I’m one of those strange individuals who thinks many places are much more beautiful in the rain. Like Paul (Owen Wilson) from Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, I feel that a good drizzle and a layer of raindrops brings out the melancholy, romantic beauty in things. It’s a very good thing that I found my way to Oregon, where there’s no shortage of rainy spring days.
Every day I drive the back roads, across the river, past farms and vineyards and through the most beautiful little green valley. In the middle of the valley, at the top of a small hill, is an idyllic country church. I’ve wanted to stop and visit everyday for the last seven months, but haven’t. Finally last Thursday, on my way back from the farmer’s market, I decided it was time.
There wasn’t a sound besides the rain falling for miles around and my camera shutter opening and closing. There wasn’t a soul besides those buried beneath the moss-covered gravestones. The air smelled wet and clean but also heavy with the scent of the flowering trees around the little church yard. I walked slowly around the property, reading gravestones and composing romantic stories for each person buried there. Taking photos and soaking up the mist.
Just like memories and loved ones can inspire certain dishes, so can beautiful places. All I could think of the rest of my drive home was a cup of hot tea and freshly baked scones. I wanted something floral and sweet to preserve the essence of my time in the church yard. I stopped and grabbed a tiny bag full of chamomile from the bulk section at the natural foods store, remembering that I already had a stash of last summer’s dried lavender flowers at home. I made a few tweaks to my favorite scone recipe, added a simple glaze (our pastry chef at work taught me to glaze scones- I’ll never go back), and brewed a pot of tea.
As the sun set, and the rain temporarily stopped, I set a place on our patio and sat in the backyard enjoying the last minutes of the day. I dug into the warm scones which somehow managed to perfectly capture that little country church in just a few, flaky bites. You don’t have to visit an old church to enjoy these, just promise me you’ll take a few minutes to get away somewhere beautiful and daydream a little.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 Tbsp butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp cream
- 1 Tbsp dried lavender flowers
- 1 Tbsp chamomile (ground up, stems picked out)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- warm water
- Preheat oven to 425.
- In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients.
- Cut the butter in with your fingers, working the mixtures until it resembles coarse sand. I like to leave decent sized butter chunks. Add the lavender and chamomile.
- Add cream and mix with your hands until a dough forms. Form the dough into a circle and roll the top flat (about 1″ thick).
- Using a ring mold (or water glass) cut the scones out of the dough.
- Place on baking sheet, lined with parchment, and bake for 18-20 minutes until slightly golden.
- As the scones cool, mix powdered sugar with hot water, a little at a time until a paste forms. You want to just be able to whisk it together with a fork so that it’s stiff enough to form a good glaze. Drizzle the scones with glaze as desired, and top with lavender flowers. Makes around 8 scones.