Jun 2, 2009

beet biscuits and starting again

Beet biscuits you might ask? That's right, and look at their color. These came out more beautiful than expected with a vibrant redish pink color. They had a slight hint of beet flavor and were nice and flaky, just how I like 'em.

I found this recipe in a 1998 New York Times article looking to use beets and other veggies in an inspiring way. It caught my attention because I am such a biscuit fiend, and because it worked so well with the name of my new blog, beets & biscuits.

I have been blogging since last November at a site called Local Flavors (I am in the process of moving those posts over to this site). However, in an effort to grow and expand I decided that some adjustments were necessary, including a new name and a new blog site. I will continue to focus on recipes featuring flavors and food that is currently in season, and sourced as locally as possible. I also plan to bring a community aspect to my blog and include information about local food entrepreneurs, urban farming, ways to fight hunger, and the politics of food. I welcome your comments and suggestions as I move forward and am excited for what lies ahead.

Recipe for Beet Biscuits
Adapted from the New York Times, 1998

4 small beets, washed
1/4 cup buttermilk*
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut in to small cubes

Place the washed beets in a medium saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water. Cover and bring to a boil, lower heat and let simmer for 30-45 minutes until tender. Add water as necessary to ensure beets are covered. Drain beets and let cool until they are easy to touch, then rub off the skins and cut into quarters. In a food processor puree the beets until smooth (approx. 1 cup). Whisk the puree and buttermilk together and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and place rack in the center of the oven. In a medium mixing bowl sift together the dry ingredients. Using a pastry knife or two knives cut in the butter until the size of small peas. Place the bowl in the refrigerator** until putter is hard, approx. 10 minutes.

Take bowl out of the refrigerator and scrape beet puree into the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together, it will be very sticky and moist, and there should be whole pieces of butter visible.

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface. Knead about 10-15 times, until smooth, incorporating enough flour so that the dough no longer sticks. Pat dough out to 1/2 inch think round and cut using a biscuit cutter (I use a water glass). Continue until all dough is used. Place dough on an ungreased cookie sheet or in a round cake pan (for softer sides). Bake for 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes. Serve warm, butter optional.

Alison's Notes:
* To make a quick buttermilk I use regular milk (usually non-fat, or whatever I have in the fridge) and squeeze in a couple tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Then let this sit and curdle in the fridge until needed.
** The original recipe recommended sitting the dough in the freezer to let the butter harden but when I pulled it out I had to let the dough warm up in order to work it as necessary. I think the refrigerator would work just fine to stiffen the butter.

(photography: alison clayshulte)


Amy said...

I made these biscuits for a unique twist to a dinner of grilled chicken and corn-on-the-cob when some new friends came to dinner. The biscuits turned out so well!! They were the beautiful red color shown in Alison's pictures, and the texture was divine: moist and substantial. The first night the beet flavor was quite subtle and it was stronger the following day. I can't wait to take them to a potluck!

Alison said...

Amy - I'm happy to hear that these turned out so lovely for you! Who knew naturally red food would taste so good! I have a beet brownie recipe I'm planning to make soon so stay tuned to more beet yumminess!

KROSE said...

I am excited to find your blog site! What's really funny is that I decided to look up "beet and biscuits" out of curiosity after watching A Star is Born (1976 - Streisand, Kristofferson) AGAIN!! She says she'll make "beet and biscuits" for breakfast. I always wondered what the heck that was!!
I wouldn't consider myself a "vegetarian", I do enjoy meat....just not very often. I am always looking for new recipes!
I will definitely try your beet biscuits recipe...looks interesting!! Thanks!