May 2021


Lavender-Lemon Scones

May 30: National Scone Day

This post is dedicated to Nan N., Islander’s BFF and bridesmaid from a quarter century ago, whose favorite color and scent is lavender. The hue is a delicate shade of purple and the smell is beautifully relaxing—all kind of mellow, just like Nan. So it is sweet reunion whenever we go home to Hawaii knowing she will be there for us no matter what. There is no drama, just a secure and stable feeling to have in a friend when there is so much change, quick paces and extremes in life. Everyone needs an even-keeled friend like her and we are blessed with the simplicity yet deep bonds of a relationship we share.

This lavender-lemon scone is also well-balanced. Sometimes the floral notes of the lavender might overpower another strong flavor like lemon/citrus. But not in this scone. The lavender and lemon complement each other well. It makes our kitchen smell so delightful while it is baking, too! The glazed topping sweetens the scone like a crowning glory (an ode to Nan’s fascination with royalty). These scones are an elegant addition to a teatime table.

Cheers to true and long-lasting friendships! Cheers to lavender-lemon scones on National Scone Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Tea Time Magazine)

For the lavender-lemon scones

  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender
  • Zest of one small lemon (or 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup cold heaving whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Cut the butter into small pieces. Use a pastry cutter to mix the butter into the dough until it resembles peas.

Add the lavender and lemon zest to the flour mixture. In a measuring cup, beat the egg into the cream.

Stir the vanilla into the cream-egg mixture. Pour into the flour mixture and lightly combine until a dough sticks together. Transfer onto a clean, floured surface. Pat together to form a ball, then flatten gently into a disc. Flour the rolling pin and roll the dough to ½ inch thickness.

Use a 2 ¼ inch round cutter to cut out the scones, re-rolling scraps as necessary. Place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet about two inches apart. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes (the scones will have a pale brown top when done). Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

For the glaze topping

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4-6 teaspoons milk

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar with the milk and mix until smooth and creamy.

Spread the glaze over the top of each cooled scone. Optional: sprinkle 3 pieces of dried lavender on top before the glaze sets. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in a tightly sealed container (best eaten within a day or two).

Notes

  • For more scones recipes, click on our Themes Menu tab and scroll down to the scones section.

Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits

May 29: National Biscuit Day

Living in Texas, we enjoy the Southwest flavors at local restaurants that serve Tex-Mex and downhome country cooking. On a road trip to Gonzales and Shiner, somewhere between San Antonio and Houston, we stopped for lunch at a saloon-looking café. The free appetizer included jalapeño cheddar biscuits. Like the free Cheddar Bay biscuits given at Red Lobster, we got full just eating them before our meal! They were so carb-o-licious that we wanted to bake a batch of these biscuits as soon as we got home. They taste terrific on their own as a snack or as a side dish when we cook oven fried chicken or chicken fried steak. Turn up the heat and add a little spice to life on National Biscuit Day by baking jalapeño cheddar biscuits!

Recipe

(Adapted from Fox 11 News)

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1, 2 or 3 jalapeños, seeded, deveined and chopped finally (depending on preferred heat level)
  • ½ – 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter for the top

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter pieces until there are pea-sized crumbles.

Add the jalapeños and cheese. Pour in the buttermilk and gently stir until moist.

Dump on a clean, floured surface and press the dough together. Roll out to 1 inch thickness. Use a 2 inch round cutter to cut out the biscuits. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with melted butter. Bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees F for 15-17 minutes or until the tops are golden. Remove from the oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Notes

  • We like White Lily brand self rising flour because it is light and soft. Be careful about overworking the dough, though, or the biscuits will get hard.
  • When cutting the round shapes, avoid twisting. Just lift the biscuits out of the dough and place on the prepared baking pan. This helps the biscuits rise higher.
  • For softer and less crisp biscuits, place the cut outs close together and pull the biscuits apart after baking.

 

 

 

 

 

Basic Boba (Fett) Tea

May 4: Star Wars Day

Not only is Islander a fan of Star Wars, but she is a fan of boba tea (specifically jasmine green milk tea with golden tapioca pearls)—so much so that she gave it up for Lent one year, which was a challenge because there are several boba tea places around town! Her Taiwanese ESL student taught her how to make boba tea at home, which is cheaper, and we can control how much ice and sweetness levels to put in our boba beverage.

Boba in the tea sounds like “bubble” because of the bubble-like tapioca pearls. Boba Fett, a bounty hunter, is the name of one of the favorite characters in the Star Wars film franchises. He was the muse for our traditional Taiwanese drink recipe for today. Add a few drops of grayish-green food coloring to match Boba Fett’s outfit and it becomes a more festive food for Star Wars Day!

Recipe

(From YaJu Y.)

Ingredients

  • 6-8 tea bags (jasmine, green, black, oolong, chair tea—any strong tea)
  • 1 cup quick cooking golden tapioca pearls
  • Water (to steep the tea and to boil the boba)
  • Sweetener (sugar, honey or simple syrup-see Notes), to taste
  • ½ cup milk (half-and-half, cream, soy, nut or non-dairy creamer)
  • Ice (optional)

Directions

Boil 4 cups water for the tea. Steep the tea in a large bowl for 10-20 minutes (depending on personal desired strength and taste of the tea). Remove and discard the tea bags and cool to room temperature. In a large pot, boil the water and cook the tapioca pearls according to the package directions. Drain and rinse in a colander.

Add sweetener to the tea bowl to taste (more or less a tablespoon). Stir in the milk. In two tall glasses, add ice and tapioca pearls. Pour in the milk tea. Serve with tall spoon or fat straw.

Notes

  • To make simple syrup, boil equal parts water and sugar until dissolved. Let cool completely. May be stored in a bottle in the refrigerator until ready to sweeten the boba tea.
  • Avoid cooking the tapioca pearls too early or they will harden and dry out when cool and not be chewy. Always use freshly cooked boba for the tea recipe.
  • Be careful not to choke on your aspirations when slurping up the pearls in the straw.
  • Hunt for a bounty of other Star Wars-inspired recipes under our Theme Menus page. May the 4th be with you—and with your spirit!

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