Ham and Swiss Buttermilk Biscuits

Ham and Swiss Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp fine grain kosher or sea salt
½ cup (113g or 1 stick) cold 🥶unsalted butter, cut in cubes
¾ cup (180g) cold buttermilk
4 oz Swiss cheese
4 oz ham
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp honey
Pinch of kosher or sea salt
Flaky sea salt (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°. Put your butter cubes in the freezer to get ’em nice and chilly while you do these next couple steps.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or (my preference) lightly butter a cast iron pan and set aside.

Finely dice both the Swiss cheese and the ham and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.

Toss the butter cubes into the dry ingredients and, using a pastry cutter or your fingers, mix in the cold butter until you have a mixture of flat pieces and crumbly bits of butter mixed into the flour. Using a pastry cutter helps make sure you don’t accidentally warm the butter too much with your hands.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the cold buttermilk. Gently mix it together with a spatula or your hands until you have a fairly uniform loose dough. It won’t look all mixed in and that’s okay. It will come together. Have faith!

Turn out your dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pile it up and push the dough together until you can pat it into a big square. With a bench scraper or knife, cut into four smaller squares. Sprinkle the ham and Swiss on three of the squares.

Stack the pieces of biscuit dough on top of each other, finishing with the plain one on top. Smush it all down into a square again (the ham and Swiss will be all snugged into the layers). Repeat this cutting and stacking procedure 3 more times. This is how you form your flaky layers!

Pat or roll dough to 1-inch thickness. Use a biscuit cutter (or a round drinking glass) to cut into traditional round biscuits, or you can use a knife or the bench scraper to make square biscuits. If you use a biscuit cutter or drinking glass, dip it in flour first to make sure it doesn’t stick too much. And remember: Do not twist as you cut the dough or you’ll squash all the layers you created with the stacking technique!

If you have time, place the biscuits in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or the freezer for 5 minutes to firm up the butter before baking. Remember, cold butter creates steam in the oven that also creates layers! (See where we’re going here?)

Place the biscuits, sides touching lightly, on your parchment covered sheet tray or in your cast iron pan. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the 2 tbs melted butter mixed with 2 tbs honey and a pinch of salt. Honey butter!

Bake at 425° for 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned on top. Brush with more honey butter as soon as they come out of the oven. Sprinkle with a bit of flaky sea salt for a nice salty sweet combo, if you like. Let cool a bit before eating. Just a bit.

We made beautiful Ham and Swiss Biscuits! We’re amazing! Now, let’s eat.

Cinnamon-Cardamom French Toast

Cinnamon-Cardamom French Toast

Ingredients

All the fruits
1 ½ cups sliced fruit, your choice. (If you’re favorite fruit is out of season, or you just don’t have any, frozen fruit works just fine. Thaw and proceed.)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
Blueberry Maple Syrup (optional, but exceptional!)
1 cup blueberries (again, frozen is fine)
1 cup real maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
Vanilla Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
The Main Event: The Toast parts
8 slices bread of your choice (½ to ¾ inch thick is best)
4 large eggs
½ cup milk (I used whole milk, you can substitute the milk of your choice)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom

Directions

Macerating the fruit (not as violent as it sounds)

Combine your fruit, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Gently toss and allow to sit at room temperature until ready to serve. If you’re a plan-ahead kind of person, congratulations on that, and also cover the fruit and refrigerate until needed.

Save some extra for later and put leftover whipped cream on it. You’ll thank me later.

Making whipped cream, the easy way!

Whipped cream is usually made with a hand mixer, stand mixer, or (for the masochist) with a hand whisk. I like to make mine using my food processor. It’s so much faster and it makes a thicker, longer lasting whipped cream. It’s so easy too! Just pour cold heavy whipping cream into the food processor. Add sugar and vanilla and pulse 8-10 times, just to get the splashiness out of the way. Then just let it rip for about a minute, or until fluffy. Careful, though! Don’t over-mix it or you’ll end up with the sweetest butter ever. Transfer to a bowl, eat a spoonful, and then refrigerate until needed.

Blueberry Syrup

Place blueberries, maple syrup, and lemon juice in small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, or until the blueberries have broken down and syrup begins to thicken. Transfer to a vessel with a spout for pouring, like a syrup carafe or even a measuring cup. Set aside to cool.

The Frenching of the Toast

Whisk eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamom and pour into a shallow dish, such as a pie plate. When I say whisk, I mean really whisk. I can’t stand it when there are clumps of spices on some pieces of bread and none on others. A vigorous whisking will avoid that catastrophe.

Can we make French Toast already?!

Warm pan up to medium high heat, then drop 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan and allow to melt. Dip bread in egg mixture, turning to coat both sides evenly. (This is where you’d soak the bread if you’re into that. I simply cannot provide advice on that since custardy French toast is not my thing. Soak as long as you want, you maniac.) Place a piece of bread in the pan and cook 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip over and cook 2-3 minutes on the other side. Place on a wire rack set on a sheet pan (to prevent sogginess) and keep warm in a 200° oven. Repeat with the rest of the bread.

Serve with fruit, blueberry syrup, and whipped cream.

Italian Frittata

Italian Frittata

Ingredients

8 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
12 oz Italian sausage, loose or removed from casing
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
1 large handful baby spinach leaves
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled (you can use ricotta or even dollops of cream cheese or mascapone if you aren’t a goat cheese fan)
6 pieces ciliegine mozzarella (small balls), halved
12 grape tomatoes, halved
Herbs, (basil, flat leaf parsley, chives) for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 10 inch cast iron pan with non-stick spray. If you don’t have a cast iron pan, you can spray a round baking dish. Just be sure to cook the ingredients in another pan and then transfer to the dish for baking.

Crack eggs into a large bowl. Add heavy cream and whisk together very well. Set aside.

Brown the Italian sausage in the cast iron pan (or any pan if using a baking dish) over medium-high heat until no more pink remains and the sausage is brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. In the same skillet, sauté the red bell pepper until just starting to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add the quartered artichoke hearts and allow to just get a bit of color on them, another 2 minutes or so. Turn off the heat and toss in a large handful of baby spinach leaves and stir until wilted.

Pour in the egg and cream mixture and stir to evenly distribute everything. The residual heat from the skillet will already begin to cook the eggs on the bottom and sides.

Top the frittata with the crumbled goat cheese, halved mozzarella balls, and sliced grape tomatoes. Don’t worry about stirring them in. The cheese will melt in and the tomatoes with caramelize on top.

Cook in 350° oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the center is no longer jiggly.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then garnish with fresh herbs, slice into wedges, and serve.

Frittatas are best served warm or at room temperature and can stay out for up to an hour, allowing for an extra lazy breakfast or brunch. Or even dinner. After that, store the frittata in wedges in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. Allow individual servings to come to room temperature again, before microwaving for about 30 seconds. Yay!