I'm in the process of shifting over to a new blog system, one with a few more features and a bit more flexibility in design. The Melting Teapot will retain the same address, so you won't have to bookmark a new site. It will just look different and have better comment options.
Check back soon for more posts about tea, wine, and foodie adventures.
One of the best food and wine experiences I’ve had recently was an aged sauvignon blanc from California paired with a nice salad with buttermilk dressing.
We purchased a few bottles of the Kalin sauv blanc from Rare Wine Co. in 2009, and they have been a wonderful lesson in the glories of aged white wine. The winery didn't release the wine until more than ten years had passed, so the sauvignon blanc is intended to be enjoyed after aging.
- 1997 Kalin Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Reserve - USA, California, North Coast, Potter Valley (2/10/2011)
This is our third and final bottle, and it seems the most youthful. It is lighter, the color of apple juice (the others were more orange like an aged Riesling). The only place we really notice the age is on the nose, with some paraffin and dusty earth qualities. The wine is not as herbaceous or evergreen as many sauv blancs, but there is still a sharp-edged acidity meeting up against that earthiness. We taste pineapple and musty mango, with a touch of honey on the finish.
Posted from CellarTracker
We opened the bottle to pair with our dinner of Roasted Cauliflower Pasta and Saveur’s Winter Salad with Buttermilk Dressing. The salad is a simple mix of greens, beets, apples, and walnuts. It is light and crunchy, with earthy and sweet flavors of beet contrasting against the zesty tart apple and lemon.
Click the photo or follow the link above to the complete Saveur recipe. I made only one change, roasting the beets (Chioggia) just a bit instead of slicing them raw. I also felt that we had more dressing than necessary, so next time I’ll cut that in half.
Scones are a type of quick bread biscuit, historically hailing from Scotland and then gaining in popularity throughout the British Isles and eventually around the world. There is a wide range of scone styles, but what they have in common is the use of baking powder and/or soda as a leavening agent. They differ from cakes in that they do not use any eggs.
Countries and regions around the world have adapted scones into various styles – some are flat and made almost like pancakes on a griddle, while others are baked in an oven to be light and flaky like a raised biscuit. Scones can vary in shape from pie-shaped wedges to flat rounds, from flaky cut-rounds to rough dropped-dough biscuits. There are savory scones, which may have cheese and herbs, and there are sweet scones that contain a bit of sugar and often some sort of fruit.
The traditional British afternoon tea (or “Cream Tea”) features rich sweet scones served with clotted cream, butter, jams, and lemon curd.
In the U.S., scones are biscuit-like, usually contain fruit, and are often coated with a sweet glaze. They have become quite popular over the last decade and can be purchased in grocery stores, bakeries, and coffee shops. One notably distinct version is the Utah scone, which is deep fried like a doughnut or Indian fry bread. They are usually served with honey or whipped honey butter. Each of these types of scones is delicious and makes a wonderful accompaniment to tea.
This afternoon I baked scones filled with fresh cranberries and semi-sweet chocolate chips, then brewed a cup of Harsha Tea, a blend from Harney & Sons.
Cindy’s Basic Fruit Scone Recipe
(recipe makes 1 dozen large scones)
1 ¾ cup unbleached flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup buttermilk (or 1/3 cup lowfat milk with 1/3 cup orange juice)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (or melted butter)
2/3 cup of fruit or nuts **
Optional: 1-2 tablespoons of large crystal sugar (like Sugar in the Raw) or chopped crystallized ginger
Combine all dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil, and fruit. Drop onto lined or lightly-greased baking sheet using a 1/3 cup measure. Sprinkle the tops of scones with sugar or crystallized ginger.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes, until golden on top.
Fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or cranberries
Raisins or Currants
Chocolate or Butterscotch Chips
Dried fruit, chopped about the size of a raisin: tropical mixtures, peaches, pears, apricots, dates
Grated Orange or Lemon Peel
Nuts or Seeds
Today's Combo: 1/3 cup frozen whole cranberries + 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips + the grated peel from one orange.
