!
I peeled three oranges...it was a lot...
I think this is to boil away the bitterness of the pith, if there's much left. Then create the sugar and water mixture and boil the peels in that until they are translucent. This took me around 45 minutes. Then you have to let them dry for as long as you can.
I think I could've done a better job at leaving the excess sugar off...
I dried them for 2 days. They kinda don't look right...but it was alright :]

Then dipping the peel into chocolate, what a pain. I think I'm not very good at it, or just didn't find a good way of doing it. Use good chocolate, I think it makes a difference.
But they turned out good!
Here's the recipe:

Candied Orange (Citrus) Peel
adapted from userealbutter

4 oranges, peel of (or any thick skinned orange)
3 cups sugar
1 cup water

1 cup sugar for rolling
8 oz chocolate for dipping

You can harvest the peel in many ways. Here are two I recommend: 1) Cut the oranges in half and juice them. Cut each half in half again and take a spoon to scrape the pulp out, leaving a clean pith. 2) Lop off the top and bottom of each orange (think of removing the polar caps where the stem and opposite end are) just to the fruit. Score the orange peel like lines of longitude every 60 degrees. Peel the orange and clean the inside of the peel with a spoon.

Cut peel into 1/4 inch strips. Place peels in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Heat on high until water comes to a boil. Pour off the water. Repeat twice more. Combine sugar and water in the saucepan and bring to boil over high heat until temperature reaches 230F. Add peel and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer until peels are translucent (30 minutes or longer). Remove peels from syrup and roll in sugar if desired, and set on rack to dry for 4-5 hours. Once the peel is dry, you can dip in tempered dark chocolate – shake off excess, and place on foil, wax paper, or baking sheet to dry. Store in a tupperware, or if not chocolate dipped, store in sugar or as is.


best birthday/graduation everrrrrr

Nothing needs to be said, written, or anything. Just look at it. It's beautiful.
Even the color is so perfect and nice... :] Can you tell I'm really happy?! Because I am and I'm super super lucky. Thank you m and mommy and daddy. You guys know me well.
Thanks to Jen and Peter for mixes to bake delicious goodies...
But wait?! MORE PRESENTS?!
ICE CREAM MAKER!! Thank you jwoo.

Only downside is that I feel PRESSURED to make something super amazingly dericious. WHAT TO MAKE?! Suggestions?

Anyways, I'm so lucky and blessed to have family and friends who love me. Thank you for making my graduation and my birthday (which isn't even here yet) super amazing and special!