Monday, March 1, 2010

There's a Newf in My Soup...and in My Stew, Scone, Muffin and Tart!

I realize that some of you...ok, all of you, wonder how it's possible to prepare anything in our kitchen without dog fur as the secret ingredient.  I can't say that it has never happened, but our two boys are kept away from the kitchen, and we do take extra precautions.  That being said, try serving breakfast and lunch, ringside, at a Newfoundland Specialty Dog Show.  Last Friday, my blog was more appropriately named Thirty-Three Newfs in My Soup!

Our huge pots of Hunter's Minestrone and Hearty Beef Stew were a success, even though the weather was a little warm for comfort food. We lucked out this year, and the rain didn't hit until Saturday. Wet Newfs are happy Newfs, but clean, dry, and beautified Newfs make better show dogs.

Here's Ch. Toad Hall's Wizard of Oz, my Diver's sire, and winner of Best Veteran in Sweeps.  What a handsome boy!

As part of the breakfast spread, along with Ricotta Orange Pound Cake, we served Cherry Scones, and Banana Muffins with Mascarpone Cream Frosting.

Cherry Scones...

Miniature Cherry Scones
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Printable recipe, here.


4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar, plus additional for sprinkling (I used Pure Cane Washed Raw Sugar for sprinkling)
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 1/2 cups dried cherries, left whole or coarsely chopped
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk or whipping cream, for egg wash


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 4 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour and butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss the cherries with 1 tablespoon of flour, add them to the dough, and mix quickly. The dough may be a bit sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is well combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into squares with a 2 1/2-inch plain or fluted cutter, and then cut them in half diagonally to make triangles. Place on a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat, or lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outsides are crisp and the insides are fully baked.

and Banana Muffins....

Miniature Banana Muffins with Mascarpone Cream Frosting
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed


3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)


Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners (I used a miniature 24-count muffin pan.  I did not use liners, but buttered and lightly floured the pan.  The muffins are a little sticky, so I do recommend liners).

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl to blend. Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the banana. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake the muffins on the middle rack until the tops are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with no crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a rack and cool slightly. The muffins may be eaten warm or cooled completely and frosted.

To frost the cupcakes: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the mascarpone cheese and then beat in the honey. Spread the frosting over the muffins. Sprinkle with the walnuts (I omitted the walnuts and garnished each muffin with a banana chip).

For dessert, I chose Chocolate Caramel Tartlets.  I made these and posted about them last year, after being inspired by Saveur's mouthwatering cover photo and recipe for Chocolate Caramel Tart.  Although it does take more time to make the tartlet shells, it's definitely the way to go for larger groups and parties.  This time, I doubled the original recipe to make 36 tartlets.  You can see my original post, and recipe, here.

I should have let the caramel go a little darker this time, but they were decadent once again.  This one is sprinkled with a little Hawaiian Pink Salt.

Thank you to the Newfoundland Club of San Diego for allowing us to 'cater' the show again this year!

If you would like to learn more about Newfoundland dogs, please visit Newfoundland Club of San Diego and Newfoundland Club of America.


R. said...

You did a stunning job! Everything looks top notch! Love the banana muffins, and those caramel tarts? Perfect! We try to keep the monsters (3 kitties) out of the kitchen during mealtimes, but they occasionally sneak there way into the food. You did a great job!

Molly said...

I was just pointed to your blog. As a newfie owner and food lover, I'm so happy I found you!

Denise said...

Molly - I'm happy you found me too! Love the title of your blog, and congratulations on 6 months!