February might be a short month, but there are so many important dates to remember and celebrate.
For me, it's catch-up time with birthdays. I am getting back in the swing of sending birthday cards and, well, I guess I'm showing my age -- I sent two cards to the same friend. When I found out about the mistake, I told my friend to consider the second card as the first one to arrive for 2015.
I was taught to always say thank you for any gesture, gift or act of kindness. There is someone to thank daily but if not, I throw out an act of kindness to someone who is on some list of mine.
The kitchen has been my haven during this unusual winter weather. I've made bread and sausage biscuits. There is nothing as good as biscuits with preserves or jelly.
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The kitchen is truly my space. It's here that I listen to the radio and look out the window to enjoy the beauty of nature and check on the weather. I can smell the wonderful aromas of my cooking while telephoning friends, sending cards or writing letters.
SOUR MILK BISCUITS
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon soda
4 teaspoons fat
2/3 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix dry ingredients, then cut in fat with two knives. Add milk and knead lightly. Roll and cut. Bake until light golden brown, about 8 to 12 minutes.
Source: Ervena Faulkner's personal file
HEAVENLY BUTTERMILK BISCUITS
2 cups self rising flour, sifted
1/3 tablespoon baking soda
3 tablespoons unsalted corn oil margarine
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg white
Preheat oven at 425 degrees. Sift flour and baking soda into mixing bowl. Add margarine using fork; cut into the flour mixture until it looks like coarse meal. Add honey to buttermilk. Using fork, add buttermilk mix to flour mix to make a soft dough that is easy to roll out. Knead (fold dough over and press lightly with heel of hand) about 8 times on floured board. Remember, too much handling will produce tough biscuits. Roll or pat dough to about 1/3-inch thickness. Cut dough with biscuit cutter; place on cookie sheet. Beat egg white or cut with fork. Brush top of biscuits with beaten egg white. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
Source: "Our Family Table: Recipes and Food Memories from African-American Life Models," by Jonnetta B. Cole, past president of Spelman College and Bennett College
Makes: 8 pints
1 pound dried apricots
2 large cans crushed pineapple
5 pounds sugar
Soak apricots overnight in water to cover. Put through the blender, include skin and all. Then put all ingredients in large pot. Stir constantly and bring to a boil. Continue to boil slowly for 30 to 40 minutes. Share with friends or use appropriate canning method to preserve leftovers.
Source: "Not By Bread Alone," by Dorothy Hill Bruce and Shelia Kelly Johnson (1998)
Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.