Category: Biscuits

Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcake

Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcake

Rhubarb pie — not to be confused with strawberry-rhubarb pie — is probably my husband’s favorite dessert. This isn’t to say he won’t eat every bit of a strawberry-rhubarb, or even a Blueberry-Rhubarb Crisp (see below), but just that plain rhubarb pie is it. There are years when due to a move or gardening delays, there is no rhubarb in our garden or yard. I’m then reduced to begging from friends, who immediately know why I’m calling come spring. I also haunt the local grocery produce section where rhubarb does indeed appear but also disappears mysteriously…and not always when you need it. “Oh, sorry! It’s all gone. You know we get produce in every single night. Try again in the morning!” Rats.

Continue reading “Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcake”
Whole Wheat Biscuits and Gene’s Sausage Gravy for Father’s Day

Whole Wheat Biscuits and Gene’s Sausage Gravy for Father’s Day

Brunch, and maybe especially Father’s Day brunch, is one of my favorite meals! This post is dedicated to my father-in-law, Gene Morgan, a good cook who makes the very best of all Sausage Gravies.

Gene, after a lifetime career in nearly every sector of the grocery store arena, knows the food business.  Just ask him about how long green beans are picked before they’re canned, when a melon is ripe, where sugar beets are grown in the world, how coffee is stored in the warehouse, or what H.E.B. actually stands for.  He’s a fair hand in the kitchen, too, and can keep dinner coming. In fact, the man can bake when he wants to. What he’s really famous for, however, is his sausage gravy.  Well, that and being just about the biggest Illini (University of Illinois) fan in the state of Illinois. He once sported an Illini ROOM in the house, in fact, all decorated and gussied up by his wife, my mother-in-law, Lorna, who joins right in year in and year out with the Illini devotion.

Continue reading “Whole Wheat Biscuits and Gene’s Sausage Gravy for Father’s Day”

Turkey-Wild Rice + Vegetable Soup with Sherry and Walnut Garnish OR One More Snow Day in Saint Paul

Turkey-Wild Rice + Vegetable Soup with Sherry and Walnut Garnish OR One More Snow Day in Saint Paul

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It’s spring in name only in Saint Paul.  Whereas many food writers and bloggers are already complaining about too many fresh pea or asparagus recipes, people here are still sniffling and shuffling around town in their by now worn-out snow boots. (Uh, there are not even pea tendrils in St. Paul because snow covers the vegetable gardens; see below.)  In fact, if you move here, you’ll save a lot of money on shoes;  you only need them May – September.  Not only that,  you can write about fresh peas, rhubarb, and asparagus when folks further south are eating their first tiny tomatoes and are getting tired of grilling already.

This picture is out my front door this morning.

While people keep emailing or texting me, “Aren’t you tired of snow?”  I’m not.  I’m happy to make one more bubbling cauldron and a big pan of biscuits.  I might be sick of my sweaters, though.

If it’s not too warm where you are, maybe you’re still in the mood for a big pot of soup with bread.  (It’s also a perfect way to use that leftover Thanksgiving turkey if it’s that time a year. ) Try this:

turkey-wild rice + vegetable soup
   makes about 10 quarts of soup

Using up leftover turkey from a holiday meal? Skip that 1 1/2 hours cooking the turkey thighs and  just add  your 2-3 cups shredded or chopped cooked turkey after the rice (#3).

  • 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil
  • Pinch crushed red pepper 
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces, divided
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 quarts chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 cups water, divided
  • 2  turkey thighs, skin removed (or 2-3 cups shredded or chopped cooked turkey)
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed several times and drained*
  • Tabasco
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices (can sub 2 medium potato, peeled, and diced)
  • 1/2 cup each fresh or frozen green peas and corn
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry for garnish at the table
  • 1 cup roasted, chopped walnuts or almonds for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat butter and olive oil with red pepper over medium heat in a 12-quart stockpot for one  minute.  Add onions, 1 of the cut-up carrots, the celery, fennel, parsley, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt with 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.  Cook five minutes or until vegetables are beginning to soften.  Add garlic and cook another minute or two, stirring.
  2. Pour in stock, wine, and 2 cups of the water.  Stir well and add turkey thighs, poultry seasoning, another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and another 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until turkey is tender.
  3. Remove turkey to cutting board and let cool several minutes.  While the turkey is cooling, add rice and 3-4 drops of Tabasco (or more to taste) to the broth.  Bring back to a  low boil.  After turkey is cooled, shred using two forks, and return to pot.  Let cook about 20 minutes and add parsnips along with the rest of the carrots.  Continue to cook another 20 minutes, skimming off fat as needed.** Stir in peas and corn.
  4. Continue to cook until turkey, rice, and all vegetables are tender –another 5-10 minutes. Continue to skim off fat.  Add more water or broth if necessary. This should not be a thick stew, but rather a rich, brothy soup.   Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve over or with biscuits.  Pour sherry into a small pitcher and pass at the table with the walnuts, if using, to garnish soup. (Just a teaspoon or so of sherry per bowl is plenty, but it’s a matter of personal taste.)

