I love potlucks.
You can tell a lot about a person just by the dish they offer the potluck table. Each dish is like an opportunity to peek inside a window.
A secret protected by a sheer curtain isn’t really a secret. A covered dish presents the ultimate reveal.
Sadly, I don’t get invited to many potlucks. It could be because I compare them to a freaky yet sensual exercise in competitive vouyerism. Or – it could be people don’t have potlucks or covered dish parties these days. Since I no longer work in a corporate or office environment, I don’t have access to holiday, retirement and birthday office potlucks. But every spring I’m guaranteed an invite to at least one big potluck.
The whole congregation is on the list.
I love potlucks.
This is a brunch potluck. There will be sausages and ham and eggs and fruit and…
What will I bring?
The process always starts with a scroll through my recipe database. I pick a few items. You know those doughnut muffins everyone was spanky spank about for a few months? I imagined a big bowl of doughnut muffins dipped in warn butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar. I’d grate the cinnamon myself. Hell – I should mill some wheat. That’ll learn ‘em! (Google home milled wheat).
Then I check Onenote for comments on anything I’m looking to try out. Gah! That is a good one! But – there is absolutely no way I can work in curing my own bacon in time. Lets make sure. I google. I read. I make a note to call a local farmer and ask if I can get my pork belly order sooner. Wait – There is already going to be sausage and ham.
Will a potato dish get to cold? Is quiche to fancy? I could call it a tart. There is already going to be loads of boiled eggs. A tart. A potato tart. A bacon, egg, cheese…potato tart with truffle butter. I can whip out a recipe for that in no time.
I love potlucks!
There is a potluck rule. Not really a rule. It is more of a survival tenet. Thou shalt not take a dish you’ve never made before. I break that “rule” all the time. I’m thinking I like the stress or the sense of adventure or maybe I like to surprise myself. It couldn’t possibly be that I’m slightly incorrigible and resist authority even when I’m the one issuing the orders. That would be nutso.
One day out – I decide to bring Lemon Thyme Scones.
I make fabulous scones. Since the weather has turned cool and grey, the lemon is a ray of spring flavor. A little pop of brightness during an hour of gloom. Thyme offers a satisfying herbal surprise. The scones are moist, delicate people pleasers. My mind’s eye dumps those belly bomb doughnut muffins into an abyss and arranges a generous stack of lemon thyme scones on a tray. My mind quickly adds a lemon drizzle and a dusting of zest.
Lets roll with that.
When I drop off my dish, I can’t help but look at all the other dishes. How does mine stack up? I baked. Did they bake or summon a bakery? Is this too fancy? Too summer like? Too modern. Too old fashion? Too… Look at that group of women glaring at my tray. They want to peek into my window.
I hate potlucks.
A lady sitting at my table bites into one of the lemon thyme scones. In a low whisper to no one she said, “Oh. That is good.” She takes another bite. That is what it is all about. It only took one person enjoying my work to make it all worth it. I love potlucks.
Lemon Thyme Scones
• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons baking powder
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
• 1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
• 3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced 1/2 inch
• 4 large eggs
• 1 cup cold heavy cream
• 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water
• 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
• 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
• 1 tablespoon lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
If you’ve planned ahead and know you’re going to be making the scones, place the flour, lemon zest, thyme and sugar in a zip top or vacuumed sealed bag overnight.
In the bowl of an electric mixer (w/ paddle attachment), mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and thyme.
Add the cold butter a few pieces at a time and mix until the butter is the size of peas.
Crack eggs into the measurement of heavy cream and combine with a fork or small whisk. Slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will seem either too lumpy or wet or sticky or something… Resist the urge to “fix” it.
Place the dough on a well-floured surface and fold (knead) it a few turns. Lift the dough and add more flour.Flour your hands and form the dough. I form mine into a rectangle and pat the dough 3/4-inch thick. Square or circle is fine too.
Flour a 3-inch round plain or fluted cutter and cut circles of dough. Place the scones on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Form the dough scrapes and cut more scones. With the tip of your index finger, make a slight dimple on the top of each scone. Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The tops should be brown and the inside fully baked. In my oven this takes 20 minutes. Do not over bake.
Allow the scones to cool slightly. Whisk together the glaze ingredients and drizzle over the scones.
Finish with a snow of lemon zest on each scone.