Category Archives: Appetizers/Snacks

Peppery Bacon Cheddar Scones, and a tea party

My parents came up to visit for Mother’s Day weekend this year.  To celebrate Mother’s Day and the love of tea I share with my Mom, we decided to have a full-on tea party!  My friend Stacey came over as well, so it was a full house.  We even got the menfolk (Dad and Josh) involved!  My Dad took some fabulous photos of our tea-party shenanigans, so for this post he will be my guest photographer.  Also, his photos are so awesome that I decided to use more than one.  This will be the first process post on BeckEverything! 

My Mom brought up a huge white box filled with all sorts of tea cookies from Stash Tea.  Since she had the sweet portion of our menu well in hand, I focused on something savory but still somewhat traditional.  What is more traditional for teatime than the scone?  Nothing, I tell you.  However, these are no ordinary scones.  These scones are stuffed full of all sorts of bacony, cheesy, peppery goodness.

I found this recipe on Ezra Pound Cake via my foodgawker RSS feed.  The original recipe recommended 2-3 teaspoons of ground black pepper but, frankly, that amount scared the living daylights out of me.  So, I started with 1 teaspoon, stirred it into the flour, and surveyed the spread of little black flecks.  I added an additionall 1/2 teaspoon, stirred again, and decided that enough black pepper was incorporated to my taste.  It also smelled amazing.  If you are a braver (and less sneeze-prone) soul than I, feel free to add the full amount listed in the original recipe.  As it was, our scones had just enough black pepper heat to complement the smokey bacon and Cheddar cheese.

I don’t think I have to tell that bacon + cheese = super deliciousness.  These scones were substantial yet not dense, with a nice tender crumb and a lot of big bacon and pepper flavor.  They were the perfect savory complement to the buffet of sweet things on our tea table.  In addition to the cookies, we also had a huge bowl of really delicious fruit salad, provided by Stacey.  See the end of this post for more photos of our tea party! 

Peppery Bacon and Cheddar Scones
Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake, who adapted from “The Pastry Queen”
Makes 8 to 10 scones

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 handful fresh chives, snipped (about two tablespoons snipped chives)
10 slices bacon, cooked and chopped into 1-inch pieces
3/4 to 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.

Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is crumbly and studded with flour-butter bits the size of peas.

Stir in the cheese.  Add the green onions, bacon and 3/4 cup buttermilk. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated. If dough is too dry to hold together, add the remaining buttermilk until the dough can be formed into a ball. Stir as little as possible to ensure a light-textured scone. (I used the full 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk.)

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and pat it into a ball. Using floured hands, flatten the dough into a circle about 8 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into 8 to 10 equal wedges.

Place the scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Whisk the egg and water together in a small bowl.  Brush each wedge with the egg wash.

Bake for 20-27 minutes, or until golden brown and no longer sticky in the middle. Serve warm.

Baked cheesy goodness.

Cucumber sandwiches (cream cheese, butter, cucumber, sea salt, pepper, and paprika on crustless white bread).

Cookies, cucumber sandwiches, fruit salad (watermelon, apples, orange segments, bananas, strawberries), and scones.

Everyone had their own little teapot…even Dad! 

(Clockwise from lower left) Josh, Mom, Dad, Stacey, and I’m taking the photo.  Look at all that food! 


Crunchylicious Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders

After a long day of working in the garden, gathering fiddleheads, and running errands, I needed something super fast for dinner.  In fact, I am so exhausted tonight that I almost decided to have instant oatmeal for dinner instead of these chicken tenders.  I am glad I reconsidered, though, because these little crunchy bites of chicken heaven are about as easy to prepare as opening a packet of instant oats and pouring on boiling water.

I used the same ingredients as the original recipe I found at Gimme Some Oven.  The only thing I changed was a bit of the preparation process, and the cooking time.  For whatever reason, my tenders were nowhere near done at the end of Gimme Some Oven‘s recommended bake time of 12-15 minutes at 350F.  At the end of the 12 minutes, I just cranked the heat up to 400F and set the timer for another 15 minutes.  The tenders came out golden brown, juicy, and SCRUMPTIOUS!  Hubby and I scarfed them down with honey mustard and organic ketchup (which, if I haven’t said it before, tastes completely different from regular ketchup…it was an acquired taste for me, the Heinz girl).  Depending on the thickness of your chicken pieces, your bake time might be shorter or longer.  Just watch them closely, and you’ll be fine.  You can tell they’re done by pressing gently on the thickest part of a tender; if it is firm, it’s done.  If it feels squishy, it’s not.  Also, you can cut into the thickest part of a tender with a sharp knife.  If the juices run clear and the meat is not pink, they’re done.

These are so quick to make, it’s kindof ridiculous that I’ve never made them before.  Hubby and I were coming up with all kinds of ways to use these tenders (as we gobbled them up)…salads, sandwiches, wraps, munchies, buffalo chicken pizza, the list goes on and on.  I am super glad I tried this recipe tonight.  I am pretty sure these yummy, crunchy tenders were infinitely more satisfying than instant oatmeal would have been.

Crunchylicious Panko-Crusted Chicken Tenders
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven! who adapted from Love and Olive Oil

1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast tenders, or chicken breast cut into strips


Preheat oven to 350F.  You will need three medium bowls for this recipe, in the following “assembly-line” order.

Bowl 1: 1/2 cup flour blended with salt and pepper
Bowl 2: Two eggs, beaten well
Bowl 3: Panko breadcrumbs, blended with oregano, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, sea salt, and pepper

Dredge tenders in the flour to coat, shaking off any excess flour.  Using a fork to help keep your fingers dry, dip the floured chicken tenders into the egg and then roll the chicken tenders with the Panko crumbs.  Arrange tenders on a baking sheet, so they’re not touching each other.  Repeat with remaining tenders.

Bake chicken tenders for 12 minutes at 350F.  Flip over.  Increase oven heat to 400F.  Bake another 15 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.