Buttermilk biscuits, luv in a bun.

Buttermilk biscuit

Who doesn’t feel weak in the knees when faced with a hot, flaky buttermilk biscuit oozing with dripping butter? But, they can be tricky to make because a number of recipes I’ve tried produced somewhat tough biscuits. I found the perfect recipe by Williams-Sonoma quite by accident I can’t remember how I got there or who recommended it but it works perfectly every time. Although the recipe is called Buttermilk Chive Biscuits, I omit the chives for breakfast purposes.

To make it easy, I’ve included a few pictures so you’ll know what the dough should look like before kneading the few minutes required to reduce moisture. I use a food processor to mix the flour and butter which works very well as long as you don’t over-pulse the mixture. The biscuits freeze incredibly well if you put them in a  resealable bag and squeeze out the air before freezing. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. sugar
1 ½ Tbsp. baking powder
½ Tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into thin slivers or small cubes. (Cut the cube in three horizontal slices, then three vertical slices, then dice into small cubes)
1 whole egg
Scant 1 cup buttermilk or as needed
¼ cup diced fresh chives (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400F.

Cut the butter as described above and place in the refrigerator. In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Transfer the flour to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade and add the butter. Pulse the mixture until it looks like coarse meal (see photo).

In a bowl, whisk the egg until well blended then add enough buttermilk to equal one cup of liquid. Transfer the butter-flour mix to a large mixing bowl and using a fork, mix in the buttermilk-egg mixture until the dry ingredients are absorbed (see photo).

Transfer the dough to a heavily floured surface and knead gently and quickly until the dough is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. There are two ways to form the biscuits: 1) pat the dough into a square or rectangle about ½ inch thick. Dip a round biscuit cutter 3 inches in diameter in flour and cut into 24 rounds; 2) take a 2-3 ounce ice cream scoop and scoop out dough which will give you about 12 biscuits. Arrange the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet about one inch apart. Bake until golden brown, 12-15 minutes if they were cut and up to 18 minutes if they were scooped.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Soup for Supper, by Joyce Goldstein (Time-Life Books, 1998).

Pulsed butter and flour

 

Buttermilk added to flour

 

Buttermilk biscuit perfection

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Deals, deals, deals.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve shopped at Target more often.  At first, it was because I didn’t have much use for the massive quantity I had to purchase from Costco. Sometimes, it’s more trouble to store the excess than to make another trip to the store.  Also, I was trying to break the habit of stockpiling things I wasn’t going to use anytime soon.  Not long ago, in a moment of boredom, I decided to wander the grocery aisles at Target. I was shocked by some of the prices. They were so low!  I shop a lot for my clients so I’m very aware of food prices but I was stunned by some of the grocery deals I found at Target.

Now, to be fair, I’m a selective Target food shopper. I tend to buy specific items there because they’re less expensive than anywhere else. For example, King Arthur flour is an excellent quality product that sells for $5.49 for 5 pound bag at my local Safeway but is $3.49 at Target. A 35% discount, fantastic deal! It’s never bleached or bromated like many other brands and produces excellent results. The King Arthur website has a lot of great baked goods recipes as well.

Did you know Target sells organic products? They’re on the organic bandwagon too.  I found organic milk, juices, tomato products, and pastas so be sure to check these out the next time you go.  My favorite Target organic tomato product is Muir Glen Pizza Sauce.  It sells for $1.89 at Target versus $2.49-$2.89 depending where I find it.  For this price, it’s really not worth it for me to make the sauce from scratch whenever my son wants a pizza. It’s made from pure ingredients and tastes delicious. So, the next time you’re at Target take a look at the grocery aisles and save some money!


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Welcome to Blissful Kitchen’s Blog

Welcome to Blissful Kitchen’s Blog!

After much encouragement and badgering from clients and friends, the Blissful Kitchen blog is finally here! It will focus on my global cooking style, recipes, travel, catered events, and lifestyle issues such as reducing consumption of processed foods. Since I’m also a mother and so are many of my clients, you’ll learn ways of encouraging your children to understand that real food really tastes good. Savor the best delicious recipes (some my own, some from others) that simplify your life. A bounty of Bay Area shopping tips will help you save time and money even if you live in another part of the country. Cooking techniques do matter. Use mine and you’ll save time and improve the quality of the meals you prepare.

I’m a working chef but I’ll share some of my planning secrets and recipes that are easy and delicious enough to use every day. I don’t believe in collecting volumes of information and  gadgets that I’ll never use. Simple is better. As a working mom with little time to spare, I’m sharing tips and recipes that really work. How many buttermilk biscuit recipes do you really need? One, and I’ll share it with you later.

My mother was an exceptional cook and she entertained my stepfather’s television and entertainment colleagues with great flair and pizzazz. But, my global culinary interests and style expanded when as a teenager, I went to live in Guyana, South America with my Indian grandmother for two years. This fueled my love for international travel so I globetrotted the world, always curious about different cultures, food, markets and the interesting people I met along the way. I recently found a misplaced box of photographs from those travels so I’ll share some of them with you along with a memorable food experience or recipe.

Guest contributors and experts will give you quality insights to use daily. I’m excited to introduce you to nutritionist Khristine Holterman. Khristine is a super-mom, mother of five (yes, I said five) children ranging in age from 19 months to 16 years. She has degrees from Boston and Stanford Universities and is an expert on women and children’s nutritional issues.

I’ll help you with one of the biggest issues facing my clients: reducing consumption of processed foods. Whether the client is an entertainer, professional athlete, or working professional, they’re all focused on improving their health and managing their weight. Professional athletes are particularly interested in improving their performance by changing their eating habits.

I’ve got a super easy and quick way to jump start your summer shape up and help you begin the transition from processed foods to healthier choices. With only five days, easy to find ingredients, and minimal shopping and cooking, you can start this plan. Stay tuned for my next post when I’ll introduce Blissful Kitchen’s 5 Day Detox Menu.

Several weeks ago, I received a catering request from a client interested in an African themed menu. This was pretty unusual. Over the past eight years, I’ve catered only one other African themed event. So, my culinary senses perked up and I responded quickly. The couple were in the process of adopting a girl from North Africa. They had also spent time in Tanzania, a country they loved. The wife is involved with a charity that works in Africa–this is all good! They also wanted to celebrate the wife’s birthday, so they rolled all these details into one exciting party. I was on-board for this one!

Then, I asked about the venue in Calistoga, another plus. Although there were space constraints in the meeting room, I created a menu that fit their budget and the venue, mixing North & East African flavors with a dash of Mediterranean and California flair. My client’s mother-in-law selected the decor and a terrific African dance and musicial team performed after dinner. It was a fantastic affair and I was excited to be a part of such a meaningful experience!

Table decor Indian Springs African themed party

Table decor Indian Springs African themed party

Buffet decor from Indian Springs African themed party
Buffet decor from Indian Springs African themed party
Grilled Artichoke with Saffon Aioli, Chicken Tagine with Green Olives, Tanzanian Spiced Duck Legs, Fattoush Salad
Grilled Artichoke with Saffon Aioli, Chicken Tagine with Green Olives, Tanzanian Spiced Duck Legs, Fattoush Salad
artichokes, chicken and duck

African themed party. Grilled Artichokes with Saffron Aioli, Chicken Tagine with Green Olives, Tanzanian Spiced Duck Legs



 


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