“We live in a world where lemonade is made from artificial flavoring and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” — MAD magazine
My hubby recently went to Nevada for work. I asked him to get me one thing, and one thing only: a gray (or “grey” if you’re from the UK), Hard Rock Cafe T shirt. He went out of his way to go to Las Vegas, find the Hard Rock Cafe, and get me a gray, Hard Rock Cafe T Shirt. He brought that shirt all the way back to me, here, in Virginia . . . and lo and behold . . . it was the wrong size. I was so frustrated. Not only was this the only thing I had asked for, but I had written it down, texted him, and asked again and again until I was sure he had the correct size memorized.
So I decided to write to the Hard Rock Cafe, assuming that I would probably never hear back. I figured maybe my son’s teddy bear could wear the child sized shirt that Hubby grabbed, accidentally. Amazingly, someone from the Hard Rock wrote me back, graciously offering to exchange the shirt, by mail, if I would send the wrong size back to them.
So on a scorching hot summer day in Virginia, I gathered my 4 year old and my 1 year old and packed the *few* things a Mom with kiddos needs: enough food and snacks and juice boxes and water for at least 3 months, enough diapers to stuff the entire inside of a small Volkswagen, toys, tablets, rattles, bottles . . . clothes for both cold and warm weather . . . and a partridge in a pear tree. You get the idea. We were loaded down with supplies. It was hot. The kids were grumpy. Almost immediately they started plotting WWIII in the back seat.
By the time we got to the post office, a storm was definitely brewing in Baltimore Baby land. When I took them out of their seats, my son took off in a fun little game of “run around the car to see if Mommy can catch you,” while the baby screeched and didn’t want to sit in her stroller, since she had now tasted sweet freedom after her odious carseat bondage. As I struggled to wrestle a suddenly “still as a board,” tantrum-throwing baby into her straps, I was also shouting at my son to stop running, and randomly darting around like a crazy person grabbing at him to keep him from running into the street. Finally we got to the door of the post office, just in time for the old man in front of us to let the door slam in our faces. So, with one hand gripping my toddler who was wrestling to get away, and the other grabbing my package, diaper bag, purse, and stroller, I somehow wrestled open the door, jammed it open with my foot, and wedged the stroller through. The post office line was long, and I tried in vain to keep the troops happy by passing out goldfish and juice boxes at the speed of light while the old man ahead of me tried to decide whether he should get the Rose Garden or Farmer’s Market stamps. In his own words: “I don’t want to rush this decision. But it’s OK. I’m not in a hurry. I have all day.” All I could think was, “My juice is running out! Please hurry! I’m not made out of lollipops, here!”
We finally got the tiny T shirt mailed, after a very hectic and embarrassing morning. We got back to our own house, sweating and grumpy from the scorching day. And I waited, content in the knowledge that my shirt was on its way back to the sweet people at the Hard Rock Cafe. My shirt was “goin’ to Vegas,” even if I wasn’t lucky enough to join it. Dear Shirt: I hope you have fun.
Today, a package arrived for me from the Hard Rock Cafe. I smiled. The entire, horrible ordeal had all been worth it. Eagerly, I cut the package. A perfect, medium sized T shirt fell out onto my lap . . . it was gray; it was perfect; it was beautiful. And it had . . . a hole in it.
Yesssss. When I cut into the package, I had accidentally cut a hole in the shirt. I had CUT A HOLE in the shirt with the scissors that are so dull they can’t even cut a piece of paper. Somehow, some way, those scissors decided to rise to the challenge TODAY and cut the living daylights out of that gorgeous, gray T shirt that I worked so hard to get. I stared down at my beautiful, ruined shirt, stunned.
And I did what anyone else would do. I had a good cry, and I shouted, “How in the world could you be so stupid???” to myself. I kept holding the shirt up, hoping that maybe THIS time that hole wouldn’t look so bad . . . so . . . gaping. And I mentally kicked myself, again.
And I got out my sewing machine, and I fixed it.
