Friday, May 20, 2011

With the Sun In Your Face

The Sun was already searing hot at 7:30 a.m. The Portulaca bloom came to life in the Sun's presence. Known as the Sabeh el Kheir flower -- the Good Morning flower -- it pointed its face directly to the Sun's brilliance. Its fuchsia colour is said to symbolize joy. It certainly brought me joy.

I was out on the balcony getting an early start on cleaning it before dinner tonight with guests. Nothing like the imminent arrival of guests to spur me into house cleaning ;-) -- it doesn't matter that I've known these friends since my first week in Egypt.

Since temperatures were forecast to top 40 C, I thought a cold dinner was in order. So we had gazpacho soup, cold roast beef with horseradish sauce, potato salad and corn salad. Frozen melon yogurt was refreshing for dessert.

To accompany the soup I found a tasty recipe for Cheddar cheese biscuits at the Purple Foodie blog. These are so easy to make, are so tasty and, thankfully, do not call for Bisquit mix (geesh) that I wanted to share the recipe.

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits Recipe
Yield: 12 large biscuits or 18 small ones

2 cups 250g all-purpose flour (unbleached or regular)
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 cup 75g butter, cold, cut into chunks
2 Tbsp. canola or any flavourless, odourless vegetable oil
1 heaping cup 6-7 oz. 150-170g grated old cheddar cheese
1/2 – 2/3 cup 120-160ml milk

For brushing on top:
3 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes or 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and garlic powder.
2. Add the cubed butter. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut butter into flour until it is coarse, pea-sized (doesn’t need to be fine).
3. Add oil, grated cheddar cheese and the milk. Stir till well combined and holds together. Make sure to keep adding milk a bit at a time, just until the dough is moistened and you can no longer see any raw flour. (I used only 1/2 cup of milk.)
4. Drop approximately 1/4 cup portions of the dough onto an un-greased cookie sheet or a Silpat using an ice cream scoop or large spoon.
5. Bake for 15-17 minutes in a preheated oven at 400 F.
7. While biscuits are baking, melt 3 tablespoons butter is a small bowl with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and the parsley.
8. When biscuits come out of the oven, use a brush to spread this garlic butter over the tops of all the biscuits. Do this a few times – it’s fun to watch all the butter getting absorbed into the biscuit! Use up all of the butter. Serve warm.

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