Sunday, July 27, 2014

What's for supper ?


 It's that time of year again.  Eating goodies from the garden, canning and dehydrating tons of stuff.  Trying to work in a kitchen that looks like the location of the apocalypse. Of course, life doesn't just stop because I have work to do.  People still get hungry, cooking still needs to be done, and so it goes.

  On this particular day, I was canning carrots.  And dehydrating carrots. 25 pounds of organic carrots, more or less. And supper time was looming.  Whatever I fixed, there was gonna be a side of carrots tucked in there. lol

  I remembered that a couple of weeks ago, when a friend took me to lunch in St Louis  "on the hill" (Italian neighborhood) we shopped and hit several markets. I didn't buy much, but what I did get was good stuff...salami made  on the premises, fresh mozzarella, some white balsamic vinegar...and a tube of premade organic quinoa polenta.  Normally I make my own polenta., although I have yet to make quinoa polenta from scratch.  Turns out it's as easy (?) as making regular polenta, you just sub some quinoa for some of the corn meal. How about that ??

 Anyway, I thought--aha! Polenta for supper. So, I pulled the stuff from the fridge.  I opened one of my last jars of marinara sauce and gussied it up with some extra basil and fresh garlic.  I went to the garden and picked kale. I searched the fridge until I found some of the wild mushroom the boy had brought over last week.

(Isn't this a thing of beauty??)  I carefully washed the parts as I sliced them...they will keep a long time if you keep them dry. This is one of my favorite mushrooms,  called chicken of the woods.


So...in a nutshell, the ingredients list is:
 quinoa polenta (either store bought or homemade)
 marinara (canned, fresh or whatever suits you)
 kale -chopped into bite sized pieces
 onions and garlic- chopped into small chunks
 mushroom of your choice (wild, chantrelles, portabellas, whatever)
 Olive oil 
 shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese to top



 First,  slice the prepared polenta into about half inch thick pieces. I like mine browned in some hot oil. Then I set it aside in a warming oven to keep it ready.

 Then I put together the marinara in a small saucepan...add ingredients to your hearts desire. Extra fresh basil, garlic , even black olives, thinly sliced.  Make it the way you like it.  make yourself happy. When it is good and hot, cover and set aside.

 Then, saute the onions, garlic and mushroom pieces together in a big heavy skillet.

When they are close to done, throw in some big handfuls of the chopped kale. You will braise the kale in the fat and water put off by the mushroom cooking.

 Look at those succulent pieces of mushroom, would you ??  Keep stirring until the kale is crispy cooked.  At this point you can season the mixture with some sea salt and fresh ground black pepper if you like. (I like.  I always want black pepper on everything). lol

 When it's finished, you can start building your plate... polenta on the bottom, marinara next, kale mixture on top. A little freshly shredded parm will set it off  perfectly.

 This is a nutritious, simple and satisfying dish that will leave you wanting to try all different kinds of combinations of toppings.


 Since I had a gazillion tons of carrots chunked and in a bowl, I made a pan of honeyed carrots to go with this.  It was a hit.



  So, there you have it.  I'm thinking about trying to make polenta ahead of time and freeze a few batches of it.  I don't know if it freezes well, but there's always one way to find out.  lol

  Have you made it and frozen it ?  Let me know.



Bon Apetit !




Monday, June 23, 2014

Eating from my pantry...

 Well.  The test is here. Can we eat out of the pantry/freezer/hen house, supplemented with what little is coming out of the garden right now?

  Let me digress...

 In the event that you may not know what has been going on around here at Honeysuckle Hill...in late January, I was rear-ended at an icy intersection, resulting in a  moderate case of whiplash.  My neck and shoulders hurt, I could barely turn my head from side to side.  Could have been much worse. I started treatment by chiropractic and massage therapies.

  On February 1st,  I slipped and fell on icy steps going off my back deck to let the chickens out one Saturday morning.  Went down like a ton of bricks.  Wound up with a fractured right distal radius.  (Of course I am right handed).  Wore a sling for 5 days waiting for the swelling to go down, then in a cast and sling for 4 weeks.  At the end of that, I went in for x-rays, hoping to have the cast removed and get to wear only a brace.  Fat chance.  I had overused the arm--(I swear, I tried to not use it. Husband and son were doing almost everything for me. I was useless.)-- and the bone had slipped at the fracture, so a new cast went on for another 6 weeks.  Finally it came off. The soft tissue damage to the hand and wrist were extensive though, so I was having a lot of pain and still couldn't use it much. I have been in physical therapy trying to regain some strength and use of that hand. When I started, I measured ZERO grip strength.  Now, 8 weeks later, I am up to almost 12 pounds. He told me it could take up to a year for it to fully heal.  Good grief.

