Rhubarb Scones

Dad, where are the boys?

I knew I would hear her speak those words to me sooner or later. Last week, Juliette turned 15 years old and we went out for a family celebration, having dinner at Bann, a Korean BBQ restaurant in midtown, where we celebrate all birthdays.  Sitting across from Juliette at dinner, wondering how in the world this girl has grown up right before my eyes, she asks why she was sent to an all girls school. I replied to her that it really was her fault. She looked at me astonished and curious at the same time, "Ugh, really?, how is that?"

I had been a proponent of an all-girls education for a long time and especially now that I had two daughters. One evening at dinner, while Juliette was in preschool, I asked how her day was and she said "you know dad, something very interesting happened today.  The boys were playing and building in the blocks area and the girls were standing around very curious about what they were building and asking lots of questions.  When it was our time to play in the block area there wasn't a boy around.  They didn't care at all.  Why is that?"

This really got me thinking about how distracting boys could be in school. I really believed in the notion that some girls, not all, didn't do as well in school for fear of doing better than the boys and that teachers taught differently to girls in a coed environment. I wanted my girls to build the type of confidence, that I felt they could only get in an all-girls school, which I believe has worked.  Both my girls are confident students, feel free to express themselves and their thoughts and are great participators in class.  Juliette has been finding great success in math and science and they are her favorite subjects.

She did not want to discuss the pros and cons of a single sex education and I knew where the conversation was headed.  Juliette, besides attending an all-girls K-12 school and yes, they have socials with the boys schools, chose a sport where there are relatively no boys.  She spends every weekend in PA riding or at horse shows. Summers are spent the same way, except it's every day. She doesn't go to camp, so , yeah I get it.  She wants boys to be around and she want to be around boys. I asked if she wanted to go to a coed school and thankfully she said no, but that she wished boys could go to Chapin.

I am sure that in no time there will be boys calling (not really sure that happens anymore), texting,  snapchatting and knocking down her door. I hope that she realizes that I was once a teen boy and just maybe I can give her some perspective of what they are thinking. If not, that she knows that I would be happy just to listen and not say a word.

And I know what you are thinking, all photos have been teenager approved.

Fourth times a charm

When the city gets hit with a record snowstorm, just shy of 3 feet, you get to spend all day trying to bake the most delicious rhubarb scones.  Hopefully, you will have a better go at it than I did on my first three tries. In the end, it came down to using my hands to mix all the ingredients instead of a Cuisinart, which when chopping the rhubarb caused the dough to be too wet. The secret is out, cut the rhubarb into small pieces and mix in by hand.

Rhubarb Scones

(Makes 12)

  • 2 - 3 stalks rhubarb depending on size

  • 2 1/2 cups flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup vanilla sugar (see below)

  • 2/3--3/4 cup creme frâiche

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

  2. slice rhubarb stalks into 1/4 inch pieces and cover with 3 tablespoons vanilla sugar.

  3. In a large bowl mix the flour, salt and baking powder together.

  4. Add the butter to dry ingredients and using your hands, mix together until butter is the size of small peas.

  5. Add 1/4 cup vanilla sugar.

  6. Add chopped rhubarb (note: mix by hand, using a cuisinart will only release the juices from the rhubarb and render the dough too wet).

  7. Add the creme frâiche a little bit at a time until a soft dough forms.

  8. Transfer to a well floured surface and divide dough in half. Flatten into 6-inch disks and cut each circle into 6 triangular scones. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.

  9. Arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until golden-brown on top.

Vanilla Sugar

  • 2 vanilla beans

  • 2 cups sugar

  1. Split vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape out vanilla seeds with the back of the knife.

  2. Combine vanilla seeds with sugar and mix thoroughly.

  3. Bury split vanilla beans in sugar and place in sealed container.

  4. let stand for two days. Will stay indefinitely.