*Please buy Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Michigan hand-harvested wild rice. 
Click here for wild rice nutritional information.

**Turkey thighs give off a lot of fat.  You might have 1/4 cup of fat skimmed off (or more) by the end of the cooking.

biscuits
                      makes 12   2-inch biscuits

  • 2 cups allpurpose, unbleached flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and cream of tartar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup milk    

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, cream of tartar and baking powder.  Add butter and cut in well using a pastry blender, two forks, your fingers, or even a food processor until some of the mixture is the size of peas and some are larger, some smaller.  

Stir in the milk all at once and keep stirring until a ball of dough is formed.  Place dough on a floured board and knead 10-12 times.  Pat out (or roll) into a rough circle until dough is about 1/2-inch thick.  Cut out using a 2-inch floured biscuit or round, fluted cookie cutter. * Place biscuits on a baking sheet or in a glass pie pan.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve hot, warm, at room temperature, or cold.  (I like to bake biscuits in a Pyrex pie plate or casserole pan because they stay warm at the table.)

*You can use the mouth of a small, floured glass to cut biscuits if you have no cutter.  Another option is to cut them with a knife into squares or rectangles.  They’ll bake.

( Biscuit recipe courtesy FANNIE FARMER BAKING BOOK  by Marion Cunningham.)

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My south window today.


If you like turkey thighs, you might want to try this if the weather is warmer where you are:

Dave’s Ribs and Barbequed Turkey Thighs



By the way, I still have a few soups left to test for my soup cookbook.  Interested?  Leave contact information in a comment or email me afmorgan53@yahoo.com.  No pay, but hopefully a good meal and fun!

Sing a new song,
Alyce   

38 Power Foods, Week 35 — Yogurt — Smoked Salmon Frittata with Horseradish Yogurt and Irish Scones

38 Power Foods, Week 35 — Yogurt — Smoked Salmon Frittata with Horseradish Yogurt and Irish Scones

This is also A Week of St. Pat’s Recipes, Friday…

There’s nothing like a scone.  You can pronounce it skone or skahn, as does my friend, Marie, who’s from South Africa:

“I asked the maid in dulcet tone
To order me a buttered scone
The silly girl has been and gone
And ordered me a buttered scone.”

Long or short “o,” however  you say scone, make a pot of tea while the scones bake and be sure your butter is softened–or  your cream whipped, if you like that.  My barely sweet little scones are a good foil for a savory frittata without moving all the way to sugar-high coffee cakes or Danish, which are more time-consuming at any rate.   Along with some sliced (or grilled) tomatoes or a bit of salad, they round out a gorgeous brunch or lunch.  If it’s brunch, you might stretch the occasion to include an Irish coffee for St. Patrick’s Day or another special Sunday.

Today’s frittata, laced with smoked salmon (an Irish specialty) and sautéed shallots and mushrooms, is topped with a horseradish yogurt sauce to highlight 38 Power Foods tribute to healthy, luscious yogurt:

1/4 cup Greek yogurt + 1 tablespoon grated horseradish–Lovely for an omelet or grilled salmon.

One cup of yogurt provides nearly 45% of your daily calcium needs, plenty of protein, many B vitamins, and minerals such as potassium and phosphorous.  Best of all, though, is yogurt’s rich and healthful assortment of live bacteria that may help maintain the digestive system, boost the immune system, prevent yeast infections, and lower cholesterol.  Calorie counts, as well as many other things, vary greatly between brands, but Chobani plain Greek yogurt is about 130 calories per cups and has 15 grams of protein.

 

smoked salmon frittata with horseradish yogurt
4 generous servings or 8 smaller ones

I used potatoes cooked the night before. If you need to cook potatoes, start with that.  A quick way would be to microwave for 2 minutes or so and thensauté them with the shallots and mushrooms.

