So now that the kids are back at school, the weather is hot, and no one wants to spend hours in the kitchen, here is my version of chicken and biscuits (chicken 'n biscuits!) without the chicken.
Because, as far as I am concerned, any carb is a good carb (it is so my failing).
There are two kinds of biscuits that I make: Cream biscuits and cheese biscuits.
(Hey, I seem to remember I also used to make a biscuit that called for soda, 7-UP I believe, of all things. I seem to remember they were pretty good and pretty foolproof. Odd thing. Does anyone else recall anything like this or am I finally losing it?)
The cream biscuits are lighter; cheese biscuits heartier. Because I am making chicken and biscuits without the chicken (or any other rib-stickin' protein), I want a heartier biscuit. So cheese it is!
Wonderful recipe for Chive and Cheddar Biscuits
This recipe is from Saveur. Never seen Saveur magazine? Well, they have a lot of meat recipes, and I doubt they have ever heard the word diet (case in point, below) and they are totally written for the hardcore foodie. But they have fascinating, fascinating food articles.
2 cups flour
2 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
8 tbsp. cold butter
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. buttermilk
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped chives
Heat oven to 450°. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter, work butter cut into thin pats into flour mixture until the butter is the size of small peas. Add buttermilk, cheddar, and chives to flour–butter mixture; stir with a fork to form a loose dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface; gently pat into a 6" × 9" rectangle. Fold in thirds as you would a letter; pat into a 6" × 9" rectangle again.
Dip edges of a 3" round biscuit cutter in flour; punch out 6 biscuits from dough. Transfer them to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. (Form and cut dough scraps into another biscuit or two, if you wish; they won't rise as high, though.) Brush tops with 2 tbsp. heavy cream; bake until lightly browned, 14–16 minutes. Makes 6. Unless you eat one before serving. In that case, tell everyone it makes 5.
Tips for better biscuits
- When they say cold butter, they mean cold butter! If it is warm or, heavens!, melted, your biscuits won't be as light. So if it gets too soft, just pop your mixture into the fridge to chill it. Think of it as a martini break!
- Here's a link to some wonderful biscuit cutters, if you don't already have some. These are great because the handles help keep your hands off the biscuits. This won't do anything to keep your hands clean (that ship has already sailed), but the less contact you have with the dough, the colder your butter will stay and the colder it is the flakier ... erm, you know. They make pretty biscuits because of the rippled edge. And they work better than using the open end of a drinking glass, although that does work in a pinch.
- While you're shopping, R.S.V.P. International, the same company that makes the biscuit cutters, also make a very neat little gadget called a baker's butter slicer. Forget the slicing part; you can do that with any old knife (doh!). It's the measuring part that is brilliant because you can quickly and easily measure our tablespoons, cups, whatever you need. At least you can for the short and the long sticks of butter. You're on your own for any more unusual shapes, such as square or log, unfortunately.
- And as for the calories in the recipe, above. Don't worry about it. Because you're going to pair this with a super healthy spinach salad.
Recipe for a super healthy spinach salad
Now, you can do any old salad you want. But, as for me, I want to punch up my iron and ... okay ... I just crave this. I've written about this before, but here's the recipe if you are just not in a clicking mood.
2 - 3 bunches fresh spinach (or a big bag of spinach from the grocery store), very well rinsed (grit tends to hide in spinach so be vigilant about the rinsing)
1 - 2 pints fresh strawberries, sliced
1/4 - 1/2 red onion, sliced very thin (use a mandoline, if you have one)
2 - 3 generous tablespoons balsamic vinegar, the best you can find (product from Moderna, Italy tends to be good)
Loosely rip the spinach leaves into smallish pieces (in half should do) and put into your salad bowl. Top with the sliced strawberries and onion slices. Just before serving, drizzle balsamic vinegar onto your salad. Toss and serve with your biscuits and enjoy.