kruizing with kikukat

Monday, November 6, 2017

Feels Like Fall: Ohelo Berry (or cranberry!) Scones

I guess it's now time to start thinking about Fall and what I have to look forward to.  The weather seems a bit cooler, and I've actually been tempted to use the fireplace.

Expecting to buy some turkey, I thought it would be a good idea to take stock of freezer real estate.  Sadly, the availability of free space in there was dismal.

But my task did yield a pleasant find...frozen ohelo berries.  I must have picked them a few months ago and forgot I had them.  I had enough to make a dessert, but what I was really jonesing for was scones.

A few weeks ago, a nice student brought me 2 still-warm scones, courtesy of the culinary arts teacher (this is the same teacher who brought the taco salad to the potluck).  The scones were delicious, and since then, I've been wanting to make my own (=more; =as many as I want to eat).  Finding the ohelo berries was a good reason to get busy.

If you are not familiar with ohelo berries, please visit my post for Ohelo Berry Bars.  I have a link there for an explanation about these special berries.  I also have another post/recipe, Ohelo Berry Cream Cheese Pie.  Cranberries (coarsely chopped for this scone recipe), currants and blueberries would make good substitutes for ohelo berries.  And since it's November, we all know where we can find the best deal on cranberries. . .Costco!

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     2 1/2 c flour
     2 tbsp sugar
     2 1/2 tsp baking powder
     1/2 tsp baking soda
     1/2 tsp salt
     zest of 1/2 lemon
     1/2 c cold butter
     3/4 c buttermilk
     1 tbsp honey
     1 egg
     1/2 c fresh or frozen (and defrosted) ohelo berries (or coarsely chopped cranberries)
     turbinado or coarse sugar

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a measuring cup, stir together buttermilk, honey and egg.  In a food processor bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.  Pulse a few times to mix.  Add butter in chunks, and process until distributed throughout.  Remove flour mixture to a mixing bowl.  Stir in buttermilk mixture until barely combined.  Turn dough onto a generously floured surface and pat into a rectangle.  Spread berries on half of rectangle and flip plain half to cover berries.  Flatten out rectangle and fold into thirds (letter style).  Flatten again and fold in half.  Pat dough into a 7 x 10" rectangle.  Cut dough into 6 squares and cut each square into 2 triangles.  Place triangles onto parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle tops with turbinado sugar.  Bake 16-19 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

This recipe was adapted from the buttermilk scone recipe found on the Canadian Living website.  When I tried the original recipe, it was difficult to work with because of the super-sticky dough.  I changed a few things to make the dough manageable and added ohelo berries.

 Sapporo, Japan
October 8, 2017, Arrival:  Night 1

We arrived in Sapporo on Sunday evening.  I know we were delayed an hour or so out of Honolulu (something about a small part called "landing gear") but I have no idea what time it was when we finally checked in to our hotel. 

The Keeper's suggestion, Toyoko Inn (we stayed at the one across the street from the Hokkaido University campus), turned out to be very clean and orderly.  It was not ostentations like some of the hotels I stayed at on my last visit to Japan, but it was good enough.  I actually lol'd when I stepped into the elevator...some of my friends would need to ride it solo!  It was fricken small.  The Help, OllieMama and I, with our luggage, barely fit.

Finding a place to eat was just as challenging as squeezing into the elevator.  As we walked around Sapporo station, restaurants were putting up closing signs.  Five of us (the other two ate at a robata restaurant across the hall) ended up at a ramen place in the station.  For me, the biggest "aha" came with the ordering system.  Instead of reciting your order to someone, you put your $ in what appears to be a modified vending machine and make your selection(s).  The machine will spit out a ticket(s), which you hand to the person behind the counter.  Being handicapped in reading Japanese, I just ordered what The Keeper ordered (less gyoza) would've taken too long for him to read the entire menu to me.   

The ramen was tasty enough, but The Keeper felt it wasn't THE BEST example of Hokkaido ramen.  Apparently, we ordered a spicy miso ramen with corn topped with a huge chunk of butter.  Although full of pork flavor, the broth was rather thick and bit too spicy for what I would want as a broth.  There was definitely a "grill" flavor (this is a good thing) very similar to the flavor which keeps me ordering the Osaka saimin at Restaurant Osaka (in Hilo). Maybe it was all the excitement of being in a new place, but I could hardly eat half of it.

And I should have learned from this...I don't like corn in my ramen.

We spent the rest of the evening checking out the area in and around the station.  There were so many food vendors on the main floor (where the ticket machines are).  I made a mental note of what I planned to eat in the next few days.

In spite of not being able to eat my dinner, I couldn't resist buying my first Mister Donut pon de ring.  It was yummy.  I vaguely remember hearing about Mister Donut, and I'm pretty sure D1 had a pon de ring when she went to Sumoto with the Builders Club.  But nothing could prepare me for the texture.  The donut was light, yet chewy.  Since then, I've read a bunch of different blog posts about what makes the pon de ring so chewy.  Here is a pon de ring recipe at the Cooking of Joy blog.  It's the first one I plan to try when I recover from jet lag.  Of course, I've got a list of other things I want to try replicating too (like that darn cheese tart).

There were a lot of people still milling about, and I couldn't wait til the next day so I could get my bearings.  Being confused and disoriented with direction was not a good feeling.  And at this point, all entrances/exits to the station looked the same! 

I was too tired to even try and orient myself with landmarks. . .I blame it on being awake way past my bedtime.  Unlike some of my fellow travelers, I could not fall asleep on the flight.  I had a super hard sudoku book and a knitting project to keep me entertained, and I ended up doing a bunch of puzzles and starting (and frogging,  re-starting, re-frogging, and re-starting) a cowl.

I was a bit apprehensive about bringing knitting with me on the plane.  I was careful to bring wooden interchangeable needles, and since I hadn't started the project, I kept the cable separate from the needles tips.  I also made sure that what I brought was replaceable...I could buy another cable and tip assembly.  And the yarn I had with me was not nearly as precious as a skein from the Cyborg's Craft Room. . .just in case those monsters decided to confiscate my things.

I went to bed that evening feeling grateful to The Keeper for getting us to the hotel from the station.  The last time I was in a train station (Osaka), I vowed never to enter without leaving a breadcrumb trail to find my way out. 

I was also hoping that it would be cold enough to wear all the shit I knitted.

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