  On May 24, my husband and I were coming home from a restaurant in a nearby town when he drifted off at the wheel, causing us to go off the road and when he tried to steer back onto the pavement, the car went into a spin, spun across 2 lanes, hit a deep ditch and  rolled the car.  It could have been so much worse. We flipped into a freshly plowed field. The car smashed on the roof, and then flipped back over onto the wheels.  The line of cars coming toward us as we spun across the road was stopped by the vigilant driver of the first car--an off duty EMT and his girlfriend. So, nobody hit us coming from the other direction. We missed the big electrical pole at the edge of the field. The EMT ran over to us and started checking us out. I had a lot of glass on me, but seemed to be relatively okay. My husband however, was hurt.  The EMT got into the backseat and stabilized his head against the headrest, telling him to not move. They had called 911 the minute we rolled, so ambulances were on their way. They took us to the local hospital, who then transported us to a larger trauma hospital about 45 minutes away.  After much ado, it was determined that I was just bruised and banged up. My husband has a fracture of the T-3 vertebrae. He is in a cervical collar and front and back brace. He has been off work for about a month. In 2 weeks he goes back to the doc and hopefully they will take the brace off and give us an idea of when he can go back to work. We have exhausted his vacation pay and sick leave, and as of this week, there is no more money coming in.

SO.  I am not a prepper. I have made that clear to people often.  I do keep a fully stocked pantry and freezer. I consider this common sense. I try to live frugally, because we really don't have much money. I would probably live this way even if we did.  It's what I was taught. I have always thought of my pantry as a back up plan of sorts. I have tried to stock it as though I could walk in there any time and we could always eat, no matter what. In my mind, it was always about being stuck out here in snowstorms, or if a tornado should knock out power and make going to the store impossible...you know, that kind of thing. Or any kind of emergency that might come some day. Some day has arrived.

 Without his income, we are living on about a thousand dollars a month. Our bills are around 1100. We  don't have much savings to speak of, as we live, like many people, from paycheck to paycheck. Recently I had managed to cut our living expenses by several hundred dollars a month. Thank goodness. We had only 2 car payments left, so now that the insurance company has settled that loss, there's another 300 a month off.  We happened to find an older used car to replace our totaled one, and with the taxes and license, it cost us about 2/3 of what we got for a settlement. So, we have that little extra money too.  It's all going to work out.  Assuming my husband gets back to work at some point.  We have been really blessed with friends who have offered to help us out financially and we could pay back slowly when we can.  So many offers of love and support !!  If you think that doesn't make it all so much easier, then you've never been in this situation. I thank God every day for my friends and family.

Back to the pantry. The theoretical emergency arrived. I started searching through the pantry and making meal plans. What do I have in there and in the freezer and how many meals can I come up with...without ever having to go to the grocery store ?  So far--84.  Breakfast, lunch and supper. The other day a friend gifted me with some packages of meat from her freezer.  I have been doing alright though....although all the chicken and pork that was in the freezer is almost gone. There is still catfish in there. And the things from my friend.  And lots of frozen fruits and other things that I have frozen from my garden. My pantry shelves  (as you can see in my header) were pretty full.  It's starting to look a little empty in there.  I am down to my last 6 pounds of oats. But I still have lots of beans and rice and other dry staples. I make my own bread, and am going to try making tortillas soon. I still have a fair amount of flour and sugar, plenty of spices stockpiled as well as vegetable oil and pickled goods.  All my tomatoes are used up from last year.  I still have some green beans, and sweet potatoes and butternut squash. A couple of days ago, I made an awesome chicken fried rice main dish that fed us well. I used some leftover chicken from a whole chicken I had roasted (from my freezer--not the hen house!!). In typical frugal fashion, we had a wonderful chicken dinner, then I boiled the carcass for broth to make soup,  and used the leftover meat for the chicken fried rice. 3 good meals from a five dollar chicken.  I still have one more chicken in the freezer, plus a package of thighs and legs and a package of boneless skinless breasts.

