Onion Scones

You might imagine scones as a food that is only served with jam and cream, but there are many variations on this classic tea cake. This flaky treat can also come in a savory scone version with add-ins like cheese and chopped bacon or sun-dried tomato & basil etc.  A scone is closer to a pastry than it is to bread mainly because it doesn’t include any yeast and has almost identical ingredients to a short crust with different fat to flour ratios.

So why not onion scones?? Because onions really form the foundation of our cooking, they are often the first thing that goes in the pan, and they are the flavor base for everything from chicken soup to a quick skillet pasta. Cooked onions give dishes a rich savory flavor and a subtle sweetness — you don’t always know onions are there once the dish has been spiced and sauced, but you’d definitely miss them if they weren’t.

Scone ingredients prefer to be cold. All your starting components need to be kept as cool as possible – this will help to guarantee the soft, light and well-risen qualities of your next batch of scones.

North American or British scones – what’s the difference? British scones are served with butter/cream whereas North American scones or ‘biscuits’ are far butterier and are typically served alongside meat and veg style savory dishes.

These onion scones make such a nice addition to a beef stew meal.

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Onion Scones
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Course Main Dish
Keyword onion scones
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Course Main Dish
Keyword onion scones
Servings
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the yellow onion, green onions, garlic & butter. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, then stir. Microwave for another 1-2 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove bowl from microwave & let the vegetables cool for 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cheese, sugar, baking powder, pepper & salt.
  4. Add the sautéed onion mixture to the flour mixture along with the light cream & egg. Stir JUST until combined.
  5. Gently press the dough together with your hands to form a ball.
  6. On an ungreased baking sheet, press the dough into an 8-inch circle. Cut the circle into 8 wedges. Separate the wedges slightly.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until scones are lightly browned. Brush with more melted butter & serve immediately.

Fruity Roast Chicken w/ Couscous

I’m not sure how far back I came to really enjoy using fig balsamic dressing as a marinade for various roasted meats. This dressing marinade adds a bold, zesty flavor to almost anything. Bursting with fig juice, balsamic vinegar, and herbs and spices. So, it only makes good sense that I take the idea further and test the possibilities of using fig preserves with savory meals.

Most people think of fig jam or preserves as what you find in the middle of a fig newton…basically dried figs and sugar, but a good preserve is a combination of sweet figs with a nice balance of balsamic acidity and the mustard heat lends itself to a whole lot of dishes far beyond a simple cheese plate.  

The flavor of the preserves is more complex and less sweet than most fruit spreads, so it gives you enough of a contrast with salty items without tasting too sugary.

This is the very definition of a winning weeknight chicken dish: quick, sweet and savory, a little something different. The herbs enhance the savory quality of the dish and provide a touch of earthiness to balance the sweet. 

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Fruity Roast Chicken w/ Couscous
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Spicy Fruit Filling
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Ingredients
Spicy Fruit Filling
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Instructions
Fruit Filling
  1. Combine apricots, raisins, apple & orange juice in a small bowl. Season with spices; mix well. Set aside to marinate.
Chicken
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place chicken thighs in a heavy freezer bag. Gently pound until about 1/4-inch thick. On a sheet of plastic wrap lay out thighs to form a 'solid' piece. Sprinkle chopped fresh herbs over meat (if using). Mound the filling on flattened thighs then using the plastic wrap, roll up, tucking in the ends.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil & lightly spray center area. Transfer chicken roll to foil & top with fig preserves. Pull foil up around meat to form a catch 'basin' for meat & fruit juices (leave top open).
  4. Roast about 25 minutes until meat is cooked. When you remove it from the oven reserve fruit & meat juices to use over your couscous if you wish. While the meat is cooking, prepare the couscous.
Couscous
  1. Heat first amount of oil in a medium saucepan. Add next 4 ingredients. Cook & stir for about 3 minutes until green onion is softened. Add honey. Heat & stir for about 30 seconds until green onion is coated.
  2. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Add couscous & second amount of olive oil; simmer covered for about 10 minutes. Fluff with fork & stir in remaining 3 ingredients.
  3. Place couscous on a serving plate topped with sliced chicken thigh roll. Serve.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust w/ Barbecued Chicken

According to writer Mark Twain, ‘cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education’. This uniquely versatile veggie has graduated above its many cousins, …. broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, kale and kohlrabi to become the sophisticate darling of the species. Delicious raw, fried, grilled, pickled, riced, roasted, steamed or sautéed.

