Sometimes it’s the simplest things in the world that are the best.
A jug of wine, a loaf of bread – that whole Rubaiyat deal that long-ago Omar Khayyam promoted via Edward FitzGerald, back when A. C. Swinburne and D. G. Rossetti were the cool kids on the aesthetic block.
And, sometimes, even an entire loaf of bread is too much, whether or not it accompanies a jug of wine and a book of verses and whoever. Because, I mean, sometimes? Sometimes all you want is a biscuit. You know?
Well, I’ve got that biscuit for you.
I mean, I’m going to tell you about the biscuit, and it’s so easy to make it for yourself, and maybe you’ll want to make a whole bunch for your friends, and then everyone you share them with will be – at least on a gustatory level – very happy indeed.
Now, when I say “make it for yourself,” I’m not even talking about a recipe. I’m talking about you go and get yourself a Pillsbury or HEB Hill Country Fare readymade tube of biscuits or whatever, and you pop ‘em in the oven and pull them back out and then you put some toppings on them. Just three simple toppings.
But toppings that probably nobody’s told you about in this particular combination before.
Because I just discovered this thing myself, dealing with some leftover post-Turkeyday biscuits this past weekend, and, boy howdy, the nearly indescribable goodness of it. In fact, just thinking about it is making my mouth water most dreadfully, hold on, lemme get a napkin, and …
Right. Well, that was embarrassing.
So, anyway: During Austin’s Fusebox Festival a couple of years ago, the Digestible Feats curator Hank Cathey set up a cross-discipline event involving composer Graham Reynolds and chef Lucky Sibilla. An evening of the music of Reynolds and his Golden Arm Trio, inspired by the tunes of Italy, accompanied by the savory marvels of Sibilla’s Puglia-based, bread-oriented cuisine. It was called “Night of the Tarantula,” this event, and it was one hell of a sensational show.
But, check it out: I’m not even talking about the show here. Or, rather, not so much about Reynolds or Sibilla and how terrifically they rewarded the audience that night. I’m talking specifically about the oils and vinegars that accompanied the salad and the bread courses. These had been supplied by a store called Con’Olio – and that’s all the store does, really, is produce and sell oils and vinegars. And, me, I’m no Anthony Bourdain, I’m no Kate Thornberry – I’m pretty much a lousy dilettante of a foodie . And so I’d never even heard of these Con’Olio people before.
Ironic, then, that I could scarcely STFU about them after that Night of the Tarantula. Because, as food-enhancing liquids go? Those oils and vinegars were like elixirs distilled from the joyous tears of seraphim.
But, of course, the night was over; and a few weeks later that year’s Fusebox Festival took its bow; and workaday life closed back in. And so the quotidian world with its relentless demands of attention and industry smothered any inspiration to partake of such heavenly oils, such divine vinegars, on a more regular basis. Because that would mean actually going out and buying some. Or, at least, ordering the stuff online. Which – as young Bart derisively put it, back when The Simpsons were as culturally vibrant as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was in its day – “smacked of effort.”
So, no go: Too damned busy.
Or: Too damned good at procrastinating.
But, at least once a week, maybe more frequently, I’ve thought about the enticing wares of Con’Olio. I’ve recalled the exquisite taste and the alluring mouthfeel, all the rich, invigorating … aaaaaaaaah, and so, finally, last month, almost two years after the Fusebox fact … since my wife and I were going to be up in North Austin near the Arboretum anyway, what the hell: We paid a visit to Con’Olio.
And I’m not going to get into the whole visit experience here, nor list the insane variety of what’s available in that elegantly appointed store, nor reveal how many hard-earned simeoleons we dropped on this or that bottle of whatever. Because, I know – you’re wanting to get back to that biscuit, aren’t you?
Almost there, dear reader.
Here’s the thing: Although our biggest Con’Olio purchase was a quart of garlic-infused olive oil (because my mostly spice-intolerant spouse is nonetheless a garlic-loving fiend), what’s prompted this article is nothing more than a tiny bottle of vinegar.
Because it’s a tiny bottle of ginger blackberry vinegar.
Might just be the best unexpected combo since Fischer & Wieser put the chipotle in the raspberry and stirred it all up.
So, epicurean friend, what you do is: You get yourself a bottle of that stuff – a tiny bottle, a big bottle, whatever your budget allows, the folks at Con’Olio will fill one of their bottles for you – and you take it, that ginger blackberry vinegar, and you place the bottle on your counter while your instant flaky-layered biscuits are in the oven. And then, once you’ve got those biscuits out and they’ve cooled enough to eat without burning the hell out of your mouth, you mash the biscuits down a little or you peel off the top layer – so they’ll better hold the toppings – and then you put three things on top of them.
1. You put a pat of butter right in the center of each biscuit.
2. You surround the pat of butter with a thick golden circle of honey.
3. You sprinkle almost a teaspoon of that ginger blackberry vinegar into the by-now-melted butter.
And then – ah, I think you can probably take it from here, yes?
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