Saturday, June 9, 2018

Procrastibaking with Lucy Burdette

Jane Brody's biscuits but made with sour cream and garden herbs

LUCY BURDETTE: I am a sucker for the Wednesday food section in the New York Times. Sometimes I find a great recipe, sometimes an admirably well-turned phrase by Pete Wells, and sometimes an article that hits my stomach and my heart at the same time. On May 16, one of the front page articles, by Julia Moskin, was about something called "Procrastibaking." Apparently this is a thing--baking when you should be working. It even has its own Instagram hashtag. Procrastibaking allows a person to feel productive while avoiding actual work. And there is a fabulous reward, assuming you've made something delicious. And it turns out, I am an active procrastibaker...

Here are a few baked goods that I've made and recommend…


Cherry Cobbler--oh my gosh, too good to be believed...but only make this when cherries are in season





Raspberry Almond cake--easy as pie and very forgiving while also delicious


And this killer upside down Roman fig cake for the two or three weeks when you can snag fresh figs in the grocery store (or beg them from a neighbor's tree...


As I was reading this article and noodling over a post for this blog, I felt the urge for cornmeal cheddar and pimento scones swell and soar until it could not be refused. Here's what I made, and damn the word count, I say!

Pimento Cheddar Scones

Ingredients

3/4 cup all-purpose flour (can substitute white whole wheat)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 and 1/4 tsp baking powder (I use low sodium)
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ tsp. cayenne or to taste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1-2 tablespoons chopped pimentos, drained

Preheat the oven to 425. Mix together the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or your food processor until it resembles coarse meal. Blend or pulse in the cheese. Stir together the egg and milk and add this to the other ingredients. Stir until combined, then dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead for a minute until everything holds together.

Flatten the dough into a disk and cut it into six pieces. Place the sections on an oiled pan or parchment paper and bake for about 12 minutes until lightly browned. (Try not to overcook or the scones will be dry.)

Are you a procrastibaker? If so, what have you made or what's on your TBB (to be baked) list? If you aren't, what might you like me to try in your name?



PS from Lucy: And hope you will indulge me in this moment of excitement--I found out last week that DEATH ON THE MENU will be an audiobook, first time ever for me! And I got to choose the narrator from three readings. Her name in Laura Jennings and she sounds just like Hayley!! (You are under no obligation to listen to it all, I was struggling with editing.)

41 comments:

  1. Oh, Laura Jennings is absolutely perfect! How wonderful that “Death on the Menu” will also be an audio book . . . .

    I am definitely a procrastibaker. I often make bread, so you can be sure I’m going to try those delicious-sounding scones. I also make cookies . . . the latest is a tweak of a dark chocolate shortbread cookie recipe I found on “bon app├ętit” that’s amazingly yummy . . . .

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    1. the shortbread sounds wonderful Joan! we will need that recipe...

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    2. Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

      Ingredients

      1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
      1/2 cup sugar
      1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, packed
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
      1 cup semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate chips

      1 large egg, beaten
      Demerara sugar

      With mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until very light and fluffy [3-5 minutes].
      Reduce mixer speed to low; slowly add flour, then chocolate chips. Beat just to blend.

      Divide dough in half, wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Roll the dough into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours.

      Preheat oven to 350°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

      Brush each dough log with beaten egg; roll demerara sugar.

      Slice each log into 1/2-inch thick cookies; place about 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet.
      Bake 12–15 minute, until edges just begin to brown.
      Let cool on cookie sheet for a minute, then transfer to wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

      [The original recipe calls for 6 ounces of chocolate, chopped into chunks, but the chips yielded better results for me.
      It also called for sprinkling each cookie with flaky sea salt before baking. Fans of salted chocolate might try this, but everyone here preferred the cookies without the added salt.]

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  2. I'm more of a procrastireader, actually. A whole lot of things have to fall into place for me to get out the pans and the flour and whip up something delicious. I have to have a spotless kitchen, and lots of free time, and the weather has to be cooler than it will be here in Texas for at least another four months. But if I have a looming deadline, that might be just the time to open up a yummy new book and get swept away into a story where deadlines don't exist--only dead bodies.