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch crushed rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 4 ounces thickly cut mushrooms (any)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cooked potatoes, sweet potatoes, or a mixture
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 1/2-inch x 1 – 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Irish cheddar, shredded; divided (1/4 cup in the frittata and 1/4 cup for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt/ I like Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon grated horseradish
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced

In a large sauté pan (12-14 inches in diameter), heat over medium flame the butter, oil, rosemary and pepper for one minute.  Add the shallots and mushrooms; cook until softened, about three minutes.
Add cooked potatoes and cook another minute or two until potatoes are hot.

While the veg cooks:  In a medium bowl, beat or whisk eggs with salt and stir in salmon and cheese.  Pour egg mixture into pan and cook 3 minutes or until eggs are about half-set.

Meantime, in  a small ramekin, whisk together the yogurt and horseradish; top with a grind of black pepper.  Set aside.

Place pan in oven and let bake another 3-5 minutes or until eggs are set to your liking. Watch carefully at this point.  Remove to a large cutting board, by banging pan on the counter a time or two to loosen eggs, and turning over quickly with a gentle slam to get the frittata onto the board upside down.  Sprinkle with the other 1/4 cup of the cheese and let sit a minute before cutting into fourths or eighths, like a pie.  Serve hot, warm, at room temperature, or cold with yogurt sauce and sliced or grilled tomatoes.

Just out of the oven–the top is barely firm.
Bang and turn it out upside down onto a large board.  Top with cheese.
Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm, at room temp, or cold.

 
Notes:  Frittata is an Italian word for omelet  and is usually an open-faced omelet with vegetables and/or meats.   While frittata ingredients are often cooked from scratch, it’s useful and expedient to use leftovers such as sliced ham or prosciutto, cooked shrimp,  sautéed potatoes or asparagus, etc.  Many people cook their  frittatas totally stovetop; I prefer to start them on the stove and finish them in the oven–watching carefully to make sure they’re not over-cooked.

Frittatas are lovely leftover, julienned, for snacks with drinks or on an antipasti platter.  They also make a great sandwich for someone just starved at next morning’s breakfast.
 

I spent some time once on a sheep farm in Ireland.  Lovely.  Green.

irish fruit scones   adapted for American kitchens
                                                          original recipe by Edmund Cronin, THATCH COTTAGE, County Kerry

  •  8 ounces all purpose, unbleached flour (1 3/4 cups approx.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50 g (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons) butter
  • 50 g (2 ounces or 1/3 cup) granulated sugar
  • 75 g (3 ounces or 1/2 cup) sultanas (raisins)–I used currants
  • 1/4 pint/ 125 ml (1/2 cup approx) milk       
  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (425 F/ gas mark 7)
  2. Lightly grease a small baking sheet.
  3. Mix together flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl.  Cut in butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in sugar and raisins or currants.
  4. Add milk and mix to produce a soft dough.
  5. Turn the dough onto a floured board or counter and knead about a minute until well-combined and holding together.
  6. Roll out dough to about 3/4-inch thick.  Using a floured 2-inch cutter, cut scones into rounds and place on baking tray.
  7. Brush with milk to glaze.
  8. Bake 12 minutes or until done to your liking; I like them a bit crisp on the outside.
  9. Remove scones to a wire rack and serve warm or at room temperature with soft butter. (The Irish might serve these with whipped cream rather than butter.)

Buy a little package of Irish butter for these scones. You’ll be glad you did.  Cows in Ireland are happy, happy campers and they make transcendent butter.

Patted out dough waiting to be cut with a floured cutter or knife.

Baker’s notes:  I used a food processor fitted with a steel blade for steps 1-4, but I turned the mixture out and did the rest by hand, including working in the last of the milk.  The dried fruit would be chopped finely if you continued in the food processor much longer.  To do the whole thing by hand or with a pastry cutter would be fairly quick and simple, as well.  Some cooks would just use their hands to get the butter into the flour; I find it melts too much from the heat of my hands and prefer a metal cutting force of some sort–either the pastry cutter or the food processor blade.

Scone Song…

I made these scones Thursday for lunch (we need natural light for photography) and we –well, mostly Dave — gobbled them right up.  You could eat a lot of these; mine were small.  I’m making them again for Dave’s monthly men’s breakfast at church.  I made the dough, patted it into a round, wrapped it tightly in plastic, and refrigerated it.  My plan is to bake them and send them warm to the guys.  I’ll let you  know how it turns out.  I, however, have no butter to go with them because I stupidly left out butter on the table from having friends over.  Miss Gab ate all of it and then got into the soft cooking butter I keep on the counter in the kitchen.

aka BUTTER GIRL

beat beat beat

People always talk about the green in Ireland; I loved the oh-so-blue sky:

You can order smoked Irish salmon via Burren’s (North County Clare) from anywhere in the world here. or call T: +353 65 7074432.

