It's been warming up and feeling springish (was it only a week ago we were buried under a foot of freshly fallen snow?), but that's not a good enough excuse to stop with the comfort food! Until I see fresh green things at the Greenmarket, I will continue to make the kinds of food that get you out of your midwinter funk.
My latest obsession in the kitchen has been biscuits. They are fast, and for the basic version I usually have everything on hand. They can be jazzed up with just about anything. They are best right out of the oven, but toasted the next morning at breakfast will make my heart go pitter-pat (that's probably all the butter speaking). They make a decedent sandwich and they make the house smell so good, everyone will ignore the fact you have dust bunnies of fleece taking over the house.
Bacon is the most magic food on earth- aside the fact that it has no real nutrition attached to it, it has the ability to make pretty much anything much more delicious then it ought to be. I was a vegetarian for years and I still lean towards vege cuisine. When I do buy or eat meat, I go out of my way to find antibiotic free and humanely raised animals. It gives me the warm fuzzies and helps quell the guilt I have with eating something with a face.
Here's a biscuit recipe that I made a couple weeks ago. It was from Bon Appetite, which is sent to me each month to replace the fact that they pulled Gourmet from the shelves. It is inferior in every way...this month they featured a recipe for tuna casserole with potato chips on the top. Gah. The biscuits, however, redeemed the whole issue.
Cheddar, Bacon, and Fresh Chive Biscuits
From Bon Appétit | February 2010
* 6 thick-cut bacon slices
* 3 3/4 cups bread flour
* 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus melted butter for brushing
* 2 1/2 cups (packed) coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 12 ounces)
* 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
* 1 3/4 cups chilled buttermilk
* Honey (optional)
Position rack just above center of oven and preheat to 425°F. Line heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain, then chop coarsely.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter cubes. Blend until coarse meal forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer flour mixture to large bowl. Add cheddar cheese, fresh chives, and chopped bacon; toss to blend. Gradually add buttermilk, stirring to moisten evenly (batter will feel sticky).
Using lightly floured hands, drop generous 1/2 cup batter for each biscuit onto prepared baking sheet, spacing batter mounds about 2 inches apart.
Bake biscuits until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Brush biscuits lightly with melted butter. Let cool 10 minutes. Serve biscuits warm or at room temperature with honey, if desired.
Coincidentally, I ended up at BLT Fish for dinner very shortly after making these. The waiter plopped down a basket of similar biscuits on the table, except these were without swine. They were exceptionally light and buttery. I swooned. The icing on the cake was the pat of butter drowning in maple syrup to slather on the warm little nuggets.
Laurent Tourondel's Biscuits
1 ¼ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tblsp shortening
3 tblsp butter
1 tablsp chopped chives
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 ¼ cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 375.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne in a mixer. Chop the cold butter and place the shortening into the flour and mix the ingredients briefly. The butter should remain chunky. Toss in the chopped chives and cheese. Pour in cream and mix until it just comes together, about 1 minute. Do not overmix.
Place into muffin tins and bake for 15-17 minutes. Sprinkle sea salt on them when they come out of the oven. Slather with maple syrup or honey and more butter.
The whole office move adventure is wrapping up. This is the week of finishing touches, so the most stressful part for me is over. This move robbed me of any sanity or serenity I had going in my life (and a few weekends as well), and now I'm concentrating on getting it back. The knitting is progressing once again. Maybe the spinning as well. Maybe I'll once again tend to my Etsy store and add some new things now and then. I had a furious and productive spring cleaning this weekend and feel much more organized and focused now.