Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Food Desert Project - Lowfat Orange Fig Scones - and an announcement!

Before I get cooking, I'd like to invite readers of this blog to an event that has me pretty excited: I've been asked to join a discussion panel following a free screening of the documentary Lunch Line. Please join me at the Evanston (Illinois) Public Library this Saturday, April 30 at 2pm! (If you prefer an even more star-studded panel that includes the filmmakers and the Chicago Tribune's Monica Eng - see the showing at Northwestern University's Block Cinema on Thursday at 6pm. I'm hoping to be in the audience.)

I was able to screen the film in advance, and was excited to see people I've conversed or corresponded with in the process of creating this blog - in particular, Maureen George of the Organic School Project - who worked with us during the sMACkdown, and whose students created Sparky's trophy shown here; Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest who helped me advocate for better lunches and offered me information about added sugars, and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, who took time from her busy schedule to listen to our little community's concerns about school lunch, and then visited one of our schools to see lunch in action.  I'd like to thank them, and all the other activists involved in the film, for giving this important issue the attention it deserves.
But, lest I forget - this is primarily a cooking blog. I love making baked goods for breakfast, but so many of them are no better than the "Brunch for Lunch" that I despise so much. I keep my eye out for better versions of traditional breakfast fare. Scones, in particular, are really difficult to make without a lot of added fat and sugar -I found this recipe, posted on, and decided to try it out. My first attempt went so well that I decided to see if I could make a food-desert version, and here it is:

002Lowfat Orange Fig Scones (makes 8)

1/4 cup dried figs, diced
1/4 cup orange juice

1 cup AP flour (If your food desert offers whole wheat, you can use that)
1 cup plain oats (either quick or old-fashioned*)
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder 
1/4 cup walnuts
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2-1/2 Tbsp. butter, cut into small chunks
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the orange juice and figs, and microwave in 30-second increments until warm.  Set aside for 5-10 minutes until the figs are soft.  Strain thoroughly and discard the juice (for extra orange flavor, you could add a bit of Triple Sec to the soaking liquid.)

Put your oatmeal in the blender and blend until you have a fine flour.  (*Note: if using old-fashioned oats, pour into a bowl and combine with the skim milk; add with the wet ingredients.)  Add the oatmeal to a bowl with the flour, baking powder, and salt, sugar and walnuts and whisk well.  Add the butter and toss to combine, rubbing it between your fingers until you have something that looks like oatmeal (lumps of butter are OK, even desirable) Add the milk (or milk and oats,) drained figs, egg and vanilla and mix with your hands until you have a soft dough.
Form the dough into a loose ball, and put it on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet.  Press into a circle about an inch and a half thick, and about 7 inches in diameter.  With a knife, score it in eight wedges.  Drizzle the top with maple syrup.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the center is firm.

Allow to cool slightly, break into wedges and serve.  Nutritional information.


No comments:

Post a Comment