When Yankees go homeI can't resist a slight variation on an Orwellian maxim here: All regions have regional food, but some regions are more regional than others. New England is one of these, perhaps because its cooking has remained home cooking. It hasn't gone haute or had a trendy infusion of fusion (at least, I hope that no one has added chilpotles or hoisin to clam chowder yet).
But, that certainly doesn't mean New England has a homogeneous, flat-fooded cuisine. There's been much progress since the pilgrims set foot on Plymouth Rock; wave after wave of immigrants Portuguese, Italians, Germans, Jews, Greeks, Scandinavians, Poles, French Canadians, and more have made New England their home and added new flavors and foods to what the original settlers brought from England and borrowed from the Native Americans. To celebrate the fine fare found in the Northeast, Brooke Dojny has put together The New England Cookbook: 350 Recipes from Town and Country, Land and Sea, Hearth and Home. A Connecticut Yankee, brought up digging clams and gathering beach plums, Ms. Dojny, now an accomplished food writer and cookbook author, brings her expertise and authority to this comprehensive, inviting volume. Nimbly mixing the traditional and the modern, she moves through the courses from starters, soups, salads, savory meats and poultry, finfish, shellfish, and a bevy of baked bean beauties to pickles, preserves, pies, cobblers, cakes and cookies, seasoning all with anecdotes, pertinent info and unflagging enthusiasm for the food, the people, and the land.
Sybil Pratt is an avid cook.
Irish Oak Scones with dried cranberries¥ 1 cup all-purpose flour¥ 1/2 cup quick rolled oats (quick or one-minute rolled oats, not regular old-fashioned oats or instant oatmeal)¥ 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons, granulated sugar ¥ 2 teaspoons baking powder¥ 1/2 teaspoon salt¥ 4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into several pieces¥ 1/2 cup dried cranberries¥ 1 egg¥ 1/4 cup milk, whole or low-fat, plus 1 tablespoon more if necessaryPreheat the oven to 375 degrees. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, oats, 2 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse once or twice to sift and blend the dry ingredients. Distribute the butter pieces over the flour mixture. Pulse until most of the pieces of butter are about the size of small peas. Add the cranberries and pulse once to blend. In a glass measure, lightly beat the egg with the milk. With the motor running, pour the liquid through the feed tube and process in short bursts until the dough begins to clump together. If the dough is too dry to shape, add another tablespoon of milk. Transfer the dough to an ungreased baking sheet, gather it together, and shape into a flattened 1/2-inch-high disk approximately 9 inches in diameter. Using a large knife, cut the dough into 12 pie-shaped wedges and separate the wedges so they are at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar. Bake in the center of the preheated oven until the scones are an even golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve the scones warm. Makes 12 small scones.
from The New England Cookbook, by Brooke Dojny, © 1999 Harvard Common Press