We all have ways of maintaining our sanity and lately I’ve been baking myself sane. In the last week I’ve written the phrase ‘I’m losing my mind’ more times than I have in the rest of my life combined. I feel like I’ve tumbled through the looking glass, and I can’t recognize my surroundings. I’m stressed and worried and can’t keep off social media to make sure I haven’t missed the latest installment or editorial column about the state of the nation. There is so much going on I can hardly keep up, when I can’t take it anymore, I bake.
I don’t think of myself as a baker, I’m more of a cook making savory dishes, soups, stews, braises and roasts. I make food not confections and sweets. I cook with creativity and abandon. I cook boldly. It’s one of the few things I do with total confidence; never second guessing myself.
Baking is different, it requires attention to detail, careful measuring and using a timer not intuition. I need to stay present; I can’t rely on instinct. It’s this focus I need right now, an activity that needs my attention. For a little while I stop thinking about the world and myself and things that are driving me nuts. I get out all the ingredients, line them neatly on the counter, go through each step, in proper order, place things neatly on my sheet tray, and wait. That’s when I get into trouble again.
I’m looking for a job. I need a job for obvious reasons such as income and health insurance, but I also need a job to literally occupy me. To give me something to think about, care about, focus on. There’s only so much baking I can do. When I have too much free time I get sucked into the hole of Face Book and Twitter, I watch TV, and generally waste a lot of the time I have that could be put to more constructive use. Baking at least feels constructive; at the end I have something to show for my time. And I can sit down with a cup of tea and a zucchini-chocolate chip scone that could be the best scone ever.
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Scones
- 2 cups flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons cold butter (cut into little cubes (about 24))
- 1 Medium zucchini (cut in half lengthwise and seeds scooped out)
- 2 Large eggs
- 3/4 cups buttermilk or sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips (regular chips will do, but the minis are so much better)