Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Don't you just give a little sigh of relief right about now? The "HOLIDAYS" are over (almost...I mean, New Year's Eve is mostly just fun and usually requires very few relatives). Those millions of last minutes errands are done. Not many things give quite as much relief as taking down all the Christmas decorative clutter. Oh, and I can stop eating mass quantities of butter and sugar (honestly, I was totally force-fed the stuff during the last month).
The ante on my family's holiday season is upped by the fact that my husband has maybe the second worst birthday of the year (the first being Christmas day). The day after Christmas, when everyone is stuffed and sick of the sight of celebration food and sweets, when all of your friends and family can't stomach the idea of yet another party...my hubby is forced to apologize for being born on this particular day.
In fact, for the first many years of his life, he claims to have not even known his precise birthday as his family lumped Christmas, his birthday and his brother's early January birthday all into one. Isn't that sad?
Since we've been married, I have done my best to make a big deal of his big day.....food, cake, present not wrapped in Christmas paper, even taking down the tree on some years just to make it less Yuletide-y. Last year was a special number birthday that required a party which we had to push a couple of weeks so that friends would actually come.
This year, we were celebrating with family....my parents and my sister's family (let me just say that my brother-in-law had no problems whatsoever working up another celebration appetite---we can always count on you, thanks!). When asked for the birthday meal of his choice, my husband came up with a few elaborate ideas--dishes that I've never made before. I like to be accommodating, I mean this is his special day. But I begged him for something simpler that can be found in my own repetoire of recipes--I wanted to enjoy his birthday, too.
Thankfully, he is a fan of my food! He wisely chose my special fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and homemade biscuits. Now all I needed was my do-rag, a beer, and some Lipitor. Frying chicken is hot work, so I stripped down to my tank top (or in this case, we can refer to it as my "wife-beater"--what a terrible name, don't you think?).
Donning my cute apron, I drained and dry-rubbed the buttermilk-soaked chicken parts with my special blend spice rub including paprika, cayenne, and garlic powder. Flour dredging came next followed by melted trans-fat free organic shortening (hey, I do what I can for my family's health!).
The mashed Yukon Gold potatoes accepted a generous splash or three of cream from the embarrassingly large half-gallon in my fridge. Perfect.
Now for the biscuits. There are not a lot of things that everyone in my little family will get so excited about, but these biscuits are one of their favorites. We can usually polish off all but one or two and they've been used as leverage in more than a few sentences containing the words, "If you eat all of your _____, you can have another biscuit."
I've tried a few variations including substituting soft white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour or buttermilk for the regular milk, but I would suggest making these biscuits just like the recipe says for best results.
JULIE'S HOMEMADE BISCUITS
2 c all-purpose flour
1 TB baking powder (non-aluminum and make sure it's fresh!)
1 TB sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 c butter or shortening (I've used both)
3/4 c milk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the butter or shortening and blend using a fork or a pastry blender. The mixture will be lumpy and resemble cornmeal in texture.
Stir in the milk a little at a time, adding just enough so that the dough rounds up and leaves the sides of the bowl (I usually use most of the milk).
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a couple of times to bring the dough together. DON'T OVERMIX OR THE BISCUITS WILL BE TOUGH!
Roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick and cut with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter (or canning jar ring or whatever you have). Place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until they are golden brown on top.
Serve with butter, honey, jam, or maple syrup. They are also good for egg/sausage sandwiches.
And don't worry, we still had room for some vanilla cake with 16 sweet birthday candles (did I mention my husband was so young??? Love you babe!).