Basic Biscuits

Basic Biscuits | Pinky's Pantry
Biscuits are an all American classic. They’re perfect for breakfast with bacon and eggs, or turned into sausage and cheese breakfast sandwiches. And who doesn’t love biscuits and gravy, strawberry shortcake, or peach cobbler? Biscuits also go great with a bowl of hot soup. They’re wonderful piled warm into a basket and served with butter and honey. And let’s not forget they’re the quintessential ingredient in monkey bread. However you like to eat biscuits, this recipe is tasty and really easy to prepare. The secret is to handle your dough as little as possible. The more you handle your dough, the tougher your biscuits turn out. Biscuits are best served warm from the oven the same day they’re made, but these ones will keep in an airtight container for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Basic Biscuits | Pinky's Pantry

For soft sides like these, bake biscuits in the pan with their sides touching each other.

BASIC BISCUITS
(Makes 6-8 biscuits)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup cold butter, cut in pieces (can substitute margarine or shortening)
  • ¾ cup milk or buttermilk (you might need a little extra)
  • extra flour for kneading
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter, for brushing on top (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease bottom of cast iron skillet or baking sheet.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.
  3. Using 2 knives or a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles fine crumbs.
  4. Stir in milk just till mixture comes together. You’ll have a soft, sticky dough.
  5. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface, sprinkle a little more flour on top, and pat it with your hands into a rough rectangular shape.
  6. Knead dough by folding it in half towards you and lightly pressing it together.
  7. Turn the dough a quarter turn and fold it in half towards you again, lightly pressing together.
  8. Repeat till you’ve done this 4 or 5 times. Don’t over knead your dough!
  9. Pat dough to desired thickness (I like about an inch thick).
  10. Cut with a sharp biscuit cutter dipped in flour using a straight down and up motion. Don’t twist the cutter or your biscuits won’t rise properly. Dip the cutter in flour between each cut.
  11. Arrange biscuits in pan. If you want crusty sides, place them an inch apart. If you want soft sides, place them in the pan touching each other.
  12. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  13. Take biscuits out of oven and immediately brush tops with melted butter, if desired.

NOTE:  To make make biscuits using a food processor, place dry ingredients in work bowl and pulse a few times to combine. Pulse cold butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour in milk or buttermilk and pulse until just combined. Then continue with Step 5.

TO MAKE HERB BISCUITS:  Add ¼ cup dried herbs, such as basil, oregano, thyme, savory, parsley, etc., to the dry ingredients. You can use a single herb or a combination of 2 or more herbs.

Advertisements

Basic Vinaigrette

Basic Vinaigrette | Pinky's Pantry
A good vinaigrette is a simple thing to make. Sure it’s easy to pick up a bottle of dressing at the grocery store, but they’re usually high in sodium and lord knows what other chemical additives or preservatives. It’s much healthier to just whisk up your own fresh batch and it really doesn’t take that long to do.

The classic ratio for a vinaigrette is 3:1, meaning 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. You can then vary it in a myriad of ways. You could use different kinds of oil like walnut oil or even ordinary salad oil. You could use different vinegars (one of my favorite things to use is seasoned rice vinegar) or replace the vinegar entirely with a citrus juice like lemon or grapefruit. You could add all sorts of flavor enhancers besides the classic minced shallot, like minced garlic, or red onion. You could also add an herb or a blend of herbs like oregano, basil, or thyme. Give it an Asian flair by adding a little soy sauce, sesame oil, and minced ginger. And who does’t love a good raspberry or strawberry vinaigrette? The possibilities are endless!

Armed with a good vinaigrette, you can turn any lettuce into a bright, perky salad, or enhance the flavor of meat, chicken or fish with a little marinating time, or even wake up plain veggies and bring them to glorious, tangy life!

BASIC VINAIGRETTE

  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil or other oil of your choice
  • ¼ cup vinegar of your choice
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. add-in, like minced shallot or red onion, herbs like tarragon or chives, even a tablespoon of jam works
  1. Whisk vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper and any add-ins together in a glass bowl. You can adjust the sugar, salt, and pepper, adding more or less to your taste.
  2. Slowly drizzle in oil while whisking constantly.
  3. Taste. If vinaigrette seems too sharp, whisk in a little more oil or even water.
  4. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
  5. Whisk again before using.

NOTE:  In lieu of a bowl and a wire whisk, you could place all the ingredients into a jar, screw the lid tightly closed, and shake well. You could also use a blender which works especially well if you’re making a fruit vinaigrette that needs pureed fruit, like raspberry or strawberry vinaigrette.

Vinaigrettes can be made ahead of time. Place in an airtight container, cover, and keep chilled in refrigerator for up to one week.