Monday, April 19, 2010

Angel Biscuits

No matter how simple the meal, it just seems that homemade bread makes it something special. And is there anything more like a hug than the scent of baking bread? Here is a recipe that I discovered this past year and I probably make at least once a month. I just love this recipe because it makes a lovely, almost fool-proof dough that can be made ahead, popped in the refrigerator, and used over a three day span. (The recipe recommends that you discard the dough after three days.)

I use this dough for biscuits, but I have also had great success using it for Saturday morning cinnamon rolls, either frosted with a basic powdered sugar frosting or a citrus glaze. I have also used it for caramel rolls. Simply substitute this dough and follow your usual roll/bread recipe. For additional convenience, I like to bake cinnamon rolls during a weekday afternoon and freeze them for the weekend.

Most of the time, I divide this recipe in half, because there's just two of us at home these days. But if you make the full recipe, you'll have a generous amount of bread to either freeze or feed a large family.

Angel Biscuits (from Betty Crocker's Cookbook 1986 version)

1 package regular or quick-acting active dry yeast
2 T. warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 c. shortening
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
3 t. baking powder
2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
2 c. buttermilk (I don't use buttermilk because I never have it on hand. A good substitute is to take 2 cups of milk and add 2 T. of lemon juice OR vinegar. The milk will sour and work perfectly. )

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Cut shortening into flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda with pastry blender in 4-quart bowl until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in buttermilk and yeast mixture until dough leaves side of bowl (dough will be soft and sticky.)

Turn dough onto generously floured surface. Gently roll in flour to coat; shape into ball. Knead lightly 25 to 30 times, sprinkling with flour if dough is too sticky. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate no longer than 3 days.

To make biscuits right away: Right after you've kneaded the bread, roll or pat dough 1/2 in. thick. Cut with 2 1/2 -in round cutter. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Heat over to 400 degrees. Bake until golden brown, 12 - 14 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Makes 2 1/2 dozen biscuits.

Odds and Ends

I'm just too tired to do anything too structured with this blog today. Hubby has been home for several days with kidney stones, and, I ask you, is there anything more exhausting that taking care of a sick man? Florence Nightingale has my complete and total admiration...

Here is a photo of the "chop suey" dish that I made the other night, using a bit of leftover pork, half a head of cabbage, a can of bean sprouts, and a few dashes of garlic and soy sauce. Delish--especially served over Japanese rice. Thrifty, and it cleared some leftovers out of the fridge at the same time.

There's nothing more fun than watching seedlings make their debut. The zucchini sprouts are going crazy, and I think that the peppers aren't far behind. Wish I'd labeled these.... all I know is that I'm expecting zucchini, green onions, tomatoes, and peppers. Does anyone know if it's okay to leave these (covered) outside during the day? We're in Montana, and I think the danger of frost is over. I'm really ready to have my laundry room give up moonlighting as a greenhouse....

The promise of spring...I think that these tulips have been blooming every spring at the back gate for decades...Well, I think that's probably all for now. Hopefully things will be back to their normal craziness in the next few days!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Girl's Gone Wild

Sweet hubby-man is off for 48 hours on a business trip. Gleefully, this ultra-hip housewife is embracing two whole days where she will not be doing the following:
1. picking up dirty Hanes tidy-whities on the floor by the bed.

2. putting the TV remote in the place it's supposed to be for the 15th time in the course of the day.

3. making anything for dinner that resembles meat and potatoes.

4. making anything for dinner at all, unless it's peppermint ice cream and Capn' Crunch cereal.

4. putting books back on the bookshelf, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, putting anything away that's man-related.

5. even having to think about putting the toilet seat down.

6. watching "Chuck" (endlessly fascinating to Hubby, big yawn for wife), kick-boxing fights, (eew) and Harry Potter movies (when will that little wizard graduate, anyway??)


These are some of the things she is going to dive into:
1. Painting.

2. Painting.

3. Painting.

4. Napping and eating cherry cheesecake, eating cherry cheesecake and napping.

5. Web-surfing.

6. Polishing fingernails.

7. Watching every chick flick that can be found that involves brooding heroes with top hats and riding crops, girls in hoopskirts and bonnets, and lots of soaring violin music playing in the background.

It all comes down to this.
Sometimes, people that are madly in love need a chance to miss each other.

(Image: "Tea for Two #2" Acrylic on Canvas, Cory Jaeger-Kenat, 2005.)