Sunday, July 9, 2017

Herbed Biscuits

I love to cook. And some of my favorites are the Southern foods my great-grandma made. She's also the one who taught me one of my favorite Southern phrases about belonging and being who you are - if your cat had kittens in the oven, you wouldn't call them biscuits, now would you?

I may be obsessed with biscuits. It started when I was five and my great gram would let me help her make biscuits in the mornings when we visited her. And I'd eat them fresh out of the oven with butter and honey. Her biscuit were not sweet. They were a touch savory and equally suited to cheese or jam or honey.

Now, I make biscuits (from scratch) about every other Sunday. My favorite recipe from childhood, drop biscuits. You can find a lot of recipes on-line. I'm a fan of this drop biscuit recipe, and I use it often.  I love a savory biscuit - a touch of cheese and chili as you make these up is a fantastic option. 

However, I have a ton of herbs coming ripe in the garden. And I'm trying to cut my butter intake. (Go healthy eating!) So I did the Google search thing and came up with a fantastic olive oil biscuit recipe from a website called OliveTomato  - which also taught me how to make biscuits that rise in layers. (Bonus!)

Like every other recipe I find, I tinkered with the original. Usually the first time I make it as written then tinker. But this time I went ahead and made a few adjustments to the first batch -  I added 1/4 cup of herbs and cheese. The next time I made it, I swapped out the herbs and changed the ratio of yogurt and milk  - which I have noticed makes a firmer outside and flakier inside. I've tried this basic recipe with different herbs.

  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (lessen the salt if using a salty cheese)
  • 5/8  cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk + 1 tbsp, as needed
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs (I used basil*)
  • 1/4 cup of cheese (I used Parmesan when I used the basil), optional
Yield: about 12 biscuits (usually 11 + a tester for me)

Mix up the dry ingredients (including herbs and cheese if desired) first. (Heat oven to 450 degrees). Make a well in the middle. Add the Greek yogurt and olive oil to the well. Use a pastry cutter to mix, adding milk as needed to achieve dough consistency. Roll dough into a ball. 

Lay down wax paper. Flour it. Place dough on it. Flour top of dough.  Add another layer of wax paper. You can use a rolling pin (I use a french rolling pin), and roll the dough flat. Once flat, layer it back until it forms it is several layers thick but patted down to no more than 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter (or a glass - that's what I use) into "biscuits". Bake for about 15 minutes. They will be beautifully risen and lightly browned.

We tried the left-over biscuits the next day as sandwich holders. Delicious! We added a pesto and mayo. My sandwich featured a fresh heirloom tomato. Guy's featured heated ham - he may have made 6 open-faced "slider" style sandwiches. Maybe. And eaten them with a delighted face.

The next time I made biscuits, we had  crazy amount of fresh lemon thyme in the garden. So I did not use cheese but used lemon thyme blossoms + leaves and served the biscuits with blueberry/lemon jam. All kidlets were delighted with that "experiment". (They have come to enjoy when I tell them I'm making something new.)

Take-away - There are ways to make memories sweeter. Bring them into your present day and share them. 

---As usual, all pictures by me and you can tell!---

Side note - I found a new gluten-free biscuit mix from King Arthur. While I'm not an overall fan of mixes, given my new gluten sensitive status, I'm willing to try it!

*Extra bonus garden recipe for if your basil is going crazy. this is all to taste so, no exact quantities.

Watermelon Salad
- Ball part of a watermelon (I used 1/2)
- Add sliced basil (I used purple Thai)
- Sprinkle lightly with feta cheese
- Sparsely dress with a good balsamic vinegar

Remember to tell the kids it's "watermelon salad" and not dessert watermelon!

Fruit is great with basil. You may want to also check out this Peach + Basil recipe. (Scroll down in the post.)

If you would like to see more of my recipes, check out In the Kitchen for a complete list - and a few bonus cookbook reviews.

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