7.27.2016

Blueberry Lemon Dumplings

Blueberry Lemon Dumplings| Southern Soufflé

Blueberry Lemon Dumplings| Southern Soufflé

Blueberry by the hand with a bucket and a bush, was a song that Ms. Mattie used to sing to my daughter as an infant. I'm not sure how it goes and perhaps it was something she came up with. Yet, sometimes I hear my daughter humming that same tune and I'll ask her what she's singing, "I don't know it's just always been stuck in my head." She'll say.
Blueberry by the hand with a bucket and a bush was Ms. Matties way of singing the story of African American berry pickers. She had a painting on her wall, one that showed 3 black woman dressed in white with large straw hats upon their heads, blue stained hands and large buckets at their bare feet. They are surrounded by fields of berry studded bushes that appear to be blowing in the wind. It was mesmerizing and spoke without words of a story often untold. How important the role African Americans played in the agricultural history as well as the economic progress of the United States.
Blueberry by the hand with a bucket and a bush.

Blueberry Lemon Dumplings| Southern Soufflé

Blueberry Lemon Dumplings| Southern Soufflé

As a child in the early 1900's, Ms. Mattie found herself working in the fields picking berries. I've heard stories of buses coming (In North Carolina) and picking up people as early as 3 am back in the 1930's. They would be paid at the end of the day after working from Sunup to Sundown. In some cases, there was housing right on the farm where they would work, housing meaning shacks with several people living in one. Sheets with hues of blues and reds hung out to dry showing the stains of their labor.
Blueberry by the hand with a bucket and a bush.
This weekend, my daughter and I went online in search of that same painting that hung in Ms. Mattie's front room. Unfortunately we were unsuccessful in finding that one in particular. However the one we did find currently hangs on the walls in the African American Museum of Art in Los Angeles. Needless to say we need to keep looking, although my daughter is excited about a trip we are planning to California in search of colleges (even though I would never let her go that far) hopefully we can fit in a visit to see this painting. We talked of this and history and blueberries while she snapchatted my process of making blueberry dumplings, which is the most delightful summer dessert. These dumplings can be adapted to fit the fruit of the season, like strawberry dumplings or apple dumplings. You start with a simple dumpling dough that can be a bit bland without a kick of something, like lemon zest which I added here. Then you make a syrupy sauce out of the blueberries. I always have trouble not pouring the sauce in a glass and just drinking as is because I'm weird like that. Once the sauce starts bubbling you drop in scoops of dough that reminds me of drop biscuits. The results are blueberry covered dumplings that Violet Beauregard would love.

Blueberry Lemon Dumplings| Southern Soufflé

Blueberry Lemon Dumplings| Southern Soufflé

Blueberry Lemon Dumplings

Ingredients:

Dumplings:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
Zest of one lemon
½ cup cold butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
¾ cup cold milk

Blueberry sauce:
3 cups fresh blueberries
2 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar

Directions:
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Grate the lemon zest into the flour mixture. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until dough resembles coarse crumbles. Stir in the milk gently until soft dough forms. Place the bowl with the dough in the fridge while making the blueberry sauce.
Add blueberries, water and sugar to a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Stir together mixture and allow to boil until sugar dissolves. Drop the chilled dough into the hot boiling blueberries by the spoonful. Using an ice cream scoop will give you nice round dumplings. Reduce heat to low and cover saucepan allowing the dumplings to cook slowly for about 20 minutes. It's important not stir the dumplings while they cook, also let the cover remain on the saucepan, letting them steam.
Serve dumplings while still warm with a little extra syrup from the pot poured over the top. Add a little whipped cream or ice cream if that's your fancy.
Enjoy!

