Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rules of Engagement

My daughter met her special someone when she was 15. They married when she was 22, and the whole time they were together it was a long distance relationship. They didn't go to the same school so they only saw each other at church or when one of them could make the 45 minute drive to the other's house. Then when they graduated from high school, he went across the state to college. What had been seeing each other once or twice a week became once or twice a quarter. Thank heavens for email, texting, and cell phones!

My daughter will be the first to admit that it was really tough, but also that it was invaluable for their relationship. Because they didn't have a lot of time to be together physically, they spend a lot of time talking and working through issues together.

One of the most important things they hammered out were the ground rules for fighting.

#1 - No violence. Ever.

#2 - Leave the past in the past. Don't drag it into present conflicts.

#3 - Leave out absolutes like "you always" or "you never"

#4 - Remember that words are as hurtful as knives. Choose the words you speak carefully as they can't be unspoken.

#5 - Don't let the sun set on your anger. Or if it sets and you're still angry, stay up all night working it out. Don't go to bed mad.

#6- Don't walk away in anger. Stay and work it out.

#7 - No withholding. The marriage bed is not a bargaining tool.

I must confess that recently I broke one of those rules. Sort of. You see, my Cuisinart broke. It just stopped working one day. I wasn't shocked as I'd bought that food processor at a yard sale 20 years ago for $10 (yes, I know, I have amazing yard sale blessings).

A food processor isn't an absolute necessity. Lots of people get by without them. It's just that for certain tasks it's really, really nice to have one. So when my husband asked about some apple scones I'd talked about making, I ....(hangs head in shame)....withheld. No, not the marriage bed, the scones.

"I can't make them without a food processor," I said, trying to convince myself it was only a teensy, weensy lie, knowing full well that I was certainly capable of making scones without a food processor. I just didn't want to. And if the scones were dangled out there as bait, maybe hubbie would be motivated to buy me a new one.

Hubbie is no fool. He, too, knows that scones can be made without an appliance (well, an oven is a necessity), but he's a big sweetie and likes to spoil me. So he went ahead and ordered me a new one. It was just like Christmas when that big box arrived on the doorstep! And the very first thing I made to break in my new baby was the apple scones. So, I'm not totally evil, am I?

These are so easy to make in the food processor, and they're "rustic," which means zero fuss. Let the food processor do the work, knead in the apple bits, lump it onto a baking sheet, score, and bake. You're half an hour away from delicious, warm scones!

If you've had a fight and need to do penance, try making the scones. All will be forgiven, I'm sure. And if you don't have a food processor, they are terrific incentive for getting one.

Apple Buttermilk Scones
- adapted from Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister
Makes 8 scones

1 large crisp tart apple (about 1/2 lb)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup raw sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
6-1/2 Tbs unsalted butter, chilled and diced
about 2/3 cup buttermilk, plus extra for brushing

1- Preheat the oven to 425 deg. F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2- Peel, core, and coarsely chip the apple into 1/2-inch chunks.

3- In the food processor combine the flours, baking soda, and sugar. Pulse briefly to mix. Add the butter and process until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. With the machine running, add the buttermilk through the feed tube to make a soft but not sticky dough.

4- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead in the apple chunks to form a coarse, bumpy dough. Don't worry is they're not totally incorporated.

5- Shape the dough into a ball and put in onto the prepared baking sheet. Pat the dough into a 9-inch round. Brush lightly with buttermilk, then sprinkle with a little raw sugar to give a crunchy surface. Using a sharp knife, score the round into 8 wedges, but don't separate them.

6- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden and firm to the touch.

7- Cool on a wire rack. You can eat them immediately, warm, or they are also good split and toasted. If you really want to go crazy, slather them with good butter and your favorite jam or honey. But I find them irresistible plain.

*I use a blend of 1/2 all-purpose flour, 1/2 white whole wheat


Fallon said...

Sounds delicious! Baked apples are so good.

I can relate to long distance relationships. I was in for at least 2 years, until the beginning of this year when my boyfriend asked me to move in with him. Meaning I moved to another state, and since he is in the Army.. 3 months later I ended up moving to another state! What an adventure it will be but now at least I can share it with someone.

Shannon Riley said...

This sounds great! :D

Elle said...

I can smell those scones from here...and they would be lovely with a cup of spiced tea. You have a smart hubbie who knows when to not question if you can but to love that you do. Lucky guy and lucky you!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Calls for all the right ingredients: apples, whole wheat and buttermilk! That's got to be a winner.
Your guy knows when to call your bluff ... and when not too ;-)
Everybody wins.

Adam said...

These look great, and I'm honestly considering making them right now since it's so quick (but I'm also feeling kinda lazy :)).
Your daughter's rules are a great map for nearly any relationship (friends, family, significant other). And as your post pointed out "No Witholding" can also be applied by replacing "bed" with any number of things (and is slightly less disturbing if the fight is with my brothers :) ).

Unknown said...

LOL on withholding bedroom action! hahaha, so many do!

grace said...

when (er...if) i find a meaningful long-term relationship, those are certainly some things to bear in mind. here's hoping... :)
GREAT scones--i love those flavors, even in scone form. :)

Unknown said...

My brother and his wife did the long distance thing as well. Maybe that makes the marriage that much sweeter. :-) The scones sound delicious...I think I usually make them with my hands but I do LOVE my food processor!