Monday, September 21, 2009

biscuits, winter

I don't think I have a fight or a flight instinct. I'm more of a let's-get-this-over-with kind of girl. For example, winter. It's basically a long, dark, depressing, freezing-cold carb load. And even though Vermont has a beautiful autumn, and it's going to be in the 70s for most of this week, in my mind, summer is over and winter has begun. So when my book club came over last night, I made them a heavy, creamy soup, cheesy biscuits, and a midwinter salad of fennel and celery, in spite of the fact that it was 72 degrees. This was an exact replica of the first meal I posted on GFD, and if you come to my house between now and next May, which is when spring arrives in this godforsaken state, it's what you'll be eating.

I posted the recipe for Tomato-Cheddar Soup last March. Here's the recipe for the cheesy biscuits, a nice accompaniment that you can break into pieces and float in the soup like croutons, or eat in your pajamas in front of the television, which is how I will be spending the next seven to eight months: on the couch, in my fleece ensemble, eating biscuits and cupcakes and mashed potatoes. I chose this recipe from the many biscuit recipes on because (1) they contain cheese, and cheese in my biscuits will be my main source of protein as I hibernate this winter, and (2) the directions on epicurious state that the biscuits are "as tender as they are easy," and those are the two qualities I look for in a biscuit (and a man): tenderness and easiness. Oh, and cheesiness.

So, I present to you Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits for Dummies, with a few minor modifications from the original recipe.

1¾ cups flour
¾ cup cornmeal, not coarse [some people on epicurious bitched about the cornmeal, but a biscuit/cornbread hybrid could take over the world, whereas biscuits or cornbread alone will never conquer anything north of the Mason Dixon line]
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ stick (¼ cup) + a smidge more cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
6 oz. extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
3 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
1-3 tablespoons chopped herb [I've used sage and chives, both of which were nice]
1 1/3 cups buttermilk

1. Put a rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 450ยบ. Butter 1 large baking sheet.

2. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, then blend in butter with your fingers or a pastry blender with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. [This is the most effort you will have to put forth until June.] Stir in cheeses and herbs with a wooden spoon, then add buttermilk and stir until just combined.

3. Drop dough into equal mounds about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. [I got 12 mounds onto my large baking sheet and ended up throwing some dough away; I could've used two baking sheets, but it's winter, and this recipe is not Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits for Highly Motivated Owners of Multiple Baking Sheets.]

4. Bake until golden, 12–15 minutes, depending on the size of your...mounds. Transfer to a rack and cool until warm.

5. Turn on the TV and eat.


  1. That is how you feed your book club?? How do I join?

  2. And equally important, are books with the theme of teenage anxst read often in your book club?

  3. Matt LaBee: I think being a girl is prerequisite for joining my book club, but a batch of your cupcakes would probably get you in.

    Steph: I wish.

  4. My kingdom for a basket of cheesy biscuits. On the other hand, there aren't enough cheesy biscuits in the great, wintering state of Vermont to lure me into reading a four-volume series on vampire chastity.

    Mojie, do you have your finger on the pulse of this breaking news of Mackenzie Phillips's ten-year consensual sexual relationship with her father? I expect a full report on her Oprah interview by 1800 hours tomorrow.

  5. I love the idea of enduring winter with a carb load....and cheesy biscuits and cream-filled soup are both perfect. Nice work, Kate!

    As to the recommended readings, however, I have to side with JQuizzle. Neither vampires nor chastity has ever helped me through anything difficult.

  6. I used to work at the Red Lobster that was on Shelburne Road (before it was Olive Garden) in my early 20's, and I lived on a diet of beer, cigerettes and cheesy biscuits...oh, those were the days!

  7. These biscuits have been haunting my dreams & then today, I stumbled upon this little gem: & their recipe for Cheddar & Chive Biscuits. Will no one let me abstain from carbs in peace?!?