I was home for dinner tonight! We taped overnight last night – 10:30 pm until about 11 am – so by dinnertime today a sane person might have considered ordering a pizza. Stephen, the Sound Guy on set, asked the other day if I ever get tired of cooking. I do. But not very often, and not for long. And for some reason the thought of pulling together dinner tonight was not at all daunting; after all, I didn’t need to tag team with Ned, or time everything right for the camera, or think of anything smart and witty to say about whatever it was I was chopping or cooking while trying to stand up straight and suck it in. The thought of pulling together a quick dinner for the three of us at home in my own kitchen in my PJ pants without talking anyone through it was a relief.
I made a sort of chile-spiced pulled pork goulash kind of thing back in January, and while rummaging through my freezer the other night in an attempt to locate something prepared and edible, unearthed a container and pulled it out. I threw it into a pot. Further rummaging revealed the last of the baked beans, which I figured would get along nicely with the pork. That went in too. And to serve it over, Sloppy Joe-style, some warm biscuits. This is my favorite biscuit recipe: made with olive or canola oil and half whole wheat flour, they take on any flavor you like very well. Had I had some in the fridge I might have added some grated cheese. On weekend mornings, I add a couple spoonfuls of sugar and throw in some fresh or frozen (unthawed) berries, or raisins, or chopped dried apricots and ginger. Brushing the top with a little milk will make them brown nicely. If you are making a sweet version, some plain or coarse sugar scattered on top is also a Good Thing.
Whole Wheat & Olive Oil Biscuits
These are made healthier with the addition of olive oil and whole wheat flour, but you can use all white flour if you like. To flavor the dough, add grated lemon or orange zest, ginger, fresh or dried herbs (such as basil or rosemary) or spices (such as cinnamon, star anise or fennel seed), or stir in a handful of grated cheese or fresh, frozen or dried berries.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. sugar (optional)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
3/4 cup milk or buttermilk
Any additions you like (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Put the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a food processor or into a medium mixing bowl and pulse or stir until well blended. Add the butter and oil and pulse or stir with a wire whisk or fork until crumbly. If you’re using a food processor, transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.
Add the milk and stir gently until the dough begins to come together. Add any additions (cheese, raisins, nuts, fruit etc.) as you stir the dough together.
For wedge-shaped biscuits, pat the dough into a circle that is about 1” thick and 8”-9” in diameter on the cookie sheet. (If they are sweet and you want a brown, crunchy top, brush them with a little milk and sprinkle with sugar.) Cut the circle into 8 wedges with a knife or pastry cutter and separate them on the sheet so that they are at least an inch apart. For round biscuits, pat the dough about 1” thick and cut it into rounds with a biscuit cutter, glass rim or open end of a can, rerolling the scraps only once to get as many biscuits as possible.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden. Serve warm. Wrap well and freeze any you don’t eat the same day. Makes 8 biscuits.