7.13.2016

Summer Peach Upside Down Cake in Partnership with KitchenAid®

KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini Summer Peach Upside Down Cake| Southern Soufflé


KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini Summer Peach Upside Down Cake| Southern Soufflé

KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini Summer Peach Upside Down Cake| Southern Soufflé

There was immense excitement as we tore open a large brown box. My son had no idea what it housed, just that it looked like a present and most presents are for him. As I pulled out another box, he gave me an odd look, one of slight disappointment as this boxes showed no sign of it contents containing Legos. After wiping off our new KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini and placing it up on the table alongside my other mixers. A table that clearly shows my love for both KitchenAid® Classic™ Artisan® mixers and baking, as it's often covered in flour as both mixers churn together. My son's face lit up in a mini moment of sheer joy. "This one is for me, because it's little like me" he said this with the largest smile on his face, so I didn't feel the need to correct him. Instead we went about thinking of all the wonderful things we could bring to delicious life.

KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini Summer Peach Upside Down Cake| Southern Soufflé

KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini Summer Peach Upside Down Cake| Southern Soufflé

KitchenAid® Classic™ Artisan® stand mixers are one of the most iconic kitchen appliances. It has transcended generations, passed down like heirloom cake recipes. My next door neighbor makes the best cakes in her avocado green KitchenAid® that she inherited from her grandmother in the 1970's. In my pantry on the top shelf, sits my grandmothers 1950's KitchenAid® Classic™ Artisan® , white with black knobs with the original Pyrex bowl that it came with. My grandmothers favorite cake to prepare was a classic pineapple upside down cake, one she often allowed me to help with. So this weekend, my son and I made our own cake baking mini moments and swapped out pineapples for some of the Georgia peaches that are overflowing in the local farmers markets.

KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini Summer Peach Upside Down Cake| Southern Soufflé

At first glance, especially standing beside my professional stand mixer, you can't help but wonder how in the world can this KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini stand up to the others. It's bowl has 3.5 qt capacity and it's almost 2 inches shorter than the other artisan models. However this Mini is small but mighty, churning out a cake and 3 batches of cookies with ease. It's 10 optimizing speeds make the KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini powerful enough for any task and it's compatible with all your attachments. We're already planning to make pasta from scratch using the our pasta roller attachment. 
As for our cake, we smoothly whipped the butter and sugar, along with the sour cream. Finally incorporating the flour to make a silky smooth batter to pour over our brown sugar and peach lined skillet. The results were incredible and delicious, marrying a tender buttery cake topped with bubbling sweet brown sugar peach goodness.

KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini Summer Peach Upside Down Cake| Southern Soufflé

KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini Summer Peach Upside Down Cake| Southern Soufflé

Summer Peach Upside Down Cake
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

4 medium peaches (about 1 ½ lb), peeled and cut into ⅓ inch wedges
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature and divided
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup cake flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup sour cream
Sweetened Whipped Cream (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large shallow bowl, toss peaches with lemon juice. Melt ¼ cup of the unsalted butter in a 10in cast iron skillet over medium high heat (you make also use a regular 9in cake pan, just melt the butter in microwave, then pour into cake pan). Once the butter has melted remove from heat and evenly spread the brown sugar to cover the bottom of the skillet. Arrange prepared peaches on top of the brown sugar.
In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using the KitchenAid® Artisan® Mini, cream together the remaining butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until blended after each addition. Add in the vanilla and sour cream. Gradually add in flour mixture, beating just until incorporated and stopping to scrape the bowl as needed.
Pour batter over peaches in prepared skillet, place skillet onto baking pan. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in skillet for about 10 minutes. Run knife around the edges to loosen. Carefully invert cake onto serving platter and drizzle with any reserve liquid remaining in the skillet. Top with sweetened whipped cream if desired.



