Dinner of Poppy Seeds and Lemon

The mention of "dinner", "poppy seeds", and "lemon" in the title might lead on to believe that I made some pasta or rice dish accompanied by a sauce of poppy seeds with lemon juice and zest. Or a salad with lemon poppyseed dressing. None of those was on the menu. In this case, dinner was breakfast.

Lemon poppy seed scones, to be exact.

These were made with a combination of all-purpose flour and King Arthur's cake flour blend, baking powder, the zest of two lemons, 40g of Dutch blue poppy seeds, an egg, cream, salt, and sugar.

At times, I tend to use bread flour instead of the KA cake flour blend for my scones. That will be my next experiment for a new version of these lemon poppy seed scones.

Close up using manual focus on macro lensAnd another version will be using all-purpose flour as the only flour. Whoever said you shouldn't play with food clearly did not know how to have fun.



Linguine Fini with Roasted Asparagus

Spring is around the corner. This means an abundance of asparagus and finding myriad ways to prepare it before the season is over.

Recipes need not be complicated or time consuming. Last night's dinner was simple, quick, and healthy. The ingredients are few and include the following:


::olive oil

::sea salt

::freshly ground pepper

::linguine fini



::flat-leaf parsley


::lemon zest

In an oven heated to 425F, roast the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper for 10 minutes, depending on size of spears. Let cool slightly after removing from oven. Chop into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot of water for the linguini fini. When it gets to a rolling boil, salt it with sea salt and add the pasta. As soon as it reaches al dente status, drain the water and leave pasta in colander.

In a large pan, heat about a tablespoon of unsalted butter and add one or two diced shallots. Season with salt and add the parsley. Cook for a few minutes until shallots soften. Remove from heat. Stir in pasta and asparagus. Transfer to bowl and top with freshly grated parmesan and lemon zest. Season with additional sea salt and pepper if needed.



WEEKEND IN THE KITCHEN::Lazy Leftovers and Medicine Scones

There are weekends that I spend much time in the kitchen experimenting with ingredients and researching techniques and cuisines. This weekend was not one of them. I suppose had I not made a big pot of lentil and rice soup on Friday night, which ended up sustaining us throughout the weekend, I would have had to cook every day. And since we had soup that night before Saturday, nobody wanted that extra piece of Friday pizza. Having leftover pizza dough...that was a treat. For some reason on Friday night, I decided that we should have dessert too. So I quickly gathered cookie-making ingredients for an experimental chocolate chip cookie with orange zest and dark muscavado sugar.

I tend to like almost anything I make the day after I make it. Possibly after the tiredness of planning, baking, and cleaning has worn off with sleep. Such was the case with these cookies...

which I decided were pretty tasty - although I'm already thinking how I can change the recipe. Omit the dark muscavado sugar and orange zest...use less chocolate (I used Callebaut Callets)...add oatmeal. Then again, that would make for a whole new recipe. I'll leave it alone for now.

One recipe that will not make my "make again" list are these lavender vanilla bean scones.

Technically, there were correct. Tastewise, I did not care for the lavender. I blame my daughter Saffron for this. She walked into the kitchen and saw me sitting at the table rewriting a scone recipe. I told her we were going to have lemon poppyseed scones this morning. "No, I want vanilla", she proclaimed. Hmmm...I was craving scones with lemon and poppy seeds - something to welcome the impending arrival of spring. "You can have your lemon poppyseed scones next Saturday", Saffron added. I compromised and used vanilla bean paste, lavender vanilla bean sugar, and lavender flowers.

"Lavender is strong, so it is best to use a light hand" was the warning on the package.

They were not kidding. Even after reducing my original amount from 1 tablespoon to 2 teaspoons, that was still not enough. Half a teaspoon might have been better as the taste reminded me, not so fondly, of this Croatian medicine paste I remember from childhood. My kids thought otherwise and ate three scones each that Sunday morning.

I enjoyed a strong cup of Turkish/Croatian coffee...

...and analyzed the taste of two of the mini scones, a size I prefer to the typical oversized scones found in most coffeehouses. Smaller is better in most cases relating to food. At least that's my opinion.

Sunday was quickly drawing to a close. Even with an extra hour of light that nature bestowed upon us, I still managed to wait until the last minute to make Sunday cake. Granted, I hadn't planned on it earlier in the day until sat at the computer and came upon photos of brownies. So, I decided we'd have brownies. But that was not good enough for a Sunday cake as I reached for the 8" springform pan that had been lying on the counter for weeks thinking I'd bake the brownies in cake form.

I remembered I had a package of ground hazelnuts still leftover from our summer in Berlin - one that the package said had expired back in December. Instead of flour I used the hazelnuts. That and 150g of 64% Callebaut chocolate, cocoa powder, butter, 4 eggs, and a little sugar (too little, in my and the kids' opinions) made for a simple flourless brownie-type chocolate cake. The taste was not too bad. You've guessed it...I've already started planning a revision in my head.

Overall, the cold and rainy weekend was somewhat lazy and I got away with not having to walk the downtown crowds of SXSW (although I would love to see Depeche Mode later in the week). On Saturday, my husband took Saffron to some tech conference where they met Shannon Wheeler (author of "Too Much Coffee Man" and other books). She enjoyed the alone time with Papa. The two younger ones also wanted to go but settled with having the iPhone all to themselves - without their older sister taking control.




Skillet Breakfast::Greens and Eggs

How did March sneak up on us so quickly? It seemed as if it was a mere two weeks ago that we were celebrating Christmas. Now Spring Break is finally upon us and we have a chance to slow down once more. The frantic early morning schedule, accompanied by "hurry!" and "5 more minutes or you'll miss the bus", won't be heard for another week. It's a perfect chance to make something other than the usual hurried breakfast of bread with butter and sour cherry jam.

It doesn't take much time or a long list of ingredients to make a healthy breakfast. A pat of butter, one chopped shallot and two diced cloves of garlic cooked for a minute or two in an oven-safe skillet lays the foundation for two handfuls of chopped Swiss chard and spinach. Add some salt and pepper and cook greens until slightly wilted. Turn off heat, add a splash of cream, two eggs, and bake at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.

Top with crushed Aleppo red peppers and enjoy with a piece of toast and freshly squeezed orange grapefruit juice.


Sunday Reverie