Cauliflower ‘rice’ came on the scene as a popular grain-free alternative to rice. As with many food trends, the ‘riced’ craze has continued using other veggies like sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, onions, and peas.

The grocery stores have jumped on the bandwagon with fresh and frozen products and in a variety of plain and flavored versions.

Making your own riced vegetables is even easier than in days gone by. Just trim, chop and pulse your veggies in a food processor. Cook with a quick steam or sauté and flavor with some fresh herbs and spices. Of course, you can always change it up with other chopped veggies, nuts, or a sprinkle of cheese.

Riced cauliflower makes an interesting pizza crust. A different texture than the traditional bread dough crust but loaded with flavor. It’s sort of firm, chewy and soft all at the same time. I had tried this idea some years ago and we quite liked it so why not try it with a different topping and have it again!

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Cauliflower Pizza Crust w/ Barbecued Chicken
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Instructions
Cauliflower Crust
  1. In food processor or blender, pulse cauliflower until it reaches consistency of coarse crumbs.
  2. Place cauliflower and 3 tbsp water in microwaveable dish and cover with plastic wrap, leaving one edge lifted. Microwave on high, stirring once or twice during cooking time, until cauliflower is tender, 5 to 7 minutes; let cool. Drain cauliflower in colander lined with cheesecloth or thin, clean tea towel. Wrap cauliflower in cheesecloth and twist while pressing to remove all liquid (this step is essential).
  3. Place pizza pan or baking sheet in oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
  4. In bowl, combine cauliflower, egg, mozzarella, Parmesan, garlic powder and oregano, season with salt and pepper. Using your fingers, transfer cauliflower mixture to piece of parchment paper and press into 12-inch circle. Slide parchment paper with cauliflower crust onto hot baking sheet from preheated oven. Bake until crust is golden brown, 13 to 15 minutes.
Toppings
  1. In a saucepan, sauté red onion & mushrooms until tender and moisture has evaporated.
  2. Evenly spread half of the barbecue sauce over baked cauliflower crust, leaving 1/2-inch border. Top with half of the mozzarella cheese & all of the onion & mushrooms . In bowl, toss chicken with remaining barbecue sauce; evenly arrange over crust and top with remaining mozzarella. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green onion.

Shrimp & Chicken Pelmeni

Though they come in all shapes and sizes, dumplings are a near-universal culinary constant as almost every culture has one. So naturally, dumpling recipes are incredibly versatile, coming with a wide array of fillings, wrappers, shapes and sizes. Eaten as an appetizer, dessert, side dish or for the main meal, they might just be the ultimate comfort food.

Chicken and shrimp go together surprisingly well, and this dish is no exception. In March of this year (2021), I posted a blog about Russian Pelmeni. Since then, Brion & I have had ‘pelmeni’ numerous times in which I’ve experimented with various fillings. In case you’re not familiar with these dumplings, traditional Russian pelmeni consist of a filling wrapped in thin, unleavened dough. The word “pelmeni” describes the ear-shaped appearance of these dumplings.

When I made them for the March blog, I used a different technique for preparing them. Instead of making them into the traditional ear shape, I rolled the dough out into a large rectangle. I then spread the raw meat filling over it very thinly and rolled it up in a jelly roll fashion. After slicing the roll into 2-inch pieces, they were steam cooked in broth in a skillet. It’s a quick and easy take on authentic pelmeni.

