17 December 2012

Eats: goat cheese biscuits

This has been a rough past few days for everyone in general, yes? The tragedy of last Friday has made us all very sad, and very angry, and very much more likely to squeeze our loved ones tightly. A limited number of families are suffering the most, but I think we are all feeling this raw pain. At Mass yesterday, our priest commented that celebrating Gaudete Sunday – with a focus on joy – seemed “almost like a sick joke”. I was inclined to agree. It’s true that we have a lot to be joyful about, but now just feels like the wrong time.

I have a lot of feelings and opinions regarding the awful events, but neither of those things are unique. You probably feel a lot of the same stuff I do, meaning... I can leave it unsaid. So, let’s group hug... and let’s talk about something small, something inconsequential, something that can bring a tiny bit of happiness.

Let’s talk about these biscuits. They are delicious, a great comforting snack or a delightful addition to a holiday meal. And they are based on a recipe from Joy the Baker, which means they’re going to be good.

Word of warning: you need a cast iron skillet for these.

Funny tangential story about that cast iron skillet: It was a wedding shower present (off our registry) from a coworker. My coworker couldn’t come to the shower, so she planned to bring my gift to work instead. Unfortunately, she didn’t think about how she walks to work when she purchased it. She carried that blasted heavy skillet all the way into our lab, then apologized that I had to carry it all the way to the parking garage. My arms were exhausted (hers must have nearly fallen off!), but the whole situation was also sort of hilarious. Note: perhaps you should ship any cast-iron gifts directly to the recipient’s home!

Anyway! Go ahead and stick that skillet in the oven, while you’re preheating it to 425 degrees.

You also need buttermilk. I don’t keep buttermilk on hand for the five times a year I use it, so I always use the trick of lemon juice in regular milk. A half-tablespoon of lemon juice in a half-cup of milk will work just fine.

Don’t let the photo fool you! Yes, there’s a whole cup of milk in that measuring cup, but I ultimately halved the recipe. Half a cup! Half! Then let it sit for at least five minutes while you assemble the rest of your ingredients.

These goat cheese biscuits also need... wait for it... goat cheese.

Two ounces, if you’re halving the recipe like me. Which brings me to another aside: while I love goat cheese, I find that we have trouble eating it before it goes bad. This particular package started out as a little four-ounce log, and we ate the other two ounces on bread or in salad or over chicken over the course of a week. But a little goes a long way, so we still had two ounces left at the end of a week. I was hunting for a way to use up that valuable (i.e. pricey) cheese, fast, and Joy’s blog saved the day!

Finally, prep your ingredients by dicing up two tablespoons of cold butter. Joy’s recipe called for unsalted butter, but I only had salted butter on hand. That’s okay – we’ll make up for that.

(Yes, I cut up the butter on the plastic baggie that held the leftover goat cheese. Sometimes... sometimes you gotta just keep it easy and be real.)

You should also melt a tablespoon of butter in the microwave, and keep a tablespoon of butter for the pan. Butter butter butter. You know these are gonna be good!

Ok, let’s start making biscuits. Mix together a cup of flour, a tablespoon and a half of baking powder, and just a sprinkle of salt (remember, the butter is salted). Once those are mixed, start incorporating the two tablespoons of diced butter and two ounces of goat cheese.

Joy said to use your fingers, but I used a fork, as I am a dainty lady who cannot possibly sully her fingers with kitchen labors.

Once the mixture is fairly uniform, pour in the newly-created buttermilk (half a cup! Half!):

And mix with that fork until you have something resembling a loose biscuit dough.

All right! Wasn’t that easy? Don’t worry, it doesn’t get any harder.

Take the preheated skillet out of the oven and add that tablespoon of butter for the pan, sliding it around to grease the entire pan well. (Note that I didn’t cut this part of the recipe in half, because otherwise I wouldn’t have had enough to coat the whole pan.)

Then drop the biscuits in the pan with a quarter-cup scoop:

I was able to get five biscuits with this halved recipe, which must be slightly smaller than the original recipe that yields nine biscuits. The smaller size wasn’t a big difference, though, so I didn’t need to change the baking temperature or time.

Before baking, I brushed the biscuits with the melted butter, and sprinkled a bit of chopped rosemary on top:

Because Mr. P loves rosemary, duh. The original recipe didn’t call for rosemary, but I think it’s a perfect addition to these.

Then just pop them in that 425-degree oven for about fifteen minutes. Mine never really turned “golden” in color even after a few extra minutes, but that’s ok... they were done and still delicious.

I served these with an incredibly simple dinner: store-bought rotisserie chicken and side salad. And yet it still seemed fancy and made me feel like a competent wife!

So whether you’re hunting for a way to use up some leftover cheese from a holiday party, or looking for a quick bread side for dinner, or craving a starchy, comforting snack... these can fit all those situations. Much love and peace to you, dear readers. Take care, and I hope you enjoy!


Tina said...

These sound and look de-lish. But in order to make them every time I want them, I, myself, will have to be prepared to go to the grocery store first... and see IF we have ANY goat cheese (at all) in THIS TOWN! And I'll have to buy it all by myself, too... I cannot get you-know-who to buy goat cheese whenever I do find it in a store. But as good as these probably are, it would take me only one trip and his sampling of the product... then I could have goat cheese going bad in my fridge, too... =P
Love you!