Getting up at 6 am on Saturdays is worth it. I've finally gotten more used to the blaring alarm that sounds on my iPod that sits on the cherry nightstand, waiting to startle me. I groan, wanting to pull the covers up and ignore the cold world outside. It's August, yet the early mornings feel like fall. Reluctantly, I reach over and turn off the alarm, giving myself one last chance to snuggle back underneath the warm blanket.
It's up-and-out in 15 minutes, which my mom and I never accomplish; we're always at least five minutes late to Em's. This morning it was that mom had lost her wallet, other days it's just slow moving in the a.m. We drive through the misty fog, cloth bags in the back, faces freshly scrubbed and clothes wrinkled. I tell myself that very few things would get me up so early, and make me leave home without having a bit to eat.
That is quickly remedied; once we pick up Em and are on our way, my first stop at the Farmers' market is the bread guy. While mom and Em pick up eggs, I head on over to the steely blue-eyed dude who scolded me the first time I tried to pick up a cinnamon crumb muffin out of the bin. I felt like the clumsy younger sister as he told me that by state law it was he who had to pick the muffin for me. How was I to know? But the muffins were so good I keep going back, eager to try another flavor but always sticking with the same moist, melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon and icing cakes.
Next we're buying local veggies, potatoes, corn maybe, huge boxes of ripe plum tomatoes, maybe some pasta or bread, always a little cheese (I totally scored with a huge wedge of delicious buttery Brie today), always Wake Robin yogurt pumped fresh from happy local cows, and a few goodies like raspberries or other fruits that look promising.
Even though it's still early, I gush to my mom at least a hundred times about how much I love to go to the Farmers' market. The flavors, the farmers, the Amish ladies who bake like there's no tomorrow, the freshness of their products, and knowing I'm doing something a little better for the world. My senses take it all in and then… crash: I get home and take a four hour nap.
Since last night I've been craving "something buttermilk." It turns out to be these fabulous flaky buttermilk biscuits (which couldn't be easier to make, or eat). We had them hot out of the oven with homemade peach-vanilla bean-apricot jam, and some of that delicious roasted tomato soup. These are not sweet biscuits; they are tangy, so if you are looking for something sweeter, seek out a cream biscuit recipe. These, however, will not disappoint.
Makes 18-24 biscuits, depending on size
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes From an Accidental Country Girl
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
⅓ cup shortening
⅓ cup cold butter (5 ⅓ TBSP), cut into pats
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450F with the rack in the center. In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl), combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir together with a whisk until well combined. Add shortening and cold butter pats and, using the paddle attachment, cut them in until they resemble coarse crumbs, with some small pea-size lumps. Alternatively, you could use a pastry blender or knives and do this by hand.
Pour in the buttermilk and mix gently with a fork until just combined. The dough should be slightly tacky. Flour a clean work surface and place the dough on it, gently incorporating the crumbs and making it a somewhat uniform mixture. Do not knead or mix too much. Roll out the dough to a ⅓ to ¾-inch thickness, depending on how thick you like your biscuits to be. Cut the rounds with a biscuit cutter (I used 2 ⅝-inch) and place them on a cookie sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat. Bake for 11-14 minutes, until golden brown (I only did about 10). Do not under-bake or the biscuits will turn out doughy.