I have a ritual I go through whenever I purchase (or rescue) a new “second hand” piece of furniture. First, I find just the right space in my home for it to settle into. Sometimes it needs a bit of a freshening up – maybe a coat of paint or new drawer pulls. I lovingly clean it, and depending on what piece of furniture it is, I fill its shelves with china, or line its drawers with scented paper. I view it as an adoption of sorts. More than likely, it belonged to another family in its former life and now it is left in my care. These new “members” of my family arrive without papers or any identifying information as to who owned them prior to ending up at the flee market or the local resale shop. Once comfortable in its new space – a space filled with many other orphans – I assign it a story. Imagining who loved this piece of furniture before me, I conjure up imagery of newlyweds buying their first bedroom set, or a farmer who made due with found wood to build his family a kitchen table. I wonder about what route it took to my home; how much of the country - or maybe even the world – it has seen.
My home is a mishmash of re-purposed furniture. All my little orphans are gathered together under my roof – and now with a new story. Meet my most recent arrival.
Last week I spied it in the window of one of my favorite shops. I have lost count as to how many things I have brought home from that tiny shop When I had a need for a small chest for my guest room (which I redid for my niece who arrives today for a three month stay) I knew exactly where to begin my hunt. My first two attempts to meet face to face with this possible new member of my family was met with a “CLOSED” sign on the door to the shop. But, I persevered, and yesterday I brought it home to join its siblings. It is hard to explain that feeling when I know I got it just right. The color was perfect. It hugged up into its space as though it was custom made for it. When I put the final touches on the room late last night, I stepped back and had this feeling of utter contentment and joy. Does it sound strange to connect with furniture in such a way? Maybe. But I do – and I always have. I feel so much more at home with pieces that have been around a bit; furniture that has seen some living and loving before coming to me.
I created this scone recipe while in the midst of all the cleaning and preparation for my niece’s visit. I was craving something savory and needed it to be quick and filling. I couldn’t have been more satisfied with the results. Perfect for a breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even late night snack – these scones are a meal in themselves. I chose to name this recipe for the ingredients that go into it, but in truth, a better name may have been “Sausage Pizza Scones”. These scones would satisfy any pizza craving you might have. Think about the possibilities. Too late for delivery? Just whip up a batch of these pizza parlor-like specialties. Not in the mood for sausage? Add whatever toppings you usually eat on YOUR pizza – olives, onions, green pepper………
Sun-dried Tomato and Sausage Scones
1/3 lb. Italian sausage (mild or hot), removed from casing
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 heaping teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus melted butter for brushing
12 large basil leaves, finely chopped
1 cup lightly packed shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup buttermilk, well chilled
1/3 cup sun-dried tomato pesto (1/3 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil may be substituted)
Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Cook the sausage in a skillet over medium heat, breaking it up into small pieces as it browns. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it is in pea-size pieces. Stir in the cheese, basil, and the cooled sausage with a wooden spoon. Add the buttermilk and the sun-dried tomato pesto and gently mix until just moistened. The dough will be loose. (Don’t worry if the pesto is not fully distributed at this point.)
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 5 to 6 times, just until it comes together. (Don’t over-knead.) Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Press each piece into a 3/4 inch thick round. Cut each round into four pieces. Arrange on an ungreased or parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with melted butter.
Bake the scones until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.