For me, this month brings many subtle but different changes. I definitely know we are done with winter now. With the last few days of early 90's, I've but away my boots, removed some blankets, dusted off my sandals and remembered to park my Jetta under the shade to save myself from being burnt when jumping in a piping hot black car.
Kristen and Gus both moved back to Hawaii which sounds lonely but nice in it's own regard. I've put myself to the task of rearranging and cleaning out things that have begun to clutter which satisfies the part of me that likes to be neat and not have things lying around. Except, I don't always adhere to that rule. I guess you can say I feel a lot more neat now than when Kristen was here which is odd because I think I would try to be more neat with a roommate rather than when it's just me. But, now there's only me to clean up my messes or maybe because now that my apartment has gone from two bodies and one small dog to just one body, the place feels a whole lot bigger.
The kitchen is, of course, the place I like to be and I wanted to expand the space so it's easier to access things than before. I have a open closet on the other side of my kitchen which I plan to expand into extra pantry space. So, I've been working on moving the things that were originally in that closet (i.e. a lot of boxes and packing material, winter coats, photography lights and miscellaneous food items) into other spaces so I can put extra cubbies there for storage.
And I fixed the one thing that had been bothering me forever. When Gus first moved back to California, I bought one of those wire cube modular/stackable cubbies because they could easily be taken apart when we needed to put Gus away when going out. We used three of the panels as his "gate" and the rest were put together as a shoe rack type thing. Except, it had this gaping hole where six cubes should have been. Putting that fully back together was an amazing relief, like filling in the whole where the raspberry should be in the Great British Bake Off intro.
I'm always slightly amazed at how different it is to eat for one versus eating for two. I've made it a goal to finish all the little bits of food that have accumulated over time. Kristen and I would make a lot, obviously, but we would make and make and make faster than we could ever eat. So, I cleaned out the freezer and found two pieces of Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake, two Savory Apple Hand Pies, a serving of Brown Sugar Ice Cream that Kristen made almost a year ago (whoops), a chocolate muffin, a scone, Cranberry Hot Cross Buns from Easter, a kouignaman that Kristen made and a few of these cookies from Valentine's Day. The freezer is definitely my best friend but also a black hole of treats.
And of course, I made a simple Chinese dish with eggplant because Kristen despises the stuff. And also have been listening to the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 soundtrack on repeat. I was so sold on the first one when it came out three (!) years ago and this one is great too.
Scones and biscuits always make me a little nervous and I am always relieved when they turn out flaky and fluffy rather than tough and dry. I am okay with knowing to keep everything chilled but the kneading is finicky. I once misread a recipe that said to knead 10 times and I kneaded for 10 minutes and it turned out all tough and not good. But, some recipes for scone/biscuit type things DO say to knead for 10 minutes which always puzzles me because generally the goal is to have something that is light and flaky. So, these days, I do something in between. I'll gently knead 10 times first, and if the dough is still not holding together, a few more times but making sure the butter is still intact for the layer's sake. And if you cut into them and see those layers in the raw dough, you generally know you are on the right track.
I went on a savory route which is generally pretty rare for me but these paired great with some chicken soup I made when April nights were wavering between being chilly and just right. I used a random assortment of cheddar cheeses leftover from work which added just the right amount of cheesiness needed for these biscuits. And scallions are the perfect pair of light onion flavor and sweetness to round these out. I'm a fan of brushing my biscuits and scones with buttermilk so there is a nice glossiness to the top. Finished with some cracked black pepper, these are best fresh out of the oven and warm.
It's hard to tell in the photos, but these are huge biscuits. They basically double in size in height in the oven and a 3-inch cookie cutter makes them somewhere between a portion for a very hungry person or a snack for two.
And with more butter, of course!
Cheddar Scallion Biscuits
Adapted from Joy the Baker's Cheddar Chive and Jalapeño Biscuits
Yields: 8 large biscuits
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
4½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
¾ cup cold buttermilk, plus more for topping
¾ cup cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
4 scallions, diced
¾ cup butter, cold and cut into small cubes
Ground black pepper for topping
Place a rack in the center and lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line one baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick silicone sheet and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tarter and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Toss together cheddar cheese and scallions. Set aside.
Add butter to the flour mixture. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour, until the butter is well incorporated into the flour mixture. The flour will resemble coarse meal.
Toss the cheese and scallion mixture into the flour mixture. Create a small well in the center of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk mixture all at once. Toss together with a fork making sure that all of the flour bits are moistened by the buttermilk. This mixture will be shaggy. Dump biscuit dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead 10 times. Knead a few more times if needed or until the dough comes together. Pat the dough together into a 1½-inch thick circle.
Using a 3-inch round biscuit cutter to cut rounds. You can also use a knife to cut squares or wedges. Gather dough scraps, knead lightly, and cut out more biscuits until the batter is gone. Place biscuits on prepared baking sheets, brush with buttermilk and cracked black pepper. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the inside flaky.