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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Southern Biscuits and Sawmill Gravy

These are a great breakfast, or dinner!  I had some leftover buttermilk from a recipe, and what better way to use it than in biscuits.  My dad has a thing for biscuits and has been through several recipes searching for just the right one from his childhood.  He's settled on an imitation of KFC's biscuits from one of those secret restaurant recipes books.  It involves club soda though, and I don't ever have that on hand, and think it's pointless to buy it for half a cup, or whatever amount the recipe needs.  Whenever I want the best version of a recipe I always first look for the Alton Brown version.  Since he's a food science geek as well as a chef I know he's done all the needed research to find the most appropriate method and ingredients to yield the best result.  These biscuits are no exception.

Southern Biscuits and Sawmill Gravy
Alton Brown, via Food Network, Biscuits and Gravy

Southern Biscuits

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk, chilled
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that's life.)
Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.

Sawmill Gravy

1 pound bulk breakfast sausage
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper
Cook sausage in a cast iron skillet. When done, remove sausage from pan and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Whisk flour into the fat and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in milk a little at a time. Return to medium-high heat and stir occasionally while the gravy comes to a simmer and thickens. (Be sure to scrape up any brown bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan, that's where the flavor is.) Check seasoning, add crumbled sausage and serve over toast or biscuits.

Apple Crumb Pie

This is the second recipe from the October cookbook of the month, Apple Cookbook.  I made it for dinner we had when Zach's parents and brother were in town.  It was very delicious and everyone enjoyed it.  It's the first time I've made an apple pie anything other than the standard two-crust version, and I think it turned out pretty well.  I used a store-bought pie dough (yay for the doughboy!) since I've always failed pretty miserably at any pie dough I've attempted.  And, it's what I grew up on since my mom has always used it.  I figure I can't make it any better, so why end up with an inferior crust just to say I made it myself?  No need to re-invent the wheel.  Plus, it was a busy week for us anyway and it saved me a significant amount of time.  Unfortunately I don't have a picture, we forgot before eating it!  Next time I make it I will add one to the post.

Apple Crumb Pie
from the Apple Cookbook

pastry for a single 10 inch pie crust
5 large apples (Northern Spy, Fuji are suggested in the book, I used Paula Red.)
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chopped pecans (I omitted these.)


  • Preheat oven to 450.  Grease a ten inch pie plate.
  • Roll out the pastry and fit it in the pie plate.  Flute the edges and refrigerate.
  • Peel, core and cut the apples into 1/4 inch slices.  Arrange in chilled pie shell.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, sugar, 1/4 cup of the flour, egg and vanilla.  Beat until smooth and pour over the apple slices.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, reduce the oven to 350 and bake for 30 minutes longer.
  • Mix the remaining 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar and butter until the mixture is crumbly.  Stir in the pecans and sprinkle over the baked pie.
  • Return the pie to the oven and bake 15 minutes longer or until the stopping is golden brown.  

Paprika Pork with Egg Noodles

I've had this recipe in my pile of 'pork recipes to try' for quite awhile now.  What moved it on up to the top of the pile was a trip to the local Home Goods store.  They had tins of spanish smoked paprika for $2.99 so we picked one up, excited to try the spice.  We've seen it alot recently on one of our favorite cooking shows, Jose Andres' Made in Spain.  Anything with a smoky flavor is appealing to me and this spice did not disappoint.  This dish was yummy and a good weeknight meal.  We did not have any swiss chard, but half a bag of baby spinach leftover from another dish, so I used that.  Also, I used whole wheat noodles.  This recipe was almost immediately determined to be a "keeper" and went right into my binder of recipes.

Paprika Pork with Egg Noodles

Serves 4
Prep 10 minutes


    * Salt
    * 1/2 pound wide egg noodles
    * 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems discarded and leaves chopped  (I used spinach.)
    * 3 tablespoons butter
    * Pepper
    * Pinch nutmeg
    * 4 boneless pork loin chops (6 ounces each), butterflied and pounded 1/4 inch thick
    * 1/3 cup flour
    * 2 large eggs
    * 1 cup bread crumbs
    * 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
    * 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    * 1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges


   1.  Preheat the oven to 300°. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the noodles and cook until al dente. Stir in the chard and cook for 1 minute to wilt. Drain the noodles and chard in a colander and return them to the pot. Add the butter and toss well. Season with salt, pepper and the nutmeg.
   2.  While the pasta is working, season the pork cutlets with salt and pepper. Place the flour on a plate. In a shallow dish, beat the eggs. On a plate, combine the bread crumbs and paprika. Coat the cutlets with the flour, shaking off any excess; dip in the eggs and coat with the seasoned bread crumbs.
   3.  In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat until rippling. Add 2 cutlets and cook until golden, about 4 minutes on each side. Keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining cutlets and oil.
   4.  Serve some Swiss chard and noodles alongside each pork cutlet, with a lemon wedge for squeezing over the pork.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cheddar Corn Chowder: Barefoot Bloggers

Yes, I know, it's my second month in this group and I'm posting a recipe nearly a week and a half late. I don't have any real excuse besides life got busy. My in laws were visiting, then both Zach and I got sick, which would normally be a good time for soup, but neither of us really felt like cooking beyond a frozen pizza or chicken nuggets. Oh well, here is Ina's Cheddar Corn Chowder. I thought it was pretty good. It was the first time I've used turmeric in a recipe, and had to go buy some. We used a nice red skinned potato which held up really well in the chowder, not turning into a grainy mush. I also used a medium cheddar, not sharp, as I'm just not a sharp cheese kind of girl. It's definitely a "keeper" recipe for us, and I look forward to the leftovers in my lunch this week. One more thing, we halved the recipe and still had two big bowls for dinner tonight and at least 5 more portions for lunches all week. It definitely makes alot. We had it along with no-knead bread and both were delicious!

Cheddar Corn Chowder
from Ina Garten, via Food Network


    * 8 ounces bacon, chopped
    * 1/4 cup good olive oil
    * 6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
    * 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    * 1/2 cup flour
    * 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    * 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    * 12 cups chicken stock
    * 6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
    * 10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
    * 2 cups half-and-half
    * 8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated


In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Apple Cookbook: Cookbook of the Month, October 2009

The cookbook for the month of October will be the Apple Cookbook by Owen Woodier.  I received this cookbook as a gift when participating in a Fall Gift Exchange on the 'What's Cooking?' board.  I can't wait to dig into it and find some great recipes.  I skimmed it already and it has lots of great information about apples, their history and all the varieties and their differences.  Yay for fall!