April is the Time for Strawberry Barley Scones with that Tea!

April is the Time for Strawberry Barley Scones with that Tea!

Greetings, Friends! As some of you know, I have been taking time off travelling and tending to a joyously expanding family. Yes, I’m now a proud grandmother. But I’m back in Princeton, it’s a lovely spring, and it is time to reopen the doors of Ezekiel’s Table cooking class/dinner parties for you and your family, friends and colleagues! It is my personal mission to get people to cook more, to cook more for one another, and to cook with one another. I consider it the basis of our living with deeper connection. It happens at every one of my cooking class dinner parties, where friends and colleagues work together in fresh ways, and are always so pleased by what they create together. But every kitchen offers the same opportunity to have this kind of fun, and it doesn’t need to start with a big ol’ fancy meal. As Quakers say, ‘If you want to do anything meaningful, start small. If you’re doing the right thing from the right place it will bloom.’ Spring is a Time for Tea! —Uncommon Bread Fellows Series #3 During my time away, I found myself thinking and reading more about tea gatherings, their history and their increasing relevance today. We live in a fast-paced world, with little time to cook a fine meal for ourselves let alone for our friends; and restaurant meals can be a burdensome investment of time and money. Tea gatherings and coffee dates however, can be a refreshingly low obligation event, and so we go to the coffee house. An invitation to Small World or Starbucks is a no-brainer for last-minute invites, for...

Strawberry Barley Scones

Strawberry Barley Scones From Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. My technique in arranging the dough is a little different from hers. Ingredients: 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons barley flour 1 cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup dark brown sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoons baking soda 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt Wet Mix: 4 oz cold unsalted butter ½ cup buttermilk 1 egg Finish: ½ cup Strawberry Jam or Citrus Marmalade 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted 1 tablespoon coarse sugar Directions:  Preheat oven to 350°F. ♨ Place a rack in the center of the oven. Rub a baking sheet lightly with butter. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter. ♨Cut the butter into ½-inch pieces and add them to the dry mixture. Use your hands to rub the butter between your fingers, breaking it into smaller bits. Continue rubbing until the butter is in sizes ranging from rice grains to flattened peas. The more quickly you do this, the more the butter will stay solid, which is important for the success of the recipe. ♨In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg until thoroughly combined. Scrape the buttermilk and egg into the dry mixture, and mix until barely combined. ♨Use a pastry scraper or a spatula to transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface. The dough may be too sticky to handle; if it is, dust it with flour and fold it together a few times. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Flour your hands and...
End of Summer

End of Summer

Autumn Greetings, Friends! Living in a university town makes us keenly aware of the changing seasons, especially when fall arrives. You can just feel the youthful energy of the returning students in the streets. Freshmen (looking younger every year) clump tightly together as they walk the sidewalk wide-eyed and giddy with expectation, upperclassmen run up to each other anxious to reconnect, graduate students equally bunched are wearing their excitement for new connections behind a mask of ennui which quickly melts at the pub. My husband and I love this time of year, and we make a point of strolling down Nassau Street every possible evening to drink it all in. Autumn has its way of reminding us of the passing of time as it reminds of of our own passages. It is a time that invites us to reflect on how we want to age, and how our lifestyle choices reflect our desires. Food is at the center of that as are the long strolls. Both are the building blocks of well-being, and we are reminded how much cooking at home has been so central to our home life. We often think back on the dinners we’ve enjoyed at our house and the dinners to come. As I feel the passing of time, I sense the growing desire to align my cooking habits with a care for health, and I’ll be spending some time with Dorothy Mullen’s Suppers Programs around that. Dorothy asked for my help to make healthy food interesting, delicious and easy to prepare. Like me, she understands the importance of people cooking and eating together with...
More Bread Fellows, and an announcement!

More Bread Fellows, and an announcement!

Hello, Friends! I just had a tea party here with a lovely group of women! It’s becoming a yearly event. (You know who you are…) What better thing to do when one is still thinking about bread? Tea parties are all about little flour-based snacks… crumpets, scones, little cakes, and of course… tea sandwiches! I can’t get enough of them. My current obsession for those sandwiches, and it has been for some time now, is Danish Sourdough Rye. It makes any sandwich an event, even if all I put on it is a fine cultured butter with a little salt. My favorite two toppings, however, would be either a mushroom brie or a really good cheddar. This is no ordinary bread, mind you. Full of whole grains, wonderful seeds… It can turn the sometimes frilly and antiquated tea ritual into something deep that feeds the soul. The bread takes two or three days to make, and although one can buy the flours and cracked grains, I prefer to grind the grains myself. (If you have a Kitchen-Aid mixer you can get a grinding attachment.) You’d think THREE DAYS? What a bother! But really, it’s like having a plant. It just takes a little thought each day, never much work–not even kneading! And the bread? Well, if you like the stuff with substance, it will bring tears to your eyes. And it’s perfect to have with tea. Believe me, Ladies… There’s nothing frilly about this kind of tea. Speaking of tea and tea parties, I realize that I don’t have enough of them in my life, and I think most...

Uncommon Breadfellows #1… Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches

Whenever I go to downtown Seattle, I always stop at the tiny little Crumpet Shop next to the Public Market. Of course you can get amazing crumpets there. And tea–the best tea you will find anywhere! They give you a mug to help yourself at the tea urns, “As much as you like,” they say. “And when you leave, just ask for a ‘to go’ cup and fill it throughout the day as you wander the market!” I always make my friends get a crumpet, since almost no one I know has really had a great one of those. But I go for my other tea-time favorite, Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Sandwiches on Homemade Oatmeal Bread. The sandwich is easy to make, but if you don’t have the best oatmeal bread available for it, you’d best make it yourself. (See link.) These tea sandwiches are part of a menu I’m developing for a traditional tea I’m having here in April… well, as traditional as I’m able to get anyway! Salmon and cream cheese is an old favorite. Pickles of some sort, and an herb such as dill is always a great addition. This time, I used a pickle that was left by my culinary muse and good friend Amy Brummer. She showed up at my door last week with a bowlful of home-grown kumquats and and handful of jalapeños saying, “These are just screaming to be put in a jar together!” and I watched as she turned them into citrus-y and spicy pickles. How could I know they would be the perfect little jolt for the smoked salmon??? Directions are minimal...