I can't say this for sure, but I have a feeling Ina Garten is living life right. Or maybe it's more that I think she's eating life right. I think it might be the fact that she is not afraid of butter, or cream, or combining absurd amounts of the two that makes me enjoy her so much. (I have a feeling she'd scoff at a stick of margarine, and I like that.) Whatever else it might be, it most certainly has to do with these chive biscuits.
These particular biscuits are from one of her older cookbooks: Barefoot Contessa Family Style. It's a simple, elegant book in her signature style—quick cooking with good ingredients and minimal fuss. The recipe is a one-bowl, seven-ingredient, ten-minute affair, and the biscuits are buttery, and crumbly, and just chive-y enough. They went into the oven as drop biscuits, and came out as steaming piles of heaven. If I were the type to carry food around in my pockets, these biscuits would be in. They are terribly, addictively good, and when it comes to pulling together a fast, classy dinner, they win.
Also, they make very good use of the one herb we have in abundance right now. The chive plant that has been living, untouched, unwatered, and utterly unloved for the past five years on the deck is thriving, and it is in full bloom. According to my super gardener friend Tracy, if we want to have chives all summer, we need to snap those flowers off. And so last week I gave the chive a haircut, consulted Ina, and we had chive biscuits all around.
Incidentally, if you leave out the chives, this recipe also makes excellent biscuits for strawberry shortcake. If I were you, I'd do what I did, and double the recipe. Then I'd divide the dough in half, take one chunk, green it up with chives, and make biscuits to eat with fried eggs alongside your salad at lunch. When that's done I'd take the other half, bake it plain, pile the sweet biscuits with sliced fresh berries from your garden and whipped cream, and call it a day.
However you work it, you're in for a treat.
I adapted this recipe ever so slightly from Ina Garten's recipe in Barefoot Contessa Family Style. Given the amount of butter and cream they call for, I think it is of the utmost importance to choose your dairy carefully. We're getting ours from Paskamansett Farms in Dartmouth right now; if you go store-bought, for cream I recommend anything anti-biotic- and hormone-free, and for butter I like Kate's of Maine. Whatever you choose, just be sure not to do anything crazy, like, say, throw in a stick of margarine. I don't think Ina would approve.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 scant cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and work it in with a pastry cutter until it is in pea-size pieces. Add the heavy cream and stir until just mixed; gently fold in the chives.
Grease a baking sheet and use two spoons to form the dough into drop biscuits roughly an inch and a half in diameter. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the insides are cooked through. Serve warm.