During what has certainly been a stressful election season, I’ve been cooking, knitting and even cleaning like a crazy person. I’m having dreams about voting, which is definitely not my normal state in November. In the meantime, I have a new pair of slippers, there is some cake in the tin and the house is looking rather pleasant.
Los Angeles has been rather gray and smoggy for the last several weeks, though the weather is cooling off somewhat. Hopefully some rain and wind are on the way to clear the air a bit as the tiny cat and I have been wheezing away. Strange to think I’ve now been here a year. Somehow it seems much longer, though I’m still finding my way about here. I’m waiting for things to get on a more even keel so that I can get back to doing theater and can also find a friend or two somewhere in this vast crowd of people. Meanwhile, I’ve been reading stacks of books. I’m on a bit of an Icelandic kick at the moment and am currently in the middle of a fairly pleasant ghost story by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir. I’ve also been reading my way through several Nordic cookbooks, knitting books and various fiction books, including the mysteries of Arnaldur Indriðason.
I’m still trying to find a focus for this blog, though I’m trying to wend my way there gradually and not force anything. In the meantime, here is a recipe for some of the nicest comfort food I know, baking powder biscuits. This is another recipe I’ve carried around in my head for years, though the original comes from Beard on Bread. I don’t think I’ve made any significant changes to the original recipe, though as usual, I do change it up quite a bit from time to time. I often sub in another type of flour for part of the all purpose flour – cornmeal and whole wheat are the most usual. Herbs are a nice addition as is grated cheese – either parmesan or a nice sharp cheddar. If you add ¼ cup more milk, you can make these as drop biscuits (we currently have a debate in my house about which is superior – I think rolled are prettier and more pleasant to eat, but the dropped version have a crispier top.
Baking Powder Biscuits (12-20, depending on the size biscuit cutter you use – I prefer them small)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter (cold)
¾ cup milk
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs (you can also grate frozen butter over the bowl and mix it in). Stir in the milk as quickly as possible and gather the dough together into a ball. Pat or roll to about ½” thickness. Cut into rounds using a fluted cutter, if you have one, a glass, if you don’t. I usually use a cookie cutter that’s about 1½ “ wide. Bake about 12-15 minutes until golden. Wrap in a large linen napkin and serve warm.
If you opt to use a full cup of flour and make drop biscuits, just use a tablespoon to drop the dough onto your baking sheet – I round them off a bit with my fingers, but leave the tops fairly craggy.