This morning on my walk I had my iPod cranked as usual when a medley of songs came on. Puerto Rican salsa. I love it. It makes me so happy I want to dance in the street and I sometimes do if no one’s around. It made me think of the time I spent in Puerto Rico when I was working with Delta and one of my dearest friends, Rita. Rita was born and raised in Puerto Rico, also started with Delta and, from the moment we met, we clicked. She was the person who kept me roaring with laughter and almost always in trouble. She was part of the Delta group who would go out dancing at all the fancy clubs in Old San Juan. We had a blast. We were all in our early twenties, gorgeous, happy, and looks for days. When we’d tumble out of the last club, hot from dancing and slightly tipsy from one too many rum drinks, we’d all make a beeline for the churro cart. It was parked in front of the cathedral, always, always, always, and the little churro man would start serving up the sweet, steaming pastry. There would predictably be seven or eight of us, all chattering away a mile a minute. “Oh, my gosh! Did you all see who I danced with? He is so cute!” or “I can’t believe he didn’t come here tonight! What if I don’t ever see him again?” and then ALWAYS “Yeah, you know that guy I danced with all night? Well, guess what? He’s married. Yep. Pendejo.” We’d laugh and tease each other, “Oye, nena. Yo te vi! Aha. Yo te vi con ese papito!!” We’d each finish our churros and made-by-hand hot chocolate and, one by one, slowly make our goodnights. Monday would be here soon enough and we would all be back at work. And it was one of those workdays that Rita and I came tearing back from lunch and cut through the front of the ticket office. It must have been a Friday because she and I were flying out for the weekend, she to visit friends and I was headed home. Anyway, we tore through the ticket office to get to the reservations office, where we worked. And there, sitting all slouched and bad boy, was the Prince of Cute. I would say our eyes met, but that was not the case. He slowly took me in, eyes clearly enjoying what they saw, lazily looking up and down with a most naughty grin on his face. I have to admit, I did the same. His body language screamed privilege and indulgence. The kind of boy who could, and would, play tennis at the club all day then drink and gamble all night. My kinda guy. I flashed him my best “I’m better looking than you” smile. Who cares? I’d never see him again. Oh, man, but he was so darned cute. I glanced down at the ticket that my co-worker, Ketti, was issuing him… Toten Bacardi. Yes. Of the Bacardi dynasty. Damn. Rita whispered, “Hurry up, conyo! We’re late!” and we quickly disappeared into the reservation cave. At the end of the day, we split a cab to the airport, and after catching up with our airport friends, settled into our seats. As airline employees we had to dress well and be discreet. After all, our travel was essentially free. We traveled just about anytime we wanted, and almost always in first class. We were seated in the very last two seats of first. “Thank you. I’d love a glass of champagne!” and that’s when I saw him. My noontime ne’er-do-well. Senor Sardonic. This time our eyes met. He gave me an “Ah ha!” smile and I responded with a “Helloooo” smile, with that, he dropped down into his seat five or six rows in front of me. Wheels down and we’re off. I told Rita everything. We laughed and giggled far into the flight, when I mentioned to her I was going to the restroom. I was making my move. Rita, in her true-to-form crazy way issued a dare… a double-dog dare. She threw down the devil-may-care, all or nothing challenge. “Fleje,” she said to me. That was our nickname for each other, it’s slang for a little piece of dead cuticle. “Fleje, I dare you, no, I double-dog dare you to do something cafre, tacky, really tacky.” Jeeez. Back then a dare to me was like waving a red cape in front of a bull. I truly gave no thought to repercussions or consequences. I had absolutely no guilt what so ever. And neither did she. Maybe we were a little too foolish. But I wanted to date him. I wanted to run with the big boys. At least for a little while. Only now I couldn’t. Because of the dare. Rising out of my seat, and to the occasion, I made my way down the aisle to the restroom. I fluffed my hair and checked my lipstick. I admired my outfit. I remember what I had on. It came from “the store”, my father’s clothing store. Size 4, cotton, Christian Dior, 2-piece top with skirt, in a pale blue print. Seriously feminine. With 4-inch, cafe con leche colored leather heels. Tres, tres sexy. I shook my head with regret. I knew what I had to do. As I opened the door to the restroom, my gaze swept the first class section. There he was, aisle seat, of course. I made my way down the aisle, and as I approached him, our eyes met. Closer and closer I approached and when I was almost a mere breath away, I did it. I met the challenge. I sucked my teeth. Loudly. Tongue to the upper right canine, slurping as though I had the world’s largest piece of mango string stuck up there. And that closed the deal. At once he looked away with distaste and revulsion. He was lost forever. Rita, however, observing it ALL, applauded and toasted my inventiveness and creativity. After all, boys were like buses. Miss one, there’s another right around the corner. So, for my querida Rita, I bring to the table Whole Wheat Coconut Ginger Scones. Not exactly churros, but for a couple of ex-It girls, they’ll do just fine!
These scones are so great. Easy and not that bad for you. I swapped out for coconut cream, a thick coconut paste, for the oil that I couldn’t find. Most Caribbean or Indian markets will carry several forms of coconut creams. I found it at my neighborhood Publix grocery store in the island section. A little six-ounce box. These scones call for no dairy products but the coconut cream will give you the same result as butter, a rich and flaky texture. And if you’ve never baked with whole wheat pastry flour, try it. Unlike whole wheat all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour yields a light, tender product. I’m crazy about it. The recipe originally came from the New York Times, I made a few small adjustments. You’re welcome to do the same. Ginger butter, spiced cream cheese and hot chocolate all go really well with these.
Whole Wheat Coconut Ginger Scones
- 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, I use light brown
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons coconut cream or oil, not the stuff in the can, the cream is a super thick paste
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup finely diced candied ginger
- Pre-heat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Sift together, I use a whisk, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in the sugar breaking any lumps.
- Place in your food processor the plastic blade. The metal blade can heat up your dough, never good. Add your flour mixture then the coconut cream.
- Pulse until the flour has the consistency of coarse cornmeal.
- Beat together the buttermilk and honey and add to the food processor.
- Add the ginger and process all until the dough just comes together.
- Place dough on a very lightly floured work surface and shape into a 3/4″ thick rectangle.
- Cut into six squares then cut each square diagonally into triangles.
- Place the 12 scones onto the parchment paper and bake 15 minutes.
- Cool on a rack.