Category Archives: Odds ‘n’ Ends

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! 


Idaho Sunrises

Okay.  I am about to describe to you the most delightful, fun to eat, tastylicious breakfast EVER.  In the history of humans breaking the fast, I doubt there has been a yummier breakfast ever thought up.  This was the perfect Easter morning treat.  The potatoes are shaped kindof like an egg, and they’re stuffed with an egg (not to mention bacon and cheese)…really, how can you go wrong?

I present to you…the Idaho Sunrise.  This time the dish is so incredible that I feel the photo can speak for itself.  I found this recipe over at Gimme Some Oven, which is one of my new favorite blogs.  Naturally, I changed the recipe up a bit.  I couldn’t bear to part with all that lovely baked potato goodness after scooping out my potato bowls, so I essentially turned some of it into twice-baked-potato filling and put some back into the bottom of my potato bowls.  I made a well in this mashed potato mixture with a spoon to be sure my egg would sit nicely inside.  The interesting thing is that the egg white cooked into the mashed potato a bit, creating a layer of light, fluffy, potatoey egg white that was really delicious.  I think the egg white might have had a different texture if I had not put in the mashed potatoes.  I will have to try this recipe the original way (no mashed potatoes in the bottom) to find out.

Also, I left out the butter in the original recipe.  Accidentally.  But, since my sunrises were scrumtrillescent, I decided that the butter probably isn’t necessary (trying to shave calories where I can, so I can enjoy the bacon and cheese!).  If you want to add the butter, put 1/3 Tbs (or a thin pat) of butter inside your potato bowl just before adding your egg.

Anyway, do try these, you won’t be disappointed! 

Idaho Sunrise

Adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Ingredients (for each serving):
One large russet baking potato, baked (see baking instructions below)
One egg
1 slice bacon, cooked and cumbled
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used colby-jack)
2 Tbs half-n-half
1 scant Tbs fresh chopped parsley


To bake potatoes (Alton Brown’s recipe):  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Scrub potatoes well (you’ll want to eat the skin!).  Pierce skin all around several times with a fork.  Rub potato with mild oil such as canola.  Sprinkle with salt.  Place directly on preheated over rack.  Place a pan or cookie sheet on the rack beneath to catch any juices.  Bake for about 1 hour, or until cooked through.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  You can bake these the day before, as I did.  Just cool whole potatoes to room temp, wrap in plastic wrap or place in a Ziploc bag and store in the fridge.

To assemble and bake sunrises:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a sharp knife, cut a nice oval opening in the top of your potato and lift this top piece off, skin and all.  Scoop innards out of each potato, to make a potato bowl.  You can make the wall of the bowl as thick or thin as you like.  My bowl walls were about 1/3 inch thick.  Place the potato innards in a bowl.  Mash with the 2 Tbs half and half and about 1/8 cup of shredded cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Using a medium spoon, scoop some of the mashed potato mixture back into the potato bowl.  You will want to spread it along the bottom and up the sides a bit, to make a well for your egg and toppings.  Don’t add too much mashed potato mixture, or your egg white will overflow!  I had some mashed potato left over.

Crack one raw egg into your potato bowl, on top of the mashed potato mixture.  Top with crumbled bacon, the remaining 1/8 cup of shredded cheese, and the parsley.  Add salt and pepper to taste (I only added pepper).

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until egg is set, about 40 minutes.  Enjoy, though beware: these beauties are extremely hot on the inside.  Even though you will want to scarf them down immediately (I promise), it might be best to wait a few minutes or devours these slowly so as to allow some of the heavenly-smelling steam to escape.  The roof of your mouth will thank you.

Ps. Ali over at Gimme Some Oven even suggested a sweet potato version of this dish, which I am excited to try sometime in the near future.  Really, nearly any filling/flavor combination could work…the sky’s the limit!