I made granola the other day. For breakfast, we have options of oatmeal, eggs and toast, smoothies, or granola with almond milk.  For lunches, I have tuna from the pantry or egg salad sandwiches or peanut or almond butter sandwiches with some fruit.  Or salads.  I have approximately 20 pounds of pinto beans in there which I plan to can some more soon because I used the last jar of those too. We had bean burritos.  I can use that and some rice and make beautiful taco salads.  Suppers have been as simple as soups or as complicated as  stir fry or cold soba noodle salads.  We are still eating well, even though I haven't spent a penny at the grocery store in over 4 weeks.  We are also used to eating meatless meals several times a week. That helps. I think if your family isn't used to that, it would make it a lot harder. we are not vegetarians, but we eat less meat all the time. more fish and chicken.  And rarely as a main dish...usually incorporated into a casserole or a stew or something like that.  I am using more and more of my dehydrated vegetables.  I am taking the time to plan meals and use up the stores that we have. Then, when the dust all settles, we will slowly begin to build the stores back up.  The same way I got it ready for this, I will have it ready for the next.


  It's just common sense to have a stocked pantry. Do you know that big box grocery stores only carry a 3 day supply of food on their shelves?  In the event of a catastrophic storm or epidemic or oil emergency (what if trucks couldn't deliver??)-- and you couldn't buy food...WHAT WOULD YOU DO ?

 It's a question that bears consideration.





(Bon Apetit, baby!!)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Old fashioned Oatmeal Spice Cake

 This is one of my favorite last minute cakes to bake with stuff that is always on hand. The recipe I have came from my childhood neighbor, given to me at my wedding shower. (The friend who had the shower bought me a beautiful recipe box and asked all the invitees to bring their favorite recipe for a new bride.) lol  Even though I was only 17,  I'd already been cooking for years, but I got a lot of nice recipes and a little piece of each of these women to keep with me through the years. It was a lovely thought--we should do this kind of thing more often. Sharing and caring...the gift that keeps on giving.

 Anyway...I hadn't made this cake in a while. I was baking things like Italian Cream Cakes, Mandarin Orange Cakes, German Chocolate Cakes.  Fancy Almond Espresso Cakes. Nothing as everyday and ho-hum as an old spice cake.  Then one day I was looking through my old recipe box and came upon this recipe and thought--I should make one of these.  I haven't had a spice cake in years...nobody makes them anymore.  Then there was a potluck or a birthday coming and I whipped it up. Everyone,  and I mean EVERYONE raved about it.  At least 4 people said--you HAVE to make this for my birthday !!  And a new legend was born.  lol  Thank goodness, it replaced that wonderful, labor intensive, expensive Italian Cream Cake as everyone's ask-for cake.  lol

  Here the list of ingredients:

1 1/3 cups boiling water
1 cup oats (whole or quick--not the microwave stuff)

 1 cup sugar
 1 cup brown sugar
 1/2 cup shortening (I use butter mostly, but original recipe called for shortening) 
 2 eggs

1 1/3 c flour
 1 tsp each--salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon


[The ingredients for the broiled topping: 1 stick butter, melted - 1 cup brown sugar- 1/4 cup evaporated milk- 1 tsp vanilla- 1 cup coconut-1 cup nuts (pecans or sliced almonds) ]


Okay--first pour the boiling water over the oats, mix with a fork and move it outta the way.

Then, I sift the dry ingredients together and put it aside.
That would be flour, salt and spices.

 Then, in a good sized bowl, put your shortening, sugars and eggs.


 Then get your mixer out and whip these last things together until good and creamy. Then pour in the softened oat and water mixture and mix that in well.  Then add the dry ingredients and mix together until smooth and well incorporated.

  Bake in a 9x13 pan at 350 degrees until done.  Takes about 30-35 minutes usually.

 Take out of oven when done and in a small saucepan, melt the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and evaporated milk. When that's all melty add the cup of shredded coconut and a cup of the nuts of your choice.  Stir to mix well. Spread this out over the top of your still warm cake, and place it under the broiler.  Watch it carefully and don't let it burn !  It will make a lovely crispy caramel-ish topping.  I can't really give you a time on the broiling, because God did not see fit to create all broilers equal. lol  I sometimes have to turn mine a couple of times to brown it evenly. 

  Let it cool and serve. It's a lovely cake and I think you'll like it, if you're the type that likes spice cakes.



Bon Apetit !

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A wonderful Wednesday supper...

