Sunday, August 03, 2008

Scones and Muffins for a Non-Shower

Sunday, August 3, 2008
Months ago--last April or May, I think, before we went to Australia and New Zealand, I was planning to give a shower for two women who were expecting babies around the same time. Then one of them had her baby five weeks early (don't worry; everything is fine), and so we didn't have the shower. Finally, now that both babies are big, happy, healthy kids, I decided we'd just have a non-shower, at which there are no presents and the guests of honor are out-of-utero.
Here are the guests of honor:

This is Nora. She's the one who arrived early, but she's all caught up now. Usually she's smiling and laughing, but she was a little discombobulated by Jim and his ever-present camera.

This is Alex. Come to think of it, he's usually smiling too. Jim just has that effect on people. Alex was right on time and is now in the 99% of height and weight. He is known, affectionately, in his household as "Fatty."
It was supposed to be 95 and humid today, so I planned to do the baking early in the day. I served bellinis or mimosas (or orange juice for people who don't drink at 10:00 a.m.), cranberry scones, orange blueberry muffins, cucumber salad with smoked salmon and smoked trout, and yogurt with berries and caramel.
The scones were a new recipe from the NYTimes. The reason I wanted to try this recipe is because it specifies a particular kind of flour that I didn't have. After I saw the recipe, I decided that I must have it--it's King Arthur mellow pastry flour, and it did make the most tender, mellow scones I have ever had. And a breeze to make--a few pulses in the food processor, roll them out, and they're ready for the oven. I'm definitely going to use this flour the next time I make pie.

Oops--I forgot to add the dried cranberries to the dough, but no harm done--I just kneaded them in and rolled the dough out.

They're brushed with a little cream and beaten egg, which gave them a nice sheen.

The blueberry-orange muffins are from Dorie Greenspan's big fat baking book. Guess what they have in them? Three-quarters of a cup of buttermilk. Guess how much buttermilk that leaves for me to use up? Um, I think the answer is 26 ounces, which seems like a lot. Fortunately, hundreds of people on the internet have already typed out this recipe, so I don't have to. This is from the Miami Herald
I bought some really fat blueberries, which are great to eat, but not ideal for muffins because they burst open during baking.

You can see the difference between the whole berries in the unbaked batter, and the big patches of purple after baking.

I can't show you pictures of the babies eating muffins because these young mothers are so persnickety about letting their babies eat real food. I think I was advised to give Sarah cereal and bananas when she was five weeks old, and then I'm pretty sure she moved directly on to hot dogs, which were considered an ideal food for babies because they had protein and were easy to chew. I'm not making this up, you know.


Doughadear said...

Hi Marie
Your scones and blueberry muffins look devine! Actually your menu for the non-shower made my mouth water.
I can't believe how babies nowadays aren't fed solid until they're almost walking. When I had my babies it was cereal at one month, vegies at two months, fruit at three months and finally meat at four so I know you are not making up any story about feeding your baby hot dogs. ;)

jini said...

everything looks delicious as usual marie. i'm glad you found a scone recipe that uses buttermilk....that was supposed to use up the b-milk, not start a new problem. :)
i certainly fed my babies cereal quite early and then the little darlings slept through the night and so did i! what a concept.
i looked for farro at linden hills and although they didn't have it they said they'd order it. i need to start using those whole grains!
it was good to see you.

Melinda said...

I want to try that flour now. Fat chance.
The scones look yummy and I like it when the blueberries burst in muffins. Excellent.
My daughter started real foods at about 6 months. She was grabbing food away from me so I thought she was ready. I didn't think to give her hot dogs!
I think a debut non-shower is a lovely idea. I love the mimosas and blinis. That's big girls food!

Melinda said...

I think I read the bilnis wrong. Silly me. Still sounds good with the cucumber, smoked salmon and trout.

evil cake lady said...

both your scones and muffins look delicious, and I too love it when the blueberries burst!

and how nice to do a "welcome to the world, baby" party! this way everybody got to meet (and hopefully hold) the little guests of honor. much more satisfying in my opinion!

breadbasketcase said...

Yes! The squash came right after the cereal and bananas, and then came peaches.

I ate farro in Italy, but haven't been able to find it here (although I'll admit I haven't looked all that hard). I'll bet they have it at The Wedge. My inspiration to use whole grains didn't last that long, but I'm hoping it will return.

Is it illegal to ship flour to England? If I try it, I don't want to get arrested. It was bellinis--a drink with peach puree and Prosecco--not blinis, but blinis would have been awfully good if I'd thought of them.

I've decided I like the "welcome to the world" party better than a traditional shower too. Also, the mothers get to drink, which they can't do when they're mothers-to-be. Oh yes, I was not only told I could feed my baby hot dogs at four months, I was also told to drink alcohol to my heart's content when I was pregnant. And I was encouraged to smoke--because the only thing it might do "is keep the baby's weight down, and that's easier for you." I'm not kidding about this either.

jini said...

ah yes, the good old days. i had quit smoking, but i loved drinking beer - about the only time i did. i was told to drink beer to get the milk flowing when i first came home from the hospital. it worked too, and what a happy little mother i was. :)

evil cake lady said...

yeah, i'm a little lax about the alcohol thing with the pregnant and new moms i work with but the smoking thing...i'm speechless.

kind of a testimony to the resilience of babies and little kids, because we've all seemed to grow up okay!