What happens when you have a whole thing of buttermilk that’s about to expire?
You make all the buttermilk things.
Buttermilk is amazing. It’s tangy and delicious and adds so much to staple goods on our kitchen tables.
Exhibit A: Biscuits
Look at those flaky, fluffy layers.
I. Love. Biscuits.
Biscuits are in my blood. I’m a gal whose family is pretty standard American. My grandparents and their stock are Southern, but po’ Southern, from Oklahoma. They knew how to make things stretch, and they knew the beauty of simplicity and classics. These were folks who could make a mess a’ biscuits.
There is something so comforting and homey about biscuits. They are good for everything. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Made into sandwiches. Served as a side. Served as an appetizer. Served with jam. Served with butter. Served with honey. Hell, throw some strawberries and whipped cream into the middle and you’ve got dessert! Every culture has some form of simple bread, and this one belongs to the South.
Having said that, there are so many who claim biscuits are a fine art. I am not gainsaying that. It is an art. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest. Your butter should be cold. I prefer a pastry cutter, because then your hands don’t warm up the butter. I like to make small cubes of butter (I quarter the pat of butter lengthwise, then slice into cubes). I prefer buttermilk to anything else. I like to add less sugar and a little more salt.
For those pictured above, I used Smitten Kitchen’s favorite buttermilk biscuits recipe. I know, the English muffin recipe was a disaster, but these biscuits are the right amount of dense and fluffy, light and hearty. They are delightful oxymorons that melt in your mouth and cause unseemly moans to escape your lips. The outsides are crispy and the insides are chewy. The only thing missing is chocolate gravy.
My favorite memory of biscuits comes from New Year’s Day breakfasts with my extended family. Practically every year, we would all go over to my aunt’s house for New Year’s Eve. We would play games, laugh until tears ran down our cheeks, and play her Christmas horn very poorly indeed when the clock struck midnight. Then, we would all stay over and the next morning we would make a huge breakfast for all of us to share. The star was the chocolate gravy — a luscious, thick sauce that is essentially hot pudding. You get your biscuits, you put butter on the biscuits, then you load on the chocolate gravy. My grandma is about 80 pounds soaking wet, but you should watch her put away biscuits and chocolate gravy on New Year’s Day. (Also, it’s good for dipping your bacon.) We would just use Grand’s Biscuits, and it was always frightening when you were pressing the spoon against the tube and it finally popped. No matter how much you knew it was coming, it was still a shock every time.
Now that I have easy, beautiful biscuits up my sleeve, New Year’s breakfast will never be the same again.
On another buttermilk note: cornbread.
I also love cornbread.
Cornbread is the perfect companion to spicy chili. Cornbread can stand on its own. Cornbread is good for breakfast, lunch, dinner. You can make it in a pan, you can make it in a skillet, you can make it into muffins. And buttermilk adds that perfect tang for a perfect muffin or square (because lord knows you don’t slice it). This time I didn’t add green chilies, but you bet your booty that that’s a delicious addition.
Now, to be fair, I didn’t make these from scratch. I used a Jiffy box mix.
It’s mostly because I haven’t found a cornbread recipe I love! My husband says every time I make a new stab at cornbread, “I like Jiffy better”. Grump grump grump.
The moral of that story is: PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR FROM-SCRATCH CORNBREAD RECIPES! I am in dire need and I would love to hear from you! Add them to the comments and fill me up with cornbread!