Thursday, December 20, 2012

Denim and slugs

I don't have pictures of this one yet, because I haven't made my 'blog batch', but this recipe is so ripe with backstory you'll hardly miss them.

The inspiration for this particular 'good comes from a scene straight out of the first draft of my book, which unfortunately no longer exists. It pained me to cut this part because it was truly trippy and way out of left field, which I supposed proved its undoing.

Page 252:

            She had scones in there, piles of them; doughy wedges stuffed with fresh blueberries and lemon glaze. There was a pot of rice pudding freckled with cinnamon, and stacks of perfectly cut squares of fudge wrapped in waxed paper--the loose ends were twisted like starlight peppermints.

Alright, so here's the gist of the scene, which really was wildly entertaining. Rowan, our culinary crusader, gets mad upset that her kidnapped boy-toy, Gabe, has entered the clutches of a scarlet harlot and has committed the ultimate sin of prom-going. While he is at said prom, Rowan gets balls to the wall drunk, bakes up a bunch of goodies, and then retires to the front porch where she spends hours smoking and pouring beer on slugs and then flicking them into the dark Oklahoma night with a flip-flop. This is a girl who is committed to her meltdown. The high point for me came when Gabe comes home and finds her sprawled outside in the dead of night with her vodka and her slugs and they have the following exchange:

            “Did she get you?” she interrupted. “I only ask because you look sort of unkempt, in a rakish, sexy kind of way.”
            “Did she...why are you talking like that?" 

Oh, Rowan. I love you and your drunken vocab. I don't think we use the word 'rakish' enough. Anyway, the inspiration for THIS scene, and yes there is one, came the night that Allison and I (hi, Allison!) decided to get drunk and tackle my slug problem.

I don't know what was in the soil in 2010, but man alive I had slugs everywhere. They were all over the ground, they climbed up the siding, and crawled up the pipes to hang out in my bathtub. It was a summer of horror.  One night Allison came over and because it was 600 degrees we decided to hang out in front of my house (I don't have a fancy-ass porch like Rowan and Gabe, I have a cement slab and two Adirondack deck chairs, but that's neither here nor there). Once we were good and lit we got to talking about the slugs that were all around us, and after a bit of wiki research we found out that a great slug trap is a cup of beer. Slugs are nature's ravers, so if you put out the hooch they'll go hunting for it, fall into the glass and drown in their own shame. It's the ideal death for a gastropod.

Armed with Information, we went around and started pouring beer on all the slugs just to see what they'd do. We gave them all a healthy splash except for one giant one who got a shot of scotch. And they loved it. They looooved them some beer. They rolled around, all slimy and bloated, and just followed that beer wherever it ran. The scotch slug got too hammered to even think straight--I found him the next morning sunbaked into a pile of mulch, apparently too drunk to remember where he lived.

While we were busy doing all of this important research I decided that my jeans were hindering my scientific findings, so Allison fetched a pair of scissors and cut the legs right the hell off while I was still wearing them. The majestic pair of jorts that resulted continue to be my favorite and most utilized summer item.

After we ran out of beer and all the slugs had passed out, I went inside and wrote a nearly identical scene to the carnage that had just gone down, except that Rowan had made fudge and scones and we did not. Also, and I am not exaggerating, that was the last summer I ever saw a slug anywhere on my property. The baby slugs born that year were told of the dangers of alcohol and continue to spread cautionary tales of what comes from cavorting with me and Allison.

So that was kind of a roundabout way of getting to the point of this post and that point is scones! Blueberry scones with a lemon glaze! So appetizing after reading six paragraphs about slugs! How did Rowan manage such a treat while so thoroughly drunk? Well, I can't tell you that, but she probably made a huge mess, because this recipe is a slop-fest even when you're sober--this might be because I make the dough directly on my countertop, which means that Rowan did, too. The resulting scones are delicious however, and it's really not all that difficult a process. I use Tyler Florence's recipe for these, even though I am not the biggest Ty Flo fan. He sticks his fingers into his food way too much for my taste--all of his dishes have to be swimming with enzymes before they even hit the plate. Go ahead and watch him, you'll see. If he does that with food, I can't imagine the habit not carrying over to his personal life. Anyway, here are the deets:

Blueberry Scones:
·    2 cups all-purpose flour
·    1 tablespoon baking powder
·    1/2 teaspoon salt
·    2 tablespoons sugar
·    5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
·    1 cup fresh blueberries
·    1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones

*Lemon Glaze:
·    1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
·    2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
·    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
·    1 lemon, zest finely grated

*(A small word of warning: the measurements here can be quartered and you'll still have a pile 'o glaze to put on your scones. The suggested amounts produce a LOT of glaze, way too much for any reasonable pastry hunter. Unless you are planning on a glaze chaser you absolutely don't need this much.)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough.

Eggs, no--shit ton of heavy cream, yes

Wonderfully crumby

Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches.

This step always looks like crap. Be not afraid.

Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape.

I love my pastry scraper. I got it at Ikea for a buck.

Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.

You can make the lemon glaze in a double boiler, or for a simpler alternative, you can zap it in the microwave. Mix the lemon juice with the confectioners' until dissolved in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water for the double-boiler method, or in a microwave-safe bowl. Whisk in the butter and lemon zest. Either nuke the glaze for 30 seconds or continue whisking in the double boiler. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.

I believe this is the same one that is pictured unbaked above it. Ah, continuity.

And that's it! I am going to make these tonight and I'll add the pictures in later, obviously in a fabulous and instructive manner that will make it look like I actually made an effort with this post. In lieu of food porn, here's a picture of a bunch of guys in jorts.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! That was one of my favorite nights. Completely along with your husband yelling at us for drinking on the front porch.