Nothing pays more respect to those who gave their life in the name of service to our country than cooking some nice biscuits. Happy Memorial Day! Yes, I know that’s a ridiculous statement but that’s how my day played out. Actually, my celebration today did not have anything to do with Memorial Day, I just felt like it’s kind of an important day, so it deserved some mention here. I am grateful for all those men and women throughout our history that have died while serving. They deserve a day of honor in which the nation remembers their bravery and courage. Their memory deserves to be preserved and respected, so I tried to keep that in the back of my mind all day. Had it been a nicer day out, I may have gone to a Memorial Day parade or even to our local monument in honor of the servicemen and women who died in the line of duty to pay my respects. But the rain gods were not cooperative today. I must admit the weather made the day feel a lot less like a holiday.
I actually had a hard time figuring out what to celebrate today. It was National Coq Au Vin Day and that would have been a fun one to make. That’s a traditional French dish of braised chicken cooked with wine, lardons (salt pork), mushrooms and garlic. It’s kind of a classic. The problem was that it takes a while to prepare (which I actually had the time to do) but also we had plans to go out with the family to celebrate Lola’s sister Katie’s birthday. As much as I wanted to try and make a Coq Au Vin, it just seemed like too much energy to put into a dish that I would eat as a second dinner. It just didn’t make sense. So I had to find something else to celebrate. I landed on National Biscuit Day which I discovered on a random holiday website. I know I just celebrated National Buttermilk Biscuit Day on Mother’s Day, but this was different and I needed something. To be honest, I’m not sure if this was more geared to the British version of a biscuit (or cookies as we call them here in the US), but when I decided to celebrate, I was just about to make breakfast and I thought that the classic bread-type biscuit would suit me better.
I went simple today too. I was going to make the Bisquick Drop Biscuit that is printed on the box of Bisquick and has been on there for years. It’s simple and a classic. If you don’t know, Bisquick is a pre-mixed baking mix that combines flour, shortening, salt and baking powder all in one convenient box. Most people use it for pancakes and waffles, but it’s good for biscuits and dumplings too. It’s convenient. I’m not sure when their drop biscuits became a thing, but they’ve been a round for a long time. It’s actually something my mom would make on occasion and because she wasn’t much of a baker, it was always a happy surprise to find them warm on the table, wrapped inside the bread basket underneath a cloth napkin. They are super easy to make. In fact, you just add milk and stir. So that’s what I did. When you combine the two, a dough forms and then you ‘drop’ balls of dough onto your cookie sheet (hence the name). I brushed each one with some egg white for some extra browning, but they were in the oven within ten minutes and then only cooked for about ten minutes as well. The result were some delicious looking homemade biscuits.
I made some eggs over easy to go along with them. The biscuits are on the dryer side and not super-flavorful but part of their allure is needing to be topped with butter or jelly. A warm biscuit liberally covered in butter is a true joy in life and today they made the perfect accompaniment for my eggs as I could soak up the egg yolks as I cut into each bite. Lola wasn’t feeling much for eggs but she did have one with some nice strawberry jelly along with a cup of coffee. This was perfect for her as well so she could have that warm biscuit flavor along with the sweetness of the jelly and the creaminess of the butter. Toast and jelly is one of Lola’s simple joys in life that she doesn’t have all that often and to have it on a fresh from the oven biscuit made it even more special. All in all, a pretty nice breakfast to start your rainy day.
I had big plans for today that involved being in our yard and mowing the lawn. It was my first day off since last Thursday, so I’ve been jonesing to get out there. However not much you can do in the cold and rain. A nice lazy day was ok to have too. We had to meet the family at Scales & Shells in Newport at 5 PM, so that deadline loomed over our heads. I read some things online. I played video games. I even baked some Fudgy Banana Bars (a Lola fave) so I could get rid of the bananas that were turning. But a lazy day it was. Dinner was fun too. Lola’s sister Tara works at Scales (as does her niece Molly), so Tara could guide us through the menu. I’m not much of a seafood guy but Tara led me into a scrod dinner topped in lemon and butter along with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese that was fantastic. She even suggested some spicy mayo on the side which brought a little extra flavor to the party. It was a fun night and we were quite the raucous table. It’s always fun to celebrate Katie and that we did. It was a nice early night too and we were home by 8:30 and ready for bed. It wasn’t your typical Memorial Day, but all in all, I’d say it was a pretty nice one.
It also marked Day 300 of this little thing I’m doing here. 300?!!? Not sure how that happened. When I look back at all I’ve celebrated I see how ridiculous this has been and I still try to figure out why I’ve done it. But, I can also see what it has brought into my life (and Lola’s too). It’s helped me rediscover writing which was a creative yearning that I had surpressed. It has helped me become a bit more adventuresome. It snapped me out of a rut that I had fallen into. It’s made me into a better cook. It’s brought more joy into my life. If I ever question why I do this, the last five sentences should be my stock answer. Sure there have been some knocks along the way. There have been roadblocks and setbacks I never considered. The unexpected has happened and keeps happening, but I’m going to keep rolling along. It’s a journey of joy that I am on now, and that’s worth celebrating. Every day.
Next up: National Mint Julep Day