Ahh, the sounds, sights and smells of spring – Maine windjammer style. The constant drone of a sander, the bustle of crew trekking into the house on a cloud of sanding dust and the pungent odor of paint thinner wafting through the air. Blowing paint dust buggers, chapped and hardened hands, Carharts so dotted with paint that it obscures the original color and honor of all honors, so well-worn that they sport a hole or two in the knees or butt. Rainy days spent in the barn with the music cranked while telling stories of our winters. Sunny days spent down on the schooner, warm under the cover, sanding and sanding and sanding. Sanding until your brain turns to mush and your arms, even after the sander has been turned off, still feel the vibration. Hands that are temporarily set in a claw shape that looks normal when holding a sander but appears either gruesome or intimidating when you’ve put the sander down.
This is the time of year when I’m just as likely to yearn for something grilled as something simmering on the stove top all day long or baked in a warm oven, sometimes feeling the exuberant energy of spring and sometimes still hankering for a good cozy on the couch. It all depends on what the weather is doing outside, what I want inside my belly.
Today it’s a breezy, bright but chilly day and I made these scones for the crew when they took a break from the drone of the sander.
Stilton Blue Cheese, Canadian Bacon and Chive Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
5 ounces crumbled stilton blue cheese, about 1 1/4 cups
6 ounces diced Canadian bacon, about 1 1/4 cups
1/2 cup minced chives
3/4 cup cold buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 450°. Combine the first six ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use a pastry cutter or your hands to cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles a fine meal. Do the same with the cheese. Mix the bacon and chives into the mix. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk and eggs into flour mixture just until the dough binds together. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently until combined, about 10 turns. Pat the dough out to 1-inch thick round. Cut into 8 wedges and transfer to an ungreased cookie pan. Bake until golden brown and firm to touch, about 20 minutes.
Dusting off flour dust and sanding dust…