Posts Tagged raspberry

Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones

This past week, my lovely little niece Jubalee was born.

At the exact time of her birth, I was having lunch with my family at a nearby cafe. We had been waiting patiently at the hospital, but the nurses told us to go get lunch as it would be hours until Jubalee made her entrance. After all, she was already 10 days late…why not stall a few more hours? But, of course, she decided to arrive while we were having lunch. Life is funny that way.

We quickly made our way back to the hospital to meet the little one. My sister was a champion (16 hours of labor!), but her and the baby are happy and healthy. Jubalee has a full head of black hair, powerful little lungs, and the cutest chubby pink cheeks. I may be biased, but I happen to think I have the cutest nieces on the planet.

So, after a long day of driving, waiting, cooing, picture-taking, baby-gazing and the like, we finally headed home. I was exhausted, but my heart was full. It was a really wonderful day.

When I got home, I did what any normal person would do after a long and emotional day: I baked raspberry scones. I probably should have collapsed onto the couch and zoned out in front of the television, but I just couldn’t help myself. Call me a little crazy, but I find that cooking (and baking) is my favorite form of relaxation. For whatever reason, I’ve found that when I step into the kitchen, my outlook on life changes.

So after the birth of my niece, I cooked. I celebrated her entrance into the world by making a whole host of goodies, including these raspberry scones. The reason I’m writing about the scones now – as opposed to the other goodies I made that evening – is simply that they were my favorite creation of the evening. They were simple, flavorful, and a joy to bake. The dough came together easily, the scones cooked quickly, and when I finally sat down to relax – I munched happily on warm scones and all felt right with the world.

Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I used turbinado sugar)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup (plus a little more) fresh raspberries
3/4 cup whole milk ricotta
1/3 cup heavy cream

Optional: Raw or large grain sugar to sprinkle on top of the scones.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. In a large bowl, whisk together the white and wheat flours, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Add the butter and use a pastry blender (or knives, or fingers) to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas. Toss in raspberries and use the pastry blender (or knives) again to break up the berries into smaller chunks.

Add the ricotta and heavy cream to the flour/butter mixture. With a spatula, stir together until a loose dough has formed (the mixture will be thick and wet). Using your hands, gently knead dough into an even mass, right in the bottom of the bowl.

With as few movements as possible, transfer the dough to a well-floured counter or surface. Flour the top of the dough and pat it into a 7-inch square (about 1-inch tall). With a large knife, cut the dough into 9 even squares. Transfer the scones to prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges.

Chioggia Beet Salad with Raspberry Mint Vinaigrette and Feta

So, a couple months back I wrote about my newfound love of beets. And while I was enjoying the wonderful world of beets, I also made sure to apologize to all the beet haters of the world and promised that I would cool it on the beet posts for awhile. I did mention, however, that I had just planted a bunch of chioggia beets and said that I would probably post about beets again when I harvested my beets. Well, my friends, that time has finally come. My beets are ready!

But let me back up for a second. As you can probably tell from the above photo, this is no an ordinary beet. Chioggia beets are an Italian heirloom varietal of beet, known for their gorgeous red and white striped flesh (they are also called candy cane beets, which makes perfect sense!). I first heard about this type of beet when I read Barbara Kingsolver’s book, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”. While I had mixed feelings about the book, I did come away from it with a clear understanding of what it means to cultivate heirloom vegetables. Currently the term ‘heirloom’ gets thrown around a lot in trendy restaurants and high end food stores. However, there really is something to be said for planting (and eating) heirloom foods.

I won’t attempt to take on the whole of the American food system today (I’ll save that for another day!). Instead, I would simply like to point out a few major changes that have taken place in the agricultural system. As you can see in the diagram below, the availability of different types and varieties of vegetables has greatly dwindled. Just take beets for an example: 100 years ago, there were 288 varieties of beets. Today, there are just 17 varieties of beets in existence.

(Graphic from

If nothing else, these figures are incredibly sobering. Fruits and vegetables are now bred and modified to be resistant to pests, to last longer on grocery store shelves, and to look more appealing to the eye. While the nutritional value of heirloom vs. genetically modified produce is often debated, I happen to believe that heirloom vegetables simply taste better. I also love the variation and beauty that is often found heirloom varietals: purple, yellow and green tomatoes; black zucchini; candy cane striped beets, and more.

It is for these reasons (and more) that I am personally a fan of heirloom vegetables. If nothing else, I find that they are often much prettier than their hybrid counterparts! (Note: To learn more about heirloom varietals and ongoing attempts to save and share heirloom seeds, visit the Seed Saver’s Exchange)

As for the recipe, I made this salad when I was home alone one evening. I went to my backyard, picked some raspberries, mint, and beets…and an hour later I had an incredibly fresh and tasty dinner (I ate the salad alongside a baguette and Salted Molasses Butter). Sadly, the chioggia beets lose a lot of their candy cane brilliance once you roast them, but they still taste amazing!

Roasted Beet Salad with Raspberry Mint Vinaigrette and Feta

4-6 small to medium sized beets (If you can’t find chioggia beets, red or golden beets will also work)
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh mint
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (could substitute lemon or lime juice)
1 small shallot, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled

Roast the beets: To roast the beets, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and trim beet greens off (reserve for other use), leaving 1/4 inch of the stems in tact and leaving the skins on. Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil and bake until tender when pricked with a fork or knife (30-45 minutes). The times will vary depending on the size of the beets. Set beets aside and allow to cool. Once cooled, peel off beet skins. The skins should come off easily when rubbed with a paper towel (or you can just use your fingers).

To make the vinaigrette: Macerate raspberries and mint in a small bowl. Whisk in shallots, olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Add more olive oil if you desire a thinner consistency. Allow vinaigrette to set for 30 minutes or more, to allow the flavors to meld together.

To assemble the salad: Slice cooled beets into quarters, and arrange on a plate. Sprinkle crumbled feta over the beets, and drizzle raspberry vinaigrette over the beets and feta. Garnish with fresh mint. Serve immediately. (Note: this beet salad could be served atop a bed of arugula, spinach, etc.)