Spoonable Raisin Scones + Rice Noodle Salad: Catching Up on a Couple of Recipes

As for the salad, like the pancakes, the recipe for this salad comes from Nina Simonds and her wonderful book, A Spoonful of Ginger.  And, like the pancakes, the salad was terrific.  A mix of beautifully arranged rice noodles, quickly boiled shrimp, grated carrots, shredded lettuce, bean sprouts and bunches of herbs, it was all moistened with a sweet and sour dressing that I’d be happy to have with just about anything.  (The peanuts in the picture were our own add-in.)

Adapted from A Spoonful of Ginger by Nina Simonds

Makes 6 servings

For the salad:
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/3 pound thin rice stick noodles, softened in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes and drained
3 carrots, peeled and grated (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 1/2 cups leafy lettuce, rinsed, drained and cut into thin julienne shreds
2 1/2 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped scallion greens

For the dressing:
1 1/4 teaspoons crushed dried chiles or dried chile flakes
Juice of 5 limes or 2 1/2 lemons (about 2/3 cup)
1/3 cup fish sauce, or more to taste
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

Using a sharp knife, slice the shrimp in half lengthwise along the back.  Heat 4 cups water in a saucepan until boiling, add the shrimp and cook about 1 1/2 minutes, after the water has reached a boil.  Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water.  Drain again.

In a large stockpot, heat 2 quarts water until boiling.  Add the softened rice stick noodles and swirl in the hot water.  Cook for 10 seconds, or until just tender.  Drain thoroughly in a colander and rinse under cold water.  Arrange the noodles on a deep serving platter.

Arrange the shrimp in the center of the platter with the carrots, lettuce and bean sprouts in concentric circles around the shrimp.

In a medium bowl, soak the crushed red chiles or dried chile flakes in the lime juice for 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the remaining dressing ingredients and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Pour the dressing into a serving bowl.

Sprinkle the chopped cilantro, basil and scallions on top of the shrimp and vegetables.  Spoon the dressing over the salad or serve it on the side at room temperature or chilled.

Spoonable Raisin Scones.jpg

A couple of weeks ago it was biscuits, which I’d created for Parade magazine, and today it’s raisin scones, the simplest kind, the kind you drop from a spoon – no patting, no rolling, no cutting, no problem.

When I wrote about the biscuits, several of you mentioned their kissing-cousin relationship to scones, pointing out that they’re almost the same, but that scones get an egg and biscuits don’t, and you were right.  While there are subtle differences in the amounts of sugar or milk, what’s remarkable is that two things made from essentially the same ingredients can turn out to be so different in texture.  Where the hallmark of biscuits is their flakiness, scones get high marks for being cakey.

If you’re new to scones, start right here – these are the easiest scones, bar none.  As I often say about making biscuits and scones, the key is benign neglect: don’t be too thorough.  Use your fingertips (or a pastry blender) to cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients and don’t get hung up on getting anything even:  you want to have clumps and flakes of butter and flour.  And go easy when you mix in the milk and egg.

Click here for a quick rundown on making biscuits – which is the same rundown you need for scones.

And to get my recipe for drop-them-from-a-spoon Raisin Scones, go over to the Parade website.