If not for St. Patrick’s Day coming up (a celebration in my family, which I wrote about here), mid-March would be kind of bleak, noted for the Ides of March (the occasion of Julius Caesar’s assassination). It’s an in-between season, neither winter or spring.
It is still rainy and blustery here, still a time to enjoy pots of soup accompanied by crusty bread. But there are those times when you run out of bread and wish for some nice heart-warming baked goods you could whip up and take out of the oven in just about half an hour from the time you thought of it. I’m here to tell you it can be done!
A recipe I came up with recently, oatmeal scones, is quick, easy and satisfying. You can make it plain or add currants, lemon zest or caraway seeds for a very respectable substitute for Irish soda bread (which Americans seem to remember only once a year — and then it turns out the authentic version is not what we had in mind anyway.)
This afternoon the idea of oatmeal scones materialized into a plateful of them so quickly that Steve could hardly believe it. Set the oven to 425 degrees now, and you can be eating them soon.
If you’re in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit, serve them with something green –perhaps Anna Thomas’ green soup, a skillet full of sauteed chard or kale with some garlic and lemon, or maybe a chopped kale-lemon-walnut salad like the one I made today.
For the salad, finely chop a bunch of lacinato kale and one medium organic (or unwaxed) lemon, skin and all. Add a quarter cup of chopped toasted walnuts. (Some chopped apple would be good in this too. Or some dried cranberries.) Sprinkle with salt and drizzle in as much olive oil as you like, perhaps adding more lemon juice (stir in half a teaspoon of honey if it’s too sour for you). Very healthy!
Oatmeal scones (makes 6)
- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or substitute all-purpose flour)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup oats (not quick-cooking)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut in small pieces
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
- 2 tablespoons currants (optional)
- zest of one lemon; 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (both optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar)
Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the butter is the size of small peas
In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, mix the egg and yogurt together, then add to the dry ingredients, mixing only until it comes together into a soft dough.
Put the wedges on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, till golden. Serve them warm.
On any day of the year, these scones will go well with both savories and sweets, from breakfast to coffee or tea time to dinner.
I must say these scones were delicious with lemon marmalade, accompanied by a strong cup of Irish Breakfast tea. They lifted my spirits, chased away the March blues, and almost made me forget the tea was decaf!