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Churn Baby, Churn! - Butter and Cheese at Home

Churn Baby, Churn! - Butter and Cheese at Home

There is a lot of debate, suspicion, controversy and, in general, lack of trustworthy information, about raw milk. There are obviously several players on different sides of the argument, all with their own piece of interest and point of view. Much like any animal product (or plant for that matter), there is always a percentage of population that are allergic or intolerant to something in the product. Dairy, whether raw or processed is no exception. We simply do not fully understand the composite chemistry of milk or how it reacts with the human system to have a sufficiently convincing argument either way. So, most of us resort to the safest course that we can think of, and, shy away from anything that seemingly did not get torched in the process of killing anything potential harmful. Even, if it comes at the price of losing the positive things as well. It is a choice each of us chooses or not.

If you are not a raw milk proponent, I am not going to attempt to convince you otherwise. If you are a raw milk addict, this is no sisterhood post. I love raw milk. That is my choice. And, mine alone. 

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Scones that taste like Summer....

Corn, Cheese and Sundried tomato scones

Yep, I started baking again... The heat has abated just enough for me to not melt when the oven is on. Or for that matter, butter stays in shape for more than a couple of seconds outside the fridge.

I figured that was a sign for making tarts, scones and such. I was in a savory mood and inspired by the barmy sun streaming in (through those same large windows I complained about before), I decided to bake some summer into a bite.

Corn, Cheese and Sundried tomato scones1

Corn, Cheese and Sundried Tomato Scones they were to be, spiced with fresh cracker pepper.

In the corn country that we live in,the ear is available year round but they are the sweetest and most succulent during of the months of Summer. Sun kissed tomatoes ofcourse begged to be included and the cheese was well the knot of the happy marriage :)

Corn, Cheese and Sundried Tomato Scones

200 g flour
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
60 g cold butter, cubed
140 g milk
1 egg white, whipped frothy
2 tsp fresh coarse cracked pepper
1/4 cup grated aged Pecorino cheese
corn kernels from 1 medium ear
2 T diced sundried tomatoes
1 yolk + 1 T cream for egg wash

Corn Scones

Sift together the flour, salt, pepper and baking powder together. Cut into the mixture the cold butter until they are no more than the size of peas. Stir in the corn, tomatoes, cheese, and mix well. Add the egg white and milk and mix for form a dough.

On a floured surface knead just a bit to make into a non-sticky dough ball. Pat the dough out with your palms to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out scones and place on a greased baking sheet. Brush egg wash over the scones.

Bake at 425F for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool on rack. Serve warm with clotted cream or spiced Bechamel sauce.

Happy Birthday FSK!!!! :) and a Pulled Tandoori Chicken Sandwich

Pulled Tandoori Chicken sandwich

Yes! Three years ago, this month, this wonderful creature was born. She came into this world, rustic and small and changed my life completely. I watched her grow and blossom, fondly listening to every breath, inhaling her sweet smells every morning and any number of times during the day.

I nurtured her and nourished her with constant attention, bestowing my deepest creative moments in a quest to mold her and a whole lot of hard work to prime her to be as perfect as I could. Isn't she beautiful?! :)

Yes, today, I sing a joyous birthday tune to celebrate her third year of existence! Happy Birthday to Fork Spoon Knife!! :)

Pulled Tandoori Chicken sandwich1

And to celebrate this third anniversary of my blog, I have a treat for all you wonderful readers. I think you will really appreciate and enjoy what I have lined for your this month! More on that in the next post. Let me just say that it is perfect for the fun and frolic of the warmer months, for long walks around the park and city and picnics with friends.

For this one, I want to keep it short and sweet and leave with this succulent creation that is a true fusion of traditional Indian flavors and mordern Western dining. Bring home a piece of India with this bold and aromatic Pulled Tandoori Chicken Sandwich!!!

