Tuesday, November 29, 2011


PS - I made that coffee mug!!

There are certain recipes every kitchen-savvy person should have in their repertoire for last-minute emergencies. Go-to dishes that can pinch hit and are flexible enough for myriad uses and adaptations. For me, biscuits are it. They can find a place in nearly any meal and once a good basis is established, they can be manipulated to fit a whole host of scenarios. My biscuit recipe is adapted from Baking with Julia, a cookbook I'm not sure I could live without. Seriously... go buy it right now. You won't regret it.

These biscuits can be made in advanced and frozen. Just be sure to keep them in a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. To reheat, place them in a paper bag in a single layer, close the bag by folding up the open end and bake for 10-15 minutes in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven.

Makes 8 3.5" Biscuits

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt (preferably Kosher)
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups milk

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening with two knives or a pastry blade. Stir in milk. Mix until just combined.

2. On a well-floured surface, turn out dough and dust with flour. Pat the dough out with hands until it is 1/2-inch thick. Fold dough in half, then in half again. Pat until the dough is 1/2-inch thick. Do this at least two more times, making sure not to overwork the dough. Folding the dough will help to give it "lift" and layers.

3. Use a 3.5" biscuit cutter to cut-out biscuits. Re-fold scraps and pat the dough out to 1/2-inch thick again (you'll probably end up with a little ball of dough left - pat it down and make it into a mini-biscuit). Brush the tops of the biscuits with an egg wash (one egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of water or milk). Let the biscuits rest for 5 minutes.

4. Place biscuits on a greased cookie sheet (or better yet, on a pizza stone hot from the oven) and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until biscuits have risen and appear golden on top. Place on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Some more ideas: Serve these biscuits at breakfast with butter and jam or at dinner with herb compound butter (you could even dust the tops with a little herbed salt before baking). These biscuits are a great companion for strawberry shortcake - just sprinkle some sanding or demerara sugar on top of the dough after the egg wash. For a savory kick, try adding 1/2 tablespoon of dill and 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese to the dough, or add 2 teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning and use these biscuits to sop-up melted butter at a seafood bake. Herb fans should try adding sage, a la this guy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Silly Goose Farm Thanksgiving - 2011

Another Thanksgiving come and gone. It's hard to believe that 2011 is almost over, but I'm very much looking forward to saying au revior to this year and welcoming 2012 with open arms. Until then, how about a little retrospective on the 2011 SGF Thanksgiving celebration?

This year's dining crew was the same as last year's, except Eric was big enough this year to sit at the table with us (well, sort of at the table -- he kept trying to stick his hands in the mashed potatoes and dump the gravy boat over his head).

I made place cards out of cardstock, vintage bird images, and alphabet pasta (yes... alphabet pasta. Listen, I had to get some Martha OCD out at 2am on Thanksgiving while the pumpkin pie was cooking, okay?). I used a similar method to make a "pie banner" (see pictures below). I got my inspiration here.

I tried to keep the tablescape relatively un-fussy. Some pumpkins and gourds for centerpieces, plus my turkey candlesticks I thrifted from Goodwill, paired with fresh-pressed linens. My $30 collection of antique china, vintage silver, and wine glasses topped of the look.

The menu wasn't too complicated, either (and almost all ingredients came from within 150 miles of our table). Here's what I made:

Maple and Cider-Glazed Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
Apple, Onion and Sage Stuffing
Pan Gravy
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Grapes
Roasted Carrots
Herb Compound Butter
Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Cream Pie (made by my mom)
Vanilla Whipped Cream
Vanilla Ice Cream

Rub some herb butter under the turkey skin and roast it breast-down for maximum juiciness

Brussels Sprouts - Best part of the meal

The feast came together pretty well! Except that my oven went on palliative care mid-point in cooking the turkey, so I had to microwave the poor bird. Based on how moist and tender the gobbler actually turned out, I might nuke the turkey every year! Thankfully, that was the only hiccup of the day (unless you count my temper-tantrum in the kitchen when I noticed the turkey was uncooked and the fact that the dog almost ate half the meal off the table before we sat down). We paired the meal with a lovely Sparkling Riesling. A few more pictures to illustrate:

Based on this face, the meal was either really good or completely awful

Edith playing with her food...

...and Grammie threatening her.

I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving feast, too, and that you have counted all your blessings many times over. This year, I'm especially thankful for my independence and will to always strive to be better and achieve great things. I think that theme will continue into 2012 (and of course, I'm always thankful for my family, friends, and lovely readers like you! Thanks for reading along :-). I posted some ideas for a secular grace over on the Eat Local blog, if you'd like to take a look. If you have questions or requests for recipes, please leave a note in the comments or find me on Twitter or Facebook. Now... bring on December!