Gluten-Free Date, Pecan and Lavender Scones

by Amanda Paa on June 16, 2014

Lavender, Date & Pecan Scones {glutenfree}Although this weekend was quite a wet one, it surely didn’t rain on my parade. There’s a solitude that comes with rainy day naps and comfort baking, one that I gladly welcome. I made these Date, Pecan & Lavender Scones as the pitter-patter of the big drops replaced the music I normally cook to. The cool breeze from a cracked window carried their barely sweet, lavender and rosemary aroma and down the hallway.

lavender, pecan and date sconesScones are tricky to master, especially when you add gluten-free to the requirements. I’ve tried several times, trying to balance the qualities that make a scone a scone – flaky, not too dense, and flavorful without being too sweet. They’ve always tasted good, but a little on the crumbly side and too thick. But thanks to this technique taught by the lovely Sarah from the Vanilla Bean Blog, these scones were finally what I’ve been looking for.

If you haven’t visited Sarah’s blog, do yourself a favor and hop on over. Her writing is among the best, her photography skills are brilliant and her recipes inspiring, the kind that make you want to get up and start baking a cake as soon as you’re done reading the post. In fact, the lavender extract (p.s.- how cool is The Hatchery?!) I used in these scones landed in my hands at a recent party to celebrate Sarah winning the award for Saveur’s Best Baking Blog. I couldn’t be happier for such a humble person.

pure lavender extract | the hatchery

Lavender, Date & Pecan Scones {glutenfree}But back to the key to these beautiful scones. It comes down to the grated frozen butter and a rolling/turning of the dough, creating the most perfect texture you could ever imagine. You can even see the layers of flakiness that bakes up around the dates and pecans. I’m not sure why I haven’t put those two together before. They’re really a wonderful balance between sweet and nutty, especially with the herbal tones of rosemary and lavender floating in the background.

Lavender, Date & Pecan Scones {glutenfree}Enjoy the week ahead and if you’re subject to a rainy day, I highly recommend filling the house with the aroma of these scones. And on another note, if you can’t find lavender for photos, lilacs are a good stand in too. ♡

Gluten-Free Date, Pecan and Lavender Scones

makes 8 scones
adapted from Sarah’s recipe & technique shown here, with excellent step-by-step photos

270 grams Cup4Cup gluten-free flour, a scant two cups (or your favorite all purpose gf flour)
3/4 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar + additional for sprinkling tops
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup chopped dates (about 8)
1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream + 2 tablespoons for brushing tops
1 teaspoon pure lavender extract (or vanilla)
1 egg

Position a rack in the center of the oven and the preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, heavy cream, lavender and egg. Grate the frozen butter on the large holes of a box cutter and add it to the flour mixture. Toss with your fingers until the butter is evenly coated. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Transfer the dough to a floured surface, and dust the top of the dough with flour. Knead the dough 6 to 8 times, until it resembles a ragged ball (add more flour if it is sticking too much).

Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12 inch square. Fold the dough in thirds (a business letter fold). Lift the short ends of the dough and fold into thirds again, making a 4 inch square. Transfer dough to a baking sheet or plate dusted with flour, and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Bring the chilled dough back to your well-floured surface, and roll into a 12 inch square again. Sprinkle the dates and pecans over the dough, then press them down gently into the dough. Using a bench scraper or the flat side of the knife, loosen the dough from the surface, and roll it into a cylinder (roll it like a jelly-roll log to help incorporate the dates and pecans). Roll the cylinder so it is seam side down, and then press into a 12 by 4 inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut the rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles, then cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles. Transfer the triangles to the baking sheet.

Brush the tops with a little heavy cream and sprinkle them generously with sugar. Bake until the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18-25 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

16 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Breakfast, Fall, Recipe Box, Spring, Summer, Sweets, Winter

rhubarb rosé sauce with grilled basil pork tenderloin | heartbeet kitchenWith the abundance of rhubarb I have growing in my backyard, I vowed to use it in more savory applications this year. If you’re new to rhubarb, making a berrylicious cake or oozing crumble pie is a great introduction, but eventually you’ll begin to appreciate its tartness. I can still remember the first time I picked rhubarb from my great-grandmother’s farm, thinking it would be just as sweet as the strawberries she had growing next to it. One bite in and the pucker power hit me, my mouth salivating like I had just eaten one of those sourballs that were so popular at the time.

But that vegetable that parades around like a fruit grew on me, starting with strawberry rhubarb jam. Now I can’t get enough of it, even stockpiling it in the freezer to utilize throughout the winter.

