Thursday, April 7, 2011


OK, a little off topic today, but it's pressing on my mind. Despite living the first 34 years of my life in the south (and the first 21 in the same house), I've never been the most southern of southern people. At least in my mind... I don't like sweet tea, never have. I hate gravy. I won't even make it, it disgusts me. And my idea of chickenfried is the title of a good country song, not something I would put on my plate to eat. All of this baffles my husband, born and raised in Texas and Oklahoma.

One thing I LOVE LOVE LOVE is a hot, flaky,biscuit in the morning. To all of my friends down south, did you know that there is a huge majority of people out there that have never heard of eating biscuits for breakfast? There are others who actually think it's a cracker! Well, about 6 years ago, I decided there was no reason to learn to make biscuits as long as Pillsbury kept producing their bag o frozen ones. They're fantastic. What I didn't forsee is being in the middle of the Sea of Cortez/Pacific Ocean/anywhere outside the US and craving a biscuit. I have spent the last year trying to figure out how to make biscuits. I'm not a bad cook, mind you. I'm even pretty good at baking. But I stink at making biscuits. I have tried every recipe I could get my hands on and they always come out like hockey pucks... That is, until this morning! I sifted my flour. You guys may all be laughing at me, as it may be common knowledge to sift your flour, but no recipe I ever read told me to do that. Andy woke up to the smell of bacon and biscuits and before he could let out a joke about chipping teeth I took the towel off the bowl and he saw piping hot biscuits! All ate them, and all enjoyed.

I haven't mastered it by any stretch of the imagination, but I've cracked a big part of the code. Now, a call out to my cousins for any recipe resembling my granny's biscuits. I've asked my mom and she can't remember (presumably because there was no recipe...I remember a little bowl made of flour and a big pile of shortening in the middle and a lot of hand mixing, but the rest of the ingredients are a mystery to me). If anyone deems themselves a good biscuit maker, could you send me a recipe? Better yet, send me specific instructions on how not to screw them up. Please don't call it fool-proof, that will only make me feel bad.

So that's how our day started...good biscuits. It continues with Savannah clipping along at 8 knots. We did 188 miles yesterday, a record for us. We have 180 to go! It looks like we may be sipping champagne and eating a nice steak dinner this time tomorrow in front of a beautiful Marquesan landscape.

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Anonymous said...

Hello s/v Savannah,

As a fellow southern (Go Dawgs), I have a hard time understanding your dislike for sweet tea, fried chicken and gravy, but I can definitely share your love for homemade biscuits!! About six months ago I started my quest to make homemade biscuits that my family would actually eat rather than use for batting practice or skeet shooting.

The three building block of this traditional southern delicacy are flour, oil and milk. The basic ingredient ratio you need to learn is one half (1/2) stick of butter and one half (1/2) cup of milk to one (1) cup of flour. While sifting your flour helps make good biscuit, the big no no is over working your dough.

Flour – I like self rising flour as it eliminates the step of adding baking powder and baking soda
Butter – real butter!
Salt – not necessary if using salted butter
Milk or Butter Milk
Sugar – optional but my kids love it

Now for the directions:
1) Mix dry ingredients (in the ratio noted above) in a bowl; for starters use 1 TBS sugar and 1/4 tsp of salt, then adjust to your liking.
2) Cut the butter into small pieces and mix into dry ingredients with your hands or a pastry cutter until it resembles corn meal (it doesn’t have to be perfect, large clumps of butter are okay)
3) Make a hole or valley in the middle of the mixing bowl to add your milk
4) Add your milk a little at a time while constantly stirring the flour and milk; stir the ingredients from the middle out; stir in a little more flour each time you add milk
5) Stop adding milk when dough starts sticking to the bowl but ensure you have completely mixed all your ingredients first
6) Now for the secret in making great biscuits…let the dough sit for 10 to 20 minutes to rise; due to your current climate it may not take that long
7) If the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, add small amounts of flour to the inside part of the bowl until it stops
8) Roll out dough on floured surface, remembering to work the dough as little as possible, cut to desired size and place on cookie sheet
9) Cook at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes (your cooking time may vary)

My mother-in-law taught me this recipe; while it took me several tries before I got it right, once I did the kids, not to mention my wife, beg me to make them. Enjoy


Anonymous said...

The key to good non-rock-like biscuits is to BARELY cut in the butter. And I mean, cut it in as small as possible, fold it without PRESSING ON IT and turn it onto the slightly floured board and kind of gently push it together (do not knead or press too hard) and when you cut them out, they might fall slightly apart, but that is all you need is good homemade jam to go on top of those babies!!! xoxoxo EYONI

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