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For You, With Thanks

I didn’t expect green beans to bring up such a great discussion on traditions, sharing of poems and how a piece of writing can linger with you. So thank you for that. Your comments pointed out how important people and place are and how food takes the back seat when it  comes right down to it. Even if you feel quite warm towards Thanksgiving and are looking forward to next week, reading about recipe suggestions and meal planning online and in magazines can start to feel tiresome right about now. Why? Because I suppose when it all comes down to it, in the big picture it doesn’t matter what we all serve anyway. Next year, you likely won’t remember one year’s vegetable side dish from another. What you’ll remember are the markers that dotted the year for you: whom you sat next to at the table, a toast or grace, and the sense of gratitude you felt for something — large or small.

I started this blog because, like many of you, I love the way food brings people together. I like the conversations that happen, I like the collaboration, I like the stories. I don’t get much out of making recipes alone in my kitchen unless I’m sharing them with others around me. Often this is with Sam. But just as often, really, it’s walking a plate down to the local coffee shop to share with our favorite baristas or giving cookies or pie away to friends. So in thinking about a pre-Thanksgiving post and the one recipe I wanted to share with you before the big day, I kept circling away from the food and towards the gratitude piece of it all. Right this second, I’m thankful for this community (you!), for the opportunity to work for myself doing something I love, for the crisp fall we’ve been having in Seattle, for the satsumas in the market, and for Sam’s mulled tequila toddy recipe. I’m thankful that I get to visit with my family next week,  that I’m able to just up and fly home whenever I please, and that I have a business that’s busy enough to make that stressful this year.

I don’t talk about new things going on with Marge much in this space, but if you’re curious and if you like granola, you should hop on over and sign up for our newsletter. I only send it out once a season (at best) and the next issue will have a great coupon for holiday ordering. In fact, I want to send you some granola to try now!  I’m not much of a giveaway gal because I can never find an authentic way to work it into a post and really would only do so if it was something I loved. But granola I can do. So if you leave a note here about what you’re thankful for this year, I’ll choose a random winner on Wednesday, November 21 (day before Thanksgiving) and send you a package with all 3 of our current flavors. I really am looking forward to reading your responses!

And now, we’re overdue for a talk on biscuits. And honey butter (I’ve decided this is something we should all just have around in general, biscuits or no biscuits). Now, I love towering, flaky biscuits as much as the next person. These are not those biscuits although they are no less delicious. They’re a drop biscuit so they won’t get those flaky layers but they’re still quite light, rustic in nature, and have a knock-out flavor from the marriage of sweet potato and rosemary. Sure, they’re not towering but they perch happily at the dinner table and sneak on into breakfast territory quite naturally, too. I made a few different versions of sweet potato biscuits before ultimately setting off on my own. I started with a recipe from Martha Hall Foose’s charming book, Screen Doors and Sweet Tea, in which she has you melt the butter and uses white flour and a bit of sugar. They turned out quite tasty but they were a bit heavier than I wanted, so I started fresh with a version that has you working the butter into the flour, adding a smattering of rosemary, and relying on my favorite combination of white flour/spelt flour. There’s no sifting or rolling or turning the dough. Just mix, scoop, and bake. Easy. Just what we could all use a bit more of this time of year.

I hope that you have a very happy Thanksgiving filled with people you get a kick out of in a place that makes you feel at home. Sam and I will be in California with my family, those green beans, Moscow Mules and a few days without work. Yes.

Herbed Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits with Honey Butter
A quick one-bowl affair, these biscuits bake up a beautiful dark orange color and have a slightly herbed, buttery flavor. You don’t have to mash away all of the chunks in your sweet potatoes;  drop biscuits are meant to be less refined and a few bits of sweet potato are just fine. Avoid the temptation to boil your potatoes instead of baking them as the instructions indicate — boiling them will draw in extra moisture that will change the texture of these biscuits.

Makes: 9-10 biscuits

For the Biscuits:
3/4 cup mashed sweet potatoes (about 1 large)
3/4 cup spelt flour
3/4  cup all purpose flour
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, chopped finely
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1/2  cup whole milk

 For the Honey Butter:
¾ stick unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons honey

For the honey butter: whisk together the butter and honey until creamy.

