Last week, Alivia and I decided to stick to a firm budget for food. We had devised such a plan before, but fell off the budgeting bandwagon once our schedules became sufficiently hectic. The exciting part of finding yourself on Friday night with only one dollar remaining in the weekly food budget is that it forces you to get creative in the kitchen. For whatever reason, some of the best meals I’ve ever cooked have come from days when I’ve needed to work with a severely limited list of ingredients. Last night was one of those meals.
We had a ton of greens (kale and beet greens), a pint of buttermilk, a can of tomatoes, and the usual cooking staples (rice, flour, butter, etc.) at our disposal. So I decided to make sautéed greens, Spanish rice and buttermilk biscuits. The greens and rice turned out well, but the biscuits were the stars of the show. I’d never made buttermilk biscuits before, but it turns out they are relatively easy to make and ridiculously delicious. Here is a recipe for about 12 biscuits:
- 2 cups white flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp butter (very cold)
- 1 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Cut the butter into 1/4 inch cubes and add to the flower. Mix around and mash with a pasty blender or fork until the butter is in pieces a bit bigger than grains of rice and is evenly distributed. Add the buttermilk and stir until just combined. Roll the (sticky) dough onto a well-floured surface and spread the dough out by hand until it is about 3/4 inch thick. Fold it in half, pat down and repeat four or five times. Work quickly so the butter doesn’t soften. Once the dough is rolled out for a final time, cut the biscuits into circles (I used a small glass as a cookie cutter). Put the biscuits on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 – 12 minutes until lightly browned on top.
I was surprised at how decadent these biscuits turned out to be. I suppose any small starchy morsel with a half tablespoon of butter per serving is bound to taste alright, but I was still blown away.
This morning, I made a variation of eggs Florentine with the leftovers: two halves of a biscuit topped with the sautéed greens and a fried egg on top of each (who has the patience to poach eggs?). It was easily the best breakfast I’ve had this year. Highly recommended.