Savory Rhubarb Rosé Sauce | heartbeet kitchenThe inspiration for this Grilled Basil Pork and Rhubarb Rosé Sauce actually came from a picture I stumbled on of my mom and I a few years back at the Minnesota State Fair. Always one of my favorite events, I remembered her and I people watching on a bench as we ate hot, fresh-cut french fries and the best roasted turkey sandwich (mine w/out the bun) from the Turkey-to-Go Stand.

It doesn’t sound very glamorous, but it had this tart, savory cranberry sauce that had hints of cardamom and cinnamon that complimented the rotisserie style meat just perfectly.

Rhubarb is definitely more vegetal in flavor, however it has that same tart, yet can be tamed, profile of cranberries. So I set out to make a similar sauce by simmering the slender pink stalks with matching dry rosé wine, cardamom, cinnamon and a touch of honey. A little green onion and black pepper to balance its pucker, and the wine (if you know me, you know there’s always a bottle of rosé in the fridge) to give it the acidity that all good sauces need.

rhubarb rosé sauce with grilled basil pork tenderloin | heartbeet kitchenWhat resulted was one of my favorite sauces I’ve made to date. In fact, I think the simple basil and garlic pork tenderloin that I grilled felt like a queen getting such special treatment. The light sourness was splendid with the meat, and I love the little crunch that comes from the herbed crust.

Savory Rhubarb Rosé Sauce | heartbeet kitchenSalty, sweet, tangy and pretty, this recipe is a winner. Now go fire up that grill!

Basil Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Rosé Sauce

serves 2

1 pound pork tenderloin
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
7 fresh basil leaves, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (reduce to 1/4 teaspoon if you are using table salt)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Sauce (can be made two days ahead of time):
8 ounces of rhubarb, about 2 cups chopped
1/3 cup dry rose wine (or a dry white wine)
3 tablespoons honey (or more depending on how sweet you would like it)
2 tablespoons minced green onion
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of salt & pepper
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 cinnamon stick, broke in half

To make the sauce: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 25-30 minutes until rhubarb has broken down and sauce has began to thicken. Remove from heat and take out the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. Carefully pour into a blender and blend on low until mostly smooth. Return to saucepan and simmer for another 15 minutes to thicken and reduce it even more until it is saucelike. Taste and add more honey if you prefer. If making ahead, let cool and store in glass jar in refrigerator.

To make the pork: Combine basil, garlic, salt and pepper to form a coarse paste. Rub pork with olive oil, then massage paste all over the meat. Let sit for 40 minutes, covered, at room temperature. After 30 minutes, preheat your grill to high, making sure it gets to about 5oo degrees for the initial sear.

When pork is done marinating, place it on the grill and turn grill down to medium-high heat. Then cook for about 8 minutes per side, until it reaches 140 degrees at its thickest part. Remove from grill and let rest for 8-10 minutes. The resting stage is very important because the residual heat in the pork will further cook it to approximately 160 degrees F, and the juices will be allowed to redistribute. Slice the pork and serve with rhubarb sauce.

Savory Rhubarb Rosé Sauce | heartbeet kitchen

5 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Cooking Techniques, Main Dish, Market Talk, Seasonal, Spring, Summer

Wordless Wednesday

by Amanda Paa on June 4, 2014


2 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Favorite Things, Spring

Hip Green Dip

by Amanda Paa on May 30, 2014

Hip Green Dip | heartbeet kitchen {gf,v}If you live around the Midwest, you know how seriously amazing that sun, breeze and fresh air has felt the last few days. You also know how badly we’ve deserved it after the winter we went through. I’ve been soaking up all the rays I can get before my new job starts on Monday — eek!

A little freelance work has given me the opportunity to scope out a few of the hip new places in Minneapolis – some of the coffee type, some of the watering hole type. Let’s be honest, getting paid while sipping a luxurious iced coffee at Spyhouse, or a zesty rhubarb shrub/margarita on the patio at the latin hot spot, Hola Arepa, is pretty dreamy. It’s definitely made me ponder what it would be like to be my own boss, choose my own hours, schedule and lifestyle. But I also know I’m seeing through rose colored glasses, or in the case of this dip, I’m seeing all green.

Hip Green Dip | heartbeet kitchenThankfully, I was also able to squeeze in a barbecue with friends and catch up before the busy summer begins. My Bacon Wrapped Jicama and these Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms area always a hit, but I also wanted a lighter addition, something to utilize all of the green goodies occupying my refrigerator.