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38 Power Foods is a Team Effort!

Stop by these other blogs and see what they’re cooking each week as we team up to bring you some of the healthiest cooking available:

Minnie Gupta from TheLady8Home.com

All sites may not blog power foods each week.

Sing a new song; listen to Rob Leveridge,
Alyce

A Week of Recipes for St. Pat’s, Thursday — Guinness Beef Pot Pie with Cheddar-Dill Biscuits

A Week of Recipes for St. Pat’s, Thursday — Guinness Beef Pot Pie with Cheddar-Dill Biscuits

Made in a deep, heavy 8 quart cast iron pot with a  lid  (Dutch oven)

Last year around this time, I made a pot roast with big pieces of butternut squash and halved onions in the oven.  A day later I took the leftovers, including the gravy, and made stew.  Stew from leftovers is definitely an improvement over freshly made stew.   There’s a deeper, fuller, and more flavorful rich quality–without question.  It’s just that there’s usually less than when you make a fresh pot. That stew made very quickly with the addition of more onions, celery, and Guinness stout, etc., was divine.   I mean it, it was an incredible stew. When my boss tasted it (and she’s a really good cook), she said, “Alyce cooks for God, you know.”

At the top of Dublin’s Guinness brewery, there’s a 2DIE4 pub…here’s one view.

No who knows totally why one time things are so scrumptious you want more and more — and another time (same ingredients and method apparently) it’s like, “This is ok. Yeah, we can eat dinner here.”  Perhaps it’s the quality of the meat (in the case of stew) or maybe it’s a little pixie dust.  Your taste buds might be on their “A” game so that you are able to season the pot in an extraordinary way.   Truly, I just don’t know.  I know when I’m tired — really exhausted– the meal prepared under those circumstances is plebian.  I just did that recently, so I know.  I know when I don’t give something my undivided attention that it’s bound to be less interesting.  (As in the kids are hungry-throw a bunch of cut-up chicken in the oven and make some rice for God’s sake.)

Despite the fact that I make several pots of stew over the winter each year, I remembered that one.  I also remembered I was determined to recreate it from scratch if possible.  Hence this pot of stew that, by the end of the cooking, morphed into one big pot pie.

We could choose between three temperatures of Guinness pints. Dubliners love their Guinness and speak highly of the company that has employed and taken care of many of them over the years.

Options:
 
**If you’d like stew only, add a cup or two more liquid, and skip the biscuits.  You could, without question, make the whole pot of stew in a pot on the stove.

**I did not try it, but I’d guess it’s possible to make the stew all day in the crock-pot–cutting down the amount of herbs–, pour it into an oven-safe pot and bake with the biscuits right at dinner time.

**Another option might be (again, I didn’t try this) to cool the stew and top it with puff pastry, brushing the pastry with a little melted butter or an egg wash–one egg beaten well with a teaspoon of water.  (If you put the puff pastry on hot stew, it’ll be melting.)  You would then need to bake in a hot oven (400 degrees F) until the puff pastry was golden.  That might appeal to some cooks more than making biscuit dough.  Here’s a method.

**Like Bisquick biscuits?  Go on; I won’t know, though I encourage you to learn to make biscuits.  I once knew a woman whose husband insisted he married her because she could make beaten biscuits in her sleep.

** I also give directions –see “Cheddar-Dill Biscuits” scrolling down — for baking and serving the biscuits separately if that suits you better.

Come cold, there’s little more satisfying than a pot of stew in the oven. I encourage you to use the oven method if you can.  Play cards.  Listen to music.  Watch “Michael” or “The Quiet Man,” if it’s St. Pat’s  One of the interesting things about this stew is it’s made without potatoes though you could add some if you’d like.  I prefer other root vegetables and stick with carrots, turnips, parsnips, as well as celery, onions, garlic, and butternut squash.  I’ve you’ve no butternut squash, use extra carrots, parsnips, or a combination.  Serve this with another couple of cold Guinness stouts or a glass of your favorite Syrah or Côtes du Rhône if you’re not a dark beer person.  (You’ll still love the stew; I promise.)

