Thursday, May 5, 2011

No one ever says, “It’s easy as biscuits.”

1biscuitsNext week will be the last week we cook in the kitchen for culinary class.

Next week will be the last week I have to haul my Kitchen Aid, 4 bags of groceries, a 50lb bag of flour, and my regular humongous bag of work to school, then the perishables up three flights of stairs to the fridge, and then everything back down and over to the kitchen.

Next week will be the last week that I’ll be yelling to kids to turn off their burners when no pots are even on the stove top or to hold knives down when they walk around. After that I won’t have to remind students to look at the recipe instead of just randomly assigning measurements or mixing steps. I won’t have to demonstrate cooking techniques and explanations which immediately become mocked by students as some kind of sexual innuendo (see butter recipe, below). I won’t be cleaning the kitchen for an hour after the students “cleaned up”.

Next week will be the last week that I’ll try to convince whining kids to taste kale salad, that macaroni and cheese from scratch is better than Kraft, and little teeny bits of garlic are not going to kill you when they’ve been simmered for almost an hour in a Moroccan tagine.

3biscuitsNext week will be the last week that these kids will have to convince me that they’ve learned something this year.

I can’t wait until next week so I can miss all of this.

We made biscuits, homemade butter, and jam. I gave out two different recipes to six groups and came out with six completely different products. Biscuits are most importantly about texture. If you’re like us about every third batch will turn out like crackery hockey pucks instead of fluffy flaky puffs. Here are the two Biscuit Commandments:

Thou Shalt Not Knead the Dough Too Much.

Thou Shalt Roll the Dough 1” Thick.

If you follow these two important details, you will do well. After observing my students’ work, I’d have to add a few more pieces of advice:

wet dough is better (and never add more flour than is called for)

do not grease the cookie sheet

pay close attention to teaspoon vs. tablespoon markings

the butter and milk should be cold, cold, cold and work quickly, quickly, quickly

biscuit cutters, if you remember to bring them to class, would be good. cut down, don’t twist.

The recipes we used:

Cream Biscuits by Deb at Smitten Kitchen

Biscuit Recipe

Homemade Blackberry Jam by Savory Sweet Life

Homemade Butter

  • 1 Cup cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. In a lidded jar, shake the cream and salt about one revolution per second. You’ll have butter pretty soon. If you are doing this in a high school class, use the two handed back and forth method with the jar held horizontally instead of the “shake weight” method. Trust me.




Belinda @zomppa said...

Incredible. You have done such incredible work with these youngsters!! These biscuits are just about as perfect as they come.

Unknown said...

Making a really good biscuit is probably one of the toughest things to make! I wish I loved my job as much as you love yours!

Anonymous said...

I love the photo of the different biscuits. It's absolutely hysterical.

Just to let you know, I took an adult education cooking class at Kaimuki a year or 2 ago. We didn't always follow the recipe either. Actually, neither did the instructor which I think was a bad idea seeing half the people in there didn't even know or like to cook. Summer will be a nice break for you but I'm looking forward to more posts about your kids. Young minds are so interesting.

sophia said...

Why would butter have a sexual innuendo? I don't get it.

I love a good biscuits. It's hard to find one and hard to make a great one, but when you get that flaky texture right, it's simply the most amazing thing ever.

Mariko said...

Thanks Belinda. I can't really take credit since they weren't my recipes, but I'll pretend to. :)

Cara: Oh... Some days... Ha ha. I agree-- I almost never make good biscuits even though I understand how to in theory. I just get lazy and think it will be ok.

Anonymous: That's interesting -- why were they taking a cooking class I wonder? Yes, I think I'll like going back to the original kid posts too.

Sophia: (Look at the recipe. Hee hee.)
Jake insists that KFC biscuits are so much better than any homemade bisucits.

Apron Appeal said...

I've been experimenting with biscuits over the past two weeks and although they are good, they just don't have height. I decided that the recommendation to roll dough to 1/4 in" is a direction to sabotage my hard work. I'm happy to see that someone is backing me up in rolling the dough thicker. I may make these for breakfast now.

Danielle said...

hahaha! The Shake Weight! I'm a 30 year old woman and that commercial makes me giggle everytime.

Danielle said...

PS. My middle name is Mariko, which makes your blog even cooler for me

FootPrints said...

why couldn't they have ADULT cooking classes like yours? i'd sign up for the year.
your such a good teacher. i took cooking in school, and all i learned was how to cook a potato in the microwave. LAME.

FootPrints said...

oh yeah. i'm with the kids...shake weight would get me to laugh. so immature. ;)

Pam said...

Are we by any chance referring to A building? If so, I can tell you as a veteran, that as vacuumish as it seems, you may just have an Iron Chef in your midst...and all because of you.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, those biscuits look scrumptious, and it is so true.. biscuits take some elbow grease, right? BUT so worth the results!

bunchi said...

These look fabulous! I do have a question...some of your biscuits look like they have "layers" - like the biscuits you focus on in photos #2 and #3. Which recipe is that one? I can't wait to make these!

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