*Full Disclosure: The lovely folks at  KitchenAid®  sponsed this post. However, the opinions are my own formed over decades of using their products.*

7.07.2016

Caramelized Onions and Grits Crusted Quiche

Carmelized Onion and Grits Crusted Quiche | Southern Soufflé


Carmelized Onion and Grits Crusted Quiche | Southern Soufflé

"You have to cook the grits first" she'd say as she bent down, reaching for the cabinet by the stove to hand me a pot. "Use this one"
I'd stare at the small pot quizzically, a bit unsure of how to correctly proceed at "cooking the grits first". After about 10 seconds of inaction, she'd say- without turning around-
"They're not going to cook themselves with you just standing there."
Put the stock in the pot and boil it.
"This one" I'd ask, pointing to the glass jar that used to be full of pickles but has now found new purpose in the afterlife, as a stock jar.
"Boil the stock with some butter then whisk in the grits a little bit at a time. And don't forget the cream." Got it. But not really
Slowly I begin to whisk in the grits using a wooden spoon instead of the whisk beside me.. I correct this before she notices. As large bubbles begin to form, it's almost like watching a volcano erupt and the drops that splatter on my hand burn like lava. I drop the whisk on the floor and stand back.
"You need to turn the heat down and add some cream to it"
She must be crazy, my skin will never recover if I stand close to that pot.
"Just give it to me" she takes the whisk and starts turning the pot while slowly adding in cream. I watch in silence, noticing two things, 1.) She doesn't get any spatters on her hands 2.) she sticks her finger in to "test" how done they are without flinching.
Really?!
After about 10 minutes she'd declare the grits done and me a strange bird for being afraid of grits.
"One day it'll come easy to you, you'll show your kids like I'm showing you and continue on the legacy"
The legacy of how to proceed to cook the grits first.? At 10 years old this sounded ridiculous.
The only legacy I'd carry on would be my Lisa Frank folders and my walkman. How my grandmother could think anything else would take precedence over those things was beyond me.

So this weekend as my daughter and I made a quiche for breakfast. She trudged down the stairs with as much enthusiasm as I have when I walk into the dentist office. I reach down in the cabinet by the stove and handed her a pot and told her
"You have to make the grits first"


Carmelized Onion and Grits Crusted Quiche | Southern Soufflé

Caramelized Onion and Grits Crusted Quiche
Prep Time: 50 mins Cook Time: 25 mins + 1 hr 20mins  Yield: 6 servings 
Adapted from Southern Living Magazine 

*A quiche can be dressed up using whatever you have on hand. From fresh herbs to potatoes and ham, you can adapt this recipe to your liking. Make this meatless by removing the country ham. *

*Make ahead- this is a prefect make ahead brunch staple. Mostly I bake this the night before and reheat at 350 for about 10-15 minutes. Or I'll prepare all the ingredients and wait to assemble and cook in the morning. To do this, it's best to keep the egg/milk mixture well covered and separate until ready to pour.* 

* Carmelizing onions and the time it takes for them to brown will vary from stove top to stove top. My directions are the times that worked for me however the onions may take long (or not as long) to carmelize on your stove. * 

Ingredients:

Caramelized Onions:
Olive Oil (to coat the bottom of the pan)
2 large Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the grits and filling:
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup stone ground grits
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons black pepper
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
6 eggs
2 ½ cups half &half
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chopped country ham

Directions:

To caramelize the onions: Using a wide, thick bottom sauté pan. Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil (EVOO), I used about 2 tablespoons for my pan, and butter. Heat oil and butter over medium high heat until oil is simmering. Add in thinly sliced onions and toss to coat. Allow onions to cook stirring occasionally. At this point you want to allow the onions to cook, checking every 5 to 10 mins and only stirring occasionally to keep the onions from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The key is to leave them to cook not stirring too often as this will delay the caramelization process. For golden brown color it took about 45 minutes for my onions after I turned down the heat to medium after 30 mins.
Set onions aside and prepare the grits crust:
Preheat oven to 350.
In a saucepan over medium high heat bring chicken stock to a boil. Slowly whisk in grits, salt and pepper. Pour in cream and butter, whisking to incorporate. Continue to whisk constantly until very thick, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheese, let stand for about 10 minutes. Now whisk in 1 egg. Spread grits mixture on the bottom of 9 x 13 in baking dish and bake at 350 for 20 –25 minutes or until browned. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over baked grits.
Reduce oven to 325.
In a large bowl, combine the half and half, cream, caramelized onions, and remaining 5 eggs, with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of ground pepper. Sprinkle country ham over baked grits, then pour egg/milk mixture over the top.
Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 20 mins or until lightly browned. Let stand for 20 minutes Slice and serve with biscuits of course.

