Monday, February 17, 2014

the woods are lovely, dark and deep.





February 16th.






A day out in the woods with friends is one well spent.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

winter & black pepper buttermilk biscuits.


January 12th.

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It seems to me that winter gives you the space to be melancholy. More than any other season. Maybe it's all the darkness, these short days. The sadness moves in and sits under the surface, underneath those bare branches. I think it also brings a certain kind of mindfulness. It's easy to find beauty in other seasons. Winter forces you to pay attention. To look for good things. Firewood, all piled up. Smoke scented air. Walks in the chill. These two - the sadness and the mindfulness, they seem to temper each other.

It's a season of baking, too. That pull to be in the kitchen, the warmest part of the house. It has me baking a lot of biscuits. Biscuit making is all about technique. Grating your butter is the easiest way to make sure it stays cold. I like it a lot better than cutting it in with a knife and fork. I've learned to knead the dough a few more times that I think I should - I was scared of tough biscuits, but you need to work the gluten a bit so they hold together well, and the folding gives you the layers everyone wants in a biscuit. Be sure to bake until your tops are well golden. Eat em' warm, and enjoy some of that winter beauty.

Black Pepper Buttermilk Biscuits
makes 12

3 cups all purpose flour, (white lily if you can get it.)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cold salted butter
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400.

Grate butter into a small bowl with large side of a cheese grater. Stick in the freezer.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.

Add in butter and cut it in with a fork. Pour in buttermilk and stir until dough comes together in a shaggy dough. Knead a 5-7 times in the bowl, then turn out on a floured work surface. Pat dough down to 1/4 inch thick, then fold over and pat down again. Fold over once again, then cut out rounds using a biscuit cutter or floured glass.

Place biscuits side by side in a cast iron skillet. Top with more black pepper. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

merry & bright

Happy Christmas Eve, friends! I hope your days have been cozy and full of good cheer. I'll see you in the new year!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bits of summer + blackberry hazelnut galette





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Hi! Remember me? The girl who used to blog round these parts? I'm sneaking in with a few photos and a recipe for something tasty and to say hi. Hi! I hope your summer has been grand.

Mine has been very full and very good: recipe writing, live music and birthday celebrations for the books, day trips further into the mountains, evenings spent contra dancing and plenty of coffee shop sitting with friends. I'm feeling nostalgic for it and it's not even gone yet. I can't help but think it's been one of those seasons I'll look back on and think "oh, those were the good ol' days."

 There hasn't been much interesting baking going happening here lately, as I've spent most of my time in the kitchen working on recipes for my book. This galette is one of the few extra things I've baked, and oh, it was good. I made it about a month ago now, with the few handful of blackberries we found, mixed in with some store bought ones. This hasn't been the summer of wild fruit, that's for sure. Hardly any to be found round these parts. I'm a little bit in love with the flavor combination of blackberry + hazelnut + thyme. I'd never topped my desserts with fresh herbs before, which is a shame, as it's really delicious. I'll take herbs with of all my sweets now, please and thank you!

Blackberry Galette with Hazelnut Crust and Thyme

 For the crust:
(from Martha Stewart)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup ground toasted, skinned hazelnuts 
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water 

Pulse flour, hazelnuts, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Drizzle 1/4 cup ice water evenly over mixture, and pulse until it just begins to hold together (dough should not be wet or sticky). If dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse

Divide dough in half, and shape each half into a rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes before rolling.

 For berry filling:

2 cups blackberries
1/4 cup sugar 
3 tablespoons flour 
3 tablespoons ground hazelnuts 
raw sugar 
fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 400.

Stir together blackberries, sugar, ground hazelnuts and flour in a medium bowl. 
 On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to baking sheet.
Spread berry mixture evenly over the dough to within 2 inches of the edge.
Fold the edge of the dough up over the plums to create a 2-inch border. Sprinkle with raw sugar. 

Bake for about 45 minutes, until the fruit is soft and the crust is browned.
 Allow to cool, serve with fresh thyme.