I have been taking some cooking demo classes at our local natural foods market. Most of them that I've taken are by an amazing local chef, Paige Vandegrift. She makes some amazing and wonderful food--food that I would never have thought I'd make or (and especially) like eating. Like for instance, she uses onions a lot. And we ALL know how I feel about onions. But (and Mom, you'd be proud of me), I always taste/eat everything she makes. You see, how could I turn down this wonderful food that we in the class have just watched her prepare for us? Everything is always so good. I think I'm also drawn to these classes because every now and then I get to go have someone cook for me, I won't hear anyone whining or complaining and I get to just leisurely enjoy my food. What a great thing! And as a bonus, I'm learning a lot from the lovely Paige, Le Cordon Bleu in London trained chef. To me, she's like our own Julia Child right here in little ol' Kansas! I wish I could blog everything she's made in all the classes I've been to, but that would take a separate blog in itself. She makes usually 4-5 different dishes at each class.
I've made a lot of Paige's recipes since taking some of her classes. Maybe not the prettiest dish, but I made this Corn, Zucchini and Pink Eyed Peas Succotash (yep, there's onions in there and I even put them in. I know, you're feeling so proud of me!) And while I could taste the onions, all the other flavors were really good and the onions wasn't too overpowering.
I've made other things as well but especially wanted to share Paige's scones with you as well as a perfectly flaky and wonderfully flavored vegetable goat cheese tart. At the last class I went to just last week, Paige served us cornmeal shortcakes with peaches, mint and soured cream. Yes, it was as good as that sounds! I have had some friends over the last couple years talk about some amazing scones they got the recipe for from these classes they've taken. I didn't realize at the time they were talking about Paige's scones, as I hadn't taken any of the classes then. I heard from a number of people how great these cream scones are. Paige mentioned at this last class that the cornmeal shortcakes were similar to her scones without the cornmeal and replacing the butter for all cream. That's it, I'd heard enough talk about them and decided I needed to make some! I have only made scones one other time and that was in May when I tried some pumpkin pecan butterscotch scones that Anna at Cookie Madness made. They were good.
So I made Paige's scones. They are a base for scones that you can add anything you want to and so I did!
You had to know there would be chocolate in my scones. Hershey's Symphony Milk Chocolate, Toffee and Almonds to be exact. These. were. really. great! These could not be more simple to make.
Cream Scones with Chocolate, Toffee and Almonds, adapted by Katrina (recipe from Paige Vandegrift)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream (plus a little more for brushing on the tops)
turbinado sugar (for sprinkling on the tops)
3 ounces Hershey's Symphony Milk Chocolate, Toffee and Almonds bar, chopped
1/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup Heath chocolate toffee bits
1/4 cup Ghiradelli 58% cacao baking chips
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl. Whisk to blend well. Add the "mix-ins." Stir in dry ingredients with a rubber spatula while pouring the cream, continuing to stir until a soft, sticky dough is formed.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly (8-10 times). Pat the dough into a circle 1/2" to 3/4" thick. Cut the circles into 8-12 wedges (depending on the size you want, I did 12!) and place the wedges an inch or so apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush each scone with cream and sprinkle generously with raw sugar.
Bake at 425°F until golden brown, about 15 minutes. (Mine took 13 minutes.) Remove to wire rack and cool.
These scones are really healthy, so eat 2 or 3. Oh yeah, kidding! Well, there's almonds, those are healthy. ;) Splurge, I say, you'll be happy you did! I can't wait to try this scone recipe with lots of other mix ins. You should use about a cup of mix-ins. I may have used more than that, so sue me!
Then there's this Provencal Vegetable Tart with Herbed Goat Cheese. It was a little work, but worth it. We had our neighbors over for dinner and they loved it and I loved it. Kevin thought it was just okay, but that's just because he thinks everything should be spicy and he didn't think it had enough flavor. Of course I'm going to think/say this, but the one Paige made in class and served us was better than mine. This was made with a wonderful and easy short crust pastry dough. It rolled out beautifully and will have to be a pie crust I try in the future for other things.
Pate Brisee (Short Crusty Pastry), by Paige Vandegrift
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour (150 grams)
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces (114 grams)
3-4 tablespoons ice water
Combine the flour and salt in a medium sized bowl. Rub the butter into the flour until the butter is in small pea-sized pieces. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of water over the flour/butter mixture. Using your hands, fluff the mixture until it begins to clump, adding more water if necessary. Turn the dough out onto a counter and form into a mound. Using the heel of your hand, gradually push all the dough away from you in short forward strokes, flattening out the lumps. Continue until all of the dough is flat. Using a bench scraper, scrape the dough off the counter, forming it into a single clump as you do. Form the finished dough into a thick disk. Chill for at least 30 minutes. (*Disclaimer, Paige did all this by hand and strongly suggested that you NOT use a food processor, but me being the rebel that I am (and lazy), I used the food processor. Short little pulses with the flour and butter, the key is not to over blend it. And then she said if you do use a food processor to never add the water in the processor, do that part by hand. I actually forgot and just added the water right to the processor, pulsed a few times, then turned the dough onto the counter and formed it. It worked just fine, just DO NOT OVER PULSE IT.)
To roll out the dough after letting it warm up for a few minutes at room temperature. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle that is about 1/8 inch thick and is about 13 inches across. Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
From this point, I will skip a lot of the details, but if you'd like a more complete recipe, let me know. The tart is then layered with a softened goat cheese (8 ounces) with about 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme. Then about 12 ounces of Japanese eggplant, 12 ounces zucchini and 3-4 Roma tomatoes. The eggplant and zucchini were broiled in the oven before going on to the tart. The tomatoes (which I didn't have Roma and used cherry tomatoes) were sliced and lightly salted, then put on paper towel for 10-15 minutes to remove some of the excess liquid.
After assembling the goat cheese and vegetables on the tart, fold up the edges and bake in a 375 degree oven on the lowest rack until the tomatoes are slightly puckered and the crust is crisp and golden brown--about 45 minutes. (I baked mine about 50 minutes). Drizzle the tart with olive oil if desired and let rest for five minutes (or cool until just tepid) before serving. Also the variations of flavors and vegetables to this are endless. Again, let me know if you'd like more detailed directions to broiled the vegetables as I shortened this quite a bit for the recipe we received from Paige!
Ready for the oven.
Slice and serve. Want a bigger piece? You will. Thanks, Paige! Love the classes and all I'm learning in them!