Bake It Girl

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One of the new elements that my new career (yikes! Career? Really?) as a baker has yielded are my baking workshops held monthly at Happy Girl Kitchen in Pacific Grove. When I met Todd and Jordan Champagne, the owners of HGK, they explained their philosophy and love of preserving the harvest by pickling and jamming their favorite foods. I remember my first glimpse of Todd, noting to myself that Ive never seen a twinkle in someone's eye quite like that fellow. A sure sign this couple is doing what gives great meaning and fun to their lives. We immediately knew what a perfect fit we were for each other, appreciating quality food, beautiful food, and challenging people's expectations and norms.

So, after months of baking and a great reception from the locals, I decided to share my passion and love of the homemade by teaching others how they can do the same thing in their own homes. The concept is simple and humble. Whole ingredients and the less tools and more dough on your hands the better. I try and show my students how to utilize their five senses to really gain more from a recipe than just taste. And once you feel how the dough is really suppose to be, the less need you will have for measuring cups and spoons, precision, and limitations that often time a baking recipe leaves us with. We learn how to substitute and trust our intuitive baker, something I believe everyone has deep inside them... some just a little deeper than others. I truly believe that when you learn to trust your intuitiveness in one area, it will inevitably permeate other areas in your life.

So, I just wanted to share with you how wonderful the last workshop went. Both my mom and my old roommate/greatest pal Megan visiting from back east were standing by my side selflessly washing dishes , getting the attendees anything they needed, and most importantly being a quiet and strong sign of support by my side. Although the workshops give and teach me so many things, the strength that my loved ones give me always is a reminder of how I want to live my life and support the causes and people I care most about.

My mom slaved away, creating the most adorable party favors and folders to hold all of our recipes.

The ladies and gentleman had so much fun (or at least that's what they said) and I am constantly surprised by how wonderfully each team always pulls of the recipes. No precision and mostly their own senses to guide them, they always turn out so many wonderful things.

Creating, laughing, feeling, tasting, and smelling it all, the long days work left all of us exhausted, but filled with a great sense of accomplishment.

Alas, finally a quick recipe that we baked over the weekend. A savory scone with rosemary (or other herbs if you like) sun dried tomato, manchego cheese, and a whole lotta lovein.

And thanks so much to the great Megan Moore for visually documenting our fun day. The pics turned out awesome. Megan is amazing in so many different aspects, but you should definitely check out her food narrative over at Foodie Can't Fail.

Sun Dried Tomato & Manchego Scones

They remind me slightly of a pizza scone and go great with salad, soups, or for someone who has a savory tooth in the morn. Feel free to change up the ingredients: swap olives for the sun dried tomatoes, use the cheese you have on hand, and play with all sorts of herbs. Just listen to what feels right. Let me know how it goes.

1 cup all purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat pastry flour

½ cup spelt flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons herbs of choice (we used rosemary)

about 2 teaspoons cracked pepper, more if you like

2 teaspoons salt

1 sticks or 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled

½ cup buttermilk

1 egg or egg substitute (we use a flax egg)

¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped

¼ cup chopped Manchego cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Combine the flours, baking powder, sugar, fresh herbs, and pepper together in a medium sized bowl. Work in the chilled butter with your fingertips so it resembles course meal or oats. The key is not to overwork your butter; you want nice butter pockets in your scones! Stir in cheese and sun dried tomatoes.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg and add the buttermilk. Stir to combine. Add the dry and the wet ingredients together. Don't over mix, just form into a nice ball. If there is some flour leftover, that's ok.

Flour a work surface and form a round disk that is about 2 inches thick. Brush some milk on the top of the disk and sprinkle with a little salt and herbs. Cut into six even triangles and place on a prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Enjoy! Yay.

Music Pairing

"Calvary" by Bon Iver

There isn't any real tie between this recipe and this song other than I adore them both, but I heard it the other day on NPR's All Songs Considered Podcast and have since listened to it about a zillion times. I can't wait for their new album. June 21st. Yay.


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