Enter my new favorite chip sidekick – this bright and creamy Hip Green Dip. I thought about naming the recipe Avocado Edamame Dip, but it needed a name that echoed its vibrance.

It’s chockful of healthy bliss – avocado, edamame, cilantro, and lime. And although not green, creamy white beans make this dip a cross between hummus and guacamole. It’s the best of both worlds!

Hip Green Dip! Avocado, Edamame & White BeansAppetizers with short prep time are always at the top of my list too. This smooth green goddess is ready within 15 minutes. There’s no chopping or peeling required. Just a quick dip in boiling water for the edamame (if you use frozen) and after that, all it takes is a quick whirl in the food processor.

The cilantro, garlic and cumin give it some extra kick and freshness. Feel free to add more if you’d like, and even some hot chili flakes. I like to serve it with tortilla chips, especially these sprouted Sriracha ones from Way Better Snacks that I’m HOOKED on, but it would make a great spread for a veggie sandwich as well.

And don’t be afraid change up the flavors to your liking: use basil or parsley instead of cilantro, lemon juice instead of lime, or tahini or miso instead instead of olive oil. Enjoy, and happy weekend!

hip green dip! @ heartbeet kitchen

Hip Green Dip

serves 8

1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans
1/2 cup shelled frozen edamame, blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes
1 avocado
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
3/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon cumin powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
juice of one lime
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup warm water

Add beans, edamame, avocado and garlic to a food processor. Process for 20 seconds. Add cilantro, salt, cumin, and lime juice and turn the processor back on. Drizzle in olive oil and water, blend at least one minute until completely smooth. Adjust salt and cumin as needed. You can add a little more water if you want it to be thinner in consistency as well.

Hip Green Dip #glutenfree #vegan

15 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Appetizer, Recipe Box, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian

Parsnip & Garlic Chive Home Fries

by Amanda Paa on May 24, 2014

Parsnip Homefries // heartbeet kitchenThese aren’t the home fries that are your hangover cure from the local greasy spoon. These are the home fries that cure your hunger from hustling through the market, navigating around strollers and avoiding some nasty road rage in the free parking lot. You know what I’m talking about.

parsnip & garlic chive homefries | heartbeet kitchenI love seeing plants go through different stages of their life cycle. Right now the garlic chives, ramps and spring onions are abundant, and in a few weeks their next stages will appear in the form of green garlic, groovy garlic scapes, shallots and leeks will start to appear.

Parsnips have stages too, getting better and better with time. They truly are a slow food – slow to seed, slow to grow, but worth the wait. After the first frost in fall, their starches start to convert to sugar. You’ll see them in many winter root vegetable dishes, adding a savory sweetness. They can be left in the ground all winter long and when they are dug up in spring, my oh my are they sweet when roasted.

parsnip & garlic chive homefries | heartbeet kitchenCue these Parsnip & Garlic Chive Home Fries.

This might sound strange, but a deep inhale of garlic chives in the spring is as invigorating for me as that of an inhale of daffodils. Yes, food dork, I know. But it’s true! They’re the perfect match for the sweet caramelized parsnips. And those brown crispy edges? Dang….so good, a result of roasting instead of frying, which keeps this side dish on the healthier side too.

I love how the chives are fresh, grassy and garlicky without the harshness of raw garlic cloves. You can use both white and green parts, much like ramps. I used one spring onion for garnish too. Their flavor is much milder than a fully grown onion, and the more green the better, right?

parsnip & garlic chive homefries | heartbeet kitchenThese home fries are great on their own, but add a poached egg and a side of thick cut bacon and you’ll be thinking you should start your own market fresh hipster brunch spot. Just make sure you’ve got PBR in a can if you decide to do that.

Parsnip & Garlic Chive Home Fries

serves 2-3

1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into dices (about 3 cups diced)
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons minced garlic chives
1 spring onion, thinly sliced, crosswise

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread parsnips equally onto two baking sheets so that they are not touching each other. Drizzle each pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a crack of fresh ground pepper. Bake both pans for 12 minutes, then stir and bake for additional 20 minutes, until parsnips are tender and golden brown.

Remove from oven and stir in remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, chives and most of the onion, leaving about a tablespoon for garnish. Add to plate and garnish with remaining onion.

Add a poached egg and a side of bacon for a smashing breakfast.

parsnip & garlic chive homefries | heartbeet kitchen

6 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Breakfast, Market Talk, Recipe Box, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian