Pumpkin Scone(s)

October 5th, 2012 · Recipes

Every time I make scones for my parents, I have the same argument with my dad. “Dad, I made you some pumpkin scones,” I say. “You mean pumpkin scone,” he’ll reply. “Grrrr, dad. No. Pumpkin scones-s-s-s.” “Oh, pumpkin scone.” He’s convinced that the plural of scones is scone. He claims that he heard it on a French cooking show. I’m dubious.

my dad in his chef coat

He is also constantly trying to get my brother and I (and everyone else in our large extended family) to use the correct Italian pronunciation of my last name: Filice. We grew up pronouncing it “phil-eece.” But, it should be pronounced “phee-lee-chay” with the accent on the first syllable. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up a phone message from my dad saying “This is Jennifer Phil-eece? Oh, I was looking for Jennifer Phee-lee-chay. Too bad.” A gift with language, and a constant supporter, my dad is the man. He also liked these scone…

pumpkin chocolate chip scones

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

*2 cups all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
*7 T sugar
1 1/2 t assorted pumpkin pie spices (I used cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger)
1 t salt
*6 T butter
3/4 c pumpkin puree
*1/4 c whipping cream or half and half
*1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

(*If you’d like to make these recipes gluten free and/or vegan, I’ve done both with substitutions and they’ve come out beautifully. I substitute the flour with Bob’s Red Mill AP Gluten Free Flour, the butter for Earth Balance, the cream for almond milk, and used vegan sugar and chocolate chips.)

-Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar, spices and salt in a medium bowl, and cut the butter in until it looks like pebbles.

I mix by hand, but you can use a pastry cutter instead

-Add in the pumpkin and cream. Stir until just blended. Add in chocolate chips.

-Roll out a sheet of plastic or wax paper and shape the dough into a flat disk. Seal and let chill in the fridge overnight.

it'll firm up in the fridge. try not to add more flour.

-Cut into pie-shaped wedges, and paint with an egg wash (cream and an egg yolk beaten together or just almond milk and a sprinkling of sugar). Bake on parchment paper at 375 until slightly brown around the edges and springy, but firm when pressed. About 25 minutes.

This recipe was a combination of one that is used by Starbuck’s and another used at the Centrella Inn Bed & Breakfast in Pacific Grove, California.

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Cookie Perfection

July 6th, 2012 · Recipes

It’s hard to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Let me rephrase that, it’s hard to watch American Idol, it’s blissful to search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I fall on the side of the crispy cookie, unless we’re talking snickerdoodles. So, here’s a recipe for a crispy, delicious chocolate chip. Oh yeah, and it’s vegan.

The Perfect (Vegan) Chocolate Chip Cookie

3/4 C Rolled Oats
1 1/4 C All Purpose Flour
1/2 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Salt
1/4 C Olive Oil
3 T Earth Balance
1/2 C Sugar
1/2 C Brown Sugar
Egg Substitution for 1 egg, plus 1 egg white:
(Combine 1 T ground flax seeds, add 3 T warm water. Stir until it has some body.)
1 1/2 t Vanilla
1 C Chocolate Chips

1. Toast oats on a baking sheet at 350 for about 10 minutes. Remove from sheet to cool.

2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large bowl beat oil, butter and sugars with an electric mixer. Add egg and vanilla, beating until well combined. Fold in oats, flour mixture and chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate dough for an hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350. Place rounded tablespoons of dough on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, for about 10 minutes. When golden brown, cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheets, then cool on racks.

Adapted from a recipe created by Sandy Gluck, Eating Well magazine.

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March 6th, 2012 · Linda Sivertsen Writers Retreat

I’m fortunate enough to have graduated through an all girls private high school, to have spent dozens of years dreaming up perfect worlds with my girl sister/cousins, to have been poured and fired by a handful of fearless women mentors, to have felt the steady comfort of my own mother, and to have walked the world with a handful of badasses I call my friends. Some of my closest friends are men, but, come on guys, you do kinda drool.

With that understood, I wasn’t surprised to meet yet another amazing woman in Linda Sivertsen. A New York Times bestselling author, writing coach and spiritual dynamo, Linda holds writing retreats in the Carmel Highlands designed to help women get their book projects published. Linda found me through another cool chick…Elizabeth Murray (author, artist, master gardner, healer). She hired me to cook for the first time last October, and since then, I’ve cheffed for five additional retreats.

Carmel Highlands Womens Writers Retreat

Something special happens when the women get together. They come from diverse backgrounds and geographies, hold different stories, and have different goals, and yet bonds are quickly formed. In a matter of hours, dreams are being planned and tragedies deciphered. Linda is always pleased when she hears uncontrollable laughter coming from upstairs, a few of the women having taken a break from their work to discuss the things only women discuss.

