Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tea Party Scones

When we have a tea party, we always have these delightful scones that my sister makes! I’ve had so many requests, that I finally had to post the recipe…

The Backyard Farmwife - Tea Party Scones

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon baking soda

4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup softened butter

1 beaten egg

Stir the sour cream and baking soda together in a small bowl and set aside

The Backyard Farmwife - Tea Party Scones

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in butter.

The Backyard Farmwife - Tea Party Scones

Stir in egg and sour cream mixture.

Variations:

1 Tablespoon poppy seeds and lemon zest from 1-2 lemons

1 cup dried cranberries and orange zest from 1 orange

Add in optional ingredients.

Knead a bit on a lightly floured surface. Pat in a circle 1/2” thick. Cut with biscuit cutter or into wedges with pizza cutter (separating triangles slightly).

The Backyard Farmwife - Tea Party Scones

Bake on greased cookie sheet at 400 for 12-15 minutes, until light golden brown on bottoms.

Glaze:

If desired, make a powdered sugar glaze with milk, lemon juice or orange juice. Drizzle on top of scones when cooled.

The Backyard Farmwife - Tea Party Scones

Monday, May 28, 2012

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

My friend Kate bought me an ice cream maker at Costco this last week and I just couldn’t wait for better weather to try it out… Since I picked up some yogurt on clearance Saturday, frozen yogurt seemed like the ideal first try!

strawberry fro yo 07

2 cups vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup mashed strawberries

strawberry fro yo 02 First thing to do:

Slice and mash fresh strawberries to make 1 cup. Sprinkle with a little bit of the sugar. Stir and let sit for 1 to 2 hours.

strawberry fro yo 01

Then mix yogurt, milk and remaining sugar with electric mixer until sugar is dissolved.

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Stir in strawberries.

strawberry fro yo 2 02 Continue to prepare according to ice cream makers instructions.

strawberry fro yo 04

strawberry fro yo 05  Store in freezer in airtight container.

strawberry fro yo 06Serve and enjoy!

strawberry fro yo 07

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fancy Salts

For my birthday, my friend Kate gave me a whole bag full of fancy salts. My brain immediately thought “salted caramels” but I know I need to expand my repertoire. But that required a bit of research on the Salt Works website.

salts 01

Here’s a bit about what I learned about the salts in my birthday bag…

Alaea: has a bit of Hawaiian red clay in it. Is used for roasting or grilling meat and in traditional Hawaiian dishes like Kalua Pig and Hawaiian jerky and poke.

Salish: alderwood smoked salt used by PNW native Americans to smoke salmon and other meats

Mediterranean: harvested in the south of Italy. Has a mild flavor and bright white color.

Murray River: comes from the Murray River in Australia. This flaky pink salt gets its color from carotene, a salt tolerant algae. Best as a finishing salt.

Fumee De Sel: this salt is smoked with wood from Chardonnay oak wine barrels. This salt has a unique flavor that can be used in many different ways.

Cyprus Flake: light and fluffy and used to garnish fish or vegetable dishes or in baking.

salts 03

Himalayan Pink: one of the purest salts on earth mined deep in the Himalayan Mountains, this has both healing and nutritional properties. Use to rim drink glasses or rub into meats or vegetables for grilling or roasting.

salts 04 Hiwa Kai: this dark black salt gets its color from activated charcoal. Evaporated in the sun, it has numerous health benefits. For finishing, salads, meats and seafood.

salts 02

Sel Gris: also known as gray salt. This salt has a high moisture content and a gray color from the clay in the salt ponds. It is great for cooking or baking. Grind it fine to sprinkle on nuts or popcorn.

I promise to use them on more than just caramels… ;o)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

I think I have finally perfected a strawberry lemonade cupcake. I made 2 versions, but the lemon curd filled one with strawberry buttercream won, hands down!

strawberry lemon cupcakes 02

The first thing you must do is buy, or make, a batch of lemon curd. I would highly recommend making one. Here is my recipe for lemon curd: Click HERE.

lemon curd 05

Then make this super moist, tart and delicious lemon cake. Recipe HERE. It’s a little more work and takes a few more ingredients than just a boxed lemon cake mix, but I think it is worth it!

lemon cake 01

Oh, but don’t forget to make them into cupcakes… This is a cupcake recipe! ;o)

After the cupcakes have baked and cooled, you’ll need to fill them.

I use a apple corer to remove the centers from the cupcakes. Just be careful not to go all the way through the bottoms!

Fill a plastic zipper bag with lemon curd, clip off the corner of the bag and squeeze some of the curd into each cupcake.

strawberry lemon cupcakes 03Now to make the strawberry buttercream frosting…

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

2-3 cups of sifted powdered sugar

1/3 cup strawberry jam

First beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add about 2 cups of the sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in strawberry jam. You may need to add more sugar to make the frosting the right consistency depending on how thick or thin your jam is. You may also want to add more if you want it for piping or less for spreading.

strawberry lemon cupcakes 01

Carefully spread frosting on top of filled cupcakes.

strawberry lemon cupcakes 02  these cupcakes are on the right and left of the plate

Store cupcakes in airtight container in fridge. They are so good cold! Even more like a glass of strawberry lemonade… :o)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

La Tea Da

I didn’t think I would ever become a tea snob. I like my cup of Celestial Seasoning tea just fine. Besides I like reading all those sweet little quotes on the box.

But then we went to the tea store at the mall… then I discovered good tea! I mean, really good tea. Every tin of tea he opened smelled heavenly! It was so hard to not buy a bit of every one of them! That is, until I saw the price tags. ;o)  But we did splurge and bring home a few different bags of tea.

tea bags 01

I do enjoy a lovely cup of tea but my favorite part is all the things I learned about the world of tea that I never knew before.

tea 01

Since I am so excited about my newfound knowledge, I thought I would share some of it with you:

White tea: This is the least fermented of the teas and has only 1% of the caffeine of coffee. It helps with detoxification, hydration, as well as a healthy skin and complexion.

Green tea: The next most fermented tea with 5-10% of the caffeine of coffee. It boosts the immune system and helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Oolong tea: With 10-15% the caffeine of coffee, this is almost the most fermented of the teas. Aids in weight loss, metabolism, and digestion. Also promotes healthy skin and teeth.

Black tea: This is the most fermented of the teas. It has an energy boosting 20% of the caffeine of coffee and is good for the heart and cardiovascular system.

For the first time in about 15 years, I can drink black tea again. Since my youngest son was born, caffeine has not done nice things to me. Even better news… you can decaffeinate any cup of tea by simply only drinking the second brewing! All the caffeine comes out in the first brewing of the tea. This was especially good news since we bought a couple of Mate teas….

Mate tea: This tea has all the caffeine of a cup of coffee without all the acids and oils. As an added bonus it is also a source of vitamins and minerals. People say the 2nd or 3rd steeping is even better than the first!

For the days when my stomach isn’t at it’s best, we also picked up a few rooibos and herbal blends.

Rooibos: These teas have no caffeine and promote digestion and can even help with upset stomachs.

tea 02

The best sweetener for tea??? Raw cane sugar makes it sweet, and enhances the flavor without changing it.

tea 03Now that you’ve learned so much about tea, you should heat some water and relax and enjoy a cup!