Five St. Pat’s Movies to Watch This Weekend (Washington Post)

guinness beef pot pie with cheddar-dill biscuits
a look and cook recipe
Total preparation and cooking time:  approximately 2 1/2 –  3 hours.
Serves 6-8

 ( Read through before beginning.  Scroll down for separate ingredients list and biscuit recipe)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  To an 8 qt Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add 3 tablespoons canola oil. When hot, add 2-3  pounds beef chuck (seasoned well with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper) cut into 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces. Brown well in two batches, removing the first batch to a plate while you cook the second.

To the second batch of browning beef, add 2 large chopped onions.  When beef is nearly brown, add four cloves chopped garlic.  Cook a minute, return first batch of beef to the pot, and stir in 2 tablespoons flour. Cook 2 minutes, stirring.

Pour in 2 cups each beef broth and Guinness stout,  and stir well to scrape up the bits at the bottom of the pot. Add 1 bay leaf,  1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, a large sprig each of fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage.* Stir in 1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish or a good hard shake or two of Tabasco.
Add 4 ounces quartered button mushrooms along with one each turnip and parsnip , 2 carrots, 2 stalks celery, and 1 cup of  butternut squash, all cut into around 1/2 inch pieces.
Bring to a boil stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Cover and bake in the oven 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until beef and vegetables are tender and sauce is thickened. 

 Remove from oven and take out the fresh herb sprigs.^ If stew is very, very thick, add a cup water or broth, but no more stout.  Biscuits will soak up a lot of the liquid as they bake in the stew.
Meanwhile, make cheddar-dill biscuit dough. It’s a very wet dough.  (See below for recipe.)
Spoon biscuit dough (I used a wooden spoon) onto the top of the cooked stew. Brush biscuits with a tablespoon of melted butter. Biscuits will rise and expand to nearly cover top of pie. 
Return to oven and bake uncovered another 20-30 minutes until biscuits are golden brown.

Serve hot with a crisp green salad.  Store leftovers well covered in frig 2-3 days.  Rewarm in another casserole in oven.

Ingredients List (see below for biscuit ingredients):  2-3 pounds beef chuck roast cut into 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces; salt and pepper; 2 large onions; 4 cloves garlic; 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour; 2 cups each beef broth and Guinness stout**; 4 ounces button mushrooms; one each turnip and parsnip; 2 carrots; 1 cup cut butternut squash; 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 1 bay leaf, and 1 sprig each rosemary, thyme, and sage*; 1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish or Tabasco.

*You may substitute two teaspoons each dried rosemary (crumbled) and thyme with 1/2 teaspoon ground sage.

**If you don’t want to use beer, use all beef broth.

^ Leave in bay leaf.  Whoever gets it has good luck!

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

cheddar-dill biscuits for pot pie

Cook’s Note:  This recipe is for the biscuits cooked in the stew.  If you want to bake a pan of these biscuits separately, decrease the milk to 2/3 of a cup and mix until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a floured board or counter and knead 10 times or so before patting or rolling out the dough until it’s about 1/2-inch thick. Cut biscuits out with a floured 2-inch round biscuit cutter.  You could also cut the biscuits into squares or rectangles with a sharp knife.  Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220C/Gas Mark 7) on a baking sheet or in a  big (10-inch) pie plate for 15 minutes or until golden. You can serve the biscuits with a pie server in the pie plate at center of the table.  They’ll stay warm a good long while and your family or friends can help themselves.

  • 2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 1/2 cup (4 tablespoons) cold butter, diced–plus 1 more tablespoon, melted for tops of biscuits
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (Irish cheddar would be fun.)
  • 1 cup milk

Stir together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add cold butter and using a pastry blender or two knives (you can use just your fingers or even do the whole thing in a food processor), cut in the butter until the butter is mostly blended and the mixture appears sandy.  Stir in cheese.  Pour in milk and mix well without over-mixing.  (Using a large spoon, divide dough fairly evenly around the top of the pot pie and brush with the tablespoon of melted butter before baking.)

Sing a new song; listen to Rob Leveridge,
Alyce
(first posted october 2012 right here on More Time)

50 Women Game-Changers – #36 Edna Lewis- Biscuits

50 Women Game-Changers – #36 Edna Lewis- Biscuits

“I married her for her beaten biscuits.”

