Saturday, January 09, 2010

Jan 9th - Easy Garlic Cheddar Biscuits and Asian Thai Mussels

Don't ask why but I woke up today craving biscuits. Light, buttery cheesy biscuits...mmm. I've seen a variet of ways of doing them such as rolling and cutting or dolloping. Although I like the nice clean form of the cut ones, they're so much work, particularly first thing in the morning! Plus with the extra working of the dough, they're not as delicate as the dolloped counterparts. Though, one tip I will give you that I have always remembered from a really really old Martha Stewart southern guest cook was NEVER twist the biscuit cutter after pressing through the dough. You know what I mean. Everyone does it. You press the cutting down and do a little jiggle to loosen the dough. People deffo do it for cookies. This makes pinch points and you won't get an even rise if you do. I've seen it myself. Just press firmly down and then lift and poke out the dough if it's stuck in the cutter or just leave it there in the sheet and then lift away the remnants after cutting out all the biscuits.

This recipe for is SUPER easy and quick.

EASY Garlic Cheddar biscuits

makes 6

1 c flour
1 T cornmeal (optional, for crunch)
1/8 t garlic powder (optional if you don't want garlic for breakfast)
1.5 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 c butter, cold in 1cm cubes
1/2 c cheddar, medium or aged
1/4-1/2 c milk (or cream, we had leftover cream from making polenta I wanted to finish)

preheat oven to 400F

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl

Add the butter cubes and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or two knives OR your hands. The way to do it with your CLEAN dry hands is, mush the bits of butter just until the point you can feel the moisture of the butter. With all the surrounding dry, you want to just break up the butter to pea sized bits evenly through out. I find this more effective than with a cutter and definitely more than knives. But upto you.

Add the cheddar and stir w a fork

Add the milk slowly until it starts to bind and combines but not too doughy. You just want it to barely hold together. The butter and cheese will also melt to combine.

On a non stick pan, scoop out 1/4 c portions out gently. Don't try to form a ball or shape. Just fork in the mixture gently into the measure and plop out. Or just use two spoons if you can eyeball it. It's about the size of a tennis ball.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until slightly lightly brown. It won't brown too much before burning so don't over bake.

So good!

Dinner was the Mussel Mission. We still may do a Cioppino for dinner tonight with the Dungeness crab we saw on sale tonight.

Spicy Asian Thai -esque Mussels with Ginger Coconut and Pinapple

1 c white wine
1/4 c fish sauce (less if too salty for you)
2 lbs mussels cleaned
1/2 c fresh chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1 inch of peeled sliced ginger root, fresh
1/4 c shallots sliced
1 red, yellow and green hot peppers, heat of your choice
1/2 c fresh pinapple chopped. DO NOT USE CANNED. Alternative is green papaya
(if you have it, we did not, 2 5 inch pieces of lemon grass, bent in half and bruised with the back of a knife)

Rinse your mussels thoroughly. Scrub away any dirt or large barnacles. Pull away any beard and throw away ANY THAT WON'T shut if you tap them. They are dead. If you goto a shi-shi place, you can often seen pre-measured and cleaned farmed mussels. They're okay. We went to TNT and got to pick our own. That said a few months ago we had a TERRIBLE batch. We didn't get sick but they just didnt taste great and I was off mussels for a couple of months. EVERY single one this time was fantastic.

In a large stock pot, heat some vegetable or peanut oil. Sautee the shallots, ginger and garlic (and lemon grass if you have it) for a few minutes. Add chilis and pineapple. Stir until peppers are slightly wilted. Put the heat on high. Add the mussels and shake around quickly. Add the wine, fish sauce and coconut milk. Shake. Steam for 5 minutes stirring until they're all open. Add the cilantro and serve with sliced baguette.

We also had Yam Fries. We made them the other night too.
D forgot the parchement paper this time and they all STUCK like no body's business. Remember the parchement paper lining to the cooking sheet.

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