True Confessions of a Mid-Life Cook

There's a definite correlation between my profound love of music and how and what I've taught myself to cook. My favorite music to listen to and to perform is soulful, sensual, sometimes funky and always bluesy in nature . . . and that's exactly how I cook. I like to get my hands in the food. I chop, I knead, I stir with my hands. Sometimes I wear my big rimmed cowboy hat, nightie and Old Gringo boots in kitchen, sometimes a coonskin cap when the mood strikes and sometimes just an apron and a smile. Using the freshest of ingredients, I love to bringing a new spirit to old favorites. I am so to drawn dishes seeping in both Texas and Southern tradition,with a special affinity for those authentic old jewels found in South Louisiana.
Because they, too, are so powerfully soulful?

I've discovered being a good cook is a journey and not a destination. (Yes, I stole an over-used corporate slogan and made it my own--but it's still the truth) Every time we screw up, we learn. And in part, that's what this blog is about. Cooking fearlessly. With heart, with soul -- and with some damn good music to inspire. (If your three layer chocolate cake ends up looking like a Jerry Springer rerun or you cut the tip of your thumb off while making New Year's Day gumbo, WHO CARES?Proclaim Francine Reed's "I'm a Handful" your theme song. She would like that.)
We cook because we find ourselves kinda empty if we don't.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Essence of Orange and Grapefruit Biscuits

What a girl can do with a basic biscuit recipe!   I've taken the beautiful Southern biscuit, have added a bit of fresh orange and grapefruit and a dollop of sweet citrus butter and ta-daaaa --- the newest breakfast favorite at the Halfmann's.

It takes about 10 minutes to make the biscuits, so it's one of those recipes that you can whip out there on a frenzied morning.  And homemade tastes SO MUCH BETTER than canned.

First, lightly grate the peel of one large orange and 1/2 a grapefruit. (When making zest, you don't want to grate more than just the top colorful part of the peel, the deeper 'white stuff' is bitter.) Note: I used the grapefruit only because I had it on hand. Although I found it to be an interesting addition, it is by no means necessary.

My favorite biscuit recipe:

Preheat oven to 425

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 stick COLD unsalted butter, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
2/3 cup buttermilk

Add first four ingredients and zest of orange and grapefruit (reserving a teaspoon of each to make citrus butter) into large mixing bowl and blend quickly with hands so it's well mixed. Add cubes of butter and work into flour mixture with hands and fingers quickly, so it resembles coarse meal.  Make a well with the mixture and pour in buttermilk. Again, working quickly and lightly with hands just until the dough comes together somewhat and you can form a ball with the dough.  Turn out on a lightly floured surface and press ball down and fold dough just two or three  times until smooth.  At this time roll out (make sure your rolling pin is floured) or press out to where dough is about 1/2" and cut with round biscuit/cookie cutter or small glass. Use all dough -- makes nine or 10 biscuits.

Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.  You want the bottom of the biscuits light golden brown and the tops lightly browned.  Don't overcook.

While the biscuits are baking, soften 3 tablespoons of butter in the microwave  and add a squeeze of orange and a little squeeze of grapefruit and blend into butter along with the remaining two teaspoons of zest.
You can melt the butter, add the juice and the zest and then enough powdered sugar with a spash of milk to make a sweet glaze icing (see bottom picture.)  That's the way my kids like them, of course.

Spread a little or a lot of either spread in the middle of each warm biscuit and eat 'em up!

Suggested listening:  "Roly Poly" by Bob Wills and most recently The Dixie Chicks w/Asleep at the Wheel

1 comment:

Pam said...

Yum! They look delicious and that is a great touch with the orange! Wish I had one!