I mourn the loss of summer every year. I always want the longer warm days to last longer. It doesn’t feel right for dusk to come before seven pm. I still want more swing time in the hammock and time in the sun playing with my dog.
I am certainly not ready to say goodbye to summer produce. Pumpkin-spice-everything began showing up at the beginning of August. I am not a fan. It seems sacrilege to pine for summer weather, foods and adventures all winter only to hasten fall flavors in the dead of the most anticipated season. Let’s savor summer while we can!
Every time I think my garden is done producing tomatoes, I turn around and find another basketful ready to harvest. We have eaten tomato everything this summer. There have been gallons of gazpacho and panzanella every which way. Now that it is a little cooler I am ok with turning on my oven to roast the last tomatoes of the season. I expect my plants to stop producing sooner or later!
My friend Josephina made me biscuits and gravy for the first time a few years ago. I don’t know how I had missed this perfect hearty breakfast for so long! Josephina’s methods are based on family tradition. She uses her grandmother’s recipe for buttery biscuits smothered with a creamy roux thickened gravy and browned sausage links. Josephina’s biscuits and gravy were a treat and kept me satiated long into the day. This is the breakfast one needs when there is a long day of work to do or adventures to be had.
I have since made biscuits and gravy several times at home for friends. Lately, I have been making biscuits with whatever garden herb strikes my fancy. I have used chives here. In effort to use up some of my garden tomatoes, I have sprinkled roasted cherry tomatoes over the top of the gravy. It makes the breakfast feel healthy. The sweet acidity of the tomatoes compliments the savory richness of the biscuits and gravy. In this version, I used Italian sausage in the gravy. Breakfast sausage would also be delicious.
When making the biscuits, make sure the butter stays very cold. After I cube mine, I throw it in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it back up. It is also important not to overwork the biscuit dough. I usually make my biscuit dough in my stand mixer only to combine the dry ingredients with the butter. I then use a fork to mix in the buttermilk gently. I use my hands to press the dough together and shape it to prevent as much gluten from forming as possible. I have found I often overwork biscuit dough when using a rolling pin.
I like to make my biscuits square to eliminate any overhandling of the dough by rerolling scraps. It is also quicker. I usually twist any trimmed dough into turbans to bake with the rest of the biscuits. I eat the biscuit turbans warm from the with a slab of butter when no one is looking. I find one of the great pleasures of being in the kitchen is snatching any tidbits before the rest of the food heads to the table.
Biscuits and gravy are best served warm. I usually make the gravy while the biscuits are in the oven. The tomatoes can be roasted in advance and served at room temperature. This recipe will feed 4 to 6 people. I made it for this posting while I was home alone for a few days. The leftovers warmed up beautifully and I looked forward to leftovers for breakfast. This recipe also makes a lot of roasted tomatoes. Leftover tomatoes are delicious on sandwiches, salads or any roasted or grilled meat if you find there are more than you need for your biscuits.
- ROASTED CHERRY TOMATOES
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 2 T olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- SAUSAGE GRAVY
- 1lb Italian sausage, casing removed (use hot Italian if you prefer more spice)
- ⅓ C flour
- 4 C whole milk
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Salt to taste
- CHIVE BISCUITS
- 2 ¼ C Flour
- 1 T sugar
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ C finely chopped fresh chives
- 9 T cold butter, cubed
- ¾ C cold buttermilk
- -ROASTED CHERRY TOMATOES-
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Slice the tomatoes in half
- Spread the tomatoes in a single layer on a half-sheet pan or jelly roll pan
- Sprinkle the tomatoes with the olive oil
- Roast tomatoes for 35-40 minutes until tomatoes collapse and start to caramelize
- Remove from oven and season with salt and pepper
- -SAUSAGE GRAVY-
- lb Italian sausage, casing removed (use hot Italian if you prefer more spice)
- ⅓ C flour
- C whole milk
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Salt to taste
- -CHIVE BISCUITS-
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine dry ingredients and chives
- Add the butter to the flour mixture and mix on medium speed until the butter is the size of peas
- Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until
a shaggy dough forms.
- Using your hands, gently knead the biscuit dough in the bowl to incorporate remaining flour mixture
- Empty the bowl onto a lightly floured surface.
- Use your fingertips to pat the dough into a ½ -¾ inch thick rectangle
- Use a knife to trim and straighten the dough edges
- Cut the biscuits into 12 equal squares and arrange on a half-sheet pan or cookie sheet lined with parchment or a non-stick baking mat.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown
- -TO SERVE-
- Break or cut two biscuits in half and arrange on a plate
- Scoop a generous amount of sausage gravy over the biscuits
- Garnish with roasted cherry tomatoes