Is there a better phrase to use that neither sounds as casual as “I quit my job” nor as momentous as “I retired” for when one has stopped working? These two options just don’t seem appropriate for me, though technically, they’re both correct. What started out as a temporary stint at my husband’s company (as in “Can you help us for three months?”) turned into an eight-year gig with increased responsibility. As of two weeks ago, I no longer have a day job. I’ve flipped the page to a new chapter in my life and as silly as it sounded to my former colleagues to hear me say, “I’m not sure what I’ll do with my time,” it really hasn’t sunk in yet.
We had discussed this event on many occasions over the last few years, my husband and I. He is retired, too, so this opens up a lot of opportunities for us to see and do the things we’ve always talked about. I don’t take for granted for one minute that I am able to do this at this stage in my life; I’m truly grateful. Once I adjust to this new routine, I intend to fill my time with worthwhile pursuits.
Volunteer work is high on the list. I’ve really missed my time at Stanford Hospital. Fostering friendships with the General Surgery staff and being able to interact with patients’ family members for a few hours a week was so much more rewarding than I ever imagined it could be. Maybe I’ll finally be able to get involved in some church programs, too. It’s been far too long since I’ve been part of a church community.
As for my husband, he has travel on his mind. I’ve suggested another road trip to Utah to visit the national parks. If you’ve never been to Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon or to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, I highly recommend them all.
I was also recently introduced to a new type of tour in Rome and Naples that food-minded and archaeology enthusiasts like me might appreciate. Elifant Archaeo-Culinary Tours hosts guided tours in Rome and Naples (they’re adding more locations for 2016). A mutual friend led to an email introduction to one of the owners of the company, Elizabeth Bartman, an expert in Ancient Roman art and archaeology. Elifant offers small-group trips centered around ancient art, history and food. This is EXACTLY the kind of tour I would love to participate in, especially given my fascination with ancient grains/food. A return to Rome is on the agenda and when it happens, this tour will be on the itinerary.
But baby steps. For now, I’ve signed up for a series of knitting classes–a small item easily checked off the bucket list and a plan that elicited chuckles from a few friends when I told them about it (You? Knitting? Really?). I bought several succulents at the Half Moon Bay Nursery, too, on one of my first “retirement days”. It’s time to re-pot and re-arrange the flora in my yard. And an art class is also on the horizon. On second thought, this retirement thing may not be so bad after all…
The weeks leading to my last day at the office were busy. I baked these biscuits but never got around to sharing them here. I used einkorn flour, the first form of cultivated wheat. It is purely by coincidence that I am sharing this recipe using ancient grain at the same time as I mention Elifant Tours and I’m delighted by the perfect tie-in!
These savory biscuits are big on flavor and were inspired by my Pumpkin Cheddar Scones. The key differences: I used whole grain flour, leftover roasted sweet potato instead of pumpkin, added scallions and granulated garlic, omitted the eggs and used nutritional yeast instead of cheddar. Feel free to use traditional ingredients (all-purpose flour, eggs and cheddar) but I promise you that you won’t mind them here at all. If you’ve considered exploring healthier options in baking, this recipe would be a good one to try. The egg substitute and nutritional yeast mitigate the presence of butter and milk when you are mindful of cholesterol like we are in our household. The nutritional yeast adds lots of nutty, cheesy flavor and the granulated garlic complements it very well. If you’re accustomed to baking biscuits with all-purpose flour, you will find these a little denser but the nutritional gain from the sweet potato and the alternate ingredients makes the swaps worth it to me. These biscuits would add substance to a light meal of winter salad and comforting soup–just the kind of meal I can now see enjoying for lunch after a morning in the yard…or after knitting class!
Note: Lewis Labs is the only brand of nutritional yeast I use and it’s easy to order on Amazon (here).
Sweet Potato Scallion Biscuits
- 2 1/2 cups einkorn flour or all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Few turns of freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic not garlic salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter cut in cubes
- 3 stalks scallions green parts only, chopped
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast my favorite is the Lewis Labs brand; feel free to use cheddar if that's your preference
- 3/4 cup 157 grams roasted sweet potato purée (See Note)
- Egg substitute equivalent to 2 eggs I used Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer; you can use 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk plus more for brushing scones
Preheat your oven to 425℉. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, granulated garlic and nutritional yeast in a large mixing bowl. Work in the butter using a pastry cutter until the mixture is a little crumbly. Stir in the chopped scallions and cheese (if you're using cheese instead of the nutritional yeast).
In a small bowl, whisk together the sweet potato purée, 2 tablespoons milk and egg substitute (or two eggs). Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and add the 1/4 cup milk gradually as you stir the mixture together. You may not need to use the entire 1/4 cup milk but I did. This dough may be a little sticky.
Scrape the dough onto a lightly-floured work surface, shape it into a round and flatten with your hand until the dough is roughly 1/2 - 3/4 inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter to cut a piece of dough and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. I used a large cookie cutter (3-inches) so this batch yielded 9 biscuits. Reshape the dough into a disk and cut round pieces with your cookie cutter until all the dough has been used up. You can use a smaller cookie cutter; baking time will be a minute or two shorter.
Brush the tops with a little milk and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, depending on biscuit size. Serve warm. These will keep in the refrigerator and are great toasted the next day.
For this recipe I used one small leftover sweet potato that had been peeled and cut into 3/4 inch disks and roasted at 350℉ for about 20-30 minutes.
Jean, I’m so happy for you. I remember chatting about this over lunch one day, and I am glad you will be able to embrace this time to pursue your passions. What a blessing! I’ll be living vicariously through you.
Thanks, Liren! It’s funny how easy it is to fill the days with chores. The first knitting class is this weekend so really looking forward to it. 🙂
Congrats to you. Have a great day and week.
Delicious! They must be quite addictive.
Congrats to you on your new endeavors. I left my corporate job 5 years ago and starting working with my fiance (part time mostly). I went back to school for 3 of those years and after graduating in Dec 2013 I have more responsibility. We hope to sell in the next year and who knows what lays before us after that!
Elissa, sounds like exciting times ahead for you. I wish you and your fiancé prosperity in your endeavors. 🙂
pam (Sidewalk Shoes) says
Enjoy your “retirement”!! These look wonderful!
Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet says
I would love a whole plate of those! Love all the flavors!
Kimberly Ann @ Bake Love Give says
What a delightful recipe! Congrats on the new chapter and those tours sound phenomenal!
Des @ Life's Ambrosia says
Now those are some delicious looking biscuits! I would be all over that Rome trip too. We went to Rome 7 years ago for our honey moon then again a couple years later before we decided to have kids. Now it’s been almost 5 years and I miss it! It’s such an amazing city and I can’t wait to take my boys there when they can appreciate all it has to offer, especially the food 🙂
Rachel @ The Stay At Home Chef says
Congratulations! Curling up with a bowl of hearty stew and these biscuits would be a great way to celebrate!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
Congrats on your retirement, Jean! What an exciting time for you, I have no doubt that you’ll find many ways to fill your days :). I love sweet potatoes, these biscuits look so good!
These look so very tasty! I love a good biscuit!
Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings says
Congrats on your “retirement” – heehee. Now, there’s a whole new life ahead of you and your husband. Enjoy it to the fullest! I am sure you will have no problems filling your time. Knitting classes? Awesome! Travel? Awesomer! Volunteer work? You’re a saint! Plus of course, more food posts, right? Anyway, I’ll shoot you a private message. I’d love to take our kids to a road trip through Utah and the Grand Canyon. Any tips? And oh, cant forget the important part – your biscuits look awesome!