Womens Retreat Eating Curry Caramel

Over the course of five days, as in all homes, the kitchen becomes a central feature of the house. Women pad by in sock feet, making tea, asking about the next meal or if I’d picked up any dark chocolate at the store. It is a delight for me to be in the kitchen, creating meals for these women. A fly on the wall to their incredible conversations over meals and receiver of their gratitute. They praise me for the food I prepare for them. It doesn’t get better than that. So, thank you to Linda and her dozens of women. Looking forward to the next retreat in April!

Carmel Highlands Writers Retreat

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THE Crust

November 4th, 2011 · Recipes

A client recently asked me to come to her house the day before Thanksgiving this year to teach her granddaughters to make apple pie. And, for purely practical reasons (read here I love pie), I decided to do a practice run. While I do love pie, my friend Ellen dedicates herself to a marathon day of pie baking every holiday season, creating fruit and custard pies gallore. This was not that, but as the rain came down today, it was the perfect time to chase pie-crust perfection.

In professional pastry kitchens, I’ve noticed that they mostly use a pate brisee crust for both rustic and formed tarts. They hold their shape and get delicious and crispy when they bake. In the past, I’ve used Martha Stewart’s recipe as a go-to, and it works great. And as Harold McGee reminds in “Keys to Good Cooking…” the less you touch the dough when forming it, the better!

Today, I decided to try something different. A more homey-style recipe that I found, calling for both butter and shortening. First you cut in the butter and incorporate it, and then you add in the shortening and cut it in. After an hour’s rest in the fridge, I rolled it out. It was relatively easy to shape, although it is quite delicate. But, once it was baked! So good. It has the structure of a tart shell, but the extreme flakiness of a puff pastry. Delicious. I’m happy to share the recipe that I found. Now, to perfect the filling…

THE Pie Crust
5 1/4 C Pastry Flour or All Purpose Flour (I used straight AP)
1 T Sea Salt
1 1/2 Sticks (6 oz) Cold Unsalted Butter
1 3/4 C Shortening (or Lard)
1 C Ice Water

-Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl.

-Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut it into the flour until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Be patient–this takes a while.

-Break up the shortening and add it in bits to the bowl. Still working with the pastry blender or fingers, cut in the shortening until the mixture has small clumps and curds.








-Switch to a wooden spoon and add the ice water, stirring to incorporate it.

-Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold it over on itself a few times–don’t get carried away. The dough will be soft, but it will firm sufficiently in the refrigerator.









-Then I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap, pressing it into one large disk of dough, and put it in the fridge to rest and chill. About an hour later, I removed it, cut it into two pieces and formed the top and bottom crust.










-After adding the filling and the top crust, I brushed it over with a beaten egg. Then, I baked it at 375 degrees for about an hour…until the crust was browned and the filling was bubbly.











This recipe appeared in the Spring 2011 issue of Where Women Cook, and was provided by Tricia Martin.


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Peace, Love and Caramel Corn

August 28th, 2011 · Recipes

While the title may be a bit flighty for you, there’s real sentiment beneath my popcorn mantra. This weekend was a blue-sky bell ringer on the Central Coast. Carmel’s 14th Street beach was waiting patiently for dozens of hopeful revelers to descend on its white sands. My friends up to the task, packed up beach blankets, bags and booze to join up with a party already in swing. But, due to anaphylactic shock, the party host was rushed away to the ER (he ended up being fine btw). The hopeful group became disjointed couples, unsure whether to pack it in or stay and make due. “We have four bottles of wine and five beers.” “We have two bags of chips and some salsa.” “Oh!  A Mexican Coke!” And, so it went…until a larger party, a picnic feast, a roaring bonfire and new friends were made. Vanilla-Curry Caramel Corn was one of my contributions to the stone soup fete. It was a big hit, and now reminds me of the fun.

Vanilla-Curry Caramel Corn*

8 T butter
1 c light brown sugar
1/4 c agave nectar
2 t mild curry powder
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t baking soda
10 c popped popcorn

-Line 2 large sheet trays with waxed paper; set aside. Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, agave, curry powder, and salt; bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue to boil, without stirring, 4 minutes; remove pot from heat and carefully stir in vanilla and baking soda until well combined.

-Place popcorn in a large bowl. Working quickly, pour hot caramel over popcorn and use a spoon to coat evenly. Transfer to reserved sheet trays and spread out in an even layer. Set aside to cool completely, then serve.

-Makes about 10 cups.

-The recipe calls for mild curry powder, but my friends and I agreed that the curry flavor is so mild that if you like spice it would be fine to increase the curry or add a stronger variety.

*While I do not bow at the altar of Oprah Winfrey, I do often like the magazine’s recipes. This recipe by Cat Cora appeared in the September 2001 issue.

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