Passing on the scone tradition

Samantha's Girl Scout troop relishes a fresh-baked Lemon Poppy Seed Scone.

Samantha’s Girl Scout troop relishes a fresh-baked Lemon Poppy Seed Scone.

Holiday traditions usually pass down to the next generation. But this holiday, our family passed a tradition both down the line and back up.

My sisters and I were in 4-H where we spent many hours practicing for and giving demonstrations on everything from baking bread to ironing shirts. Demonstrations gave us opportunities to organize our thoughts, present in front of groups, and learn that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. My sister’s granddaughter Samantha is a Girl Scout. Girl Scouts also give demonstrations and recently Samantha chose to demonstrate making Lemon Poppy Seed Scones.

This scone recipe was a favorite of my sister Jane. Jane taught her daughter Clorinda to make the scones. Clorinda taught her daughter Samantha. Samantha taught her Girl Scout friends. The tradition passed down just like it’s supposed to. Somehow in all that time, I never made those scones. But when I heard about Samantha’s demonstration, I figured it was time. Especially when she shared her exact way of doing it.

Following Samantha’s directions, I had success on the first time. Thanks to Samantha, the scone tradition has come back up a couple of generations. Here’s the recipe if you want to give them a try. And if you want to enjoy them in the true English way, serve them warm with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Yum!

Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

COMBINE: 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds,  1/4 tsp salt

CUT in 1/3 cup cold butter

ADD 3/4 cup milk and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice.  The dough will be soft.

TURN dough onto a floured surface. KNEED gently six times. SHAPE into a ball. PAT into an 8-inch circle slightly smaller than the thickness you want your scones. CUT into wedges. PUT on a greased baking sheet. SPRINKLE with sugar

BAKE at 425 degrees for 12-15 min. until lightly browned.

NOTE: As described, this recipe yields eight large scones. You can make two or even three circles from the same amount of dough, yielding 16 or 24 scones.

Saving up sunshine

Okay, I know it’s hot. Predicted to be 107 degrees today. I know it’s dry. The driest in Iowa since the 1950s. There can hardly be a soul out there who wouldn’t like to see clouds. I find any square inch of shade when I’m outside and huddle there. But I also know the days are not so far off when I will wish I could see some of this sunshine again.

Cutting corn on the deck

I thought about that as my husband and I set about processing the first sweet corn to come out of the garden. Most vegetables ripen over time. But when corn comes on, it’s all at once.

My husband does his best to spread the pleasure out by planting rows at two-week intervals. We ate the first ears out of the first planting last night for supper. This morning, I picked the rest of that planting. He put sawhorses and a board out on the deck. I gathered pans and knives and dug out the recipe for freezing corn in the 1980 Preston, Iowa, Country Cook Book.

I can never forget how hot it was processing corn on the farm. On what always seemed to be the hottest days of the year, Mom hauled out the biggest pots and filled them with water. While the water came to a boil, we husked corn. Then, in a kitchen that could have passed for a sauna, we blanched the ears, threw them in sinks full of cold water and when the ears were cool enough to touch, cut the kernels off the cobs and packed them in boxes for the freezer. In my memory, processing corn on the farm took approximately forever.

Then my mother in law showed me how to freeze raw corn. No blanching. No hot kitchen. Done in minutes. Ever year I am thankful to her. If you’re looking for an easy way to do corn, here’s the recipe:

Freezing Raw Corn

15 c. corn
3/4 c. sugar
5 c. ice water
1/4 c. salt

Mix together. Put in containers and freeze. (I’ve used a little less sugar and a little less salt and had good results. It’s a matter of taste.)

Corn ready to freeze

I’m telling you it doesn’t get easier than that. It’s a bonus that when you eat this corn, it tastes as though it’s right off the cob, which it is because it’s never been cooked before. We started setting up at 11:30 a.m. and I put 10 pints of corn in the freezer 1 1/4 hours later.

The corn was so fresh, so yellow. Just like sunshine. I know we’ll enjoy some of that sunshine this winter.