Everyone has an activity that calms them, centers their mind and takes away the stress of the day. Some escape through the pages of books, some garden, some sweat it out. I cook.
Okay, I sweat it out, and then I cook.
Cooking is my meditation. I can spend hours in the kitchen chopping, stirring and tasting while praying, planning, reflecting, and letting my mind wander around the present and to the past. Either through a recipe or an ingredient—or a cast iron skillet—cooking has a way of connecting me to family and friends who may be separated by miles or by spirit.
This month’s Recipe Redux challenge was to share a recipe inspired by treasured family cookware. Looking around my kitchen, I’m blessed to be surrounded by the energy of the other women in my family who shared their love through food—the wooden spoon my Mamaw used to churn butter, the petite etched green juice glasses from my Granny Dixon, my Mom’s first Cuisinart stand mixer, my Granny’s gravy boat. But, the piece I use almost every day—from frying an egg to caramelizing onions—is my cast iron skillet.
When I graduated from college and had a house of my own, my Granny gave me my Mamaw’s (her mother’s) cast iron skillet. There are a lot of family meals secreted in that pan—brown gravy, cornbread, fried eggs, bacon, country ham—made in a Kentucky farmhouse kitchen. My Mom and my Granny tell me I’m a lot like Mamaw. She used to sit on the front porch swing and read cookbooks, and she loved to cook for people. I like that connection.
In the spirit of Kentucky cooking and the history of my cast iron skillet, here’s my recipe for Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits. Smother them with gravy, sandwich a piece of country ham between the halves or slather them with homemade rhubarb-strawberry jam (like I did). They taste like home.
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk until combined. Add the butter and rub into the flour, either with a pastry cutter or your fingers, until the butter is combined into the flour and you have pea-sized pieces.
Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the buttermilk. Stir together with a wooden spoon until combined. Pour the dough out onto a floured surface and knead a few times. Form into a circle about an inch thick.
Using a three-inch biscuit cutter (or a juice glass), form the biscuits and place in your cast iron skillet (or on a baking sheet). Brush the tops with butter and bake for about 15 – 20 minutes or until the biscuits or browned and cooked through.
Enjoy, preferably with someone you love.