Prepare the potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork a few times, and place right on oven rack for about 1 hour, or until tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Once cool, peel away the skin of the potato and mash well with a fork or potato masher.

For the biscuits: Increase the oven temperature to 425 F. Butter a large baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, salt and herbs.Using a pastry blender or the tips of your fingertips, work the butter into the flour mixture until it’s the consistency of coarse meal. Add the milk and mashed sweet potatoes and stir them into the dry ingredients until they’re incorporated and a dough has formed.

Drop the dough in 2-3 tablespoon dollops onto the baking sheet. If you have a big ice cream scoop, it’s quite useful here. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until biscuits have risen and their tops are firm to the touch and golden. Serve warm or let cool on wire rack. These biscuits are best the day they’re made although covered and stored at room temperature, they’re fine the next day, too (I warm them in this case before serving).

 

  1. Posted November 19, 2012 at 7:03 am

    These look delicious, I enjoy sweet potato baked good better than pumpkin so I am going to try these soon. I am thankful for the joy that baking brings me and the joy I bring my friends and family when I share :)

  2. Posted November 19, 2012 at 7:07 am

    I’m thankful for having my family and my husband’s family living close by so that we can celebrate Thanksgiving together. This has never happened before! Usually we’d have to spend Thanksgiving with one family and Christmas with another.

  3. Lisa
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I’m thankful for so much, we are so blessed. I have a wonderful husband, 2 wonderful children, my mom, an abundance of friends and relatives, food in my fridge. The list goes on and on. My prayers are for those who have lost things this year –be it a home, a job, a child, a parent, whatever— prayers that they will find healing and happiness again.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all! This is a great blog–I look forward to each post :0)

  4. Sarah
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I am thankful to spend some one on one time with my parents. It doesn’t happen very often as I live out of state. I am also thankful for my skewed perspective that 16 people is a small group of people to celebrate Thanksgiving with in a given year.

  5. Posted November 20, 2012 at 5:10 am

    The one hole in my menu might be filled now- I thought potato rolls? biscuits? I’ve been mulling over the bread question, but I think this might just do the trick. And this year? Oh the list! But at this moment, I have to admit that I’m just plain thankful for having so much love in my life. That just about sums it up. Happy week to you, Megan, and thanks for this moment! Reading through all the responses to this post has started this day off right. xo

  6. katherine d
    Posted November 20, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I’m thankful for finding the love of my life – who just proposed to me last week (:

    katherinedibello (at) gmail (dot) com

  7. Michael Schneider
    Posted November 20, 2012 at 11:09 am

    I don’t have anything to say about biscuits, and I’m one of those people who can’t get really excited about Thanksgiving, but I love granola, so here’s my Comment.

  8. Posted November 20, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Perhaps this will be the thing that gets one of my children, ANY of my children, to eat a sweet potato (how can one NOT love a sweet potato? i’ve three who don’t. sigh. but who love biscuits. hmmm….)

    I am grateful, always, for the little things, the crisp brittle heads of last month’s flowers and the smell of turkey stock burbling as I type and the fact that, although I left the dentist with orders to have two cavities filled (double sigh), at least it wasn’t four. And for this amazing community of thinkers and writers, feelers and bakers. So glad of that.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, Megan.

    xo
    Molly

  9. Kate
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I am thankful for many little things; i have a job, a lovely other half, a recent visit from my mam across the ocean, opportunities to travel, my health and the health of family and friends…all in all not too shabby!:)

  10. Posted November 23, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Funny, I was thinking about the same conversation the past few days.
    What to really be thankful for. Sure, the food is a big part of the day, and is important; but, for me, especially this year it was about more. It was about being with people I love and care for. Being thankful that the ones who are in my life are happy, healthy and loved. The food was good but the happiness was what really feed me. I guess it reminded me of the little things in life and how we take those moments for granted. I know we need to stop more often and cherish the moment and make more moments happen. Because you never know when tomorrow may not be there.

    I am, also, grateful for biscuits and it has been something on my mind for a bit now. Have not made a sweet potato one but have a feeling it will be in our very near future. xo

  11. Posted November 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Oh good Lord, YES. Sweet potato biscuits with herbs. Honey butter. Yes, yes, yes. This is the comfort food I’m craving right now– thank YOU so much for sharing!

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