Spectacular Spelt Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies (Taken with Instagram at Cooking by Shira)
Friday’s Menu, July 27, 2012
Sliced Sauteed Radishes with Blanched Radish Greens
Lemon & Roasted Garlic Broccoli
Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis
Baby Squash Julienne Salad
Beets Two Ways:
- Orange in a Citrus Viniagrette
- Red in a Red Wine Viniagrette
Mustard Greens with Beet Stalks and Yellow Peppers
Now that’s an important label. (Taken with Instagram at Mozza2Go)
So you know that post about how I can’t bake? Well, I might be slowly turning a corner. In a sudden burst of inspiration from the previous cookies, I decided to bake my personal favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, which will be properly typed up and blogged in the near-ish future.
I’m not quite sure how I ended up at scones, but I recall the Google term “heavy cream”. For I have a pint of heavy cream that I’m sure I planned for some project and forgot. I ended up at Smitten Kitchen’s “dreamy creamy scones” and stared.
Now, I have a constant craving for scones. Whether from Starbucks or Whole Foods, if I crave pastry, it’s usually a scone. They always seem just the right texture, and I figured that I could never make something that good. I was wrong.
I dragged out the food processor and gave it a whirl. When I got to step 5, which involved “knead[ing] dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball” made me worried. I’ve had dozens of bread disasters, literally. I need to knead, but alas most times I end up with rocks.
When my dough became sticky and shiny and pretty, I would have fainted, but then I’d ruin the scones before I’d even baked them!
Thank you, Smitten Kitchen, for restoring my faith in my own baking.
When those scones were done, I took them out of the oven, gleefully smiling as I saw the telltale rise of a scone. I waited semi-patiently and finally grabbed one as it was almost cool.
They were moist. I appreciated the sensation of a biscuit but scones have a sense of richness that gives it it’s unique taste. Almost like French Gougeres, cheese puffs from indulgent dough.
Dreamy Cream Scones
America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a low-protein brand such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup currants (I used dried cranberries, and chopped them into smaller bits)
1 cup heavy cream
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F.
2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.
3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in currants. If using food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl.
4. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones by either a) pressing the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turning the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, cutting the dough into 8 wedges with either a knife or bench scraper (the book’s suggestion) or b) patting the dough onto a lightly floured work surface into a 3/4-inch thick circle, cutting pieces with a biscuit cutter, and pressing remaining scraps back into another piece (what I did) and cutting until dough has been used up. (Be warned if you use this latter method, the scones that are made from the remaining scraps will be much lumpier and less pretty, but taste fine. As in, I understand why they suggested the first method.)
6. Place rounds or wedges on ungreased baking sheet and bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I have to confess.
I cannot bake. Well, that is. I prefer cooking, where I can add a dash of this and that, while baking requires much more precision, which is not my personal strength. Despite this I attempted again the “chocolate chip cookie”. I wanted the perfect mix of chewy and crunchy. A quick Google search and I came across Kitchen Trial and Error, where there was a blog comparing two “bests” of chocolate chip cookies. After scanning Alton Brown’s recipe (and the waiting time! 2 hours to chill!), I chose the Cooks Illustrated Version.
Yes, it involves browning butter and has many steps and I had to follow directions and…and… Does anyone have a glass of milk?
Wearing Someone Elses’s Clothes
On July 10, 2012, I forgot to celebrate. I forgot to remember the day my life changed completely, when I took control and said “no more” to a life of obesity. Five years ago, I was on the fast track to diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and likely walking aids before I was 30 years old. Now at 27, I no longer am obese and have maintained my weight loss of over 100 lbs, a considerable success in today’s society.
Undergoing a gastric-bypass at 22 may seem extreme, but when you’re on an extreme path of obesity, extreme measures are required. I don’t take it for granted that I was given a chance to have a normal life. I am no longer unable to get a job due to my weight, and I can fit through fairly small spaces, boobs not withstanding.
However, the lyrics to “Wearing Someone Else’s Clothes” came to me, by Jason Robert Brown. Mind, the rest of the lyrics are more compelling than this stanza, but synapses happen, and here we are.
I’m wearing someone else’s clothes
And looking better.
I’m wearing someone else’s clothes
And feeling fine
It’s not that they’re not my clothes. In fact, I’ve become a bit of a clotheshorse since dropping the weight.
“I can fit into WHAT? I’ll take it”.
But when looking at the closet, it still looks…odd. The clothes are small (not *a* small), and I fear most days they are smaller than me. Mentally, I’m still 22 years old and a size 24. Not all the time, but often enough that it surprised me to have forgotten this day.
Many people have anniversaries; birthdays, the meeting of their significant others, as well as negatives such as Veteran’s Day and Holocaust Remembrance day. I’d put mine somewhere in the middle between mourning who I was, and celebrating who I’ll become, for now I have a chance to ‘become’ versus ‘predetermined obesity’.
Obesity is an illness at a certain point, but it’s also a lifestyle choice. I became obese by eating too much and not exercising. When a diner delivers your grilled cheese at 2 a.m., it’s much to easy to indulge oneself, versus having to hunter-gatherer collect it, or god-forbid, cook it yourself. But what happens when you try to lose those 100 lbs of sugar and fat? At a certain weight, you simply don’t. If dieting was easy, everyone would do it. And every time you lose and regain, you make it that much harder to lose weight again. And so on and so forth, the cycle continues. I stopped it when I was 22, and every day I work to ensure that it never happens again. The vigilance can be frustrating, but I live by a motto:
“I’m 85% perfect for the 15% that I’m not”
I’m 100% together, but like Jekyll and Hyde I have cravings for chocolate which must be answered and cannot be mitigated by a high-protein shake (to be reviewed soon!). But alas the healthy foods must come in as well.
I don’t have a perfect solution to the obesity crisis, but this experience of mine dictates my passion for the subject to the point that I majored in it. “Health Policy, Nutrition, and Child Psychology” tends to be translated to “If only we did x or y, it would help so many children with obesity”.
Do I know the answer? I know that there is research, and that is what I follow. In the last few months, myths have been dispelled, drugs have been improved and approved, and we’re all drinking the sugar-free Kool-Aid of whatever diets we are currently on.
I try to follow a diet low in sugar, and higher in fat and protein. Call it Atkins, call it whatever, but it works for me. For anyone else, it could be opposite. Perhaps The Zone and it’s 30/30/40 plan might be successful, and certainly Weight Watchers is getting more and more press on the benefits to it’s members.
What I did for the love of myself was become a woman who can be proud of her successes and enthusiastic for the now-possible future. On that hot day in July, I left behind me a trail of candy wrappers, take-out boxes, and knowledge that I would never again be the young and insecure girl who desperately wanted to climb out of a fat suit and into the world.
Kiss today goodbye,
The sweetness and the sorrow.
Wish me luck, the same to you.
But I can’t regret
What I did for love, what I did for love.
From “A Chorus Line”. Now, to become a singular sensation.