When Bryan and I decided to move to Oak Park, we were moving further away from our friends. It was the one part of the decision to leave our old neighborhood that we were agonizing over. For anyone not familiar with Chicago’s geography, Oak Park is the first town directly west of the city center. It is still connected by the same public transportation and the Sears Tower (I reject its new name) is a major part of the view from our apartment. Think of it as a Manhattanite moving to Brooklyn. Or Hoboken? The point being, we could easily have moved somewhere else within the city limits and been much further away from our old neighborhood and friends. But still, we worried. Ultimately we decided to go for it, and honestly have never found the extra 20 minutes of a commute to be a problem, and we love our new community.
But it has affected us is some positive ways.
We have friends over for brunch a lot more often than in the past. It is easier for friends without cars to get to and from our place during the day. Consequently, I am developing my brunch repertoire and have been discovering that I really enjoy cooking brunch foods (and not just because it provides an excuse for coffee cake!). It can be a lazy meal, followed by a walk about town. We love it, our friends love it. Good deal.
I’ve talked about The Breakfast Book here before, and many bloggers have sung the praises of this small morning encyclopedia. It has become an important inspiration for my brunch making. These simple buttermilk barley biscuits demonstrate why the book is so awesome. They are whipped up in a flash and are delicious smeared with some cream cheese and jam.
If you don’t already own The Breakfast Book, there are few books I would recommend more highly. Literally every single recipe I have tried from it has been delicious. Marion Cunningham is a real treasure.
These biscuits freeze pretty well. I defrost them in the toaster. They are much flatter than most biscuits, and all the more charming and tasty for their lack of height. No need to split them open, just slather your jam on top. These are the perfect compliment to whatever you’re making for breakfast.
Buttermilk Barley Biscuits (from The Breakfast Book  by Marion Cunningham)
- 1 1/4 cups barley flour
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.
Put the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir with a fork to mix it well. Stir in the buttermilk and beat briskly until mixed and smooth. Add the melted butter and blend well.
Dust a board with flour and turn the dough onto the board. Pat the dough out to about 1/4-1/3-inch thick. Use a 2-inch cutter to cut out the biscuits. Prick each biscuit 2 or 3 times on the top with the tines of a fork. Place the biscuits 1/2-inch or so apart on baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden. Serve warm, ideally with some soft cream cheese and jam.