Saturday, February 13, 2010

Biscuits, 2 ways

Every few months I have the ladies over for dinner. I know lots of ladies, but for whatever reason, this group--mes soeurs--are called "the ladies." Making a nice home cooked meal is how I lure them to my apartment. "Bring wine," I say, and they do. Sometimes they bring their boyfriend/fiance/husband type person, and this is also nice. We have had these gatherings all over this city: in the East Village, in Cobble Hill, and here in UPS depot land (I have also supped with them in Los Angeles, Paris, Santa Fe, North Captiva and beyond but my dinner parties have remained in NYC).

Last weekend we gathered for chicken pot pie, something I hadn't made since an avant garde restaurant menu a couple of years back. After much hunting I found the red ribbon bookmark in The New Joy of Cooking right where I had left it--can you tell I don't use that cookbook much?

I topped it with buttermilk biscuits, a recipe torn out from an old Food and Wine magazine. I did the recipe wrong but liked what I came up with. They're insanely buttery and if you manage not to overwork them, they are flaky and light.

A few days later I made use of the remaining buttermilk and some Mountainview Farms bacon, plucked from the freezer, and made bacon shallot buttermilk biscuits for the 4th annual meat lovers an
d chocolate lovers potluck at my office.

Buttery Biscuits
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (that's 10 tbsp. yup, you read correctly), chilled and cut into thick slices
1 cup buttermilk, chilled

Preheat oven to 425
whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
cut the butter into the flour using two knives or this cool implement I have that I don't even know the name for
stir in buttermilk until dough is just moistened
dust a work surface with flour; make sure it's cat hair free
turn the dough out onto the surface and knead 2-3 times
pat it into a disk, about 1/2 inch thick
use a biscuit cutter, or the rim of a glass and cut out circles
put the biscuits on a baking sheet and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt
bake for 20 minutes, until golden

[to make the bacon ones, cut your bacon into small pieces, then fry it up, not too much since it will go in the oven later; saute minced shallot in the bacon fat; let both bacon and shallot cool; when you stir in buttermilk to the dough, also toss in bacon and shallots]

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