Since Brion & I eat a lot of chicken and shrimp, I could see no reason to ‘develop’ a new version with an almost oriental twist on it.

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Shrimp & Chicken Pelmeni
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Instructions
Dough
  1. In a bowl, combine all dough ingredients & knead until a smooth dough ball forms, about 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap & set aside to rest until your filling is prepared.
Filling
  1. Chop mushrooms & mince garlic. In a skillet, heat butter & add garlic. When aromatic & light golden, add mushrooms & a light sprinkle of salt. Cook for about 2 minutes, until fragrant, soft & roughly a third of the original volume. Set aside in a bowl to cool.
  2. Chop shrimp into pieces the size of large peas. Add to the mushrooms with the chicken, green onion, water chestnuts & ginger. Combine with a fork.
  3. Stir together salt & white pepper, sugar, soy sauce & water. Pour over the filling; stir to mix & firm up. Cover & set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
Assembly
  1. Once dough has rested, transfer to a floured surface. Roll out the dough into a large, THIN rectangle. Spread filling over the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch at the far side of the dough.
  2. Tightly roll dough up, starting from the wider side, forming a log. Put seam side down to seal the edges. Seal ends of the dough as well. Using a very sharp knife, cut the dough log into 2-inch sections.
  3. In a large skillet that will accommodate all pelmeni, heat oil & cook onion until translucent. Add garlic & continue cooking until fragrant. Add grated carrot; cook about 1-2 minutes more.
  4. Place pelmeni rolls on top of veggies, add vegetable broth, salt & pepper. Cover with a lid & simmer for 30 minutes on a low heat. Check pelmeni from time to time, to make sure there is still some broth in the skillet. Add more broth if it evaporates too fast. Garnish with extra sliced green onions if desired. Serve.
Recipe Notes
  • A nice condiment for these dumplings would be a sweet chili sauce.

Chicken w/ Peaches & Ginger

Meat and fruit pairings are delicious, yet the idea of using both fruit and meat in the same dish is undoubtedly a little controversial.

One of the things I enjoy about cooking is combining flavors to create a wholesome dish. Sometimes, its interesting just to combine ingredients and flavors that don’t seem like they should go together.

Chicken is a good match for a wide variety of fruits with peaches being one of them. Whether fresh or frozen, nothing partners better with peaches than fresh ginger. To enhance the flavor just a bit more, I’m making a fluffy, golden couscous, speckled with green onion and fresh parsley. Subtle cumin and ginger spices add a heady fragrance and warm flavor. Nothing fancy, just a great taste!

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Chicken w/ Peaches & Ginger
Instructions
Chicken
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt & pepper & cook on one side until golden, about 4-6 minutes. Flip, cook for 1 minute then transfer chicken to a 9x13-inch baking pan.
  3. Place peaches, sugar, thyme & ginger over & around chicken. Add the chicken broth & bake for about 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. While chicken is baking prepare couscous.
Couscous
  1. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add green onion, cumin, ginger & garlic clove. Cook & stir for about 3 minutes until green onion is softened.
  2. Add honey. Heat & stir for about 30 seconds until green onion is coated.
  3. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Add couscous & 2 teaspoons oil. Stir. Cover. Remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes without lifting lid. Fluff with fork. Stir in chopped parsley & season with salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Serve the chicken & peaches over couscous with any ginger sauce from baking pan.

Apricot Lemon Chicken Breast w/ Couscous

The flavors of the meal hint of Moroccan cuisine to me. It wasn’t until Brion & I visited Morocco on a holiday one year, that I realized how many of their spices appealed to me.

Moroccan cuisine is very refined because of its interactions and exchanges with other cultures and nations over the centuries. Its dishes are layered with sweet and spicy, earthy and bright flavors that reflect the vast array of spices available in their local markets.

