This past week was full of emotions — striving to find the words, and they just won’t come. Some of my dearest friends lost their homes and businesses in the SoCal fires — my heart feels broken open — my stomach has been consistently in knots. Tonight, I am baffled by my comfort. I am sitting inside my own home next to my dog. I was able to cook dinner and make fresh biscuits this morning for a holiday tea time with my girl friends. Life, for me, has carried on as usual — and something about that breaks my heart even more. Tragedy and loss can often feel so unfair and so senseless, but in the midst of my feelings of helplessness, I am reminded of the incredible strength of my friends. Their lives will be changed, but they will be refined by these fires. They will make a new home. Their businesses will transform and thrive. I am focusing on the gratitude for their safety, because that is the only precious thing that cannot be replaced.
My heart continues to search for a way to problem solve, and all I am left with is a strange cocktail of deep love and deep sadness. If you have a home tonight and someone you love to hold, be thankful. Be thankful for your messy kitchen. For your gross carpet. For the weird little details of your home. Because for too many, they will never get to touch or see those exact details again.
After seeing so many lose so much, I gained an even deeper appreciation for these photos that Rebecca Peloquin took of me in my kitchen recently for her food memoir project. She arrived the day before my cook book release party, and captured me in the midst of what has turned out to be my favorite recipe of all. I changed it up a bit with some fresh rosemary for the holidays, and I am so excited to share it with you. I can’t begin to stress my love affair with this herb, but I encourage you to touch, smell, taste, and get swept away. Rosemary’s aromatic elements are soft yet lingering, and it adds something really beautiful to my classic vegan + gluten-free biscuits.
Please make this recipe and let me know what you think. And while you’re in the kitchen, give thanks for your creaky oven door, sticky floors, pile of dishes, and outdated appliances. Notice the way the light hits your counter tops. Be grateful for each detail. Be grateful for your home.
What you need…
*1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
* 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (it helps the milk to curdle and it also provides a nice pop of freshness)
*2 cups 1+1 gluten free flour (if you’re not gluten-free and have unbleached all-purpose flour on hand, you can use 2 cups of that instead)
* 1 Tbsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 3/4 tsp sea salt
*1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
* 4 Tbsp non-dairy, unsalted butter (I use the organic soy-free Earth Balance)
What to do…
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and add lemon juice to almond milk to make “vegan buttermilk.” Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients, including fresh rosemary.
3. Add cold butter and use your fingers to combine the two until only small pieces remain and it looks like sand. Work quickly so the butter doesn’t get too warm.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and, using a wooden spoon, stir gently while pouring in the almond milk mixture.
5. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, dust the top with a bit of flour and then very gently turn the dough over on itself 5-6 times – hardly kneading.
6. Form into a 1-inch thick disc, handling as little as possible.
7. Use a 1-inch thick dough cutter or a similar-shape object with sharp edges (I use the lid of a mason jar) and push straight down through the dough, then slightly twist. Repeat and place biscuits on a baking sheet in two rows, making sure they just touch – this will help them rise uniformly. Gently reform the dough and cut out one or two more biscuits – you should have 7-8.
8. Next brush the tops with a bit more of melted non-dairy butter and gently press a small divot in the center using two fingers. This will also help them rise evenly, so the middle won’t form a dome.
9. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until fluffy and slightly golden brown. Serve immediately.
All photos in this post are from my shoot with RP for her food memory project which you can check out by clicking this link.