Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Morning Bisckies

The minute I woke up I was on a mission. The house had seven adults, one baby, and two cats sleeping in various rooms of the house, something not unusual for a Sunday morning. My parents’ home is a haven for visitors after a Saturday night filled with food, hilarity, and tomfoolery. The people who stay with us are considered extended family, and I always see it as an opportunity to cook up something new.

As said in the previous posts, I’m the first one officially awake in the mornings, especially on the weekends. (I know, I know… I’m breaking the college kid stereotype, not sleeping until noon, etc.) Since being on Armour Thyroid, I’m not awake because my stomach forcefully demands sustenance. I’m awake because I choose to be.

And this morning, I chose to wake up before my 8:30 alarm went off. Since the majority of the adults (and the eighteen-month-old, oddly enough) were awake until two in the morning, I felt I could put a breakfast together before they began looking for caffeine and edibles. I had to my disposal eggs, bacon, coffee, a plethora of fruits, gluten free flours, milk, butter, my food scale, the kitchen, Ruhlman’s book, and a vision.

My vision was a brunch of epic proportions, of people sitting at the table drinking coffee and eating their fill of the food I put out. But I was concentrating on one particular part of the brunch, one that, as a gluten free person cooking for gluten eating people, I wanted their honest opinion.

So I made biscuits. Well, okay… not biscuits. I promised I wasn’t going to call them that. You see, they had the right taste of a biscuit, the right crust of a biscuit, but as we were hosting a family from North Carolina and southern biscuits reign supreme, I had to call them something different. After all, I'd never made a biscuit from scratch before, even BGF. It was quite a funny conversation, actually.

Sometimes I feel people just tell me what I make is good because they’re afraid I’ll be devastated or refuse to ever cook again or something just as silly. But really, I look for constructive criticism. In fact, I crave for it. Why? Because I can always improve in the kitchen, that’s why. By eating something, gluten free or otherwise, and you (the eater) feel it needs tweaking, by all means tell the person what you liked and suggest what you’d change. As long as you do it with best of intentions, believe me, they’ll be grateful for it. I know I always am.

Please don’t say that it’s simply good. Provide detailed reasons why you thought it was good, or great even. And if they ask you what you would change, tell them that too. They asked you for a reason.

I do believe I think it would have been more biscuit-like, however, if I had the right tools for it. Paul and Mary, our guests from N.C. (parental units of a wonderful sweet pea of a girl, Freya, as seen above), told me they liked it. But Paul was very clear that, to him, it wasn’t a biscuit. He thought it was like a breakfast cookie of sorts.

“Was it edible, at least?” I asked the five adults sitting around the table, the baby filling her cheeks with forbidden rice and scrambled eggs, her face stained purple and her elbow in Mary’s bacon.

“Oh, it was more than edible. It was very good,” Paul replied, “but from where we are, this would not be considered biscuit. It’s a breakfast cookie.”

And so, the debate ensued. For a while people argued it as the English version of a biscuit. Some just referred to it as a round. Others demanded it be thought of as a cookie. But in the end, as I was driving back to campus, I officially dubbed it the bisckie, as it had the characteristics of both, but not quite either or.

I can live with that.

A few people at the table even mentioned it would make a wonderful canapĂ© base, maybe even a bagel, but it was yummy just with a slab of butter and a drizzle of honey on top. The next time I’m going to fold it more, pay attention to Ruhlman's directions of putting the dough in the fridge for another hour, maybe add an egg to help it rise. Paul and I spent the remainder of the meal discussing whether it would have been better a thicker round, or thinner. Until next time, i.e. next weekend, I suppose.

This is the kind of talk I love having. I made a good recipe, but now I know what could make it better.

Sunday Morning Bisckies

2 oz Glutinous rice flour, plus extra for dusting
2 oz Amaranth flour
1 oz Quinoa flour
1 oz Coconut flour
1 oz Millet flour
2 oz Arrowroot starch
2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Sea salt
3 oz Butter
6 oz Milk

Set a mixing bowl on a scale and pour in the flours, baking powder, and salt.
Weigh out the butter, then rub and pinch the butter into the flour so that it is well distributed into fragments and small chunks (the largest no bigger than peas).
Pour in the milk and combine just until the dough is formed (there will be whole chunks of butter in the dough).
Put the dough into a 4x6-inch pan, cover with saran wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
After the hour is up, unwrap the dough and lightly dust it with flour.
Roll the dough out to about three times its size on a floured countertop or board, still maintaining the rectangular shape.
Fold it into thirds and roll it out again.
Cut the dough into rounds (or squares, if you like) with a ring cutter or a thin glass.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until done. (Halfway through I flipped them over so they would have a nice brown crust on both sides.)

Yields 10 bisckies… and 1 taste test. :)

1 comment:

  1. They were really good, especially with the honey. But biscuits? Sorry :P