We’re adapting to climate change, and that means taking advantage of our fresh strawberries ripening as quickly as our basil – in Wisconsin! We also whittle away at our carbon dioxide emissions with, among other things, generating our own power with PV and wind turbine systems, cooking with sun ovens and working from our farmstead (no commutes).
On a recent trip to the food travel hotspot known as Ann Arbor, Michigan, I joined in a hands-on class at Fustini’s School of Cooking where we made some delicious scones from scratch. We’re always learning, right? Why not pick up some pointers for new ways to incorporate more healthy oils and vinegars into our cooking? While we sell high acid foods under our state's cottage food law, very soon we'll be able to sell our baked goods as well, perhaps like these scones, recipe shared below.
Named after the stainless steel drums used to store balsamic vinegars and olive oils, Fustini’s offers imported cold-pressed oils and aged balsamic vinegars from small-batch growers and select artisans, many from Italy. While Fustini’s Oils & Vinegars has several stores, tasting rooms and cooking schools only in Michigan, they do ship their products nationally.
If you’ve ever had a scone that dryly crumbled apart or was full of so much sugar you got a buzz, you’re not alone. But Fustini’s scones are super moist, light on the sugar and big on flavor. And their strawberry basil combo uses two things that now ripen around the same time on our farm, thanks to the changing climate.
The secret? Fustini’s basil infused extra virgin olive oil and Fustini’s strawberry balsamic imported from Madena, Italy. “The base for the basil infused olive oil is made from the Arbequina Olive from Jaen, Spain,” says Jill Gardner-Bakewell, General Manager for Fustini’s. “It is infused in the US.”
“The freshness and nutritional value of Fustini's extra virgin olive oils are what sets us apart,” adds Gardner-Bakewell. “We change hemispheres at the end of every growing season to ensure freshness. The fresher the extra virgin olive oil, the better the flavor and the nutritional value.”
My wife and I have become quite familiar with the delightful combo of a great balsamic and fresh strawberries – a popular dessert with chefs at many farm-to-table restaurants. Now imagine them in a moist scone, using your own strawberries that you dehydrate in a sun oven or dehydrator and freshly picked basil. Now that’s something to wake up to in the morning.
Strawberry-Basil Scones RecipeCourtesy Carol Passmore, of Fustini’s Oils & Vinegars
Yield: 8 scones
• 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
• 2 tbsp sugar
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• 1 ½ sticks butter
• 2 eggs
• 1/3 cup Fustini’s strawberry balsamic
• splash Fustini’s basil infused olive oil
• 1/3 cup dried strawberries
• 2 tbsp diced basil
• Powdered sugar
• Strawberry balsamic
1. Mix with a paddle attachment: flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Blend in cold, cut up butter at the lowest speed until it is pea sized. Don’t overmix.
2. Combine eggs and balsamic vinegar, then add to flour mixture. Lightly blend.
3. Toss in strawberries and basil and mix quickly.
4. Place dough ball mixture on floured surface ad make sure it’s well combined. Bits of butter should still be seen.
5. Roll out dough into roughly 3/4 –inch to 1-inch thickness. Make the dough into a rectangle and cut out 8 even triangles. Brush with egg wash.
6. Set on cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 400-degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Remove from oven and set on cooling rack to cool. Once cooled, glaze with mixture of powdered sugar and strawberry balsamic. Sprinkle the top of each glaze with chopped basil while glaze is still wet.
John D. Ivanko, with his wife Lisa Kivirist, have co-authored Rural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winning ECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chef along with operating Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by the wind and sun. Both are regular speakers at the Mother Earth News Fairs. As a writer andphotographer, Ivanko contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently, “9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living”. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam, millions of ladybugs and a 10 kW Bergey wind turbine. Read all of John's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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