Often referred to as the national dish of Morocco, couscous is made of tiny balls of wheat semolina, steamed so they’re are soft and fluffy. Subtle cumin and ginger spices add an exotic flavor to it.

Pairing apricot and lemon flavors with the chicken breast and serving it over couscous makes this simple meal quite special.

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Apricot Lemon Chicken Breast w/ Couscous
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Instructions
Chicken
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Beat egg & water slightly. Stir together baking mix, lemon pepper & garlic powder. Pound chicken breasts gently to achieve uniform thickness. Dip chicken into egg mixture, then coat with baking mix mixture. Place on baking sheet & drizzle with melted butter.
  3. Bake uncovered 20 minutes; turn chicken. Bake about 10 minutes longer until no longer pink inside. While chicken is baking prepare couscous & sauce.
Couscous
  1. In a saucepan, heat 1 tsp oil; add green onion, cumin, ginger & garlic. Cook & stir for about 3 minutes until green onion is softened.
  2. Add honey. Heat & stir for about 30 seconds until green onion is coated. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Add couscous & second amount of oil. Stir. Cover & remove from heat. Allow to stand for 5 minutes without lifting lid. Fluff with a fork & stir in remaining 3 ingredients.
Apricot Lemon Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine sauce ingredients, stirring occasionally, until warm.
To Serve
  1. Place couscous on a serving platter. Top with chicken breasts & drizzle with apricot lemon sauce. Serve.

Beef Stew w/ Cornmeal Dumplings

Dumplings mean different things to different people. Wrap veggies, meat, seafood in dough or just leave them plain …. bake, boil or fry them. Dumplings are what your mother made and that is what you love and consider true comfort food.

The other thing that makes them amazing is that they aren’t necessities …. just pure culinary luxury, there to just enhance the meal.

The dough for most dumplings, has always been based either on cereals such as oats, wheat, corn, etc. or on one of the vegetables from which bread dough can be made from, like potatoes.

Originally made by shaping small portions from a batch of bread dough before specific mixtures were developed. I recall my mother making a big cast iron pan full of dumplings for us on her bread baking day. Its strange how a little ball of dough can evoke such a wonderful memory.

Being a lover of ‘all things corn‘, I decided to make some cornmeal dumplings for our beef stew today. Their still ‘dumplings’, right!!

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Beef Stew w/ Cornmeal Dumplings
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Beef Stew
Cornmeal Dumplings
Servings
SERVINGS
Ingredients
Beef Stew
Cornmeal Dumplings
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Instructions
Beef Stew
  1. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tsp oil. Stir fry beef in 2 batches until browned. Transfer to Dutch oven pot, cover & keep warm.
  2. Heat remaining 2 tsp oil in saucepan, add onion & garlic; cook until tender crisp & browned. Add spices; heat & stir for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add flour & 1/2 cup beef broth to onion mixture; stir for a few minutes to blend. Add beef, remaining broth, carrot, celery & salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover & cook about 30-40 minutes, until beef is tender.
Cornmeal Dumplings
  1. While your stew simmers, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cheese & green onion in a mixing bowl & set aside. In another bowl whisk the yogurt, eggs, oil.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. When stew meat is tender, combine wet dumpling ingredients with dry ingredients, stirring batter until blended. (If you wish, you can transfer tender stew into individual ramekins or a casserole dish at this point).
  3. Roughly drop scoops of the cornmeal batter onto each filled ramekin (or casserole). Place them onto a baking tray & cook in the oven for about 20 minutes or until dumplings test done.

Beef Short Ribs & Shrimp

Today, March 21st, our family honors the memory of my father. He passed away at the age of 92, thirteen years ago. As a teenager, I never realized what a special privilege  growing up as a farmer’s daughter really was. Coming home on the school bus and having to do ‘chores’ seemed so boring as opposed to being able to spend after school hours with your friends. As I look back on those times now, it all comes clear as to how treasured and valuable those life lessons were.

