So I haven’t had much to say lately, it seems. It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, or eating, or trying new foods. I certainly have. In fact, I’ve been doing a lot.
I made some lactic fermented salsa. And failed. I’ve made it before with success. It’s delicious. But this time something went wrong. The tomatoes were maybe too ripe. Or too sweet. Right before it went off, the salsa was definitely oddly sweet. I also was unable to keep the ingredients submerged under the water/whey solution, so it went fuzzy in the sudden burst of summer heat and humidity that we experienced that week.
I also made some apple cheddar biscuits with sage. They were savoury. And really good. But there was absolutely no apple flavour. None. At all. There was maybe a little background sweetness from them, but no discernible apple taste. Disappointed again. I’ll share the recipe, just in case someone is inspired to improve on it. I’m open to ideas.
We went to a local food festival, as we do every year. This year it was insanely crowded, due to the previous night being rained out. Sadly, the crowd was so intense while we were there that some vendors seemed to be struggling to keep up and turn out quality food. Spring rolls that should be crisp and hot were only warm and very soggy. A promising sounding grilled cheese sandwich didn’t ever get hot enough to melt the cheese. Poutine gravy (apart from tasting strongly of rosemary) was gloppy, with a smattering of curds on top, still cold. Something called “bacon candy” that cost $2 for half a slice of under-cooked bacon seemed to be dipped in a watery sauce of sugar and cinnamon. Drippy, cold, greasy and flabby. And don’t get me started on vendors who should know better but were still handling money and food with the same bare hands.
Lack of inspiration
Amid all of this, I just haven’t been terribly inspired to blog. There has been good food. But none that I could articulate a recipe for (or get blog-quality photos of… there’s another thing that’s hanging me up). Like a burger sauce that I threw together using mayo and Sriracha and some other delicious ingredients. Or a feta cheese spread with fresh oregano and roasted red peppers. Or the peach butter that I just made. Again, no recipe. I chopped some peaches that were past their prime, along with a couple of nectarines in a similar state, and didn’t peel them. They were blitzed with my hand blender and simmered with a splash of lemon juice, a little clove and cinnamon and a lot of ground coriander (of course) plus some palm and white sugars until thick. I added a splash of vanilla to finish it off. I think I’ll try it as a filling for thumbprint cookies.
I need to find my mojo. I am not the kind of blogger who buys imported pumpkins in June to create recipes to be filed away for when pumpkin spice season explodes. I am not doing Christmas baking now (or any time soon). All things Christmas will remain tucked away until mid-November. And maybe all of this is to my determent. But I just can’t bring myself to create blog posts seasons in advance. Maybe because this is a hobby rather than a job.
I’ve had an idea to try some recipes from an old copy of the Mennonite Treasury that I have. I think it would be fun to do a series of posts that look at the recipes, as written. It will certainly be a fun challenge. Which may be just what I (and this blog) need.
In the meantime, here’s the biscuit recipe. If you sort out how to get the apple flavour in there, let me know.
Savoury Apple Cheddar Biscuits
1/4 cup cold butter
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 leaves fresh sage, finely chopped (optional – thyme or chives would work, too)
4 ounces cheddar (aged is preferable), grated, plus a little for sprinkling
1 medium firm apple, grated
scant cup of milk
Preheat the oven to 450F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder, salt and sage. With your fingers or a pastry cutter, blend in the butter until the mixture resembles crumbs. Mix in the cheese and apples with your fingertips until well coated. Stir in the milk. Since these are drop biscuits, the dough will be wet. Don’t over mix it.
Drop by tablespoons onto the lined pan and sprinkle with a little more cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the tops are nicely browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 10 biscuits