Sundried Tomato, Basil

and Feta Cheese Scones

May 30: National Scone Day

Most of the scones recipes we feature on our blog have been sweet ones. But we are slowly adding more savory scones recipes on our list, such as this one with sundried tomatoes, fresh chopped basil, crumbled feta cheese and black olives (optional). They look like tender American biscuits with a subtle Italian flavor—a testimony to the international impact of the humble Scottish scone! For National Scone Day, mix up something savory—make tomato, basil and feta cheese scones.

Recipe

(Adapted from RecipeLand)

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • ¼ cup very cold unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes, drained of oil and chopped finely
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup black pitted olives, drained and chopped (optional)

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and pepper.

Cut in the butter and mix until the flour resembles large peas. Stir in the buttermilk and gently mix until the dough is moistened. Avoid overmixing the dough or the scones will be hard instead of tender. Add the chopped sundried tomatoes.

Stir in the basil leaves and feta cheese. Mix well until the dough comes together. Add a little buttermilk if it is too dry; add a little flour if it is too wet.

Turn out the dough on a clean, floured surface. Roll out to 1-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds (or triangle shapes). Place on greased baking sheet lined with foil. Brush tops with a little buttermilk. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until browned on top. Remove from the oven. Serve warm with butter. Yield: Approximately 9 scones.

Notes

  • Islander is not fond of olives so she omitted them in this recipe. But Highlander likes them so she adds them to these savory scones on occasion.
  • Search our blog for more scones (both sweet and savory) recipes.

Midori (Japanese Melon

Liqueur) Cake

April 29/May 4: Greenery Day (Japan) [みどりの日Midori no Hi]

We missed Greenery Day in Japan by just one day when we flew into the “Land of the Rising Sun” in 2019 for Highlander’s belated kanreki. But we arrived in time for Boys’ Day (May 5) and the culmination of Golden Week.  As spring has already sprung, the pink cherry blossoms have given way to all the natural green beauty of the country.

Greenery Day in Japan began on April 29, 1948, to celebrate the birthday of the emperor. In 1989, the Emperor’s Birthday was renamed as Greenery Day. In 2007, the date was moved from April 29 to May 4. The whole week includes holidays commemorating the Emperor’s Birthday, Constitution Day, Greenery Day and Boys’ Day (also known as Children’s Day).

We celebrated our own Greenery Day at home in Texas and reminisced about our trip to Japan by making a green cake. We even used a Japanese melon liqueur called midori to give it a little culture and color! And we ate a few slices of midori cake while we drank green (matcha) tea.

Make a midori cake for tea time and on Japanese Greenery Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Food.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 small (3 ½ ounce) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup Midori (melon liqueur)
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract or flavor

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs and yogurt.

Stir in the oil, Midori and coconut flavor. Mix until smooth.

Pour into a greased bundt pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Overturn cake onto a plate or cutting board. Slice and serve.

Notes

  • Feel free to add a few drops of green food coloring to the batter to boost the hue of the Midori cake.
  • Sprinkle the top of the bundt cake with powdered sugar for a prettier presentation (optional).

Homemade Butter

May 1: National Butter Day

When Islander was in elementary school learning about food and dairy products, she and her classmates were divided into little groups and given jars of cream. Each student in the group would take turns shaking the jar until parts of the cream solidified into butter. After draining the buttermilk, everyone enjoyed spreading butter onto crackers and eating snacks together. It was a lot of fun and energetic way to learn about making butter from scratch (she wonders how she would have gotten through that lesson now since she has developed lactose intolerance in college; she takes pills for it).

We decided to make butter at home—after our inattentiveness to beating heavy whipping cream turned out to look like a mess of light yellow wet cheesy curd. But that was just the butterfat separating from the buttermilk. We continued beating it further, then straining the liquid, and came out with real butter. A little Hawaiian sea salt and more beating gave us a creamy, spreadable, fresh and tasty butter. What a deliciously yummy mmmmm-mistake!

Now we overbeat the cream on purpose so we can have some homemade butter. Instead of shaking the cream in jars (or using a traditional churn), we simply let our Kitchenaid mixer whip up a batch of butter and buttermilk. This is a fun experiment with kids and a delicious way to observe National Butter Day.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream, very cold
  • ice water
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Directions

In a cold mixing bowl with cold beaters (such as the Kitchenaid balloon whisk), pour the cream. Beat on low for a minute, then increase to medium speed and whip until soft peaks form. Increase the speed to high and beat for another 3-5 minutes.

Scrape the sides and cover the mixer with a towel or splash guard. Beat on high for another 3-5 minutes until the solids separate from the liquid. Place a strainer over a bowl and pour the liquids out from the butter; reserve the buttermilk for another use.

Transfer the solid butter to another bowl and squeeze out more liquids by rinsing with ice water until clear. Return butter to mixer and change to the whisk to the paddle attachment. Add sea salt (or other flavors) and beat until creamy. Store in a covered container for two weeks.

Notes

  • After straining the butter from its milk, return to the mixer and whip with some herbs, citrus zest or honey for different flavored butters.
  • Spread fresh homemade butter on bread/biscuits/toast/scones, use in recipes or make buttercream frosting.