When I was in high school what we called“the roach coach”, rolled up come lunch-time. It was selling all sorts of delicious read really unhealthy food stuffs. Once a week it stopped at KFC; loading up on chicken and biscuits. I would queue
for the length of our lunch break, for those biscuits. Big, fluffy & buttery, they were just the nutritious lunch i needed (ha ha). Those days are long gone. Roach coaches are now gourmet eateries. And i am much more discerning in my biscuit adoration.
2 cups flour-plus more for kneading
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bakewell cream
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
5 Tbs unsalted butter–cold & cut into small squares
1 cup buttermilk–cold + more for brushing tops
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Using your fingers or a pastry knife to cut in the butter, allowing for both pea size and smaller pieces of butter. Do not overwork, you want the butter to stay relatively firm and cool. Quickly add in the buttermilk and stir to create a moist dough. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and press into a rectangle. Do not saturate in flour, but also use enough to prevent sticking. Bring the short ends of the dough in, folding into thirds. Give the dough a quarter turn and press or roll again into a rectangle. Fold into thirds. Repeat 2 more times, using enough flour to keep dough from sticking. After the final turn, roll the dough into a 3/4″ rectangle. Use a biscuit cutter to make rounds, or for simplicity, cut evenly into squares. Brush top of each biscuit with buttermilk, and place on a lined baking sheet. I like to place my biscuits fairly close together, so they bake together a bit. It gives it a little softness around the edges. If that is not your thing, make sure you have at least 1 1/2″ separation when placing in pan. Bake at 400F for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
I was able to pick up swiss chard, for a song, at this week’s market. Now, creating meals around this favorite green, has been my charge. This morning I was longing for the buttery crust of pie with the wholesome chew
of comfort. I threw together this tart in a jiff, simply using larder staples.
Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Tart
1 pie crust–press in to an 8-9″ tart pan
1 medium sweet potato–1/4″ slice and halved
1/2 onion–halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic–finely chopped
1 Tbs (about) olive oil
1 bunch swiss chard–ribs removed and chopped into thin ribbons
generous pinch salt and pepper
generous pinch freshly ground nutmeg (or small pinch of dried)
6 large eggs
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbs grated parmesan
2 stems thyme–stems removed (or 1/4 tsp dried)
1/2 cup grated cheese (asiago,white cheddar, provolone, or jack)
Preheat oven to 375F. Blind bake the crust for about 20 minutes. When you remove the weights, you will fill with the custard and place back in the oven to continue baking. Heat a large skillet over low heat. Pour in enough olive oil to just coat the bottom of the pan. Toss in the potatoes and onions. Cook until the potato and onions begin to soften. You are not frying for color, you are softening the vegetables. Toss in the garlic and swiss chard and continue on low-stirring occasionally) until the chard is droopy and has cast off some moisture. Do not let the garlic burn. Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg. Pour into the par-baked crust and spread evenly to cover the entire bottom. Gently whisk the eggs, yogurt, thyme and parmesan together in a bowl. You want to incorporate the yogurt (eliminating large lumps) without incorporating too much air. Pour over the vegetables. Reduce oven heat to 350F and place the tart on a sheet pan and then in oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the eggs do not jiggle when you gently tap the pan, and the crust is golden brown.
A few days back; Mike, fresh from visiting our long neglected garden presented me with an enormous zucchini. Confession I sorta only grow zucchini for flowers. Occasionally, a few squash survive. When they do grow this large, I use them for bread. Sometimes sweet, sometimes savory. This spoon bread is a great side dish. It also rocks, scooped warm and soft, as a bed for caramelized onions, sunny side up eggs and crispy bacon. Best.Breakfast.Ever.
Zucchini Chevre Spoon Bread
4 large eggs
6 oz olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup chevre
1/2 tsp freshly grated pepper
1 Tbs honey
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups all purpose flour
1 lb (about 3 cups) grated zucchini
1 cup grated cheese (mix of asiago, parmesan and provolone)*
*use your favorite flavorful cheese…if you use a salty cheese, modify your salt to 1/2 tsp
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl, set aside. In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the eggs and olive oil until pale (about 5 minutes). Add the salt, chevre, pepper, honey garlic powder and thyme. Mix for about another minute at as high speed as you can without splashing. STIR in the flour until fully incorporated, then stir in the zucchini and cheese. Bake at 375F in an 9″ buttered cake tin or cast iron skillet. Bake for about 45-50 minutes. This is a spoon bread, so it will be soft, but should not be jiggly. It will set as it cools as well. Serve warm.