    Congratulations on the audiobook! Laura Jennings sounds good. I know a little bit about how hard it is to read expressively, and to find the right voice for the project. It's a whole lot more complicated than just reading aloud to your kids, or to some other loving audience. Doing voice-overs for short videos is hard enough. I think tackling a whole novel would be a major undertaking, so hats off to the both of you!

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    1. Procrastireading sounds delightful Gigi, except you don't quite have the same sense of accomplishment, do you?

      I'm sure it's more complicated than we can imagine. And yet so important--because a listener could decide they don't like the book or won't go any further--all because of the voice!

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  3. Oh my gosh, now I have a name for my problem! I too am a procrastibaker and, most of all, a recipe "research" procrastinator--I'll spend ages sifting through dozens of recipes for the same dish. Thanks for these recipes and congrats on the audiobook!

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    1. Thanks Nora, It's great to have company. I love researching recipes too. I use Pinterest and also good old Google.

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  4. The scones sound yummy - of course as do the rest of your recipes! Right now I'm on Barb Ross's front porch in Maine doing some procrastigazing at a drop-dead gorgeous cove on Boothbay Harbor. ;^)

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    1. Have a great time Edith--that's called a day off:). well deserved...

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  5. Congratulations on the audiobook! That must be a thrill the first time you hear your characters come to life this way!

    And yes, I'm a procrastibaker (the photos have my mouth watering!). I am also a procrastireader, procrastiweeder, planter, errand-runner--you get the picture....

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    1. I do Flora--lots of things can look more appealing than writing:)

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  6. I hate using the oven and heating up the kitchen during the summer, but I adore blueberry muffins made with fresh berries for breakfast. That's about it for summer baking.

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    1. I'd love to have one of those right now for a mid morning snack...although the fresh blueberries are not ripe yet in CT.

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  7. Just yesterday I was looking at scone recipes. It's either make them myself or take a trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake for the best ones outside of the White Hart in Salisbury, UK.

    How does it feel having someone read your book to you? Are all the right feelings and emotions being expressed in all the right places? Inflection is so much a part of what we mean when we say something, and I've wondered how those who read for audio books get it right. Or do they?

    Off to get a piece of toast. Who needs scones anyway!

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    1. I've only heard the little snippet that I posted so far. Of course a few things I might have done differently, but mostly it was sheer fun to hear the words out loud!

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  8. Yes! Until I read the Times piece in May, I didn't know it had a name. But I sure did know how to do it. Writing a book takes a long time and for uncertain results. A batch of muffins can be done in an hour and with a tangible, edible treat at the end. Oh,yes. Recently a writer friend mentioned her cheddar scones, so I had to ask for that and try it.Terrific.And my husband ordered small cake pans so I could make him a less-than-huge layer cake. So I did. And it was rhubarb season. And now strawberry shortcake time. Mmm. The book? Ah... (So glad to know I am not alone in this)

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    1. Oh your hub is definitely an accomplice in this...mine is always happy to share in the results too! I love that he actually ordered small cake pans...good luck writing.

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  9. I'm more of a procrasticook. As in I simply MUST make homemade granola (that's sort of baking, isn't it?), or homemade yogurt, or fermented veggies... But I do like to bake and all your recipes sound delicious, Lucy!

    Huge congrats on the audio book!! I love Laura! She sounds just like I imagined Haley would sound!

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    1. Thanks Debs! Yes, granola fits into the procrastibaking category. I need to make that again too--I ate the last bit yesterday

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  10. Oh my goodness Lucy, that is fabulous! That is incredibly exciting, and you must be so happy. I got goosebumps!
    As for procrastinatibaking—That is completely hilarious, and I have never done it in my life! I do procrasticook a bit— mostly I procrastiorganize and throw stuff away. Anything, magazines newspapers notebooks old pieces of paper with writing on them. Throw throw throw. It’s crazy, isn’t it? It’s like a compulsion…
    We are on the road, driving to Bow New Hampshire to speak to the Romance writers! See you soon !