Pulled Tandoori Chicken

Pulled Tandoori Chicken sandwich

Prep Time: 3 hours to overnight
Cook Time: 45 min
Total Time: 4 hours

4 chicken thighs , bone-in, skinless
4 tsp butter

For the marinade:
3/4 cup diced red onion
4 cloves of garlic
5 dry red Kashmiri chillies (not very spicy but deep red)
1/4 cup vinegar
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground chillies
3 T olive oil
1/4 cup thick, whole milk yogurt
salt to taste

Soak the chillies in vinegar for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the chillies. Grind all the marinade ingredients to a smooth paste. Coat the chicken thighs generously with all the marinade. Place the thighs in an oven proof bowl and refrigerate atleast 3 hours, preferrably overnight to allow the flavors to soak in.

Remove the chicken and thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes before you are ready to cook. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the butter over the chicken pieces. Bake until the meat is fully cooked, about 40 minutes. Taste the marinade and check to make sure the onion is cooked. If not, leave it in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and shred the meat. Toss the meat in more of the cooked sauce and set ready for the sandwich.

To assemble the sandwich

1 baguette, sliced horizontally
4 T fromage blanc
pulled tandoori chicken (from above)
sliced red onion
sliced tomatos
sliced cucumber
boiled egg

Coat the inside of the baguette with fromage blanc. Arrange all the filling ingredients on the baguette and serve immediately.

Gluten Free Peanut and Almond Chocolate Brownie Pots .. and the Food Blog Forum Orlando

Gluten Free Brownie Pots

What a fabulous weekend this was! I was in Orlando for two days attending the Food Blog Forum and meeting so many people I had been speaking with for months.

Crazy world that we live in now, isn't it?! We talk for hours on non-personal mediums before actually making that face to face connection, which, has typically been the basis of any relationship. Yet, it works!! I had a blast finally meeting those who have inspired me, supported me and just so many new lovely bloggers.

And, Oh! yes, the short respite from the quizzical NY weather was ofcourse lovely. Ninety degrees ain't barmy, I agree but after tiring six months barely North of the thirties done make one more acceptable of the other extreme.

The Speakers

So, what happened at the forum? A lot of good learning and merry making.Julie and Dawn had lined up just the perfect speakers that as a food blogger we would be interested in hearing from. There were discussions around building the optimal site (for viewers and search engines), food composition and photography, making a buddy of that big media house rounding off with the plain simple truth.. the opportunities for making moolah in it all!!

And special thanks to Jaden for being so open about how she came to be where she is, putting real things in uncluttered perspoective and giving us an idea of just what we can aim for. She was indeed the true Spirit of Generosity that she believes in!

I think it's safe to say that we all left optimistic, enthused and ready to start converting our dreams to reality.. setting goals, making real plans of getting there and working consistently on getting there. So good luck to us all! :)

Helen styling session

As part of the event, Julie and Dawn had also arranged great mixers pre and post. Friday was bit of feeling your way through evening but by Saturday we were all good friends! LOL. I am so happy I got to meet so many passionate and fabulously talented bloggers, not to mention, amazing people I have been wanting to meet for eons!!

I finally met Helen!!! Her photography has been an inspiration for my journey of viewing through the lens. I have spent so many hours, I don't dare to count, ogling through her archives and the ethereal beauty of her photos, in a quest to learn and grow.

Bread & Spread styled by Helen

Sometime during Saturday evening, Helen, Jeff, Susie and I were discussing photography (DUH! right! 2 photographers and 1 wannabe!) and particularly the merits of shooting food against dark and white backgrounds. I personally love photos with dark backgrounds. I think it isn't for every subject but there are some, and I remember, specifically, bringing up the brownie, as on that works on a dark background.

So, yesterday, when I was itching to bake and since brownies are my somewhat comfort dessert, I fall back on, brownies it was. But, of course, I wanted to try something new right?! So, hesitantly, I looked around and mustered up the courage to go gluten free again.

