Island Detours (Plus a Family Recipe!)

On paper, my parents’ place - my home base on my holiday - is in Little Pond, PEI. In reality, it’s in the middle of nowhere. And it’s lovely. 

Upload from September 12, 2011But after you finish leafing through that book everyone’s reading and get back from your daily stroll down the beach in search of shore glass, well, you’ve got to get in the car if you’re going to do anything else with your day.  

Which is kind of awesome, actually, because on PEI, there’s always something interesting just down the road ready to distract you (and your ever-patient parents) from your intended destination:

Upload from September 12, 2011Wharves lined with lobster boats and trap shacks;
Heritage dirt roads that offer the promise of another handful of amazing wild mushrooms (no luck yet, but we’re trying!);
A roadside diner where the pulled pork is, I’m told, worthy of my first meal if ever I give up on the vegetarian thing;
A little market overflowing with seasonal veggies, island ice cream and, if you’re lucky, a corn maze;
And family. Lots and lots of family.

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When nearly all of your relatives live on PEI (and the exceptions are out here on vacation), you’re bound to be within stopping-in-for-tea distance of someone’s place at all times. 

Last Wednesday, when we dropped in on my aunt Lorraine and uncle Paul on our way into Charlottetown, we were greeted with a fresh batch of my aunt’s famous cheese biscuits (still warm from the oven!), and instructions from my uncle to “pound ‘em into ya”. And, being the super-generous person that she is, Lorraine not only let us eat every last one of her biscuits (guys, they’re really good), but she then shared the recipe with me and - hurray! - with you too!   

Upload from September 12, 2011They’re beyond light and flakey and super-simple to pull together. Just, um, try to remember to add the cheese, ok? See that photo of me kneading up there? See that bowl of forgotten cheese? Cheese biscuits, Stephanie, cheese biscuits.

Aunt Lorraine’s Cheese Biscuits
Adapted from my lovely aunt Lorraine
Makes ~a dozen biscuits

1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¼ cup vegetable shortening
¾ - 1 cup grated old cheddar cheese*
¾ cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. With a pastry blender (or a fork, or your fingers), cut shortening into flour mixture until mixture is coarse and crumbly (the shortening bits should be about the size of peas). Stir in grated cheese until it’s evenly distributed through flour mixture. Slowly add milk, stirring with a fork, until dough is moist and pulling away from the side of the bowl. 

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3. Dump dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead just until it comes together (no more than 20 times!), shaping in into a rectangle ¾- to 1-inch high. Cut into rounds with a biscuit/cookie cutter or small glass dipped in flour, placing raw biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet. Gently reform remaining dough and repeat until you’ve used up all your dough. Bake biscuits for 14-16 minutes or until bottoms and tops are lightly brown. Eat as soon as you can! 

Upload from September 12, 2011*I forgot the cheese the first time around, and they were still super-tasty. We ate them with butter, homemade raspberry jam, and gusto!
Thanks goes to my sister and brother-in-law, Lauren and Rob, for taking the action shots of me making biscuits! 

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