It got pretty hot today...and humid as all get out. Apparently this was good weather for catching catfish though, as my son came by with 5 gorgeous catfish,. and left me 4 big beautiful fillets to cook for supper.   For the record, it's not always my favorite fish, but the stuff he pulls out of Beaver Dam State Park's lake is beautiful white meat, firm and clean...almost no fish smell at all.  Beautiful stuff, and he showed up just in time, before I had gotten anything out of the freezer.  lol

I decided to bake them, with a lemon pepper and herb mixture, a little butter drizzled over the top. Major yum. The herbs I used were just home grown oregano and basil. You could do anything you want.



I have a nice bunch of kale out in the cold box, along with some spinach, lettuces and chard.  I marched out there and cut a nice big bowl of kale, with visions of making a bruised kale salad.  This is a wonderful hot weather salad, easy to make,  and very satisfying. I chop or tear the kale leaves into chunks, put it in a big bowl, and pour about a quarter cup of olive oil on it, along with a little sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. I love kale.

 After you have the kale and extra virgin olive oil in the bowl, start massaging the leaves and working the olive oil into the leaves.  It takes about 5 minutes of massaging (or bruising) to get the oil worked in and you will feel the leaves begin to soften. They'll also turn a gorgeous dark vibrant green. Once you have the oil all worked in, juice about a half a lemon (taste after you put it all together--you might need more. lol  I used a whole big lemon tonight...the Irishman thought it was a little heavy on the lemon, I thought it was perfect.  I added the salt and pepper and lemon and mix well. You can add nuts (sliced almonds or pine nuts), dried cranberries, coconut chips (organic, unsweetened--so they actually taste like coconut!!) and / or  sunflower seeds.

It's a wonderful tasty salad so full of nutrition it'll curl your toes.  lol

  Then I made a rice dish that is an old friends stand by recipe from way back when.  Put about 3 tbsp. of olive oil in a big cast iron skillet.  Pour in 1 1/2 cups of uncooked brown rice. Over medium heat, saute the rice until it pops and gets all golden brown.  Then add some diced onions, celery and carrot. Small dice. Saute that a bit until it starts to cook, then add 3 cups of water, dried basil, salt and pepper to taste. Bring it to a boil, then turn heat to low and put a lid on it. It will take about an hour (45 minutes, maybe?) to cook. When it's done, you almost have a meal in itself. It's one of the Irishman's favorite ways I cook rice.  
  
...and there you have it.  A great Wednesday night supper.  Fish, Rice and kale salad. 




 Bon Apetit !



Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wait...WHAT ??

 We are getting about a week of rain.  And very cool temperatures.  It was 87 on Monday and 60 today. 53 right now, around midnight.  And staying like this for the rest of the week.

  Good thing I like the rain.


 However. This weather is not conducive to getting a garden planted. The old "April Showers bring May Flowers" is getting a little messed up here.  Like a late uninvited dinner guest, it's causing a ruckus.  Bad enough that we are not getting anything done in a timely manner this year.  Bad enough that we can't seem to agree on anything this year.  Bad enough that I still have no strength in my wrist and can't just get out there and do some of the stuff myself. First the temps were scorching and now they're uber wet and frigid.  Ai Yi Yi...




 I made a big pot of 5 bean turkey chili this afternoon. I pulled the last quart of tomato sauce off the shelf.  ARRGGHHhhhh  !!!!   IT'S ONLY MAY !!!!!!  The green beans are getting low too, but there's a good dozen jars or more of that. The Vitamix will make it even easier to can tomato sauce this year. and I will definitely have to check how much I canned (thank you, Garden Journal!!) and up that number for this year.  I'm really happy with the way we have utilized the pantry resources this year.




It looked like this at the beginning of the winter...I love the look of canned foods, don't you ?

The jars below are all my dried goods...some flours and sugar, mostly fruits and vegetables that I have grown and dehydrated.  I'm learning to remember to incorporate more and more of my dried foods into  meals.  It's been wonderful.  Especially since I've almost lost my lunch looking at the incredible increase in grocery store prices this year.  Bad news:  it's not going to get any better, folks. Better learn some ways to feed yourselves.


This is what my garden should be looking like by now.:

 Instead, it looks like this:



  Ah well...in due time...


 I'm getting some spearmint from a pal this year and need to figure out where I want to put it. It will be out somewhere in the back edge of the sunshine...it will grow into a lovely patch, almost a small hedge. I have about 2 weeks to pick a spot and get the thing ready.  I love spearmint...

