Appropriately Sized and Served on the Side: Lil’ Savory Cheddar Dill Scones

ina garten cheddar dill scones

Savory Smaller Cheddar Dill Scones

One of the things that drives me most crazy is the size of portions at restaurants. And, I’m not just talking about at The Cheesecake Factory. I’m not averse to the giant drinks at the bar there – but, that’s a different story.

The other night I was out to dinner at one of my fave Mexican restaurants in the West Village. I ordered the Baja (read ‘fried’) fish tacos. In a totally wrong way in my head, ordering the fish tacos vs the chicken chimichangas, would be ‘better’ for me. I realize that’s wrong.

mole fish taco

Giant Portion

When the tacos arrived, the plate – probably 10 inches in diameter – was completely covered. It was literally a portion that could serve a family of four if Melissa D’Arabian had anything to say about it. Seriously, there were no fewer than 8 big pieces of Baja fried fish smothered in tomatoes, onions, cilantro, topped with avocado slices and sitting atop 7, yes 7, soft tacos. Ridiculous. Delicious, but ridiculous.

It’s just too much. I mean, does the restaurant think that food for four should be served to just one? And, are they promoting eating that much just by serving it? Does the restaurant have a responsibility for controlling the portions they serve? I think so. And….Don’t get me started on giant sodas, because, sorry, I agree with the mayor here.

In a city where space is at a premium – and our kitchens are tiny – the giant restaurant portions amaze me.

sur la table nyc

It’s like crack for a cook

My niece and nephew sent me a gift certificate to Sur La Table for Christmas. Whenever I shop for kitchen stuff, I have to take into account my tiny kitchen. I have to make choices – I want, but don’t need, another 6qt Le Creuset pot, another All-Clad grill pan, 7 more spatulas, the pasta attachment to my KitchenAid mixer, more wine glasses etc etc etc, ….And, I sort of do want a Scone cutter….But, where would I put any of these things?

Bottom line, is there isn’t room. And, a scone cutter, cuts out big scones. As the boss of my test kitchen, I have a responsibility to serve reasonably sized portions. So instead of a scone cutter, I bought a set of biscuit cutters. Better choice for a few reasons:

  1. They nest like Russian Dolls – one inside the other
  2. You get 5 sizes, not just one – more versatile
  3. They’re a lot smaller than a single scone cutter – controlling your portions and saving you space
  4. They come with a ring that connects them to one another – don’t throw out the ring as it will help you keep them organized in your tiny kitchen

I’m a savory, not a sweet eater. I heart savory scones – rarely a breakfast entree like their sugary cousins, but rather a side dish, an accoutrement to the main course. So, why should we make giant ones?

Lil’ Savory Cheddar Dill Scones (makes 24 baby scones)

Ingredients

  • scones recipe ina garten

    Scone Mise En Place

    2 Cups + 1TBSP Gold Medal all purpose flour

  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1 TSP Salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 TBSP) unsalted COLD butter, diced – dice the butter, then put it in the freezer for :10mins
  • 2 large eggs + 1 egg for egg wash
  • 1/2 Cup heavy cream chilled – measure out the cream and then put it back in the fridge until you’re ready to add it
  • 1/4lb extra-sharp Irish Cheddar cheese – small dice
  • 1/2 Cup minced fresh Dill

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

1. In the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer, combine 2 Cups of flour, the baking powder and salt

kitchenAid mixer scones

Use the Paddle Attachment – and just mix :05

2. Add the cold butter dices and mix on low until the butter is in pea sized pieces

3. In a separate bowl (or, I used a water glass, whatever works) mix together the eggs and heavy cream

4. Add the creamy-egg mix to the buttery flour mix and combine until just blended and a dough forms

cheddar dill scones

Don’t Over Mix!

