One of the worst parts of living in your hometown is running into ghosts from the past at townie bars. One of the best parts of living in your hometown is running into friends from the past when they come home to visit. Such is the case with my friend Sig, who makes an annual appearance in Bethlehem, during which I always run into her somewhere in public at least once and we always get together for some ridiculously crazy concocting in the kitchen.
So, last week, when I ran into Sig downtown, I knew it was time to put our off-kilter minds together and work some magic with whatever ingredients we happened to have on hand. We arranged a time, and of course, plans fell through. So we arranged another time and the fun began.
First, we set to work comparing our pantry contents. We came up with some tangerines (I had two from the toes of our Christmas stockings), lots of tasty spices, including our homemade herb salt and Sig’s fennel, smoked turkey, chickpeas, dark chocolate, smoked cheddar, sweet potatoes, almonds and Absinthe. An interesting mix, yes?
I can’t even begin to write the exact recipe for the first concoction we made, but it was truly delicious. So since I have no idea what the proportions in this dish were, I’ll simply describe the flavors and let you do the experimenting! We created a Chinese dumpling dough, with the addition of finely chopped kale, cumin and paprika. Then, we made a filling by processing smoked turkey, smoked cheddar, boiled sweet potato and almonds together into a moldable mixture. We then used Kevin’s new dumpling maker to form pockets of harvest inspired perfection which we steamed in my wok.
As the dumplings steamed, we whipped up a batch of addictive chick pea popcorn. I first tasted this snack at The Bookstore Speakeasy and knew I had to create it at home. I’ve made it several times, but since going primarily locavore, we hadn’t purchased chickpeas in quite some time. So, when Sig pulled out a can of the round morsels, I drooled. Did you even know that chickpeas can make a crunchy on the outside, soft & buttery on the inside munching snack? Here’s how to make them:
- 1 can chickpeas
- 3 T. olive oil
- Herbs (we used some of my homemade herb salt and a touch of fennel)
- Rinse and drain the chickpeas.
- Pat the chickpeas off with paper towels to get them nice and dry.
- Heat olive oil in large skillet.
- Add chickpeas and cook over high heat until chickpeas start to pop (you might want a grease-splatter catcher) and outer layer crisps up.
- Sprinkle with salt and herbs.
- Eat quickly!
Finally, the pièce de résistance, a batch of scones packed with flavor like you wouldn’t believe. We mixed up a scone batter with dark chocolate chips, fennel seed and tangerine, then drizzled it with and Absinthe and tangerine glaze. Yes, you need to make these. Go get some Absinthe, prepare it with some burned sugar to drink, then whip up a batch of these babies.
Chocolate Tangerine Scones with Absinthe Glaze
- 2 1/2 c. flour
- 2 T. sugar
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/3 c. butter
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 c. heavy cream
- 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
- zest of one tangerine
- 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
- 1/3 c. Absinthe (it’s way cheaper if you can find someone traveling to Europe to bring you some. The American kind is not as good and runs $70/bottle. European actually contains wormwood and is about $12)
- 1/2 c. sugar
- juice of one tangerine
- zest of one tangerine
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Combine flour, 2 T. sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Make a well in center of dry ingredients, set aside.
- Beat eggs. Combine whipping cream, chocolate chips, zest and fennel with eggs in medium bowl.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a fork until just moistened.
- Lightly knead dough on a floured surface about 10-12 times or until dough is almost smooth.
- Pat dough into an 8″ round and cut into 8 wedges.
- Place wedges 1″ apart on baking sheet.
- Whisk together Absinthe, sugar, tangerine juice and tangerine zest until sugar is dissolved.
- Drizzle Absinthe glaze over scone wedges.
- Bake 12-14 minutes, or until golden.