recipes

High-Altitude Buttermilk Biscuits

Biscuits are my favorite. 

When I moved to New Mexico, the altitude put a major damper on my biscuit-making abilities. One year, I made a pact to myself: I was going to master high-altitude biscuits! (It's good to have goals.) I tinkered with my tried-and-true sea level recipe and ended up with these. They are quick enough that I can whip up the dough and have the biscuits ready to go by the time my oven preheats, buttery, and moist and flaky all at once. I make these nearly every Sunday morning - such an easy, delicious treat. 

High Altitude Buttermilk Biscuits

I live about a mile above sea level and this recipe should work well without adjustments for anyone in the 4,000 - 6,000 feet range. Higher or lower than that and you may need to make adjustments - for lower altitudes, try increasing the baking powder by 1/2 tsp. For higher, decrease it by 1/2 tsp. I'd also recommend increasing the buttermilk a TBSP at a time for higher altitudes.

takes: 22 minutes               makes: 6 biscuits

ingredients: 

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 TBSP butter - very cold and cut into cubes (I slice into tablespoons then quarter. Keep it cold!)
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk (if it's extra dry you may need a few TBSP more)

instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Crumble in the cold, cubed butter - I dump the cubes into the flour mix and quickly crumble with my hands.
  4. Gently stir in buttermilk - start with 3/4 cup and add more a TBSP at a time until the dough has just come together.
  5. Turn out dough onto a floured, flat surface and lightly press into a ball to make sure that it's sticking together. Dust the top with flour and then lightly press into a 1" thick round.
  6. Cut out biscuits - I use a wide-mouth ball jar. You'll likely be able to cut out about five biscuits from your initial round, and then you can gently form the scrap edges into your sixth biscuit. Place onto a baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes, until top of biscuits are lightly golden brown.

Whether you top these with butter and jam, or a sausage gravy, or slice them in half and make a little breakfast sandwich, or just eat them plain (I've happily done all of the above). Enjoy!

Spicy Tequila Lime Chicken

 
Transient
 

Chicken marinated in a mixture of tequila, lime, and hot peppers has been a favorite dish of mine all summer. It's easy, smells wonderful while it's cooking, tastes great, and is flavorful enough to feel like a much more complicated meal with just some simply sautéed vegetables or a quick salad on the side. Plus, if you're like me and always have tequila and limes in the house (at least, when the weather is warm), it's a handy recipe idea to have in your pocket and whip up, either on the weekend when you can let it marinate all day, or when you are more pressed for time, as even an hour-long soak gives a great flavor. 

Spicy Tequila Lime Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup tequila 
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (usually between 1 and 3 limes)
  • 1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, minced*
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole (2 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil

This recipe serves 2 (or 1 with leftovers) but can be easily doubled. Definitely use a tequila that you actually enjoy the taste of, or the final meal won't be as yummy! Our most commonly purchased tequila brand is Herradura, but for the chicken pictured I used what we currently have in the house, Hornitas Plata. Both are good!

* We like things spicy, so I use a serrano pepper and keep the seeds in. Jalapeño peppers are a good option with less of a kick than serranos, and whichever pepper you use, removing the seeds will remove most of the heat. The mildest option would be a minced jalapeño pepper with the seeds removed. 

Directions 

Combine tequila, lime juice, jalapeno, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add chicken breasts and thoroughly coat with tequila mixture. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to 8 hours), flipping it halfway through your marinade time. (Note that the longer you leave the chicken in the marinate, the more of a kick it can have!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 180 degrees C. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and melt the coconut oil in it. Place the chicken in the pan, skin-side down, and cook for 5 minutes, until the skin begins to get some nice brown crispy spots. Flip over and cook with skin-side up for 3 minutes. grill and brush rack with oil to prevent sticking. Place chicken on a roasting pan and cook in preheated oven for 20 - 30 minutes* or until internal temperature measures 165 degrees F / 71.1 degrees C. 

Remove from oven, cover tightly, and rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot with something delicious on the side. In the pictured meal, I sautéed green beans in the same pan I'd seared the chicken in (there was good fat and flavor left in there!) and topped them with a little goat cheese. It was a tasty, easy side for the chicken.

*Important note about cooking times: living at a high altitude, my cooking times can be a little longer than most recipes call for or most people would need, so I always use a meat thermometer to check for my meat's safety and make sure it done without overcooking. I need to bake this chicken for 30 minutes, but if you live at a lower altitude than me - highly likely - you could start checking the temperature after 20 minutes in the oven. I definitely recommend using a meat thermometer to be sure it's fully cooked, though! They are quite handy, and, you know, safety first.

Thanks for checking out this recipe! I know I said in my last post that I'd be posting the Hearst Castle pictures next, but there are so many of them and I haven't had a chance to get that post together! I'm hoping to get it up tomorrow, though. In the meantime, yay food!