6.10.2016

Peach BBQ Grilled Chicken

Spiced Peach BBQ Grilled Chicken 5 (1 of 1)


Spiced Peach BBQ Grilled Chicken 4 (1 of 1)

Spiced Peach BBQ Grilled Chicken 2 (1 of 1)

Growing up in the South you become familiar with BBQ before you can even say the word BBQ. For me it was the whole hog variety, smoked all day over the fire. In North Carolina, BBQ means whole hog, not sauce or beef ribs or even chicken. So it's taken me a while to acclimate to the term in reference to anything outside of the pork shoulder filled spectrum.
Like Chicken under a brick..Have you tried that? Why not? A brick wrapped in foil laid on top of a butterflied whole chicken, gives you crispy skin and juicy chicken even Colonel Sanders would be smile at. Yes I know he's always smiling but this time it would be cause of your chicken.
Enough about that.
Blue skies, warmer weather and fresh summer produce are just a few things I love about this time of year. Also, not having to get your kid dressed and off to school by some ungodly hour in the morning. My son looks great in his pajamas all day. Don't judge me.
Spending time outside with family and friends and of course firing up the grill also makes summer more enjoyable. Even when sweating uncontrollably in that new anthropologie dress you bought especially for your summer soiree. But you look good so whatever.
Here in the south we love our bbq, especially when coated with the right amount of sauce. There are so many different ways to get creative with barbeque sauce, one of my favorites being adding in fruit to give your grilled meats a bit of tangy sweetness in each bite. This robust peach bbq sauce lends a mellow sweetness to grilled chicken and pork.
This year grilling will go a whole lot smoother as I've teamed up with the folks at Reynolds Wrap to show how much easier grill life can be with their non stick foil.
Just try not to get any sauce on that dress.


Spiced Peach BBQ Grilled Chicken 3 (1 of 1)

*This sauce went along well with my grilled onions also, as you can see from the pictures.  We also put a few pork skewers on the grill coated in this sauce and they were eaten too quickly to get a picture*

Spiced Peach BBQ Grilled Chicken
Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 15 mins Yield: 4 servings 

Ingredients: 
1 cup of peeled, chopped fresh peaches
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3 to 4 pounds chicken drumsticks and wings ( really whichever pieces you prefer)
Reynolds Wrap Non Stick Aluminum Foil 

Directions: 
Preheat grill for medium heat.
Add first 5 ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce to simmer until the peaches are tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add mixture to a blender, pulse together with the olive oil to combine. Add sauce to a small bowl and set aside.

Season chicken with salt and pepper, then brush with prepared sauce.
Reynolds Wrap Non Stick aluminum foil works great when grilling, for this recipe I used a foil sheet long enough to cover the grill grates one side of the grill, then poked a few holes in the foil. Lay the prepared foil on the grill and place the chicken on top.
Grill chicken, skin side up, rotating occasionally and moving to the cooler side of the grill as needed to control flare ups. Continue grilling, turning and basting with the peach barbecue sauce often, until chicken is cooked through and an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165, about 10-15 minutes.
Remove from the grill and enjoy with all your summer side fixins.

*Full Disclosure: Reynolds Brand provided me with some goodies and compensation to further my obsession with their products. However, the opinions are my own formed over decades of using their products.*

5.18.2016

Always Learning & Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake

Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake | Southern Soufflé


Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake | Southern Soufflé

Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake | Southern Soufflé

I'm always learning,

Sometimes just by observing what's around me.