Other Favorite Combinations: Cranberry with Orange Peel, Dried Apricots and Chopped Almonds, Pecans and Chocolate Chips, Lemon Peel and Poppy Seed
Do you have a favorite scone or a favorite scone recipe? Feel free to write it down or link to it in the comments below!
Delicious food can sometimes happen almost accidentally, when out of necessity we substitute something unusual for the familiar. One of those lucky moments happened for me yesterday.
While grabbing items from the frig to make Cheese Quesadillas with Pico de Gallo salsa, I realized we were out of a primary ingredient for the salsa -- tomatoes. I did a quick review of what actually was on hand, thought about how wonderful apples and cheese are together…then, after remembering the fresh celeriac (celery root) from my produce delivery box, thought about the nice celeriac and apple salads I’ve had in the past, and… Voila!
The result was a new take on pico de gallo, which was crunchy and almost salad-like, yet retained the spicy acidity that works so well to offset the richness of a cheesy quesadilla. In this case, the quesadillas were made with two flour tortillas filled with a layer of grated cheddar and horseradish cheeses. The flavor was mellow but with enough zing to hold its own against the heat of the jalapeno.
My Accidental Recipe
Apple – Celeriac “Pico de Gallo”
1 celeriac (celery root), peeled and sliced into very thin strips
1 apple, sliced very thin
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, chopped fine (use more or less jalapeno, depending on your heat tolerance)
3 green onions, chopped fine
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1-2 fresh limes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Toss the above ingredients together, then add salt & pepper to taste.
- Choose a celery root and apple that are close to the same size.
- Try using a mandoline slicer for both the apple and celery root, so you can get them very thin.
- If you are one of those people who hate cilantro, use Italian parsley or fresh mint.
Instead of wine, we had pints of chilled Strongbow Hard Cider, which were delightfully refreshing. Apple ciders are a great pairing with any Mexican food.
If you'd prefer wine, I've found in the past that a riesling from Washington state or British Columbia work very well with the elements in this meal. Our rieslings here tend to be a little lighter and drier than German Rieslings, and they often have flavor profiles of apple and pear which would echo the apple on the plate. Even though they tend to be drier, there is usually enough sweetness to offset the heat from the peppers.
It has been a while since my last post here, partly due to feeling rather uninspired when it comes to writing. Perhaps this is because much of my creative energy these past few months has instead focused upon learning about new-to-me vegetables and fruits.
When it comes to slicing, dicing, and cooking, I’ve been having a wonderful time exploring new flavors. This is all thanks to a weekly home delivery of a box full of organic produce from Full Circle Farm.
I love visiting local farmer’s markets, but the ones near me close up from October through April. It is easy to pick up produce at a grocery store, but these are often not as fresh. . . especially for non-standard things that the average shopper doesn’t choose as often. A nice feature of the farm-to-you service by Full Circle Farm is that they continue through the winter months by partnering with organic farmers in Oregon and California in order to supplement the veggies from their own farms. While squash, root vegetables, hearty greens, apples, and pears are still coming in from Washington, I also receive citrus fruit and lettuces from nearby states.
One expected side effect of getting this weekly delivery is that we’ve incorporated even more vegetables into our weekly meals. An unexpected side effect was that I’ve found myself really enjoying the process of discovering new methods of cooking and new types of recipes.
Each week, the box includes either something I’ve never cooked before, or it contains a variety of items that have me reconsidering the juxtaposition of flavors and textures. Two months ago, my research focused on how to use baby white turnips. Close on the heel of turnips were Fuyu Persimmons and Chioggia Beets.
I am also revisiting old traditions. For instance, an abundance of apples has had me making fresh apple sauce every other week – I’d forgotten what a simple but special treat that is! I've also returned to the practice of saving veggie tops and wilted greens in my freezer for vegetable stock. Most weeks now we have some sort of vegetable based soup, ranging from a thick roasted squash and apple puree to a mild leek and potato vichyssoise.
Tomorrow I’ll post my latest vegetable-based recipe invention, and in the weeks ahead there will be more about pairing vegetarian foods with wine and tea. My love of writing and photography have returned full force, and I’m determined to make this blog as active as it was before.