  We are eating lettuce, spinach and kale and chives and walking onions out of the garden cold box.    At least there's that.   lol

  Well...I've prattled on long enough here. I do need to go to bed.

  Dreaming of gardens and rows upon rows of beautiful preserved foods. 

  If the rain ever stops...  lol





Saturday, May 3, 2014

Cowboy Soup and soft garlic breadsticks





 These  are some yummy bread sticks that I made to go with the Cowboy Soup. A hearty hot supper on a cold and dismal day.  What exactly IS Cowboy Soup, you may be asking. Well, it starts out like most soups...


 A big pot, a little olive oil and some celery.  And then, of course...



  Soups best friends.  Do you know this is called a Mirepoix ?  A combination of onion, celery and carrot that makes a fine basic soup base. For this big pot of soup, I used 4 stalk of celery, 1 large onion and 4 medium large carrots. Diced. Put them all together into your soup pot and stir well and let them sweat.


 Isn't that about the prettiest thing you've ever seen?


 Are you like me ? Do you have some favorite cooking utensils that you use almost to the exclusion of everything else ? These are  2 of my most used: and can't you tell how worn and discolored that wooden spoon is ? I have had that baby for over 20 years...
 Anyway...lol.  I have more kitchen utensils and knives and spoons and gadgets than Carter's got pills. (Whoa--am I dating myself here ?)  lol  I have things I never use and should really get rid of and clear out some clutter, but I probably never will.  Anyway...


 Cowboy Soup is the kind of soup that I think would have been made by the really good cooks in a chuckwagon on a cattle drive. The recipe isn't real static, I use what I have on hand, varying things a little. Here's the stuff I used this time:


 All stuff from my pantry. I did use a can of tomato paste as well, which I buy and do not can for  a lot of reasons obvious to me. lol Tomato paste is  labor intensive and takes a LOT of tomatoes to make. I can buy really good tomato paste at Aldi's for about 39 cents  can.  I couldn't do it myself for that, so I don't.  I sauce tomatoes, I can tomatoes whole and I can okra,onion and tomato, as well as salsa, marinara and juice. That's enough.  lol


  I buy ground beef in 10-20 pound lots from my little family market in town. The brothers grind it fresh for me and it makes me happy. I bring it home, patty a few pounds and all the rest gets frozen in quart freezer bags in increments of 1, 1.5 and 2 pounds each.  For this soup, I pull a bag (usually 2 pounds) out of the freezer and while it is still frozen, I use my big trusty French knife to cut it into medium sized cubes. Maybe 1/2 by 1/2 inch. In a separate skillet, I start browning those chunks of ground beef with a little pepper, salt and granulated garlic. They miraculously hold together like a chunk of roast would. Don't ask me why, it's some kind of magic.  lol


  While this is browning, I start adding things to the soup pot, starting with the jar of tomato sauce. then some water. Then tomato paste, and mix it well. This time I threw in a handful of dried corn, a small handful of dried okra,  quite a bit of the dried hen-in-the-woods mushrooms we dried last year and some dried tomatoes. Both the mushrooms and tomatoes, I used my kitchen shears to cut into small chunks.  I added some dried basil from my garden stores and a little oregano. I added a little sea salt and pepper.  I put the lid on and let it start cooking while the ground beef finished up. When it was pretty much done, I mixed it into the soup pot.


Oh yeah...I found some leftover green beans and potatoes on the fridge and I tossed those in too. lol But here's the finished product. I simmered it maybe an hour and a half after everything  was in, to give the dried vegetables a chance to rehydrate and for the flavors to meld.  It was heavenly...

  Because my wrist and arm are still too weak to knead dough, I use this recipe in my bread machine to make these awesome beauties.




  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (70° to 80°)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon minced fresh basil or 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  •  
  Put the ingredients into the bread machine in this order, set it to the dough setting and let 'er rip. Mine takes about and hour and a half. Then  turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and cut it into 10 pieces.

