Sunday, May 27, 2012

perfect morning for...

This morning was a perfect morning for a lot of things. Many of which I did not in fact do, like sleep in, make my own coffee, or clean my room.

However I did make biscuits.  It may have been one of the best decisions I've ever made on a Sunday morning. Ever.

On Friday I was in Portland and I had a biscuit and egg for breakfast. While I may be giving the biscuit itself more credit than deserved, as my exhausted post concert state may have made me slightly more susceptible to false-biscuit-charm than usual, I've been dreaming of them ever since.

I've made pie dough and scones and the occasional shortcake biscuit, but never your traditional non dessert variety. You know the kind. The biscuit and gravy kind. The biscuit and jam kind (my favorite, obviously). The biscuit and chowder kind. The kind of biscuit that can be easily adapted to any taste or meal- sweet or savory.

Since I didn't have a recipe I thought I would lean upon the world of mathematics. I know, I know, but I'm studying for the GRE so I need my practice and Michael Ruhlman may just be the smartest man I know....

Let's talk about Ratios. Or rather, the ratio that leads us to delicious breakfast biscuits- the likes of which are perfect for lazy, grey Sunday mornings.

According to my man, it's a 3:1:2. Essentially, the same ingredients as pie dough, but with twice the liquid-- meaning more gluten and more flakes, crumbles, butter, and overall doughiness.

Sounds good to me.

Oh and let me tell you, Mr. Ruhlman nailed this one one the head. Or rather, if you will allow me to, took the biscuit with this recipe.

He also added baking powder, which I did as well, and then I took the liberty of adding some baking soda in addition to the powder. Resulting in a more rustic and charming biscuit.

3:1:2 Biscuits
Adapted from Ratio by Michael Ruhlman 

3 cups flour (scant cups)
A measurement I just learned, meaning a cup that is not completely full. Personally, I think it's a terrible word, simply because of the way it sounds, but until I find a better one it will do. 
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
A heavy pinch of salt 
2 scant (or substitute your invented word) cups of butter milk
8 ounces cold unsalted butter. 

Like pie dough, mix flour, salt, powder, and soda in large bowl. Add in cubed ice cold butter and incorporate well into the flour. You can use two knives or just your thumb and forefinger to pinch the butter into the flour mixture. Add in buttermilk. Stir and let set in the refrigerator for about an hour. 

Drop dough onto a lined baking sheet (not greased) and bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.  Feel free to sprinkle with a little raw sugar or salt depending on your preference or intended biscuit accompaniment. 

Then enjoy.

Like this...

And like this.

Yes, that is a poached egg. I am still working on it, but I've determined it comes down to panache. There are tips and techniques- vinegar, spiraling water, etc- but I'm convinced it comes down to just a splash of verve.

I wanted to end with one last biscuit pun. But the only idioms I could think of didn't seem that fitting. Something to do with buttering my biscuit or broken biscuits and grizzly bears...

I don't know. What I want to say is I have a kitchen full of biscuits and worse things have happened.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

sometimes a girls just gotta...

I know, I know, I know.

My guilt is almost palpable.... I can feel my kitchen aid's stare, which is surprisingly alarmingly, gripping, and tinted in pistachio green.

It's mad from neglect. I get it, I really do. And as much as I miss it and have big plans for it in the near future- sometimes a girls just has to...

do this...

Thank you Betty Crocker.

The recipe? Well, it's quite simple really. So simple in fact, it's written on the back of the box. Don't get me wrong we did add some walnuts and pour some wine so there is something to be said for additions. But really, somedays you just have to rely on the expertise of a mysterious ageless woman with a wooden spoon. She knows her stuff. Trust her.

In other news I spent the last weekend of sunshine and springtime weather standing in long lines...

To eat some of these...

They were worth it too. Even if I didn't get my gateau basque because the guy right in front of me ordered the last one... I mean, I would have at least offered a bite. Just saying.

Maybe if I had saved a bite for my kitchenaid, I could have softened the blow of the boxed brownie incident. Who knows really, I'll leave the lives of inanimate kitchen appliances for another day and instead make a promise, to my very core, to put it to good use very very soon.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Sometimes I get a little too excited.  So excited I talk too fast, move too quickly, and seem to loose control over my ability to keep my hands in check when I talk. Inevitable I knock something over, make a mess- or sometimes both.  Like yesterday, when in the grocery store I was thinking about rhubarb, and then there it was, and in my zeal to get there I knocked over an entire display of avocados.

An entire display.

There is just so much I want to say about this...

The first thing: good morning.  I've really missed them. It's true what they say about early birds and worms, but really I'm just happy to be awake and making pie. The fact that I am once again up and enjoying my mornings is also testament to the fact that spring is here. What better way to welcome back daylight than with pie. Specifically, sweet, tart, lemony, strawberry-rhubarb pie...

I know I say this a lot, about almost everything sweet, but there is something about strawberry rhubarb pie that is almost magical.

I think it's the rhubarb.
Or maybe it's this.

Don't get me wrong, I love strawberries, but rhubarb.... rhubarb as a fruit, or maybe a vegetable, is an entirely different beast. It looks like swiss chard, is partially poisonous, and as a kid I used to play fairy inside a giant rhubarb bush that grew in our backyard. Plus, for me this pie conjures up images of picnic tables, sunflowers, and plaid. Three of my favorite things... 

It's a fruit with oh so many uses.

My favorite though by far is this...

Also. That is what pie looks like by candle light. Very romantic... 

There are a few tricks with this pie, but other than that its simple.  Mostly, when it comes to baking I like to bake my pie for 20 minutes at 400 and then 25-30 at 350.  I find it helps turn the crust that delightful golden brown color. 

Also I use a lot of lemon in the filling. At least 2 lemons worth of juice. I don't know what that works out to in terms of measurements, probably about 2 tablespoons, but just eyeball it- and of course taste, taste, taste. 

I also use a combination of white and brown sugar, leaning a little heavier on the white sugar, totally around 3/4 to 1 cup depending on how sweet you like your pie.  The strawberries add a lot of sweetness, but the rhubarb is tart and needs sugar. For this particular pie I used 1/2 cup white and 1/4 brown sugar. It probably could have been sweeter, but I like things tart. 

Finally, I've started doing my dough by hand. It takes a bit longer but I love it. I'm gonna buy myself a pastry cutter this weekend and then who knows, I may take over the world.