Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rainy Day Biscuits

As I type this, it is a grey, windy, pleasantly dreary Sunday afternoon, with a rainy/snowy mix of precipitation coating the red and orange leaves: in short, a perfect day to stay at home in my jammies (especially since my luck may have finally run out, and I feel like I'm getting sick). We were also out pretty late last night--damn you for a bad influence, Joe Nugent!--and by the time we were up and caffeinated "brunch" was in danger of becoming "lunch." Nonetheless, I was seized by the idea that biscuits and gravy might make me feel better, so into the kitchen I shuffled, wondering all the while if it might not be a better idea to just go back to bed. About an hour later, as we were happily chowing down, I was glad I'd acted on the impulse, because these were easily the best biscuits I've ever made. As I mentioned in a previous post, our curiosity about Daiya vegan cheese finally got the better of us, and we ordered some from Vegan Essentials. On the whole, I like it, and it's very easy to cook with (ask me about the Welsh rarebit I made last week: aye-yi-yi!), so I thought I'd throw some in and see what happened; you can see the results in the picture. We had them with my own recipe for "sausage" gravy and now, despite my stuffy head, scratchy throat and achy muscles, my stomach is warm and happy. And as God is my witness, I can't imagine that I'll ever be hungry again!

Rainy Day Biscuits
(NB: if you don't have any vegan cheese or don't want to use it, just make the recipe as is but add an extra 1/4 cup margarine to the amount listed.)

~ 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose, if you prefer)
~ 5 tsp. baking powder
~ 1/2 tsp. each: salt, sage, dill
~ 1/4 cup chilled Earth Balance or other vegan shortening (I freeze it and then grate it into the flour)
~ 1/3 cup grated cheddar flavor Daiya (or other vegan cheese)
~ 2/3 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk

~ Preaheat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit and coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
~ In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and seasonings.
~ Add the shortening and "cheese," if using. Mix with your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs.
~ Add the soy milk, and mix with a fork until you have a smooth dough (don't overwork it or your biscuits will be tough!).
~ Turn out onto a floured surface and roll or press until the dough is about 1/2" thick.
~ Use the floured rim of a glass to cut the dough into circles, and place on the baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and beautiful.

The "Sausage"

~ 1 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1/2 cup chopped onion
~ 1 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 carrot, finely diced
~ 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
~ 2 veggie burgers, crumbled (I used Amy's California burgers, but any vegan burger or crumbles would do)
~ 1/2 tsp. salt
~ 1 tsp. each: sage, thyme, parsley
~ Fresh black pepper

~ In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the onion for 2-3 minutes.
~ Add the garlic, carrot and spices; cook another few minutes then add the mushrooms.
~ After about 5 minutes, add the crumbled veggie burgers, raise the heat to high, and cook 5-10 minutes more, stirring often and adding a splash of water if necessary to prevent sticking. Remove from heat and set aside.

The Gravy

~ 1 tbsp. olive oil
~ 2-3 tbsp. flour
~ 2 cups vegetable broth
~ 1 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 1 tsp. each salt, thyme, sage, dried parsley
~ 1 tsp. Liquid Smoke (or 1 tsp. smoked paprika)
~ Lots of fresh black pepper
~ A good shot of hot sauce, to taste

~ Combine the soy milk and vegetable broth and heat to almost boiling, either on the stove or in the microwave.
~ In a saucepan, warm the oil over medium-low heat and add the flour and the spices, stirring to make a roux.
~ As it begins to thicken, add the broth/soy milk mixture gradually, stirring constantly.
~ Raise the heat to medium and continue cooking 5-10 minutes, until you get the consistency you like (you can always add more liquid if it's too thick, or turn the heat up to reduce it if it's not thick enough).
~ Add the "sausage" mixture and combine thoroughly.
~ Ladle generously over your biscuits for a delicious and astonishingly filling breakfast. Or lunch. Or whatever.
~ Go back to bed and take a nice, long nap, ideally with a dog, a cat and/or a person you love.


  1. So biscuits are scones? Right?
    I always thought biscuits were dumplings because I don't understand having scones with gravy. They look super fine anyway.

  2. Biscuits are somewhere between scones and bread...somewhat drier than a scone and not sweet. (I love scones really hard, too!)

  3. YUM! I love biscuits!!! Oh how I wish I could get my hands on Daiya!! And I love the rain! I wish it were raining here. It's sweltering where I live today :(

  4. wow! these biscuits are just perfect for a rainy day!

  5. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!