 ***Now then, let me tell you something that may (or may not ) be important.  This original recipe says that it makes 20 bread sticks. In Dragon Woman's Kitchen, it doesn't make that many. Because I like them to be substantial, the recipe says to divide the dough into 20 pieces and roll them into ropes. I divide it into 10 pieces and roll it. Then I place it on a baking sheet, right close together, and let them rise for about another half hour. ***

 My bread sticks are about the size of hot dog buns. They are soft and yeasty and wonderful and my husbands nearly swoons every time I make them.  Bake them at 350 degrees for about 18-20 minutes. When they're nice and golden brown, take them out, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with a little extra chopped basil. Sometimes I sprinkle a little extra granulated garlic on top as well.  They are the perfect accompaniment to a hearty bowl of soup or even to a big salad.

  So--there it is. 

  Enjoy !




Bon Apetit ! 



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Oh yeah, winter ?? Take THIS !

 Winter.  Overstaying it's welcome.  Well...

 I usually try to buy local and seasonal as much as I can. But when my local-ish (when you live out on Honeysuckle Hill, nothing's really too close, lol)  Aldi's store had California strawberries on sale for 99 cents a pound, I had to act.  I bought 8 pounds, thinking I'd bring them home, take the stems off, wash thoroughly and freeze them whole, to use in smoothies or pie or something. And I did do that...with about 6.5 pounds of them. The other pound and a half, I sliced as well and mashed a bit and decided that nothing would brighten up my winter doldrums like a nice strawberry shortcake for dessert. 


  I got the strawberries ready and put them in the fridge. I added just a scootch of sugar because A) They were already pretty sweet and B) it helps develop the juiciness you want for shortcake.

  Next--the shortcake.  I am an old purist sometimes when it comes to recipes for things like this. And by that I mean that when I think shortcake, I am NOT talking about those nasty little Twinkie dough things they sell in the store. I'm talking about the way my dirt-poor granny made desserts, and she usually made them from everyday things that she magically transformed into something else.  In this case, it was biscuits.  There were only a couple of rules. Biscuits had to be made with butter and they had to be  made with buttermilk. Nothing else would do.

  To turn biscuits into something magical,  all it took was a little extra sugar  (for shortcakes)  or the addition of sugar and cinnamon (to make cinnamon biscuits).  When she made shortcakes, if strawberries weren't in season, there were always peaches or blackberries or even cherries in the pantry that she'd canned from the summer. Any of those fruits make a glorious dessert, with a little whipped cream on top.

  So--

  This is an easy biscuit recipe .  Imagine my surprise when my dear friend Mary from South Africa sent me (upon my begging request)  her recipe for scones. I was all pumped up to make what  (in America) we call scones, and when I looked at the recipe I realized that this was my granny's biscuit recipe.  lol  It's perfect. For biscuits I make them according to this recipe, for shortcake, I add extra sugar and then sugar the tops as well.

 Heat your oven to 450 degrees.

 In a medium  bowl, combine :
                                               2.5 cups unbleached flour
                                               3.5 tsp. baking powder
                                               1 Tbsp. sugar (add 3 more for shortcake)
                                               1.5 tsp. salt
                                               1/2 tsp. baking soda
                                               1/2 cup butter

  I always mix up the dry ingredients before putting the butter in. I also cut that stick of butter into small cubes before adding it. The I use my pastry blender to cut in the butter until the mixture is crumble.  Then stir in :
                                               1 1/4 cups buttermilk

 Stir until just combined. Overworking these kinds of dough will make them tougher and less flaky. Once it's combined, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface (I use a sheet of waxed paper) and knead the dough 5 or 6 times -AND NO MORE. 

  Then pat it out to about 3/4 inch thick for biscuits or more like an inch thick or a little better for shortcakes.  Cut with a biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet. You want the edges of the biscuits touching each other. 

  Bake these at 12-15 minutes for biscuits and a little longer for shortcake (because you made them a little thicker).  They'll be a beautiful golden brown when done, top and bottom.

  Now.  When I'm feeling particularly decadent, I will make these desserts with warm biscuits that I have sliced in half, lightly buttered and then spooned the strawberries on.  It goes like this:  bottom of the biscuit--butter (or not) --  strawberries--a bit of whipped cream--biscuit top--more strawberries--top with whipped cream.  And please please please, y'all...DO NOT SULLY THIS GORGEOUS DESSERT WITH A FAKE WHIPPED TOPPING OR COOL WHIP.  Not that I think you would...but just in case.  LOL


  In case you wondered if all we eat around here is dessert...here's what was on the supper menu that night.  Chicken and vegetable kabobs with quinoa.



Because it was a halfway nice day, we grilled the kabobs outside on the grill.  It was a very healthy and very tasty meal. 



Bon Apetit !