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    1. I'll trade you some organizing for baked goods Hank! Have a fun with the romance writers...

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  11. Well, on and off (and on again right this minute) I've been procrastireading JRW. I don't think there's a cure for that!

    Oh, and I would love some strawberry shortcake right now, Lucy/Roberta!

    DebRo

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    1. We don't want a cure for that DebRo, we love having you visit!

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  12. Yum, yum, yummy! Oh I would definitely like the recipe for those herb biscuits. I can almost taste them!

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    1. Judi here's the link for the biscuits. I subbed sour cream for cottage cheese this time and added snipped herbs, about a Tbsp of chives and dill:

      http://www.mysteryloverskitchen.com/2012/11/cottage-oat-biscuits-la-jane-brody.html

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    2. Thank you, Lucy! I just now listened and I can't wait to get on with the series. I'm only a couple of books in there but I will catch up!

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  13. Yay on the audio book, Lucy! It's so cool to hear your words come to life in that way! That almond raspberry cake looks delicious, and any recipe that can be described as "forgiving" is right up my alley!

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  14. I'm so excited about the audio book, Lucy! I love Laura Jennings' voice as Haley. Congratulations on this great news. And, your post has made me so hungry. I especially am drooling over the cherry cobbler. I'm not a procrastibaker because I just don't bake very much anymore, but I think baking is a great use of time.

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  15. Hello Hayley!! But oh now, what a teaser. Congrats, I know is will is wonderful just like the others. I like procrastibaker. Kind of softens just finding any old thing to do to avoid work.

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    1. thanks for the vote of confidence! I'm starting to get nervous...

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  16. The audio clip was great! Drew me right in. I don’t avoid chores by baking or cooking. I read! Which is why the house looks like it does, my desk looks like it does......

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  17. Lucy, the audio clip is wonderful, really love that voice. So glad that I broke my rule to have NO SNEAK PEEKS of new books. It also made me realize that I don’t have “images” characters’ voices. What they look like, how they move very vivid in my imagination, but not how they sound.
    On procrastination: procrastinbaking and procrastinlaudry are my devices.

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    1. No I didn't have a voice idea either, but when giving 3 choices, I knew right away which sounded right.

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  18. I don't do baking really. The one time I baked a cake it was as a lark to kind of joke with a former high school classmate who bemoaned the fact that no one made her a cake when it was her birthday. So I made my first and only cake, took a photo of it with a slice cut out and posted it on Facebook for her to see. See, she lives in New York and I'm in Massachusetts. So, I figured much like gifts at Christmas, it's the thought that counted. So at least she can't say I never made her a cake. By the way, the cake was delicious, but I certainly did an amateurish job frosting it...until my mother took the frosting implement away and did it herself so it looked presentable.

    That potential new relationship I spoke about a few days ago when the topic was Christmas planning in advance...she's a baker. By all accounts a pretty good one too. So at least I can hope for some cookies and cakes (and maybe a pie if I'm lucky) somewhere down the line.

    And this is completely stretching the topic to the breaking point (or maybe just completely off topic and I'm just kidding myself here), but the long baking process that led up to me doing the first musician interview after being asked to do them for a very long time led to my interview with heavy metal singer Leather Leone being published on KNAC.com this past week. While I am sure no one here is into heavy metal, should you like to check out the interview itself (for kicks) here's the link: http://www.knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=28620

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  19. Yum! Thanks for the recipe! I’m a big believer in procrastibaking. I’m on deadline but had to stop everything to bake bloodied today - priorities!

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  20. Is it procrastibaking if you write a culinary series and are trying out recipes for your books?

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  21. Excellent narrator! . . . and that makes such a difference! ;-) Now I want a scone or some pie, but I might get it from my favorite bakery and let them have the heat from the oven.

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