Sunday, September 15

The Mess - {Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits}

I started this post about two weeks ago. It was a really happy story about seeing two wonderful people find each other, and the goodness that resulted.

But then life happened. So I scrapped it. And I’m starting over:

I’ve come to realize that stress and uncertainty often send me heading for the coffee shop. Maybe I shouldn’t self-medicate with sugar and caffeine, but the simple act of treating myself to something somewhat forbidden in terms of budget – both caloric and monetary – is soothing.

So, basically, if I’m at Starbucks – alone - odds are that something is wrong.

Before you worry, I’m ok. This “wrongness” is definitely not why I’ve been away from the blog. Since graduation, I’ve been busy in the most wonderfully rewarding way; growing closer to a lot of incredible people and making memories that I’m glad I didn’t miss out on.

These are amazing times, dear readers, but part of the closeness and memories I’m experiencing are sad, too. It’s really hard to see the people you care about in pain.

I’m on the outside looking in on relationships that are ended, doomed, or crushed before they’ve begun.

I’m seeing friends struggle to find work; struggle to make ends meet.

I’m seeing insecurities ruin good things, and fear prevent risk and growth.

Recently, I’ve had to be the friend who relays unwanted information. The one with a different perspective, or just the one who knows the true story. And it’s so hard, because it’s always the kind of information you know it would be so much easier to just keep to yourself. To bury it away in the back of your mind and go on encouraging your loved ones to the fullest of your heart’s ability. To lie, quite plainly, to yourself and to their face for the sake of smiles.

But friends don’t do that.

And so today, after a couple long chats, I’ve ended up at Starbucks. And I’m inhaling my drink.

And I feel better. A little helpless, maybe, but better.

It’s at least made me realize that I’m genuinely lucky that my biggest struggle these days is figuring out how to be supportive.

Which is, often, harder than it seems.

Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits, adapted from Alton Brown's Southern Biscuits

One thing I can always count on making me feel better - and more in control - is baking, of course. I love quick recipes like this because they're low effort but high payoff; which is exactly what I've been needing lately. Served to friends in need, especially with eggs and bacon aside home fries, they're sure to lift spirits.

2 c flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp butter, chilled
2 Tbsp shortening
1/2 jalapeno, minced
Handful or two of shredded cheddar cheese
1 c buttermilk, chilled

Preheat your oven to 450F and line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add in the butter and shortening and press into the flour until the mixture is somewhat sandy. Be careful not to let it get too hot – you don’t want to let anything melt.

Add in the jalapeno and cheddar and mix briefly to combine.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Pour onto a floured surface and pat gently into a rectangle. Fold the dough over itself and repeat 3-4 more times.

Pat out the dough into a rectangle about 3/4 to 1 inch thick and cut into 12 squares. Transfer to the lined sheet, spacing each square about 1/4 inch apart. Bake 15-20 minutes until nicely brown on top.