Pull Apart Cheddar Herb Buttermilk Biscuits

Pull Apart Cheddar Herb Buttermilk Biscuits

https://www.macheesmo.com/pull-apart-cheddar-buttermilk-biscuits/

So, if you’ve been cooking along this week and made the Baked Onion Rings from Sally’s Baking Addiction, you might have almost 2 cups of onion-infused buttermilk sitting in your fridge right now. It seems to a shame to let that go to waste, when instead it could go into something delicious like these savory Pull-Apart Cheese Biscuits.

If you don’t have the onion-flavored buttermilk (created by soaking onion rings in the buttermilk for several hours or overnight), you can of course use regular buttermilk; biscuits are delicious no matter what. But the onion flavor does push these over the top. In addition to grated cheddar, I also chopped up some fresh herbs and mixed them in with the cheese. Any combo you like will work; I just used up what was in my fridge, about 1/4 cup total of parsley & dill. Basil, sage, thyme, and rosemary would also be great options.

Now, I don’t know if I fell asleep in the middle of measuring flour, or if onion lends some kind of magical super-liquidy properties to buttermilk or what, but my dough was much, much stickier than his. So sticky that there was no question of kneading it. A similar recipe from King Arthur Flour (http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/baking-powder-biscuits-recipe) calls for 3 cups of flour and 1 cup of liquid, as opposed to 2 3/4 cups of flour and 1 1/2 cup of buttermilk in this one. I recommend starting with 3 cups of flour off the bat, then adding just 1 cup of the buttermilk and seeing how it looks before adding more. Go by the photo rather than the numbers; if the dough is not stiff enough to knead, don’t be afraid to add more flour. I usually add flour so gingerly when baking, because it’s easy to go over the line and end up with dense, too-stiff dough, but in this case it’s less of a concern.

Because I had to add flour so many times before folding in the cheese, I ended up overworking the dough a bit. So, I did not get the flaky texture you hope to see in biscuits. (Quick crash course in flakiness: when you put your biscuits in the oven, you want them to have small pieces of unmelted butter intact, distributed throughout the dough. As these melt in the oven, the water in them will boil off, leaving little pockets of air, which separate the dough around them into layers.) If you mess with the dough too much before baking, all the butter gets worked in and/or melted, and your biscuits are a little denser, as these were.

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The good news is that I didn’t care at all, because they were totally amazeballs delicious.  (I don’t use the word “amazeballs” much in ordinary life, but I try not to swear on this blog, and this is what came up instead.)  Adding to the texture weirdness was the fact that, because I *may have* added a little more cheese than was called for, the oils bubbled out and basically deep-fried the outer half inch of each muffin. Again: zero complaints. The centers were still tender, full of rich buttermilk and very noticeable onion flavor, and the outer edges were a little crisp, and tasted kind of like your favorite fried food from the state fair.

So, while I think any culinary school instructor would label these a fail, I recommend them 100%. You can probably achieve a more chef-approved texture by simply adjusting the flour-to-liquid ratio. But even if you totally mess it up, the flavors are going to carry it anyway. I usually save baked goods in the freezer, but I stuck these in the fridge because I knew they weren’t going to stick around for very long.

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Deliciousness Score: 7/10
Easiness Score: 5/10

5.5 rating

Mini Ham Cheese and Spinach Breakfast Pies

Mini Ham Cheese and Spinach Breakfast Pies

http://www.runningtothekitchen.com/mini-ham-cheese-and-spinach-breakfast-pies/

There’s something to be said for a tasty, savory recipe that you can eat at any time of day. These mini ham-and-cheese pies are delicious, and there’s basically never a time when they’re not appropriate. I most commonly make them for brunch on a weekend; they’re not crazy complicated, but they do take a little bit of assembly time, more than I’m prepared to invest on a weekday. They’re one of my favorite brunch dishes; a nice change of pace from sweeter fare like waffles and muffins. But they’re also versatile; kind of a happy hybrid of breakfast pastry, sandwich, and pizza. They’re substantial enough to enjoy for lunch or dinner. And they freeze well, so you can grab one for a quick snack as well. I’m always excited to find recipes like this, which keep well for a long time and taste just about as good re-heated as they did right out of the oven.

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I don’t really have modifications to suggest with this one. I couldn’t find shallots at the store, sadly, so I substituted half a red onion since that’s what I had on hand. I think it’s equally good either way. You could potentially use other hearty greens like kale or chard if you don’t have spinach, although spinach + ham + cheese is a solid combo in my opinion. Also, I definitely recommend that you include the pinch of nutmeg, even if it sounds weird. Growing up, my #1 favorite dinner was Swedish meatballs, so I’m used to the idea of what most people consider pie spices (nutmeg, cinnamon) being added to savory meat dishes. It adds a nice touch; worth a try, especially if you’ve never had it before.

The whole thing is pretty straightforward; mix up your cheese, sautée your onions and garlic and greens, and put it all together. Folding up the pastry shell in the galette style takes a little getting used to, but it’s very quick to get the hang of it. Here’s a short video demo if you want to see how it works:

You may want to set a reminder to take the pastry out of the freezer the night before. This is also very tasty with fresh pie crust from scratch, but that adds quite a bit to the prep time, so I typically just use pre-made pastry and it’s still great. Note: I thawed both of my puff pastry sheets, and found that I had plenty of filling to make eight pastries, four from each sheet.

What do you think? Are you suddenly craving breakfast for dinner? 😉 Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

4.5-rating

Irish Pub Spinach and Artichoke Melt

Irish Pub Spinach and Artichoke Melt

https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/irish-pub-spinach-artichoke-melt/

Every time I set out to make this recipe, I’m intimidated by how much work it’s going to be, and every time I’m surprised by how quickly and easily it comes together. I think I get scared initially because it involves making a sauce from scratch, and I’m still a little mystified by sauce chemistry. What if I burn the flour? What if the sauce breaks? It feels like a lot of high-risk, split-second timing, and I’m still not totally clear on the whole emulsification process, and how or whether I can re-emulsify a sauce that has de-emulsified.

If that’s all Greek to you, just don’t worry about it, because in this case you’re pretty much just throwing cheese in a pot and it’s delicious. Someday in the future, I’ll do a breakdown of the different types of sauces; supposedly if you can master the five “mother sauces,” you have the building blocks for a lot of different dishes. (It kind of sounds like something out of a kung fu movie.) But for this dish, you’re just making a simple cheese sauce, and I find that it’s pretty forgiving. You start by sautéing diced onions and garlic in butter, then add a little flour and stir for a minute before adding the milk and cheese. I had everything measured out and sitting ready before I started, and I also stood there watching the sauce the whole time, without trying to multi-task. In the course of my cooking adventures, I’ve definitely sacrificed way too many perfectly good sauces and veggies and baked goods because I was trying to do too many things at once. Parallelization is all well and good, but sometimes it pays to just stop and focus. This is one of those times; just pay attention to the sauce and it will come out amazing.

(That said, I think I did chop up the spinach and artichokes while the cheese and milk were cooking down. No big deal; I just set up the cutting board right next to the stove and kept an eye on it, stirring occasionally.)

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This sandwich is basically a cheddary spinach artichoke dip in grilled cheese form, which is just as incredible as you’d expect. I didn’t have time to make the homemade potato chips like she suggests, but we just had some oven-baked fries alongside and it was great. Gooey, hearty, cheesy goodness – definitely a good choice for when you’re in the mood for pub fare but don’t actually feel like going out.

4.3-rating