5. In a separate bowl, toss the dill and cheddar dices with 1 TBSP of flour just to coat

cheddar dill scones

Tossed with Flour

6. Add the coated cheddar and dill to the dough and mix to combine

cheddar dill scones recipe

Mix for just :05 seconds

7. Put the dough on a well-floured surface and knead for about a minute to get all of the cheddar dices and dill-iness well incorporated

8. Roll out the dough to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick – if you were making a traditional scone, you might want them thicker…but again, too much food!

cheddar dill scones

Don’t roll too thin…

9. Using the two inch biscuit cutter I just got from Sur La Table – cut into circles

sur la table biscuit cutters

Space Saving Nesting Biscuit Cutters

10. Place the savory scone circles onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with Reynold’s Wrap Pan Lining Paper and brush them with egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 TBSP water)

cheddar dill scones

Oven Ready Lil’ Scones

11. Into the oven for :16-:18 mins if you used the 2 inch biscuit cutter, :20 – :25 mins if you used a traditional scone cutter. Just watch the scones – when the outside is browned and crusty and the inside is fully baked, they’re done

scones ina garten recipe

Lil’ Cheddar Dill Scones

These scones are good. Like really good. And, my tiny apartment still smells a little like butter from the baking process. They are in no way low-cal….But, rather a more responsible way to give my guests a little savory delicious indulgence appropriately sized and served on the side.

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Thinking Inside The Box: PopOver-PopIns

Williams-Sonoma Texas Tins

Popover-PopIns With Cheddar Cheese

For years I have been intrigued by the catch phrases and words that come in and out of vogue in business speak.

Sarah Palin and John McCain

Failure to Vet

For a while, it was very important that we ‘vet’ everything. Like ‘do you think we’ve appropriately vetted that idea/brand/event?’ I blame the overuse of ‘vet’, ‘vetting’ and ‘vetted’ on John McCain’s team who apparently failed to properly ‘vet’ his running mate, Sarah Palin.

We used to ‘think’. Then we learned to ‘brainstorm’. After that we were encouraged to ‘ideate’.

We have ‘balls in the air’. We ‘dance on the head of a pin’.

We wanted to be members of functional teams. And, now we need to be members of high performing teams – this one we like to abbreviate to just HPT.

It was once considered exceptional to give the job/project 100%. Until someone asked for 110%. And now I think the going give rate is 1000% Wow! That’s a lot!

We also have been accused of not being able to ‘get out of our own way.’ At times we ‘can’t see the forest for the trees.’ We have to always be ‘innovative.’ There are all those people who are ‘penny wise and pound foolish.’ Etc.

Thinking outside of the box

Brilliance

But perhaps the most overused of all marketing catch phrases is ‘thinking out of the box’. It’s so very important that we think ‘out of the box.’ With its overuse, thinking out of the box has literally become inside of the box thinking.

In cooking, sometimes the best ideas are inside the box. Especially when the box is a light, eggy, airy popover and inside is a delicious secret of sharp cheddar cheese.

PopOver-PopIns (makes 12)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

1. Mise En Place

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • Butter for greasing the pans
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Popover mise en place

Mise En Place – Tres Important!

2. Mix all ingredients EXCEPT THE CHEESE in a bowl with a whisk. The mix will be thin.

williams-sonoma

Everybody in the bowl

Cheddar Cheese Popovers

Whisk it!

3. Butter two Williams-Sonoma non-stick Texas Tins and put into the heated oven for :02mins.

Popover pans

Buttered PopOver-PopIn Pans

4. Take the pans out of the oven and pour batter into each cup about 1/2 way up

texas tins williams-sonoma

Pour Into the Pans

5. Pop a pinch of the shredded cheddar cheese into the center of each cup

PopOver-PopIns

Place the Cheddar Cheese

6. Bake for :25-:27 mins – You’ll know they are ready when the edges are a rich golden brown. Because of the cheese well, they will pop over and pop in.

Williams-Sonoma Texas Tins

PopOver-PopIns Popped Out of the Oven

7. Pop them onto a plate….And put a perfect pat of butter into the steaming center

Williams-Sonoma Texas Tins

Pop Butter Into the PopOver-PopIns

One of the best things about the popover-popins is that they freeze beautifully. So, if you can’t eat all 12 at once, pop the leftovers into a freezer bag and into the freezer. When you’re ready to eat them, wrap them in tinfoil and pop into a 350 degree oven for :10 mins to heat through.

Thinking differently is key in many situations – creating newness and partnerships that are unexpected can catapult a brand into the forefront of the consumer’s mind. Just think about what the unexpected male spokesperson (Brad Pitt) has done for one of the world’s most iconic fragrances.

In popovers, though…with very few balls in the air and without dancing on the head of a pin – You can create a yummy goodness that’s all on the inside of the box. No need to vet that.