I have a gas stove, so I can still cook a grilled cheese or heat up some soup. I stockpile plenty of candles and high powered flashlights with fresh batteries. We have board games and heavy blankets. I did all the laundry ahead of time. There are drawers full of clean socks and underwear. But I really hate it when there is no electricity. It makes me feel helpless and little bit crazy, too.
I am happy to report that Mother Nature cooperated with my wishes and prayers. Sure we got hammered with snow but at least all the creature comforts remained in place. All that was left to do was cook, bake, eat and catch up on some movies I have been longing to watch.
Sunday at dawn revealed the end of the snowfall. One big, puffy white blanket covered the neighborhood streets and trees. And the plows had already cleared our side road. All that was left to do was dig ourselves and the cars out just in case we needed (I mean, I needed) a quick getaway. We already had plenty of manpower in the form of well fed children. Ava had her trusty friend Lola sleep over for the night. Two silly just about teenage girls goofing around, adding a bit of energy and fun. I fired up the oven and cooked bacon and my favorite biscuit recipe. Plenty of butter, jam and fluffy scrambled eggs made it to the table, too. I cleaned out our stash of hot chocolate and plopped a ball of marshmallow fluff into each mug. Those kids should be able to shovel snow for days on the breakfast they ate this morning.
(makes about 15 large biscuits or 24 regular sized)
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter (ice cold), cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons cream cheese (cold), cut into small pieces
1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk
coarse sea salt and pepper for tops of biscuits
jam and butter for serving
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in butter and cream cheese using a pastry cutter or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in
1 1/2 cups butter milk until mixture just comes together. Do not over mix or biscuits will be tough.
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured board. Pat dough into a rectangle and roll out with a floured rolling pin until dough is about 1 inch high. Cut out biscuits using a biscuit cutter or a floured knife. Place biscuits onto parchment lined baking sheets. Brush tops with remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk and sprinkle with coarse sea salt and pepper. Bake for 12-15 minutes until edges of biscuits are golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm with butter and jam.
Val's Oatmeal Bread
(Makes 2 loaves)
4 1/2 -5 cups flour
1 cup rolled oats
2 pkgs yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups skim or lowfat milk
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons butter
In a large bowl, combine 3 cups flour, rolled oats and salt. In a medium sauce pan, heat milk, molasses and 2 tablespoons butter over low heat until the butter just melts. (115-120 degrees). Remove 1/2 cup of warm milk mixture and add yeast to proof. (Wait 5-10 minutes to make sure yeast becomes puffed and bubbly on surface.) Combine dry ingredients with all wet ingredients (including yeast mixture) in a stand up mixer fitted with dough hook. Add more flour until mixture becomes a sticky dough. Scrape side of bowl to combine all ingredients. Turn dough out on floured surface and knead for 4-5 minutes, adding more flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to grease surface. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 45 minutes). Punch down and turn out onto lightly floured board. Cut in half and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape into loaves and place in greased pans. Cover, let rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes). Melt remaining tablespoon of butter and spread over loaves. Bake in 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. If loaves brown too quickly, cover lightly with tin foil. Remove from oven. Turn out of pans onto wire rack and cool completely before slicing. Store in airtight bags.