Comfort Food for the Heart and Soul

We’ve been going through something in our personal lives lately so healthy food has definitely taken a back seat. I attempted to make a salad last night for dinner, but if you follow me on Instagram you know how well that turned out (or didn’t). I ended up hitting Chick-fil-A later for a strawberry milkshake. It was delicious by the way. The salad? Meh. It left room for much improvement. If anyone has tips for cleaning and shredding cabbage without getting a soggy mess, let me know in the comments below! I may need to finally invest in a salad spinner…

Comfort food comes in many forms for different people. For the past year, I’ve been eating about 90% gluten-free. It seems to work well for weight management for me and since we don’t eat a whole lot of bread to begin with, it really hasn’t been all that bad. On this occasion though, I needed some kitchen therapy in the form of bready type things. Since gluten free flour doesn’t ever give me a good rise and I wanted all the carbs and all the gluten, so I raided my local Sprouts‘ baking aisle for supplies to create some satisfying (and some healthy) baked goodies. I wanted the satisfying fluff that only gluten can provide.

The more time I spend in the kitchen creating, the more I want to spend time in the kitchen creating. Half the time, if it’s something that can be given away (like cookies or other baked goodies that can be individually packaged) I find joy in blessing friends and family alike with regular treats. Other times, I find a way to freeze any excess for later. That’s what made Joanna Gaines’ Biscuit Recipe so great. It satisfied that internal need to soothe with carbs and gluten. Don’t come at me about comforting with food. The way I see it, it’s better than drowning feelings in a bottle of booze like some sad country song.

So back to the biscuits. I’ve made biscuits a time or two in my day. Well, I’ve tried to make biscuits a time or two in my day. In the past, mine have always either come out too dry or two bland and always too flat. I suppose I never rolled them out thick enough in the last instance… So this time, it was nice to finally produce biscuits that not only tasted good, but were so light and fluffy too! One tip I read recently is that when you’re cutting your biscuits, don’t twist your biscuit cutter. It seals the edges a little and inhibits rise. You can use a glass or jelly jar dipped in flour if you don’t have special biscuit cutters, but I recently found these cute (and inexpensive) biscuit cutters at Target from Chip & Jo’s Hearth & Hand collection.

These biscuits certainly provided some of the visceral comfort for which I was seeking. The other comfort was provided by the very act of creating and manipulating the soft, slightly sweet-sour (owing to the buttermilk) dough with my hands (and a little elbow grease). There’s just something about zoning out with either some good music or a familiar old show while kneading/folding/rolling/hand-mixing. It takes work and helps work out anything you may be going through. The primitive, repetitive movement does so much to ease any issues I’m struggling with at the moment. Homemade loaves of bread do that for me too.

I followed Jo’s primary recommendation of serving the biscuits with Pop’s Strawberry Jam (plus some local unfiltered, unprocessed raw honey). I also followed her tip about freezing part of the biscuits for moments when we don’t have time to make them from scratch. I often either cut a recipe in half so as not to have too many leftovers for just the two of us, so this was nearly second nature to me. One day this won’t be the case… The thing I altered was that I baked my biscuits in my Lodge 10.25in cast iron skillet instead of a sheet pan and they turned out oh so tender and delicious!

I’m told the recipe is the same as the one produced at the Magnolia Table restaurant (for which the book where I pulled this recipe was named), however never having tried the biscuits at the restaurant itself, I may have to remedy this with a girlfriend this spring! What are some of your favorite things to do to relax and soothe the soul?

Currently Reading: Saveur Magazine, Issue No. 180, Jan/Feb 2016

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