A few weeks ago, 32poems put out a call for recipes that take less than 20 minutes to create on the principle that cooking gourmet meals cuts seriously into poets’ (and editors’) free time and eating well makes poets and editors write and edit better. So in that spirit, I’d like to present my own recipe (stolen from, among others, Anna Thomas’ Vegetarian Epicure).
Last month I missed Saturday breakfast with my peoples. I had so much work to do that I stayed at home, editing, feeling determined to get my shit done but also profoundly depressed that I wasn’t out with my friends stuffing myself with eggs, bacon, and coffee. But then I thought of the one thing that I could have that they wouldn’t: biscuits.
Where I come from biscuits are an integral part of breakfast. Where I live now, this is not the case. And so approximately every other week I am struck with a profound longing for biscuits. In general, I am too lazy to make them. But here’s the thing: biscuits are almost as easy to make as they are to eat.
A lot of people bitch and moan that they can’t make perfect biscuits. However, it’s pretty easy to make pretty good biscuits. And fresh biscuits are about a thousand times better than the stale toast you get at the breakfast joint. And you probably make better coffee than they do too.
2 cups of flour
1 Tb. baking powder
1/2 ts. salt
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Two rules: Biscuit dough should be barely handled and the butter should be very cold. So, leave the butter and milk in the fridge until the last possible moment. And if things start getting melty, put the dough back in the fridge until the melting stops.
1. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
2. Cut in butter. You can use a pastry cutter or just two knives. Your goal is to bind every grain of flour with some butter. In layperson’s terms, this means that the butter should be well-mixed and the dough should resemble dried split peas.
3. Make a well in the middle of the dough and pour in milk.
4. Mix cautiously with a wooden spoon (see first rule). As soon as it starts to come together turn the dough out on onto a floured board or cookie sheet.
5. Lightly knead three times and then pat out to a thickness of a half-inch. If things look too dry, add more milk 1 Tablespoon at a time. If things look too wet, add small amounts of flour. Keep handling of dough to a minimum!
6. Cut out with biscuit cutters or a glass. Place on cookie sheet.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
8. Nom, nom, nom, nom.
Slather with butter, jam, or honey and serve. Or add cheese. Or if you have a few minutes to spare, fry up an egg and some bacon and make a crumbly sandwich.
They are good hot and they are good cold. They will make you feel less grouchy about working on Saturdays.