Potato Biscuits

Well, we may not have realized our homesteading dreams yet, but we are now one step closer to that idyllic, pastoral life. Just look at this beautiful biscuit cutter!

I fell in love with this and bought it at KY Craft, a festival of local artisans in Lexington. Sold by Campbellsville Handmade Cherry Furniture, we were first attracted to the absolutely exquisitely crafted cupboards in the booth. Do look at some of their samples, though the photographs really don’t show the artistry that they can coax from their wood. We also enjoyed meeting the guys at Hound Dog Press. They had a press set up and were encouraging people to make coasters. (The toddler loved watching the wheels and ink.) Check out their especially lovely wood engravings here or, if you’re a Kentuckian living far from home who’s ever had to explain where your home state was, you might think this is funny. We bought a beautiful butter pot from Crosswinds Pottery and regret passing up the charming thumb pot for watering seedlings.

The toddler and I just had to try this biscuit cutter out right away. The wooden cutter performed beautifully – with just a little tap, out popped perfect biscuits! They were light, yet sturdy enough to handle a fried egg. If your storage potatoes are starting to feel a little squishy (like mine are), I suggest making up a few batches of these. Freeze them before baking.

Potato Biscuits

Makes about 10-12.

white potatoes, 8-1o ounces (probably one large)
1 cup AP flour
1 tbls. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
6 tbls. unsalted butter
1/2 c. milk

  1. Peel potato and cut into 1/2 inch rounds. (If your potato has been stored and is extra starchy, go ahead and rinse it.) Simmer in water for about 10 minutes until tender. (Alternatively, you could use 8 oz. of leftover mashed potatoes.)
  2. Measure dry ingredients into a bowl.
  3. Drain, cool, and rice the potatoes. (Pass them through the holes of a skimmer or spoon, if you don’t have a ricer.) Gently mix the potatoes into the dry ingredients with a folding motion.
  4. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender or knives. Add the milk, gently cutting through the dough with a fork.
  5. On a floured surface, knead gently a few times, pat into a 1/2 inch rectangle, and cut with a floured cutter. Place on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 400F for 10-12 minutes.



Macaroni, Cheese, and a lot of Broccoli

The small boy in my house is fickle. He’ll like something one day and purse his lips and refuse to eat it the next day. It’s my job, as a mother, therefore to get better at packing each meal with good stuff and making them count. (Right?) This baked pasta dish hides 3 pounds of broccoli.

1 lb. pasta (I’ve been loving the organic boxed pasta at Whole Foods for quick meals.)
6-8 oz. medium white cheese, grated
3 lbs. broccoli
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. chicken stock (or veggie stock, if you prefer)

  1. Boil pasta for three minutes less than the recommended time. (It will finish cooking in the oven.) Set aside.
  2. Wash and chop broccoli coarsely. Steam over boiling water for 5 minutes. Puree in a food processor until smooth. If needed, add a splash of milk to make blending easier.
  3. In another pan, melt butter, then whisk in milk and salt. Heat until warm over medium. Over the heat, add grated cheese and whisk until smooth. Whisk in broccoli mixture.
  4. Toss this sauce with the pasta and then spread it into a 9X13 pan.
  5. Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes until it’s toasty and brown on top.

Dedicated to all first graders (or anyone, really,) who think ‘macaroni and trees’ is a funny joke.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Well,  after posts on gruel, cabbage, and root vegetables, I figure it’s time for a little dessert!

Here’s a good, quick cake to make for dessert when you don’t know what else to make (and find yourself out of eggs). When served warm, it’s a cake with its own fudge sauce. When served at room temperature, it’s pudding and cake.  It easily comes together with no mess in just a few minutes. In fact, it’s one of my favorite recipes to teach to kids. Here’s a printer-friendly recipe just for them. I’ve written the directions so that they can read and cook independently.

What to do:

1. Rub a piece of butter all over a 9-inch round or square cake pan. Preheat your oven to 350F.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together:

1 cup of flour
¾ cup of the sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cocoa.

3. Stir in:

½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons melted shortening or vegetable oil

4. Mix it until it is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

5. In a clean bowl, mix:
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup cocoa

6. Sprinkle the mixture over the batter. Do not mix.

7. Heat 1 ¾ cup water in the microwave or in a teapot.

8. Drizzle the water over top of the batter. Do not mix it in.

9. Bake the cake at 350F for 40 minutes. Serve the cake hot or cool.

Makes about 8 servings

Notes:  For extra fun, sprinkle on a few chocolate chips with your cocoa/sugar mixture. Top with ice cream.

Blackberry Roly Poly

Last year, I taught a cooking class to about a half dozen children. On the first day, I taught them the technique for making pie crust, which they found fun and surprisingly simple. We made a broccoli quiche, from the wonderful book, Salad People. On the second day, we went out and picked berries and then made this roly poly. Because they knew how to make pie crust, this was an easy dessert to take home to their families! 

1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbls. chilled butter
1/2 cup milk 

3/4 cup blackberries
2-3 tbls. sugar
1 tbls. melted butter

Mix the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into small pieces and toss with the dry ingredients. Use both hands to crumble and squeeze the butter with your fingers, until it is mixed into uneven pieces. Using a fork, gently stir in the milk. Use your hands to bring the mixture together to make a dough. Knead it for a few minutes, until it is uniform.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle. (Sandwich your dough between wax paper, plastic wrap, or a silpat, and you’ll find the job easier.) Brush your doughy rectangle with melted butter. Brush a bread pan with the remaining butter.

Pour out the blackberries onto the dough and sprinkle with sugar. Roll up, starting with the short end of your rectangle. You may need to poke some berries that escape back in. Place your roly poly into the buttered bread pan. Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes.

If you’d like to make this with your children (or any children who you can rope into picking berries for you), here are some kid-friendly directions that they can read independently.

This recipe is adapted from the Wildwood cookbook, a good resource for eating seasonally.