Last month, I went on a blogger retreat (Eat Sea Retreat) to sunny southern California where avocados and lemons grow on trees, where jasmine perfumes the sidewalks, and where the Pacific blows an air conditioned breeze along the coast. It’s as dreamy as it sounds, unless you live in California and then it’s your normal. The hue of my legs rivaled that of Edward Cullen, without the sparkles. My friend Amanda, also from Minnesota, and I sat at lunch in silence the first day, mostly speechless. Where were we? Definitely not in Minnesota. People sparkled here. I could have used those Cullen sparkles right about now. Later in the day I shrieked at the site of whales. Whales! Someone must have said it in the background. “She’s not from here.”
We stayed at Terranea Resort, which, to no surprise, was a clipping from a magazine and my dreams. They harvest sea salt from the sea (duh, Melissa), keep bees for honey, and grow their own produce on the sun-kissed hills. If my backyard garden gets only half of the same kiss, it will be brilliant. Their head chef, Bernard Ibarra, grew up in Spain where you cook and eat straight from the earth. Beautiful simplicity. He does the same there.
Terranea, Earthbound Farms (my favorite carrots and greens), Organic Valley, Heath-Ade (the very best Kombucha), and Justin’s peanut butter cups kept us well fed and made this retreat possible. Thank you from the depths!
I’ve always been on the other side of blogger retreats. Scrolling through the hashtag, sitting on my couch, and wishing I was wherever the geotag took me. Next to everyday life, this trip was both surreal and life giving. The California backdrop was beautiful, but it was the conversations, constructive criticism, and affirmation that left the biggest and best dent in my life. That and watching how Amelia organized and led the retreat. By example, she asked questions, listened, and created a specific space for feedback. Interruptions not allowed. When giving feedback, she nudged us to refrain from only sharing personal stories. Because like Adele, It’s so typical of me to talk about myself I’m sorry. I needed those parameters. I learned a lot about myself that trip. Enough for another post.
And on the second day, there were scones. They were good.
Megan taught us how she shoots cooking videos. Solo! We made these Lemon Chia Scones using the base of my scone recipe (adapted from Love, Cake). It’s not fair that we used lemons picked from the trees out back. To make these at home, I picked lemons from the store. In a mesh bag. Most definitely not the same experience.
Typically I use a bit of wheat flour in my scones for added nutrients, but I opted to go 100% all-purpose flour for this recipe. The acidity of the lemon plus the bitterness of the wheat don’t make for the best pairing. Of course, chia seeds cover all sins if you can even call a Lemon Chia Scone a sin. To infuse the scone with that bright lemon flavor, I rubbed the zest into the sugar to release all the oils, something I learned from Apt. 2B Baking Co.
And whether you’re sitting in the most beautiful backdrop or gathered around a table in a familiar spot, with strangers or the oldest of friends, I hope you’re able to create a space to talk openly and constructively. Beyond needing it, we deserve that.
- 1/2 c. heavy cream
- 1 large egg + 1 yolk
- 1/3 c. pure cane sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp. lemon zest
- 2 c. all purpose unbleached flour
- 1 tbsp. aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp. chia seeds
- 1/4 c. powdered sugar, heaping
- 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp. heavy cream
- In a measuring cup, whisk together cream and eggs. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, add sugar and lemon zest. Rub between your fingers until fragrant and oils are released.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, lemon sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
- Make a well in the center and pour in cream mixture. Using a pastry fork and/or your hands, combine until dough just comes together. Stir in chia seeds.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Place dough on the baking sheet and form into a 6" square (or so). Cut in half. Place any crumbs on the top of one rectangle. Then place the other rectangle on top and gently press or roll out until about 2" thick. Repeat until most of the crumbs have been absorbed. Roll the dough into a 6" square. Cut in half both ways, then cut each square into a triangle, leaving you with 8 scones.
- Using a pastry bench, loosen from the bottom and evenly place on the baking sheet.
- Lightly brush with any remaining cream from the measuring cup. Place in freezer. Meanwhile preheat oven to 425°. Once preheated, remove scones from freezer and bake for 15 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Place on cooling rack.
- Make the glaze. Add all ingredients to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Once scones are cool to the touch drizzle with glaze. Sprinkle with more chia seeds if desired. Best served within one day.
The gang from left to right: Megan from Country Cleaver, me flexing my legs (why?!), Sonja from A Couple Cooks, Amelia from Eating Made Easy, Ashley from Edible Perspective, Amanda from Heartbeet Kitchen, Lauren from Climbing Grier Mountain, and Erin from Her Heartland Soul. Thank you guys for being apart of my journey and welcoming me into yours too.