Posts Tagged ‘Marsala Wine’

These scones pretty much speak for themselves. Inspired, yet again, by Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain, a cookbook that I apparently cannot get enough of, Kim brought together two of my favorite things: Figs and buckwheat.

If you’ve never baked with buckwheat flour, you’re in for a treat, and perhaps a bit of a surprise. Buckwheat flour is not fluffy or light, rather, it’s dusty and earthy. Grainy and on the strong side, what it lacks in gluten (you almost always have to blend it with other flours in baking) it makes up for in intensity and, in my world, beauty. I love buckwheat’s dark purplish, gray hues and sandy texture. It lends itself well to the way I like to photograph food, as still-life rather than simply dinner.


Kim Boyce’s Figgy Buckwheat Scones

I only tweaked one thing about this recipe, so I feel I can’t safely say it is “adapted”. I used raw sugar instead of regular cane as that is all I had on hand. Next time, for kicks, I may use honey or molasses as a substitute.

What you’ll need~

Dry Mix

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup raw sugar, or cane sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet Mix

1 stick cold butter, cut into 1/4 inch chunks

1 1/4 cup heavy cream, I used whipping

1 cup fig butter (recipe below)

Sift your dry ingredients into a large bowl. If you’re using raw sugar you’ll have to stir that in after you’ve sifted the flours.

Add butter and rub the butter with your fingers until in becomes coarse like grains of rice.

Add cream and stir until the dough is just combined.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and shape into a rectangle. Keep your hands and the surface floured, as the dough will be fairly sticky.

Using your rolling-pin, roll out dough into a rough rectangle that’s about 8×16 and 3/4 inch thick.

Spread the fig butter onto the dough. Roll the dough, starting from the long side, into a log. Make sure the seam is at the bottom of the log.

Cut the log in half and place on a plate. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

When the logs are finished chilling, remove from your refrigerator and cut each half into 6 even pieces. You want the scones to be about 1 1/4 inch wide.

Place the scones face up on the baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, rotating halfway through.

The scones should be golden brown on the bottom. Eat warm straight from the oven.

Fig Butter

I tweaked this recipe a bit as well. I didn’t have any port on hand, so I used Marsala. Worked like a charm.

What you’ll need~

1/2 cup raw sugar

2 whole cloves

1 star anise

1 cup red wine

1/2 cup Marsala, or Port

12 ounces dried Black Mission figs, stems removed

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 stick butter, softened

Pour 1/4 cup water and the sugar in a small saucepan and gently stir with a wooden spoon incorporating the sugar. Don’t let the sugar splash up the sides of the pan.

Add the cloves and the star anise.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook for about 8 minutes.

Add the red wine, Marsala, figs and cinnamon and cook over medium, stirring, for another 2 minutes.

Reduce your heat to a simmer and cook figs for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Spoon out the cloves and anise and pour the figs and liquid into your food processor. Process for about a minute.

Add the butter and process until the mixture is smooth.

Spread on to figgy scones, or store in the refrigerator for about a month.


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Today was going to be a good day. I woke up, made some tea, starting tidying up the kitchen for this morning’s shoot, and wham! Migraine. Yeah, migraine.  My body’s way of saying slow down, or I hate you, or something I haven’t quite figured out yet. These little treats starting appearing in my world about five years ago. Thankfully they are not as frequent as they were say about a year or so ago, but they still suck. What’s exciting about my migraines is that I get the auras. Flashy, jagged, broken glass-like lights in my vision just powerful enough to pretty much blind me for about an hour. Once or twice a month one of these fun-filled migraines will pay me a not so little visit. Nausea then kicks in followed by a fantastic headache that will last pretty much through the rest of the day. Aren’t I lucky?

The only solace that I could possibly find in this little shop of horrors is that many believe Picasso suffered from the same sort of migraines. If you suffer from auras, and you spend some time with his work then you will see exactly what I am talking about. There’s a certain point somewhere after his Blue period that you begin to notice a certain geometry in his paintings and drawings. Right angles, triangles, jagged, broken glass like shapes. And then there’s the Cubist period. Almost undeniable, in my opinion. There’s no proof that I’m aware of. No notes in a journal, or words spoken on the subject by a close friend. It’s all speculation, really. And by no means, am I an expert on Picasso, but, well, it’s nice to have a little camaraderie with one of my favorite artists of the 20th century. Someone I can commiserate with, if you will, on a visual plane. Literally.

I don’t always do this, and believe me, I can’t always do this, but, at times, once the auras have passed, I sometimes continue to plow through the day. Damned be the headache and fatigue, some days I just have to keep going. And today has been one of these days. I had mushrooms to stuff, by God! And so I did.

Ugly white mushrooms stuffed with bison, pecorino, fresh breadcrumbs and cilantro had to be made and they did not disappoint. Earthy, salty, and just slightly crunchy, these little guys should be popped in your mouth whole and followed by a swig of a rustic Rhone red.

Be sure to share.


Stuffed Mushrooms with Bison

Adapted from

I found twisting the stems off the mushrooms and gently using your thumb instead of a knife worked well to remove the broken stem bits still attached to the inside of the mushroom.

18 + large white mushrooms

Olive oil

1/4 Marsala

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1 cup grated pecorino romano

1/4 lb ground bison

1 clove minced shallot

smoked paprika

4 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

Remove and coarsely chop mushroom stems. Reserve caps and put aside. Warm oil in a large skillet of medium heat and add chopped stems. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Slowly add Marsala and let evaporate. About 2 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in breadcrumbs. Place mixture in a medium bowl and set aside to cool.

Using the same pan, place on medium heat and add a little oil. Add bison and chopped shallots and sauté until cooked. Sprinkle to taste of smoked paprika. About 3-5 minutes. Add bison mixture to breadcrumbs and mushrooms, stir and let cool.

Stir pecorino romano and cilantro into the mixture.

Place mushroom caps on a parchment lined baking sheet and spoon filling into the caps. Drizzle with olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until stuffing is golden and caps are browned.

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