edible adventures from the centre of the universe

09 October 2006

Embrace your Inner Dillweed

At my grocery store, you can only buy fresh dill in huge bunches. Since most recipes call for, at most, 1/4 cup of dill, I'm usually left with a lot of leftover herb which ends up rotten at the bottom of my vegetable drawer. With my most recent dill purchase, I was determined to not let this happen. I scoured my cookbooks for dill recipes, and ended up finding two that sounded perfect in the same book: Once Upon a Tart... by Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau. I have posted about this cookbook before, but I have to reiterate what a great resource it is. The photography is beautiful and the recipes are simple, yielding delicious results.

The two recipes I decided to try, with minor adjustments, were "Cheddar-Parmesan Scones with Fresh Dill" and "Creamy Carrot soup with Fresh Dill." Both turned out fabulously, and neither were difficult to throw together. The soup was creamy and savoury, and the scones light, fluffy, and full of cheesy flavour. The secrets to these two recipes are complete opposites: the soup should be pureed as much as needed to achieve a perfect, silky texture, and the scones should be mixed as little as possible to maximize their resemblance to little clouds.

Cheddar-Parmesan Scones with Fresh Dill

2 and 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
generous pinch cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 large eggs
1/2 cup cold milk
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 cups grated aged white cheddar
1/3 cup grated parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with a baking rack positioned in the centre. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon.
3. Add the butter to the dry ingredients, and use a pastry cutter to combine just until the mixture looks like moist crumbs. Do not overmix! (alternately, use a food processor to mix the butter with the dry ingredients, pulsing just until the mix looks like moist crumbs)
4. In another small bowl, beat the eggs slightly and whish in the milk. Stir the cheeses and dill into this mixture.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir with a wooden spoon just until no flour is visible.
6. Use a 1/2-cup measuring cup to scoop up the dough, and plop it onto the baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between scones.
7. Place the baking sheet on the centre rack in your oven, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
7. Let scones cool on a wire rack for a few minutes (until they won't burn your mouth), and then dig in! These scones require no extra butter -- eat them plain, or with a little honey. They'd also go great topped with scrambled eggs!

makes about 8 scones

Creamy Carrot Soup with Fresh Dill

1/2 big yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb. medium carrots (4-5), peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
2 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnish
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup light cream

1. Warm the oil and butter over medium-high heat in a large soup pot. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, and saute for 5-10 minutes until the onions begin to reduce in volume (reduce heat slightly if they start to brown). Then, reduce the heat to low and continue cooking onions for another 10-15 minutes, until they are tender and translucent.
2. Add the carrots and potato to the onions, and cook for another 15-20 minutes.
3. Add the stock to the vegetables and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30-40 minutes until the veggies are very tender.
4. Turn off the heat, and use an immersion belender to puree the soup in the pot until silky (alternately, a food processor may be used to puree the cooled soup in batches).
5. Warm the pureed soup over medium heat, and stir in the dill, salt, pepper, and cream. If the soup is too thick, add some stock or cream to thin it out. Ladle into warm bowls, top with some fresh dill, and enjoy!

serves 2



Blogger Dave said...

Dillweed -- not just the best chip flavour, also the best Beavis and Butthead insult.

Yes, those scones were amazing. Although it seems like eight isn't that many in a recipe, they were quite big. All the more room for dillweed.

12:20 AM

Blogger Karen said...

Why do you torment us with fabulous recipes and delicious looking pictures? The soup sounds like a must try - love dill and carrots, especially together.

8:46 AM

Anonymous iain said...

I'm going to have to try making those scones. They look (and sound) fabulous.

Also, I've found that you can use up a lot of dill by making borscht (the good, purple, beet-filled variety), or by whipping up a homemade tzatziki sauce. For said sauce, the key is to grate the cukes, then drain, rinse, drain, and pat dry. Otherwise, the sauce can get slimey. For a good base recipe to play with, check out the one in the All New Joy of Cooking.

4:33 AM

Blogger Alana said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Iain! mmmm now I have a craving for borscht!

12:57 PM


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