Sure– the shirt has a little scar where I nicked it. Sure– it may not be perfect. But at the end of the day, we keep going. We do the best we can, and we keep going. When life hands us lemons . . . we use those lemons– zest and juice and all. And we make lemon poppyseed scones.
And we do it wearing a slightly puckered, but perfectly sized gray Hard Rock Cafe T shirt. And we do it . . . like a BOSS.
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Lemon Poppyseed Scones
(My adaptation from a basic scone recipe)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter or margarine
2 tsp. poppy seeds
1 lemon, juice and zest
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
Lemon Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 lemon, juiced (reserve zest for garnish)
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
To make the scones, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together, in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Cut in cold butter until the butter chunks are about the size of peas. Stir in your poppy seeds, lemon juice and zest, sour cream, and beaten egg. Stir just until wet ingredients are combined. Form dough into a circle on a lightly floured surface and gently roll just to flatten dough, slightly (it will still be very thick– don’t flatten it too much). Use a pizza wheel to cut dough circle into 8 equal triangles. Bake triangles on a silpat-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes until they are nice and toasty brown on the bottoms and slightly golden on the edges (tops will not be brown). To make glaze mix all ingredients together with a whisk until lumps are removed. Drizzle glaze over cooled scones and garnish with reserved lemon zest, if desired.
Now, in pictures! 🙂
Scones are one of those beautiful foods. You know the ones . . . they come together in a flash, look beautiful, keep fresh for days, and are the perfect “quick and easy” thing to throw together when you have unexpected company. That’s because scones, at their heart, are really a “quick bread,” which basically means that, like biscuits, they are mainly flour, some kind of fat (I’m using butter), and liquid. We want to get our flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt whisked together so they’ll be ready to start dancing and prancing with the cold butter.
And if you’ve ever tried to “cut” cold butter into flour with 2 knives, or 2 forks . . . or your fingers . . . you know that it’s a real pain. Voila! Enter the Perfect pastry blender, here. This little baby changed everything, for me, about scones, biscuits, pie dough . . . you name it. Unlike a traditional pastry blender, this one has a flat bottom, which makes it ten times easier to “squish” the butter against the bottom of the bowl.
Mind if I . . . cut in?
When your butter has been cut down to size (pieces roughly the size of a pea), it’s time to start the tango with the other ingredients. Add in the rest of your ingredients and mix them together gently with a wooden spoon. This process takes some muscle– I’m not gonna’ lie. But just think how many calories you’re burning as you muscle this dough into submission. Try to avoid the temptation to add more liquid– just scrape your spoon and the sides of your bowl, and keep working. Eventually you’ll get a super thick, play-dough-esque dough.
Dump your dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it gently 2-3 times. We don’t want to overwork the dough– just massage it a little bit into a nice, soft dough. Mold your dough into a rough circle and use a rolling pin to gently flatten the top. I like to use a pizza cutter to cut my “wedge” into 8 triangles, but you can use a scone pan (like this one, here), if you prefer. Scone pans make it easy just to dump in your dough and run. But the cutting wedges thing works fine, too. Some people just like to make little indentions where the scones will be and put the whole ‘shebang into the oven, like that, to get soft, “pull apart” sides. There are many ways to do this, folks. Choose your path and run with it. 🙂
Place your scones on a silpat-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes until they are a little golden around the edges and nice and toasty on the bottom. The tops of the scones won’t be super brown– you need to check the sides and bottoms to tell when they’re done baking.
When the scones have cooled, drizzle them with the deeeeelicious lemon glaze. The glaze is simple– just whisk all the ingredients together to combine. Yep. That’s it. Don’t you wish life were that easy?
If you want, sprinkle a little lemon zest and a few poppy seeds on top, just to look PURDY.
And then . . . the best part . . . pour yourself a nice, big cup of steaming coffee or tea. Grab a good book and a comfy seat on the porch. Read. Think. Feel the fresh evening breeze on your face. And your scone . . . don’t forget to have one of those crisp, citrusy beauties. Heck . . . have two of them. You did use up all those calories mixing that dough. 😉
And sit back and toast the good ‘ole Hard Rock Cafe.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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