On July 4th, I went to a Happening. No, that is not some kind of supernatural event . . . well maybe it is. In this case, it was a gathering of artists, friends, and fireworks enthusiasts; a tribute to beloved artist and Vanderbilt Professor Don Evans, who died a few months ago.
Don was known for opening his home, gathering people together, and encouraging everyone to “do something.” Make something. Participate in some way. While I never knew Don, I was honored to attend this event and be able to Do Stuff in his honor. I was a little nervous, though. What would this thing be like?
First, it turned out to be a reunion of sorts, as many memorials/funerals are – I saw people there that I had not seen in years, which was a wonderful surprise. Beyond that, there were different activities going on all over the property – in the barn, the house, the yard. There was a variety of simultaneous art projects; screenings of Don’s films; the release of a huge whirligig made of an airplane wing and a rocket while we all sang a song called Hard Work; the distribution of ashes; and sharing of stories about Don.
The evening ended with a fireworks show that was truly unlike anything I had ever seen before – a fireworks hat on top of a sculpture and a whole tower of spinning fireworks. Participants had spent many hours constructing it and shielding it from the rain that came and went all day. It was truly a unique celebration of a man’s life.
As one might expect, there was lots of food. Everyone brought something, from chips, to hummus, to salad, to an amazing chocolate cake. I know it is shocking, but . . . I brought biscuits. Sweet Honey Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Biscuits to be specific.
Where did this biscuit recipe come from?
This recipe comes from a blog called Half Baked Harvest. She tells a pretty entertaining story about her first time cooking with jalapenos. A cautionary tale, one might say.
Why choose this biscuit recipe?
I enjoyed reading the post and thought these sounded really different, while still being a biscuit. Plus, I knew that the biscuits would have to sit a while – there was no way everyone would get to eat them hot out of the oven, so I wanted something with enough flavor to come through at room temperature.
What is Persnickety about this biscuit recipe?
The cheese is cut up into cubes, instead of grated. That seemed like a good idea, but the cubes on the outside of the dough melted and ran out of the biscuit and onto the pan. I’m not worried about my pan, since I used my trusted parchment paper. But it is sad when good cheese is lost in the baking of a biscuit!
What changes were made in the making of this biscuit recipe?
I followed the recipe closely. The only change I made was to add less chopped jalapeño, which was a mistake. I was afraid they might be too spicy.
So how was the biscuit?
I found them a bit dry and the flavors were too mild. More jalapenos, cheese, and honey might have all helped. I wanted them to pack more of a punch. But I have to admit that they were all devoured at the Happening, so it might have just been me!
I also made them quite small so that there would be plenty to go around. I think they might be better if they were bigger so that there would be more of the soft interior, to contrast with the dry and crumbly exterior. I would also make some kind of filling next time, or serve them with a healthy slather of honey butter. Because everything is better with honey butter!
How were the leftovers prepared?
There were not many leftovers, but I toasted the few that were left behind. They got nice and crispy.