Edna Lewis’ Best Biscuits

Ingredients

  1. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons single-acting baking powder or double-acting baking powder (see Note)
  3. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/4 cup cold lard or vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
  6. 1/2 cup buttermilk
  7. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted  

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingers, work in the lard just until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the buttermilk just until moistened.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times. Roll out or pat the dough 1/2 inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cutter, stamp out biscuits as close together as possible. Transfer the biscuits to a baking sheet. Pat the dough scraps together, reroll and cut out the remaining biscuits; do not overwork the dough.
  3. Pierce the top of each biscuit 3 times with a fork and brush with the butter. Bake the biscuits for 12 to 14 minutes, or until risen and golden. Serve at once.

Make AheadThe unbaked biscuits can be frozen in a single layer, then kept frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Thaw before baking. NotesTo make your own single-acting baking powder, combine 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar with 1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. The mix will keep in a tightly sealed jar for up to 1 month.
                                                                         (Courtesy Food and Wine.)

if you want love, learn how to make biscuits

Back in college, Dave and I had a professor of music named Ann Collins.  Now Ann was a fine pianist, a good teacher, and she wrote interesting books (I still have two of them) about teaching preschoolers to play the piano.  While I never agreed with teaching preschoolers to play the piano (I liked them playing in the sandbox myself), I did admire Ann.  Ann wasn’t my teacher particularly, but she was Dave’s.  And somehow, as life went in those days, we ended up for dinner at Ann’s house one night.  If memory serves, she was celebrating a new grand piano.  While I remember little else, I do remember Ann’s biscuits.  Not only that, I remember her husband making big over them.  In fact, Ann’s husband (Gary?) said, “I married her because she could make beaten biscuits in her sleep.”  To a newly married 20-year old this sounded callous and weird.  I don’t know what I wanted to be married for, but it wasn’t my biscuits.
Of course, later on, I learned to make biscuits.  And I made them a lot.  When you have four kids to feed, biscuits really stretch a meal.  I don’t think I could have made them in my sleep, but it was damned sure close to that.  It takes making them often.  It takes a light touch so that the fat isn’t over-worked in the dough.  It takes knowing your oven so that you either always make them in a glass pie plate, as did I, or on a cookie sheet as did one friend.  It takes understanding if you need big, thick or little, crispy biscuits.  Were they for ham or were they for gravy?  For butter and jam or for strawberries and cream?  For sour cream and honey, if you were my Dad.
I’m guessing Edna Lewis, creator of the above recipe, could have made biscuits in her sleep.  And while she surely earned the title of chef, she might have been quite happy with the fame that came from her biscuits, as was Ann. There’s just something about biscuits that makes people happy.

edna lewis, the first lady of southern cooking died in 2006 at the age of 89 at the end of a long, industrious culinary career.  She was special by any standards, but as the granddaughter of a former slave raised on the family farm in Virginia, the roadblocks to writing cookbooks were a few more then than they would be now.  Combining a southern upbringing with a New York City restaurant career, she didn’t have time to write anything at all until she had to sit still after breaking her leg.  If she couldn’t cook, she would then write a cookbook and write she did.  Three other books followed, along with other restaurants, awards, and a strong dedication to keeping the south’s cooking tradition alive and well. (Scroll down for a video interview with Miss Lewis.)

From the NYT obituary by Eric Asimov and Kim Severson:

Ms. (Judith) Jones, who edited three books by Miss Lewis, recalled her yesterday as a lover of Jack Daniel’s, Bessie Smith and understated conversation. “She had a tremendous sense of dignity in the face of often difficult treatment,” Ms. Jones said. Her husband had died as she completed “The Taste of Country Cooking,” she said.
After that cookbook raised her profile, Miss Lewis returned to restaurants, most notably to Gage & Tollner in Brooklyn. In the mid-90s she retired from the restaurant and with some friends, she founded the Society for the Revival and Preservation of Southern Food, dedicated in part to seeing that people did not forget how to cook with lard.

Butter?  Honey?   Jam?  Sausage gravy?  Ham?

 And, Edna, I’m sorry; I can’t make biscuits with lard or shortening; butter’s my thing.  I do try to have a light hand though.

 Read Edna Lewis’ obituary in the New York Times here.   Video:  Scroll down.
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Val – More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan – The Spice Garden, Heather – girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette – Healthy Living  Mary – One Perfect Bite, Kathleen – Bake Away with Me, Sue – The View from Great Island Barbara – Movable Feasts , Linda A – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen Annie – Most Lovely Things, Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table, Amrita – Beetles Kitchen Escapades
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