Friday, July 29, 2011

In Celebration of the Biscuit

Our favorite restaurant for breakfast in Holland is The Biscuit; it's in the neighborhood, lots of interesting choices like Veggie Hash and Spanish Bennies, and of course delicious fresh made biscuits. According to the NYT this week, there has been some debate about how to make the best biscuits (see link) and the NYT has weighed in with a couple of winning recipes using regular flour, levening, a little sugar, milk and butter in one; and cake flour (whaaaa?)in the other. I guess it's the difference between flaky vs crumbly. I vote flaky. In any case, check out the article which also includes a recipe for sausage gravy. Below I have added a Cooking Light recipe for Ham and Cheese "Scones." I say they are more like biscuits and so easy.

Ham and Cheese Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped 33%-less-sodium ham (about 3 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Cooking spray


  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in cheese and ham. Combine buttermilk and egg whites, stirring with a whisk. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 to 5 times with floured hands. Pat dough into an 8-inch circle on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cut dough into 8 wedges, cutting into but not through dough. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Monday, July 18, 2011



I've always wanted to do that! Destination of peels and shells: our compost heap. Destination of potato salad: Mark's 60th birthday picnic. No recipe, because it's pretty standard potato salad.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Curry Shakshuka

Last week, beginning on the 4th of July, we has a stretch of HOT, muggy days wherein no one really feels like cooking or eating until about 10pm at night when the sun has gone down. And when one does get hungry, turning on the oven is not advisable.

Because you don't feel like cooking, it's also hard to consider shopping. Especially when you're in the middle of walking the three miles from work home through the late-afternoon urban fug. So on Tuesday night, we improvised with what we had in the fridge and the cupboards ... and came out with this sauteed vegetable curry with poached eggs. I'm calling it "curry shakshuka."


2 medium zucchini (approx 5" each), chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
2 Tbl. olive oil
1 tsp. crushed garlic (or 1-2 cloves, minced)
1 cup frozen or fresh sweetcorn (I used Trader Joe's roasted for the flavor)
2 veggie burgers, crumbled (optional; for extra protein)
4 eggs
1/2 cup low fat plain yogurt
2 Tbl. curry powder


1. In a large frying pan, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until onions start to go translucent.

2. Add zucchini and saute until zucchini begins to soften

3. Add corn and protein (if desired), stir thoroughly and leave to heat through.

4. Mix yogurt and curry powder thoroughly, adding water as needed to thin the mixture until about the consistency of tomato sauce. Pour into veggies and stir until combined.

5. Add water as necessary to make sure the veggies have plenty of liquid. Crack eggs into the center of the veggies and cover to poach. 5-7 minutes? I'm bad at poached eggs, so go with whatever you usually do! (This is where having enough liquid will help make sure the bottom of the veggie mixture doesn't burn as the eggs cook!)

6. Serve hot ... you may wish for more yogurt (greek style is tasty!) to cut the curry.

It's also tasty as chilled left-overs!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Beautiful lovely wonderful toast,

You are the best, you are the most.

I eat you for breakfast, I eat you for lunch--

As a snack in between, if I need to munch.

Put on lots of butter, then watch it melt;

I’ve eaten so much I must loosen my belt.

Toast you taste nicer than all the rest;

You are the most, you are the best.

You taste so good with jelly or honey;

You feel so good filling up my tummy.

You taste so much better than regular bread;

Without you to feed me I’d prob’ly be dead.

Beautiful lovely wonderful toast,

You are the best, you are the most.

Monday, July 4, 2011

I like this recipe’s slight sweetness—due to dried fruit. I’ve taken it to a lot of potlucks, and most people like it. The only drawback to the recipe is that you have to make it several hours ahead so the couscous has time to cool off.


2 cups fresh orange juice, divided 1 ½-1/2

½ cup water

1 tsp. salt

1 (10-oz.) package of couscous (1 2/3 cups)

½ cup dried apricots, chopped

½ cup currants

2 Tbl. red wine vinegar

1-2 cups chopped seeded cucumber (I like it and use more)

¾ cup chopped green onions

¼ cup chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil

½ cup coarsely chopped pistachios, served at table

Bring 1 ½ cups orange juice, water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Place couscous in a large bowl.

Combine ½ cup orange juice, apricots, currants and vinegar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes. Drain and discard cooking liquid.

Add apricot mixture, cucumber, onions and mint to couscous. Whisk together lemon juice and olive oil and drizzle over couscous.

Provide chopped pistachios for people to sprinkle on top at table.

Happy 4th of July

It's muggy today in Boston, with highs in the 80s ... the sort of weekend weather I always imagine they had in Jaws (or while filming Jaws). Folks with more money than Hanna and I are probably spending the holiday weekend out on the Cape. The city feels fairly deserted, in fact.

The neighborhood sparrows can be quite insistent that
what you thought was your brioche is actually theirs.
This morning we were able to walk down to one of our favorite coffee shops, Tatte, and enjoy our weekend ritual of brioche and lattes and the cafe's copy of The New York Times Book Review

The pear marmalade is to die for.
While this isn't particularly traditional holiday fair, it was nice to have the leisure time to sit and people watch (and small yappy-type dog watch) and feed the greedy sparrows. What food (traditional or non!) are y'all enjoying this holiday weekend?