Brownie pots

No, really, I was not banking on serendipity. Just more flavorful flavors that are similar in texture and density to regular flour. And, my secret was ... peanut flour!! I have to confess, I don't like peanuts in food.. just cannot do it. But in here with the chocolate and almonds, the flavor is mellow and smooth.

Peanut with chocolate is awesome! Two strong flavors that yet, balance and bounce of each other. The brownie has the hint of peanut but is also well rounded by the cocoa and dark chocolate. Texture wise, it is moist, with a fudge like bottom and more more cake like topping.

Brownie Pot scooped

I made these in little pots, just for fun. It's cool to have your own brownie pot, ain't it, especially, since I find it very very hard to share brownies! Anyway, you can always make these in the typical brownie mold that you use. Happy Week! :)

Gluten Free Peanut and Almond Chocolate Brownie Pots
(based on my original Brownie recipe)

Brownie Pots scooped
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Total Time: 35 min
Yield: 4 individual servings

5 T butter

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (be generous)
2 T cocoa powder
1 egg
2 T fine peanut flour
2 T buckwheat flour
3 T almond meal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
dried plums (optional) '

Over a double boiler melt together the butter, sugar, salt, cocoa and chocolate until the butter has melted and it's a thick mixture. Remove from heat and whisk in the egg quickly. Add the almond meal, both the flours, baking powder and mix completely.

Pour the batter into a greased individual ramekins. Place dried plum in the center of each ramekin. Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes. Remove to cool on rack for as long as you can hold yourself.

Orange and Rosemary Scones with Blackberry and Rosé Quick Jam

Orange and Rosemary scones

Weekends are, for me, days to unwind, relax and think about what I want to eat. This weekend, I felt like scones. So I baked fresh scones for breakfast, well, actually it turned out to be brunch :D.

I love scones, as much as I love many other British things. But, I can honestly say that the ones from Starbucks are not it! For the real treat, you really have to get them homemade or well, perhaps from Britain would also work, I suppose..:)

I have yet to find a quaint, mostly British place that serves good scones around here. Well, Tea and Sympathy here in NYC was fine but it seemed a tad too adapted for the west-of-the-Atlantic tastes. Besides, I am yet to visit the United Kingdom. So, until then, I guess I'll just have to keep baking them myself! :)

Scones ready to eat

Sometime back, Julia had run a series on adding savory touches to sweet dishes. One of her creations stayed in my mind, a rosemary kissed orange custard. So, when opportunity presented this time, I decided to test out the combination and make these Orange and Rosemary Scones.

I have to say that orange and rosemary make a fabulous combination! I used a ton of orange zest that kept the flavors of the scone fresh while rosemary nicely balanced it out with a grounded earthiness! As I soared on the citrus, the herb played the good gravity goddess :)

These scones go great with butter or clotted cream (of course!) and Blackberry and Rosé Quick Jam I had made before. The Rosé reduction adds a mellow note to the jam and acts as a natural preservative as well!


Orange and Rosemary Scones
(inspired by the recipe here)
{makes 8-ten 2.5 inch scones}

Orange and Rosemary scones close up

200 g flour
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 orange
2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely minced
60 g cold butter, cubed
140 g buttermilk
1 yolk + 1 T cream for egg wash

Sift together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder together. Cut into the mixture the cold butter until they are no more than the size of peas. Stir in the zest and rosemary and mix well. Add the buttermilk and mix for form a dough.

On a floured surface knead just a bit to make into a non-sticky dough ball. Pat the dough out with your palms to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out scones and place on a greased baking sheet. Brush egg wash over the scones.

Bake at 425F for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool on rack. Serve warm with butter and jam.

Blackberry and Rosé Quick Jam


2 cups ripe blackberries
1/2 cup Rosé wine
2-3 T sugar
2 tsp pectin

Bring everything except the pectin to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Mash the blackberries into the sauce and cook until it reduces to half its volume. Add the pectin and cook until the sauce thickens. Pour into a sealable glass jar and seal while still hot.

Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK