Cafe Borgia Scones

18 04 2013

One of my absolute favorite places in Tampa is a small coffee shop, just around the corner from my office. Jet City Espresso is this fabulous hidden gem in South Tampa, owned by the lovely Jessica. If you didn’t know it was there, you might miss it! Jessica runs Jet City right out of her home! (She made sure that her house was zoned properly first!)

Jet City Espresso

(photo courtesy of Meghann)

I cannot say enough great things about Jet City. Jess knows her coffee, so all of the drinks are outstanding. She also makes a variety of scones, ranging from savory to sweet, with a few Paleo options thrown in as well. My “go to” order is a tall, skinny Cafe Borgia and a rosemary goat cheese scone. The sweet drink paired with the savory scone is THE best way to start my day.

IMG_6821

Cafe Borgia is the drink Jet City is known for!

What makes the Borgia so special you ask? Well, Jess doesn’t really broadcast the exact recipe, but the description on the menu gives you a good idea:

espresso, a touch of honey and orange blossom, steamed moo, fresh whipped cream, nutmeg and orange spritz!

There’s something about this combination of flavors that is just so comforting- and addicting! It’s dangerous for my wallet that I work so close to her shop!

The other day the thought crossed my mind to make scones inspired by the Borgia. I tossed around a few ideas in my head- Include chocolate covered espresso beans? Throw in some candied orange peel? Base the recipe on an cappuccino scone recipe, or just make some swaps in a cranberry orange recipe?

I settled on an chocolate chip espresso scone recipe and made the adjustments I thought necessary to make them more Borgia-like. 

IMG_0296

With the additions of orange blossom honey, orange zest, a dash of nutmeg and some chocolate covered espresso beans, I think I got pretty darn close to perfect.

IMG_6895

I do still want to play with the recipe and maybe use some candied orange peel next time, and I think these would be stellar with some clotted cream, but I didn’t want to delay your enjoyment of this deliciousness! So, go out and make these asap- and if you’re in South Tampa, you must, must, must stop by Jet City and say hi to Jess! (and order a Borgia of course!)

IMG_0306

Cafe Borgia Scones

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 T orange blossom honey
1/8 tsp nutmeg (this is an estimate, I put in three dashes)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tsp hot water
~1 T orange zest (this is an estimate, I zested most of the orange and saved some zest for garnish)
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup chocolate covered espresso beans (I used the Trade Joe’s espresso pillows because they’re smaller than any others I’ve found)

Topping:
Coarse sugar (I used espresso flavored sugar I bought at Downtown Disney)
2 T heavy cream

IMG_6891

How to:

Preheat oven to 375˜F.

In a measuring cup, mix espresso powder with 1 teaspoon hot water. Stir to dissolve.  Add 1 cup cream and combine. Add the orange zest to the creamy espresso mix.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, honey, nutmeg and salt. Add the butter pieces to the bowl and using your hands or a pastry blender, cut in the butter. Toss in the chocolate covered espresso beans and stir gently.

Pour the espresso-cream mixture over the flour mixture and blend with your hands or a spatula until dough just comes together. Gently knead a couple times, but don’t overmix.

Remove dough onto floured surface. Form into a rectangle, about 3/4 to 1 inch thick.

Cut the scones into desired serving sizes. Place the pieces on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet.

Brush scones with cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake scones until edges and bottom are golden and they are firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!


IMG_0300

Advertisements




I Bought a Pack

10 04 2013

I’ve recently been doing a fair amount of reading about Alaska. Not because I’m sick of the Florida heat (it’s only JUST begun! 😉 ), but because I’m planning a trip there! This summer, I’m going to spend about a week in the Last Frontier, hiking the famous Chilkoot Trail.

Chilkoot Trail

During the Klondike Gold Rush, the Chilkoot became one of the main routes of transportation to get to the Yukon River. The stampeders, as the gold hunters were called, would start in Skagway, head up to Dyea, and then make the make 33 mile trek up to Bennett, in hopes of finding gold. Unfortunately, few found gold and many others gave up on their dreams because the journey was just too miserable. Today, the trail is like a living museum- there are discarded tools and other artifacts still laying by the side of the trail!

chilkoot historic image(source)

I’ve never been to Alaska, so I’m super excited (though I’m not too stoked about the flight). I’ll be meeting Bill out there and we’re going to hike the trail together. 🙂 We’re still working out all of the details, but since the trip is only a few short months away, I’ve got to get a move on getting my gear!

Well, first things first- I actually got my learn on. At the recommendation of the owner of Adventure Outfitters here in Tampa, I purchased the Trailside Guide: Hiking and Backpacking.

Trailside Guide

Being that I know virtually nothing about backpacking, this book was perfect for me. It gave me lots of really basic but important information about hiking and backpacking. If you know even the slightest bit about hiking, this book might not be a worthwhile read for you, but if you’re looking to learn some foundational knowledge, I’d say go for it. I also bought the book because I didn’t want to rely solely on Bill’s hiking knowledge (though extensive!).  I wanted to learn on my own and bring a little something to the table.

One piece of gear I knew I’d need was a pack. I probably could have found a pack to borrow from someone, but I’m hoping that hiking/backpacking is something I’ll do more of, so I decided I wanted to buy one. I also know that fit is really important, and finding someone who has a pack that would fit me just right might be a challenge. In my book, I learned about the different kinds of packs and how to properly stuff your pack:

IMG_6769

I also learned about the different sizes and weights of packs- and how even just a few ounces matter. So when Bill and I went to a few different hiking stores this weekend, I knew I didn’t want a “Monster” like Cheryl Strayed’s pack in Wild but rather, something that would be light and fit my needs. Bill was recommending a 40L pack, but all of the 40L packs were over 3 pounds. (Who knew >3 pounds was “heavy”?) Then we stumbled upon the Granite Gear Blaze 60. The 60L pack weighed 2lb, 14oz, which was lighter than any of the 40L packs! And even better, it fit me well and was surprisingly comfortable! We stuffed it with about 20lbs of gear and I walked around the store for a little while- btw, if you aren’t used to walking with weight on your back, 20 pounds feels a lot heavier than you think!

I decided that this would be my pack for the Chilkoot. 🙂

IMG_6816

Now that I’ve got my pack, my next step is to buy some footwear and then walk around in them with my pack on and stuffed. I’m currently on the fence about what kind of footwear to get. Bill thinks I could get away with some running sneakers. I looked at the Saloman Mission XR trail running shoes and I kinda sorta fell in love with them. My biggest worry is that these won’t be enough shoe for the trail. Anyone with experience want to chime in? Should I get a more substantial boot (a light to mid) or will I be okay in trail runners?

I’m getting really excited about my trip, even though it’s 4 months away. Once I get my footwear, I’ll be ready to “officially” start training-aka walking around everywhere in trail shoes and my pack!

Who’s got backpacking tips for me??





Easy-Peasy Fancy Pancakes

5 04 2013

If you follow me on Instagram, you might notice that I’m a big fan of pancakes.

pancakescollage

One of my biggest problems with making pancakes from scratch is that the recipes often make enough for a family of four. If you haven’t noticed, I’m cooking for one. I guess I could make the recipe and freeze the leftovers, but I prefer pancakes fresh off the griddle.

Pancakes take a bit of time to prepare, and if I’m grabbing the flour, the egg, the milk, the baking soda etc., that’s a lot of dirty measuring cups, spoons, and bowls. That’s a lot of work for pancakes just for one!

So I’ve discovered a little secret: Kodiak cakes!

Kodiak-Cakes-1024x757

photo borrowed from Kiss My Broccoli Blog

This is one of the easiest mixes out there- and it’s tasty! All you have to do is add water! The instructions on the box call for one cup of water for one cup of mix. I’ve discovered that halving the recipe is just about the perfect amount for me when I’m hungry and want a meal to fuel my long bike ride later in the morning.

And, because the mix is so easy, it encourages me to play around with toppings/fillings. Here’s just a few of my favorites:

Fluffernutter:

Fluffernutter pancakes

Microwave one JUMBO marshmallow and one tablespoon of peanut butter with a splash of milk for about 15 seconds. Stir until smooth. Fold into the pancake mixture. Slice bananas and fold into the mix. Make pancakes as usual. Top pancakes with any remaining fluffer-nutter sauce and sliced bananas.

Apple Cinnamon Sticky Bun:

apple cinnamon sticky bun pancakes

Add a dash of cinnamon to the batter. Make pancakes as usual. For the topping: In a pan, melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter. Toss in thinly sliced apples and cook until softened. Add chopped dates and pecans. Stir in about 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar until sticky.

Protein-packed Granola pancakes:

IMG_0172

Make pancake batter. When the batter is on the griddle, throw in a few clusters of granola. Flip when ready. Top with greek yogurt, fresh berries, granola and maple syrup.

I found the Kodiak cakes mix at Target. Check their website to see where you can buy some too! Now go out there and get creative!

Question of the day: What’s your favorite way to make pancakes?