Two days off …

That manuscript I’ve been working on? I submitted it on Friday afternoon. Then I took the whole weekend off.

And did the most everyday things like … laundry and cleaning out the fridge. A walk to the bookstore and the kitchen store. There was a lot of time spent on my couch – watching movies and taking naps (sometimes taking naps while watching movies). You know, weekend stuff.

Unsurprisingly, there was some thought about food and time spent in the kitchen. And future plans. In less than a couple of weeks my dear, dear friend Robin is coming to visit and play in Minneapolis for the weekend. The last time she was here was January 2011 and it was beyond cold and snowy. We drank wine and cooked dinner and watched terrible movies. We made a peach shortcake with canned peaches and cinnamon scented whipped cream.

(What does it mean that I remember dessert from a year and half ago, but cannot for the life of me remember the movie we watched?)

That dessert was humble, thought up while standing in the grocery store. It was cozy and homey and perfect for the frightful weather. However, the weather right now is anything but frightful. And peaches are coming into their own. I spent a good part of Saturday conjuring up a summer version of that shortcake with canned peaches. I admit, there was an appetizer my friend Laura cooked up last weekend that I haven’t quite been able to get out of my head – prosciutto-wrapped peaches with basil. Savory, sweet, salty and screaming of summer. So I hijacked the idea and turned it into a dessert.

Bacon Buttermilk Shortcakes with Minted Balsamic Peaches (and sweet basil ice cream if you’d like). Sometimes I have food ideas that disappoint with my execution of them. This is not one of those times. It’s a dish that works easily at the start of the day, or the middle of the afternoon or as a finishing thought late at night. It’s possible that it’s not so great and I am simply smitten with it because I had the time and the inclination to think about food after so many science-centric weeks …

Bacon Buttermilk Shortcakes with Minted Balsamic Peaches
makes 2 shortcakes
1 cup flour
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
7/8 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled in bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 ripe peaches, peeled and cut in bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint

Preheat oven to 400º. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Pulse a couple of times. Add butter and pulse for about 30 seconds, until dough resembles cornmeal. Add buttermilk and process until just combined, adding more flour if too sticky. Turn dough over onto a floured surface, sprinkle bacon pieces and knead together a couple of times until bacon is well distributed. Pat dough out to 1-inch thickness and cut into two 3-inch rounds. Brush with heavy cream and bake for 25 minutes.

While the shortcakes are baking, toss diced peaches, sugar, balsamic vinegar and mint in a small bowl. Slice baked shortcakes in half, spoon peaches over and top with remaining biscuit.



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