Toward the end of a community board meeting, a woman was invited to the podium to describe her recent trip to Japan. She’d gone on a cultural exchange, and though the board members were slouched and glancing at watches, she began: “It was beautiful.” Slouched in my own chair I thought, yes, beautiful. Now on to the bridges and temples and orange fish. “It was really beautiful,” she said. Yes, I’d heard that. “It was.” This went on, starting with “Everything was so nice…” and ending with “…a wonderful experience.” She was a lovely person who’d clearly enjoyed her trip, but what had we learned? That Japan was beautiful, and nice, and she had a wonderful time.
Writing experts would say she was telling, not showing. Why was it nice? Did her Kyoto hosts present her with a yellow origami-wrapped book while crossing a carved red bridge at dawn? Because that would be nice. She of the generalized journey might have benefited from an old-fashioned slide show because something – if not someone – must bring a story to life.
Most of the food I share here on Simmer comes with a story. But what if there is no story? If I make something new with no taste of history, I find myself like our details-challenged traveler, vaguely at the surface, story-less, but glad that with little to tell I am, at least, oh-so-grateful to show.
I made up a scone for Fall Fest. It’s a beautiful scone. Made of scone dough.
Everything in the filling was so nice.
Making scones. A wonderful time.
They are nice. Nice delicious scones. So they are nice, and delicious, and also good. A wonderful experience.
(I can also tell you the golden tops break at first bite, sending tender crumbs to your lap. They are savory, earthy and salty, with a scallion edge and mellow streaks of dill. They’ll share the plate with smoked salmon and eggs for breakfast and thick seafood soups at night. I nibbled a crusty, cheese-baked corner and thought they’re good, okay, maybe needs something, and twenty minutes later I’d eaten three. Scones, not bites.)
So. Now we know about showing and telling and it appears, at least where food blogging and community trip reports are concerned, that showing is best. Now, off with you to make these scones. I hear they’re quite nice.
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 oz. spinach, washed, trimmed and chopped (about 2 cups chopped)
5 green onion stalks, chopped
4 large sprigs of fresh dill, chopped
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
6 oz. cold butter, cubed (12 tablespoons)
4 large eggs
1 cup half and half (light cream)
extra half and half, for tops
extra sea salt, for sprinkling
make spanakopita filling:
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped green onions and saute, stirring, until onions are softened and slightly browned. Stir in spinach and saute with onions until spinach wilts, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Set a strainer over a bowl. Scrape spinach mixture into strainer, and press on spinach to drain as much liquid as possible.
When spinach mixture is drained and slightly cooled, place in medium bowl. Add chopped dill, feta cheese, sea salt and white pepper, and stir together until chunky, but thoroughly combined. Set filling aside.
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, sugar and grated Parmesan in large mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl.
Cut in butter. You can do this one of two ways:
Electric stand mixer With the flour mixture in the stand mixer bowl and the paddle blade attached, turn on the slowest speed and slowly add butter chunks, mixing to a coarse meal texture, with only a few remaining large flour-butter crumbs.
By hand Using a sharp-bladed pastry cutter tool, or two knives, “cut” the butter pieces into the flour mixture until you have a coarse meal texture.
In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and half and half.
Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients by hand or with stand mixer on low, using “on-off” mixing. Stop just before mixture comes together. Add cooled Spanakopita Filling, then continue mixing briefly to form a soft and sticky dough. Scrape dough onto lightly floured surface and turn over a few times to combine, adding flour if necessary.
Form scones Pat dough 3/4 – 1″ thick and use tall cookie or biscuit cutters to form round or triangle shapes, large or small. As you cut and remove scones, gently push remaining dough together (do not knead or press dough again) to cut new scones. Alternatively, you may divide dough in half, form each half into a 3/4 – 1″ thick round, and cut equal wedges.
Transfer scones to parchment-lined sheet pans.
If desired, lightly brush tops of scones with half and half, then sprinkle each with a dash of sea salt. Bake 15-18 minutes, or until set and tops are golden brown. Cool briefly on baking sheet, then transfer to rack.
Approximately 12-16 large scones, 24-32 smaller scones. Serve warm or at room temperature. Scones are best served the same day.
For more on mixing and forming scones, see Scone, Scone on the Range.
Summer Fest is now Fall Fest, an ongoing celebration of good food and great ideas from food and garden bloggers around the globe. Every week we share great recipes, stories and tips for marvelous seasonal ingredients. You can participate by visiting the guest blogs to share links or comments – and if you’re particularly inspired, contribute a post of your own. Drop by A Way to Garden for details on how join the party.
THIS WEEK’S LINKS: SPINACH
Todd and Diane at White on Rice Couple: Tuna and Spinach Bruschetta
Cate at Sweetnicks: Spinach Egg Breakfast Cups
Caron at San Diego Foodstuff: Mixed Mushroom Ragout with Herb-Polenta Cake
Alana at Eating from the Ground Up: Spicy Indian Lentil Soup with Spinach
Nicole at Pinch My Salt: Spinach and Sausage Soup
Caroline at the Wright Recipes: Spinach Rotolo, a rolled ricotta and pasta extravaganza
Alison at Food2: Spinach Artichoke Dip
Michelle at Cooking Channel: Paneer With Spinach
Kirsten at FN Dish: Everyday Spinach Dishes with Giada
Liz at Healthy Eats: Mini Spinach-Mushroom Quiche
Food Network UK: Eggs florentine, brunch of champions
Margaret at A Way to Garden: Why I plant spinach late, and other tasty tidbits