Turkey’s sidekick: Cheddar biscuits
My friends have said more than once that the main advantage to owning an iPhone is so that you can prove yourself right in an argument. How many rings does Saturn have? Just check your phone. He swears that acronyms can become abbreviations if publicly accepted by frequent use, such as ASAP in As Soon As Possible. Consult Google, but only after your opponent has turned purple with insistence and also bet on lunch next weekend for your wrong answer.
Let’s just say that in the absence of a refereeing iPhone at a game of Scattergories this past holiday weekend, I was stuck trying to name a famous duo or trio beginning with the letter F (Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin! Oh, only after the fact). And then arguing that Peablo Bryson is a famous singer whereas Paris Hilton’s blinded stars do not qualify her as a vocalist. Important matters, friends, important matters to settle.
On the topic of referees, did you have a standard by which to measure your Thanksgiving dinner? My aunt normally hosts our extended family dinners, and because my cousin got married just a few weeks prior, my dad offered to “bake the birdie”. My aunts can be a pretty tough crowd to please, mostly because they are fantastic eaters or cooks themselves, but I think we passed. Birdie wasn’t burned, to say the least! But now that Thanksgiving is all said and done, are you up to your waist in turkey leftovers?
The way I referee the enjoyment of a turkey feast is by how long you can keep turkey interesting. It’s really easy to captivate an audience by serving a hot, piping turkey fresh out of the oven, the juices flowing as the knife glides through that crisp bronze skin and everyone’s eyes are following the carver’s hands as they arrange white and dark meat onto the serving plate. After this sumptuous presentation, are we still hungry for turkey in the leftover days to follow?
A few of my no-fail turkey favourites would be an open-faced sandwich on a sturdy slice of bread — not the crusty baguette but a proper square of toast that gets appropriately soggy with the weight of warm gravy. Or a turkey and apple salad, which can be made by chopping both ingredients, adding fresh chives and a handful of walnuts, raisins and folding all of it into some tangy mayonaise. This year I decided to go with something truly on the side. Cheddar biscuits, which can be gently re-heated and totally packable.
Cheddar Biscuit recipe (adapted from Martha Stewart)
- 4 cups flour
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp coarse salt
- 2 cups sharp cheddar, grated
- 2 tbsp herbs (such as sage, thyme, basil)
- 3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
- 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add cheddar and sage.
- Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until mixture is the texture of coarse meal, with a few tiny pieces of butter remaining. Add buttermilk and mix with hands just until combined, 2 to 3 times. The dough should be slightly elastic when pulled apart.
- Form the dough into small balls and place biscuits on a baking sheet. I like to form decorative impressions by criss-crossing a fork on the surface, but the biscuits can also be kept puffy. Bake until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.