To be a successful farmer takes a tremendous amount of strength and courage. I think back to those days with great admiration and appreciation of the special man he was.

Since my Dad enjoyed to eat both beef and seafood, I thought today’s blog recipe should be a nice combo of just that in honor of his memory.

                                    SPECIAL MEMORIES OF OUR WONDERFUL DAD


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Beef Short Ribs & Shrimp

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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American, Korean

Servings

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Instructions
  1. In a food processor, puree peeled & cored Asian pear. Add next 8 ingredients & pulse a few seconds to combine. Into a large Ziploc bag pour 2/3 of the marinade; add ribs laying single file so they will marinate evenly. Refrigerate while marinating for at least 2 hours or overnight.

  2. Peel & devein shrimp. Place in another Ziploc bag with remaining marinade. Marinate shrimp about 30 minutes in refrigerator prior to cooking.

  3. At cooking time, thread shrimp on skewers. Barbecue ribs & shrimp on a grill over medium heat or you can broil in the oven if you prefer. Cook to your preferred liking making sure to not overcook shrimp. Place on serving platter & sprinkle with green onions & sesame seeds.


Recipe Notes
  • Using an Asian pear in marinade is a great tenderizer for beef.
  • If you prefer, keep a bit of the marinade for serving over a rice side dish.

Turkey/Apple Sausage with Herbed Couscous

There’s something special about pairing turkey or chicken with apples and herbs. It seems to me the whole idea probably stems from ingredients used in stuffing a turkey for Christmas dinner. I’ve tried a few different recipe combinations for these sausage. This one seems to be the one we always enjoy the most.

Speaking of turkey, I’d like to tell you about a very old memory since I brought the subject up. As you know, if you have been following my blog, I was raised on a farm in southern Alberta, Canada. It was dry land farming so it was imperative my folks not only grew grain but also raised animals. Along with cattle, pigs and chickens, my mother raised a few turkeys. On one occasion, my sister and I were making our way across the farm yard on our tricycle. Loretta was the driver with me standing on the back when all of a sudden I was accosted by a huge turkey. With his large wings, he knocked me to the ground and started pecking me for some reason. My mother saw the commotion from the kitchen window and came running to my rescue. Needless to say, from that time on, I have always been leary of animals bearing beeks and feathers. Nevertheless, I do like the taste of turkey.

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Turkey/Apple Sausage with Herbed Couscous
Homemade sausage is such a nice change from 'store-bought'.
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Course Main Dish
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Turkey - Apple Sausage
Dijon - Apricot Mustard
Course Main Dish
Servings
Ingredients
Turkey - Apple Sausage
Dijon - Apricot Mustard
Votes: 1
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Instructions
Turkey - Apple Sausage
  1. Heat oil in skillet; add onion & saute until softened, about 3 minutes. Add apples & saute until until apples are very tender, 3-5 minutes longer. Transfer to a large bowl & cool completely. Add turkey, cracker crumbs, egg & spices; mix well. Divide the sausage into 6 equal portions & roll into approximately 8-inch lengths. When ready to cook, they can either be baked in the oven at 450 F. or lay on a sheet of greased foil & cook on the barbecue.
Herbed Couscous
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tsp oil; add next 4 ingredients. Cook & stir for about 3 minutes until onion is soft. Add honey; heat & stir for 30 seconds to coat onion. Add broth; bring to a boil. Add couscous & 1 tsp oil. Stir, cover & remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes without lifting lid. Fluff. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Dijon - Apricot Mustard
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard & apricot preserves. Serve with turkey-apple sausages.
Recipe Notes
  • I like to make extra sausage and freeze them for other meals. They come in so handy when your time is short.
  • If you prefer a plain couscous instead of spicy, omit cumin & ginger replacing it with dried basil or a spice of your choice.
  • This meal is nice to serve with a mixed green salad of your choosing.