I’ve got everything right here, really, including the 2-½-pound 13″ oval plates, but that’s been the case for years. Nothing new.
When I do visit diners, my litmus test is this morning’s breakfast above, corned beef hash and poached eggs (I don’t expect marmalade and blackberry jam to be available). Some fail, most commonly for lack of a crust on the hash, a minor flaw, and/or refusing to poach eggs outright or poaching them as if they don’t know how, both full-stop errors that require head-shaking and tut-tutting.
Years ago, meatloaf would be another test of a diner’s goodness for me, but I forever gave that up when I started with the Manhattan-based Comfort Diner’s already excellent softer-textured meatloaf recipe (its secret: oatmeal instead of bread crumbs), ran with it, and made it really excellent – my enhanced version at the link. I guarantee without a second thought that all other meatloaf pales in comparison, so there’s no point to me trying some random diner’s meatloaf. I mean, c’mon:
I wanted to have some biscuits on hand for breakfast and decided to try a different recipe this morning. They came out well – even the ones in the row on the left cut from the second gentle gathering and rolling of scraps. It’s not at all surprising because King Arthur Flour recipes have never disappointed me. I usually make Flying Biscuits from the cookbook by the café of the same name I often visited at Candler Park, long ago when they had just three restaurants around Atlanta. King Arthur Flour calls the ones I made today simply Baking Powder Biscuits. I followed their advice to use buttermilk instead of milk. Like most baked goods, biscuits freeze nicely and thaw quickly, so that’s where five of them are now.
Because you could probably call me an old geezer without me grimacing too much, and because I have a history of getting influenza and pneumonia at the same time – five days in hospital over Christmas 1997 and a much less severe episode stopped by speedy application of Tamiflu and antibiotics in 2016, when the vaccinations I had for both did not cover the strains I caught – I got permission to start working exclusively from home on 9 March and have self-isolated since then, encountering just eight people through yesterday, all at a distance. My company activated its remote work plan a week later on 16 March at noon.
Edited 23 March to add: The state of Massachusetts has followed suit a week later, shutting down non-essential businesses and issuing a “stay at home” advisory from 24 March through 7 April.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of monitoring the news minute-by-minute, so I’ve been trying to limit that to no more than thirty minutes once a day. I’ll admit I’m not successful every day, but I am certain that a normal work day followed by cooking, baking, reading, and watching shows and films from the many thousands of hours in my media collection are far healthier ways of spending my waking hours, and I remain pleased that I’ve never joined any antisocial media network. I wince at the endless hours of feverish scrolling a lot of people must be putting themselves through. During work, the twenty-one hours of live music from Transatlantic Sessions that I have makes for a mellow background. It occurs to me that this would be a fine time to bring out the data DVDs I have of the earliest series of The Great British Bake Off from a decade ago.
As far as cooking and baking go, in recent days I’ve made, along with a few other things, six quarts of my hybrid French onion pot roast beef stew, six quarts of split pea soup, corn bread, Nancy Silverton’s La Brea Bakery bran muffins, banana cream pie partially based on a recipe from McEwen’s Restaurant in Memphis, and these biscuits – see the title of this post for the rationale. Slow-cooked bacon and some freshly-baked bread are on the horizon. I may make the simple but quite excellent River Cottage basic white loaf recipe or, if I’m more ambitious, I’ll refresh my sourdough starter, which will take a few days, to make a boule. Some of those recipes are here on the site – search at the magnifying glass under Mark Twain there on the left or, if you’re on a phone, search is at top right.
Today’s breakfast was poached eggs and sawmill gravy on a split biscuit:
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Edited 23 March to add:
Sausage, egg, and blackberry jam biscuit beats sausage, egg, and cheese