Right. So, this week.
I think it’s safe to say it was in danger of ending almost as inauspiciously as it as it began which is to say, sucking greatly.
I got to work early on Friday, hoping to tacking some of my looming deadlines and, once again, prepared for battle with yet another bank. Instead: coffee all over my desk, including my phone. And, I was due to head to Philadelphia for the night (more on that later) in just under 8 hours. Which meant going straight to the closest Verizon store to replace said phone. Except that on Friday, the Verizon wasn’t open until 11:11 because of some ridiculous Droid promotion. Actually, none of them were, a fact which I discovered only after taking a cab to a second location.
And, so, walking down 6th Avenue, back to my office where I was going to have to tell my boss that I needed to leave again, I had finally had enough. The frustrations of fighting to get credit cards replaced and being locked out of an account when the cards finally came, all thanks to a miscommunication from the bank, of dealing with the D.A., of not having identification to carry around with me, of the constant and very real concern that the next thing to be stolen could very well be my identitythe exhaustion of it allit had all gotten to me.
That’s the thing. When your defenses are down, each little obstacle seems completely insurmountable.
One thing was clear: I needed a good friend.
Thankfully, I was on my way to Philadelphia to visit my friend Peggy. I’ve mentioned her here before. If there was anyone who could understand my complete frustration, Peggy was it. The story of how her brand new computer got stolen out of her own apartment is legendary at this pointbecause it was a horrible thing to go through, yes, but really because Peggy has a way of making the whole thing completely hilarious.
On my bus ride down to visit her, I was channeling her sensibilities, and reformulating the morning, thinking about how it would retell it. And, in fact, it was all pretty amusing in that comedy of errors sort of way. I still had my health, my job, and in a few short weeks, I’d have the contents of my wallet fully replaced. This was all survivable, even if it was unpleasant.
And, by the time I arrived at 30th Street, the morning was a distant memory. There’s nothing quite like seeing an old friend after too long, especially one who greets you with a home cooked meal and some hot toddies to celebrate fall.
The next morning, when, immediately after waking up, Peggy started pouring through cookbooks to find the perfect recipe for biscuits to accompany the spoils she brought home from the farm stand where she worked, I knew things would be fine. It was a relaxed day, cooking and talking and lots and lots of walking.
By the time I got on my bus to head homewith a bag of snacks, including those very biscuitsI was tuckered out in the best possible of ways, and ready to tackle the week.
Often recipes enter my repertoire because of the stories behind them. I daresay that, after baking this particular biscuit with Peggy, I no longer need to try out other versions.
Adapted, just slightly from In the Green Kitchen by Alice Waters
2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
10 TBS butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
2 cups cold buttermilk
1 TBS plus 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 TBS kosher salt
Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine the flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl and blend. Add the butter and lightly rub it and the flour mixture together until about half of the butter is well incorporated and the other half remains in large pieces about 1/2 inch in diameter.
Make a well in the flour and pour in the buttermilk. Give it a quick stir, just until the buttermilk is combined and the dough forms a mass. It should be soft and sticky and all of the flour should be combined. If necessary, add more buttermilk.
Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead about 8 times, until everything is well combined. Then, flatten the dough and roll it out until it is 1/2 inch thick. Pierce the dough with a floured fork.
Lightly flour a 2 1/2″ biscuit cutter (a floured pint glass will work, too), and begin cutting the biscuits. You should try to cut them as closely together as possible for maximum yield. Place the biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet. You should bake the scraps, too.
Bake the biscuits on the top rack of your oven for 8-12 minutes until they are crusty and golden brown.
Serve the biscuits hot. If necessary, you can warm them in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven prior to serving.
Makes approximately 15 biscuits