Monthly Archives: July 2011

Biscuits and Gravy

Southerners may hold the title on the best biscuits and gravy.  Cracker Barrel roadside restaurants were famous for buttermilk biscuits ‘n gravy with sausage – before they added multigrain pancakes to their menu.

The New York Times has a recipe for biscuits and sausage gravy that’s worth a try.

All-Purpose Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 scant tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 425. Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut butter into pats and add to flour, then pulse 5 or 6 times in a food processor until mixture resembles rough crumbs. (Or cut butter into flour with fork or pastry cutter(. Add milk and stir with fork until it forms a rough ball.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and pat down into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick. Fold it over and gently pat it down again. Repeat. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
Gently pat out the dough some more, so that the rectangle is roughly 1 inches by 6 inches.  Cut dough into biscuits using a floured glass or biscuit cutter.  Do not twist cutter when cutting; this crimps the edges of the biscuit and impedes its rise.
Place biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
Sausage Gravy
  • 1 pound bulk pork breakfast sausage
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • salt, ground sage, ground fennel and ground red pepper to taste
Heat and cook sausage until loose and no longer pink, breaking it up with a wooden spoon – about 10 minutes.  Adjust seasonings – add sage and fennel.
Sprinkle the flour and pepper over the sausage, stirring constantly, until flour is absorbed by the fat – 5 minutes.  Slowly stir in the milk and cook at a bare simmer until the gravy gets thick and the roux covers the back of a spoon.  If it’s to thick, add more milk and stir.  Check seasonings, and serve over split hot biscuits.

Was Captain Hook Followed by an Alligator or a Crocodile?

James Barrie’s Captain Hook may have been partly based on the famous Captain Cook, who was killed by Hawaiian natives in 1799, and the crocodiles may have been inspired by a gift by privateer, Captain Newport, to King James I of England.  Hook was a complicated character, and Barrie used more than one reference to create him, but his nemesis is a crocodile – not an alligator.  Check out the teeth and the size…

Never Smile At A Crocodile

Healthy Morning Pancakes with a Crunch

In My Father’s Daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow includes her father’s famous pancakes that he adapted from Joy of Cooking.  But Paltrow has her own pancake recipe: tasty and with lots of healthy ingredients.  I made a batch, using what I had on hand – yummy.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 organic egg
  • 1 1/4 cups milk (Paltrow calls for soy, but I used cow’s skim-organic)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 cup flour (I used spelt, but any kind will do)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons Seed Mix (see reference below)
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt (to give it that buttermilk flavor)
  • Real Grade B Maple Syrup, for serving
Whisk the egg, milk, and oil.  Add flour, baking powder, and seed mix until just combined; do not overbeat or you will get tough pancakes.  Fold in the yogurt.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Ladle as many pancakes as possible into the skillet.  When you see bubbles (about 2 minutes), flip pancakes over for another minute.  Remove pancakes to a plate and serve with plenty of maple syrup.

I added a few pineapple slices for color, and to sop up the rest of the maple syrup.

Seed Mix: recipe  

Review on My Father’s Daughter

Easy Chocolate Decadence

I found this recipe in the New York Times – under “Comfort Food.”  Since I had all the ingredients and am always in need of comfort – and chocolate,  I made some – took only 15 minutes – to make and eat.  The comfort lasted longer.

Bread with Chocolate and Olive Oil

You’ll need:

  • a thick slice of country-style bread
  • 2 ounces (or more) of bittersweet chocolate (60 percent cocoa) coarsely grated (use a microplane)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sprinkling of coarse sea salt

Heat the bread in a 325 oven for about 5 minutes until brown and warm.  Spoon the chocolate over the toast in a thin, even layer. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt.

Blythe’s Blueberry Muffins

Gwyneth Paltrow offers a healthier version of her mother’s (Blythe Danner) blueberry muffins in her cookbook, My Father’s Daughter, with spelt flour and agave nectar, but she admits that it’s her mother’s muffins that she craves.

So, I decided to make the mother lode…

For one dozen muffins, you’ll need:

  • 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons), melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs (organic)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup fine salt
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together the butter, eggs, and milk. Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir into wet ingredients, and fold in blueberries. Divide among lined muffin cups, and sprinkle tops with remaining teaspoon of sugar. Bake until brown and toothpick tests clean – about 25-30 minutes. Eat warm.