The Guilty Party

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Limbering up the fingers and grey cells

August 16, 2008

Good gracious, I have neglected my little blog for way too long. For those of you who visit here on at least a semi-regular basis I do apologize. And for those of you who either haven't wandered this way in a long time or came here purely by accident, well, nice to have you back/here for the first time.

The Arizona Republic, the newspaper of record for the fifth largest metropolitan area in the United States, like most newspapers trying to survive in this digital information age, lately has been including invitations to check out additional content that can be found on their website. Often as not it is slideshows that are featured. Today's were particularly interesting for their contrasting subjects. At we can see "Hot Olympians" by which I assume they mean athletes who have been judged attractive according to an formula indecipherable to all but the hormonally crazed eighth graders who made the selections. When one is done ogling the physically elite and sexually desirable, the Arizona Republic has made it easy to skim on over to check out the opposite end of the physical specimen spectrum with the slide show at There we can check out the highlights of the grand opening of the latest Dunkin Donuts franchise. From what I understand, Dunkin Donuts did not have to resort to busing in people to fill their temples to the gods of fat, sugar and caffeine, as the Chinese have had to do to fill their sports arenas. They had lines out the door for hours after opening. One elated East Valley resident was quoted as saying "Michael Phelps has seven golds now? Big deal. I just ate four dozen Boston Creams and washed them down with eighteen iced coffees. Hey! Where's the restroom?"

If this has given you a sweet tooth, here's a recipe. If, on the other hand, you want to ogle gymnasts and beach volleyball players you're on your own.

I made some scones today. The basis of my recipe can be found in the New York Times Cookbook, but I do it just a little differently, so I'll take credit for this one.

Scones ala Plumboz

You'll want two cups of flour. I like to use about a cup and a half of King Arthur Unbleached-All Purpose and half a cup of King Arthur White Whole Wheat. Any way I can sneak a little whole grain goodness into my family's treats I'll do it. The same sort of ratio works with pancakes and waffles as well. Anyway, here we go.

2 cups flour sifted (don't leave out the sifting part. It's important.)
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar (regular ol' granulated stuff)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
half a teaspoon of salt

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. If your oven does C, you'll have to do the math, I have no idea

Mix up your dry ingredients in a nice big bowl using a fork

Cut up about six tablespoons of butter (don't even think about using margarine) into little cubes, sprinkle them over the dry ingredients and use a pastry cutter to bust 'em up. You want to end up with kind of a grainy mix, but don't worry if you have a small lump or three of butter in the bowl.

Bust open an egg into a shallow bowl and give it a few seconds of abuse with that fork you used to mix the dry ingredients.

Measure out about three-quarter cup of milk. Whole milk or two percent works best. I wouldn't use skim.

Plop the whomped up egg into the dry stuff. Follow immediately with most of the milk (hold a little bit aside. You may need it, you might not.)

Put that fork to work again in mixing up your wet and dry ingredients until they've come together nicely. If all the dry hasn't been picked up and incorporated, add some more of the milk.

Add something fun. I like chocolate chips or dried cranberries or fresh blueberries. Do what you want. Mix it up. Just be gentle whilst doing it. When I do fruit I like to brush some egg white on the top after cutting into wedges (we'll get to that in a sec) and then sprinkling some sugar on top before baking. With choc chips that just seems to me to be too much sugar. You do what you want.

Sprinkle some flour (use the all-purpose kind) on a cutting board and put your dough on it. Knead the dough maybe a dozen times, just gently folding it into itself. Don't get too crazy, you don't want chewy scones.

Shape it into kind of a flattened on the bottom ball, cut it in half and flatten each half out to about 3/4 of an inch. Use a nice long knife to cut the circles into eight equal wedges each.

Spray a light coating of that nice vegetable oil spray stuff on a baking sheet. You can fit about eight wedges on a sheet, so you'll be doing this in two batches. Keep 'em spaced at least an inch apart so they can grow a bit.

Put 'em in the oven for between 10 and 12 minutes. Every oven is different, so this may take some watching. You want them just golden brown on the top.

Take 'em out and put 'em on a cooling rack.

Eat 'em.

I'm not sure I mentioned this before, but I've been participating in a nifty experiment put on the web by Harper Collins UK called Authonomy. It's been in beta for the last few months but there are supposed to be some significant additions pretty soon, including allowing anyone in to either post their own work or just have a look around and see if they can find an author whose stuff they like. I'll keep you up to date and if you are so inclined it would be great to have you stop by and say effusive things about Boomerang.

Thanks for stopping by.


Lexi said...

Well, pish tush, Alan, I copied and pasted (since there was no direct link - huh) to look at 'Hot Olympians', and were they there?


I even did a search, and was not offered them.

Yours disgruntled.

P.S. I used to have a brilliant scone recipe, where you just bunged all the ingredients in a bowl and mixed. But I've gone and lost it. (American recipes are no good here, as we don't have cups or tablespoons as units of measurement. And yours looks a lot of work to anyone lazy like me.)

Timber Beast said...

I have a great biscotti recipe from Martha Stewart's Living magazine. I'll send it out if you'reinterested. It's not metric though, it uses English measures.

Timber Beast said...

For the record, I am semi-gruntled. I was looking forward to ogling the "hot" bodies.

Timber Beast said...

I have returned from my quest. Behold, Olympics Women's Beach Volleyball. Lexi, I suspect there may be men's beach volleyball somewhere but I didn't care.


plumboz said...


Got to admit I hadn't taken the time to actually look up the "Hot Olympians" thingie, so shame on me for a lazy journalist. Here is the link:

I took a look at the first few and I must warn you they are quite tame. Good on the Republic. Maybe the Sun has some more salacious pics?

It is a bit puzzling why some of the outfits worn by these athletes are so skimpy. Is there a real advantage to the bikinis worn by the beach volleyball players? And why can't those little girls on the gymmanstics teams get leotards with better tush coverage? I feel like blushing for them.

Sorry you can't use the scone recipe, it's a good one. Baking cookies and scones and such is one of my favorite relaxation activities.


plumboz said...


You bet I'd like to check out the biscotti recipe. I've never tried those before.


Timber Beast said...

Here's the link for the cardamom biscotti:

I've found the recipe to be pretty flexible. I don't sift the flour. I sub craisins for the sliced almonds.

A Bit About Me

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I am a writer with a longtime interest in photography. I'm a dad, husband, photographer, and not very good guitarist. My first novel, Boomerang, is available in both paperback and ebook form at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and As a matter of fact, my second novel, The Baer Boys, can be found at exactly the same places.