Today is an absolutely beautiful day in Austin. The sun is out, there's a little chill in the air, but supposed to be mid-70's by the afternoon. After an unseasonably cold couple of weeks here in Texas (meaning the weatherman was saying "We're having record lows this week, coldest it has been since 1919..."), the days are finally warming up. I have mixed emotions about weather. I've always thought of myself as a "cold-weather loving" person, because December is my favorite month of the year and I love all of my scarfs, tights, jackets, and Ugg boots. However, when it comes down to it, I don't like being uncomfortably cold. Who does, really? Although, from a runner's perspective, I run my best in freezing temperatures. Many of my best and fastest runs have been when it is below 30, at least below 40. Am I running faster because I'm unbelievably cold and I'm not supposed to wear huge jackets and too many layers, so harder and faster running=warm up? Of course. But running also feels easier when you're not so hot and it's not incredibly humid. Therefore, I would like the colder weather to come back, please. At least until after I run my marathon on February 14.
I'm throwing this picture in here, because Sunday was a lot like today and my boyfriend and I went hiking and I just like this picture. :)
I chose a cookbook off my shelf this week and decided that without a doubt, I would make a recipe from it and not the food network. The book is called "The Pastry Queen" by Rebecca Rather. Rebecca owns a bakery in Fredericksburg, TX called "Rather Sweet." I visited one time when I was driving through. Unfortunately, it was a pit stop while driving back from Newport Beach, CA and I had the flu, so I wasn't hungry and ordered a muffin that I didn't even eat. Had I gone there on a normal-Tara day, I probably would have ordered a few of her "big as a plate" cookies, mini lemon meringue pie with crazy spikes of meringue, and a slice of cake. Just a variety to get a feel for the bakery. My best friend's mom, knowing how much I love to bake, gave me Rebecca's cookbook one year and so far, I have yet to make anything out of it despite all of the pictures in the book that are oh-so enticing.
So, here goes. Since I made something sweet and sugary last time, I decided to go the savory route this week. I chose Rebecca's "Apple-Smoked Bacon and Cheddar Scones" which she claims to be her "best-selling scone ever." Ingredients consisting of bacon, cheddar, green onions, and buttermilk...kind of sounds like a baked potato. I really like scones, but I can't say that I've ever had a savory scone. I've had cranberry-orange walnut, currant, and chocolate chip scones, but never a bacon-cheddar scone. Intriguing.
What cooking episode of mine would occur without a trip to the grocery store? None. Therefore, I went to the grocery store this morning for the recipe essentials. Proudly, I had most of the base ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, eggs, butter, cheese)-yay me, but I needed to pick up "apple-wood smoked" bacon, buttermilk, and green onion. I've never made a scone before but you can guess how excited I was when the recipe said to use "CHILLED" butter. No way. This is definitely my kind of recipe. I prepped all of my ingredients---grated cheese, chopped the onion, and fried the bacon (ugh, I don't make bacon that often, if at all, and seriously contemplated investing in one of those "splatter screens" that keep the bacon grease from popping on you and everything around it, until I thought about my previous statement of "I don't make bacon that often").
The recipe was easy to follow and came together quite nicely. Rolled the dough out without any trouble, cut the scones into triangles and proceeded to "brush" an egg wash over the top. Speed bump. I don't have a basting brush or any sort of cooking tool to brush egg wash on. Using my critical thinking skills (ha), I just dipped a spatula in the wash and semi-brushed/patted the egg wash on and popped the scones in the oven.
After 20 minutes of baking, here is how the scones turned out. The scones have a great texture and wonderful flavor, but my taste buds are conflicted because I have a preconceived thought about how scones should taste and I want them to be sweet, so this savory business has thrown them out of whack. Maybe I'll try putting some sweet jelly on them to even things out. Of course that would mean I need to go BACK to the store for jelly. Scratch that. I wasn't sure if I was allowed to type out the recipe from the book (Copyright, etc), but I found the exact recipe online that I can link here. Try them out and let me know what you think!
On a side note, since the sun is finally out and the natural light is pouring through my windows, I took most of my pictures over by the windows to try out the no flash type pictures. I think they turned out much better!