This gluten-free fruit scone is my husband’s all-time favorite scone, beating out any scone I used to make with gluten-based flours. You can use just about any fruit you like that will work in a baked recipe, such as berries, stone fruits or tree fruits, and the scone itself is tender and full of flavor. It works beautifully with either almond or tigernut flour, the choice depending on if you can eat nut-based flours like almond flour or need a nut-free option like tigernut flour, which is actually a tuber and not a nut, despite the confusing name.
I’ll keep this short and sweet as many of us will be gathering to celebrate Easter this weekend, and the point is to have something easy but amazing to serve at brunch or breakfast. Predictably, it’s another favorite scone recipe from Kim Boyce’s Good To The Grain, and I’ve adapted it as a tender and rustic grain-free version.
At long last I return to this small space on the world wide web. It’s been a nice break, and I needed it to find my balance after radically changing how I eat as a result of following the autoimmune paleo protocol. With the experience of three very different food jobs in three very different kitchens behind me, I’ve also realized that I like working best at a slow and meditative pace, alone, in the relative quiet of home. Of course there is the clanking of pans, the stirring of whisks, the sliding of drawers, and on and on, but it’s orchestrated by me and is a kind of music to the ears, a background to occasional moments of inspiration. Our dog, Hiro, keeps watch while perched on the couch where he can see me, when he’s not sleeping, as I’m working in the kitchen. He is not a fan of the music I make.
I’ve started baking again, experimenting with grain-free flours such as cassava, butternut squash, and arrowroot, among others, as well as more natural sugars like coconut, maple, and honey. These scones are the result of many half-batches of tweaking this and then that, and then trying something even more challenging by making them AIP-compliant, with an amazing result on the first try. Sometimes inspiration strikes, but not without laying a lot of groundwork.
When things get heavy, it’s good to lighten up and change the regular rhythm of daily life a bit. It’s Spring, after all, or at least it’s trying to be, putting forth its best effort to shed the layers of winter and show itself off. I’m all for that, because it’s something like a make-over, of the earth as it were, and I love makeovers.
Lately, for variety’s sake, I’ve been trying a simple homemade sunflower seed butter in my smoothies. For whatever reason, for me the sunflower seed butter tends to have a certain aftertaste I don’t like, making it a less favorable choice than the almond or cashew butter I also make at home. I don’t remember where I came across the suggestion to combine the flavors of chocolate and sunflower seeds, but when I did I filed it away for an opportune moment to experiment. Certainly, mixing chocolate with nut butters is fairly common, such as chocolate and hazelnut, or chocolate and peanut butter, but somehow I didn’t think it would work with sunflower seeds too. As it turns out, chocolate works very well; with a few other complementary ingredients, it nicely rounds out that pesky aftertaste, and then some.
The more food I make at home, the more I try to simplify or streamline the process. This means making the most of a few ingredients and yet still getting as much flavor as possible. Roasting is an easy way to intensify flavor in just about everything, and is a standard method in our kitchen for cooking chicken and vegetables. It’s also a great approach to cooking fruit, and the technique I use to make this pear and lavender butter. For the roasting temperature, I took Mark Bittman’s advice in How To Cook Everything Vegetarian, and then lengthened the time suggested to an hour to get a nice caramelization on the pears. The extra fifteen minutes was literally the golden ticket to flavor for the pears, creating a deep gold in the puréed butter.
Often on our walks, Hiro and I pass by a large fig tree in a neighbor’s backyard that overhangs the high brick wall facing the sidewalk on which we travel. I first noticed the tree when the weather began to turn warmer and the branches became full with the familiar round-lobed leaves. The fig tree’s leaves and fruit look just like our smaller potted fig trees at home; even though this tree is much taller and fuller, the figs are very much the same size. This year our two fig trees have produced some of the plumpest figs I’ve seen from them in the nearly six years we’ve taken care of them, and those figs are the inspiration for this sweet jam.
Peaches are in season here in Texas, and I’m on a bit of a cardamom binge, so this slightly exotic-tasting smoothie is the result of those two circumstances. Anytime I add cardamom to something, it tastes a little exotic to me, but that’s probably because I grew up in a home where cinnamon was about as flashy as it got when it came to spices. With a medjool date added to sweeten, this smoothie becomes even more extravagant; a tablespoon of roasted cashew butter brings it all back down to earth. If you love peaches so much that you’d move to the country to eat a lot of peaches, then this is the smoothie for you.
Green is good. You’ve heard it here before. It’s a food mantra for me, and on my blog this year I’m trying to share at least one recipe a month with lots of greens in it. Although there is no shortage of different opinions on what really is healthy to eat, most everyone agrees that getting some form of greens in your daily diet is good.
As I continue to learn more about eating well, it’s become important to me to support local producers of food. Lately I’ve been buying raw goat’s milk from a local farm along with eggs and chicken. Buying from an organic farm also means I get whole food that is minimally processed, free from unnecessary chemicals and fresher than most of what I might buy at a typical grocery store. Since we planted a garden this past spring, our backyard is now also a (very small scale) local producer of food. The flavor of freshly picked zucchini, green bell peppers, cantaloupe and herbs is richer, deeper, and wonderfully fragrant. It’s also no small amount of work, and gives me a small glimpse of just how hard a farmer works to provide food of quality to the consumer. It’s a night and day job where you are dependent on the soil and weather and have to be diligent to keep the pests or disease that inevitably appear from consuming your crop. Having a garden reminds me of how dependent we are on things that are predictable, such as rainfall, not becoming unpredictable.