The recent passing of Alan Rickman, may he rest in peace, reminded me that I never blogged about the Harry Potter party we had back in November. It was a small affair, with maybe a dozen like-minded Potter-nerd friends, as many free decorations as I could print off of the Internet, with Pumpkin Pasties, Butterbeer, and a cheese plate with fixin’s (because cheese plates are my favorite and require no cooking or baking). It was one of those fun parties where at the last second before guests arrived I was able to snap some pictures of what we assembled, then promptly lost my phone and forgot to capture any photos of actual humans. We each took a 100+ question sorting quiz (find it here), watched some of the movies, did Harry Potter trivia (to compete for Head Boy or Head Girl of course) and played Quidditch Pong. It was a marvelous time! Also, a fair warning: If you have no interest in Harry Potter, but you are interested in Pumpkin Pasties, skip the middle and read to the end. They were delicious for breakfast the next day. What I’ve included below is some pictures of the sparse decorations we had, a link to an authentic butterbeer recipe, and my recipe for pumpkin pasties.
These are my favorite biscuits.
I’ve been making some version of them for years now, but I love this version best. They take about 20 minutes from start to the end of baking, so that automatically shoots them to the top of my list. I love the nuttiness of the whole grains, the tang that the goat cheese adds, and the honey gives just a hint of sweetness.
I used to make these with plain, all-purpose flour, and of course they were delicious that way. But then I learned that the fiber in whole grains are one of the only types of fiber shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer (you can read more about that here, its actually an impressive 20% risk reduction) i.e. fiber you get from grains that have been minimally processed, like quinoa, bulgar, brown rice, etc. So you should definitely go make them ASAP.
If you’re looking for a tasty way to include more whole grains into your life, these biscuits are an excellent place to start. Tonight we ate these with salad and grilled chicken, but they’re lovely for breakfast and go great with soup.
Whole Wheat Goat Cheese n’ Honey Drop Biscuits
Adapted slightly from the recipe found in The Joy the Baker Cookbook
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick), cubed, plus 1 more tablespoon for the pan
6 tablespoons soft goat cheese
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons honey
Place a 10-inch iron skillet in the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt together. Add the butter and the goat cheese with the paddle attachment, and mix until well incorporated. There should be chunks of butter and goat cheese that are pebble sized. Turn the mixer off and use your hands if needed, to ensure the butter and cheese is mixed well throughout. Add the milk and honey, turn the mixer on low until all the liquids are well combined and there is no more dry flour. The mixture will be very sticky. Set aside.
Remove the iron skillet from the oven. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the bottom of the skillet, swirling it around to coat the bottom. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, scoop the biscuit dough into the skillet. I got 9 biscuits, but the original recipe said it yielded 6. Bake for 13-16 minutes, or until the biscuits are puffy, browned on top and golden brown on their bottoms and utterly delicious. If you’re daring, you could drizzle the tops with honey.
Store the biscuits fully cooled in an air tight container, and try not to eat them all in one day.
It took me 12 minutes to get home from work yesterday, and an extra three to change out of my work clothes, wrap myself in a blanket and turn on Gilmore Girls. I allowed myself this leisure because I had gotten up at 5:45 that morning and sleepily went to the gym (which was surprisingly not packed), showered and got dressed and was early for work. The day before I made this turkey stew, so dinner was already prepared = winning. And then today I ignored my alarm and overslept by an hour and half, just making it to work on time.
Moving on. Its finally cold here so I feel more justified eating soups and stews, something we eat all the time anyway, but they add a level of comfort to our old and drafty house that is much needed in the colder temps.
Also, did you really make it if you didn’t take a picture of it? Because that’s what happened here. I made a stew and didn’t awkwardly and artfully pose pictures of it for you. But it happened, I promise, and it was really great, and even better the second day. You can substitute the turkey with any meat here, or even use lentils or beans and vegetable broth to make it vegetarian. Its the perfect soup to help you stick to your new years healthy resolutions, especially on days where you get “extra” sleep and forego the gym.
1 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
4 large carrots, scrubbed and chopped small
5-6 celery sticks, tops removed, scrubbed and chopped small
6 ounce can of tomato paste
4 cups (more or less) chicken stock
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Goat cheese, to serve
Chips or crusty bread, to serve
In a medium pan, brown the turkey until cooked through, set aside.
In a medium soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook till translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, then the celery, as you chop them. Cover and cook for another 10 or so minutes, until the carrots are tender/can be pierced with a fork. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper and spices, cook for 1 minute more.
Add the stock (you can also add the turkey, but see the next step first), let simmer for about 20 minutes. At this point, I used my immersion blender to pulse the vegetables, leaving a few chunky pieces, because I like my stews a little smoother and not just chunks of vegetables. Feel free to skip this step. Add the turkey, let simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Its ready to eat now, but the longer it simmers the better the flavors will be. Its even better the next day. Serve garnished with goat cheese and crusty bread or tortilla chips. Enjoy!