In re: Home take on Northstar’s ham and cheese biscuit

Northstar is officially a Columbus institituion, having grown from a location in the Short North to having locations in Beechwald and Easton as well as opening Third & Hollywood in Grandview. Northstar does a great job of mixing genres, combining simple with upscale, quality with casual, and mixing healthy with not so much. One of those not so much items is the ham and cheese scone. Like all Northstar’s baked goods they sport a small sign showing what time they were made – although some of us would gladly eat a day old one if one made it so long. The ham and cheese is of course a classic combination that is done to perfection, with some of the cheese getting crusty around the edges and a nice ham that adds without being too hamey.

The sadness of all this is that I rarely get one of these scones because I always get the sweet potato turkey hash for breakfast when we go, meaning only if we splurge for some take out biscuits to eat later will I have one of these – and never in its fresh from the oven state.

A month or two ago while making some biscuits, I thought, hey why not toss in the ham and cheese to these? Not having ham and cheese I had to wait awhile until I remembered the whole affair again at the grocerry store.
Problems emerged immediately though, what kind of ham? what kind of cheese? I thought I’d like to use Virginia ham (to some country ham), a salty, cured ham, which could be added in moderation to deliver texture and intense flavor, but I was foiled when the store doesn’t sell it. (They did have deli ham called Virginia ham, but from my guess it wasn’t what I was thinking of). Instead I settled on a package of pre-diced prociutto (we were at Kroger, so our options were a bit limited in this department – although I should add this was at the new Clintonville Kroger, which is really nice – just not a gourmet destination I guess). For cheese grabbed some gruyere and emmenthal, being unable to decide, so went with the classic fondue duo.

To make the biscuits I made up a batch of biscuits inspired by Sam Sifton’s recipe a while back in the NY Times, been really happy with his recipe, don’t follow it exactly as I am going from memory, but basically I made a half recipe in the food processor, adding the cheese. Into a bowl to add the milk and then in the proscuttio.

I try to minimally handle biscuits and to that end I don’t cut them out with a biscuit cutter, instead cutting them with a knife into squares (in this case 4 big biscuits). The proscuitio and cheese biscuits turned out amazing, I think next time I will leave in some bigger chunks of cheese to get some pockets of cheese (I’ve since done this and can attest it is a good idea), but the little squares of proscuttio were delicious. The recipe is quick enough to make on a work morning if your not a dash out the door person and delicious enough to make for a special sunday brunch.

In re: more canning… green tomato relish

Just like the hipsters in Brooklyn we’ve been doing some home canning this summer, and with the last harvest of the year we grabbed a whole bunch of green tomatoes before the first frost hit. Hating to see such a beautiful lot go to waste we decided to turn them into some relish and can it so that we could share it and get a taste of summer (or I guess autumn) later in the winter. The recipe came from the University of Florida IFAS Extension School, and is really simple and easy if you use a food processor to make quick work of it all (while slower a good old fashion box grater would work and would likely add some hipster cred to your finished product). Basically the recipe consists of green tomatoes,peppers (we used green peppers and some banana peppers from the same harvest), onions, vinegar, mustard, cornstarch, and sugar,  we also put some pickling spices in a tea ball to infuse with all that.(see the link above for the recipe, as always with canning its a good idea to follow an established recipe from a credible source – don’t want to flirt with botulism).  Everything gets chopped up in the food processor into a fine dice and gets cooked up for five minutes in salted water in a big pot before being drained and then cooked up a second time for five minutes with the vinegar, sugar, etc.  I wish we had thought to split the batch to make an extra spicy relish, but the stuff turned out great and would be great anywhere you’d use pickle relish and beyond.

Green tomatoes getting prepped

the finished product – green tomato relish