Trees, much like people, have branches that grow apart, in opposite directions, in different shapes, sprouting new branches. Yet they remain deeply rooted together at their foundation. Realizing they need each other in order to continue to grow and soar to new heights above the other surrounding trees in the forest.

People, unlike trees, don't seem to always think this way..

I'm always learning, what has tried to demolish me has only polished me into what I am today. So much so that negativity, bad vibes, and disappointing people, roll off of my skin like the rain rolls down the bricks on the side of my mother's house. Nourishing the grass and soil underneath my feet, which just serves as a vehicle to propel me to new heights. So to them I turn around in all my splendor and simply say thank you as I go about my way.

I'm always learning, what my mother means when she says her pain is now my pain. The burdens she carried, the heavy load she waded through with bare feet and strong arms, the fight she inherited by way of her skin color, from my grandmother, great grand mother and many mothers before that.

Is now mine.

Even though years have passed, times have changed, the world still sounds the same. Too many of my experiences are the same as theirs were.

I'm always learning that even some of the most bitter experiences or maybe even fruits can be turned around and made sweet. Sometimes by just incorporating the bitter into that which is bright.

Like sugar and butter, a few eggs and cream cheese.


Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake | Southern Soufflé


*When I was feeling out of sorts over the past few weeks my neighbor brought me a basket full of grapefruit. It was really very sweet and all I could think of was my cousin who eats her grapefruit with about 16 spoons of sugar sprinkled on top. I think she'd appreciate this cake more than anyone.*

Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake
Prep Time- 25 mins Cook Time- 1 hr Yield- 12-14 servings 
*The fruit sugar method I adapted from Ian Gartern's lemon curd.  I've used this with my lemon cakes and it makes the flavor come alive* 

*This is a basic cream cheese pound cake, an old school recipe, that's elevated with the addition of grapefruit.*

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
One large grapefruit
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
6 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
6 oz cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
¼ cup canola oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk

For the icing:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 ½ powdered sugar
1/3 cup of fresh grapefruit juice
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325°

Prepare your pan: For bundt pans I use a pastry brush (its silicone) and apply lots of butter to every nook and cranny then flour making sure the flour sticks everywhere. This gives me the best success with making sure the cake will come out cleanly and we don’t end up eating cake out of an upturned bundt pan. That’s not a good look. I’ve seen my aunt coat the pan with sugar or cocoa for chocolate cakes. 

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of one grapefruit. Put the zest in a food processor with 2/3 of the sugar and pulse until the zest is finely minced in with the sugar.
Place the butter, cream cheese and both the 1 cup of sugar and the grapefruit sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer; beat together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Be sure to scrap bowl down the sides using a spatula to make sure to incorporate all the ingredients. Beat in oil and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture and the milk alternately to the batter, starting and ending with the flour. Be sure to scrap bowl down the sides using a spatula to make sure to incorporate all the ingredients.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake at 325° for one hour or until wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, (I like the give the pan a little shake from side to side to make sure it loosens) then invert on to your desired cake plate or stand.

For the frosting:

Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar for several minutes, until light and creamy. Add the grapefruit juice and vanilla and beat until combined. Drizzle or pour the icing over the top of the cooled cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.
Sprinkle the top with grapefruit zest if desired.

5.11.2016

In the interest of time, with Cornmeal Cream Biscuits...

Cornmeal Cream Biscuits| Southern Soufflé

Cornmeal Cream Biscuits| Southern Soufflé

In the interest of time..
"I'll just tell you how it ends" 
Mr. Lofton was a tall (somewhat lanky), generous older man that attended our church growing up. I remember him vividly on days that are tougher than others and whenever I catch a whiff of butterscotch.
His stories were brief, as he seemed to always be busy, and would end with him giving me a piece of hard candy that taste like caramel and tapping me on my shoulder as he walked away. But he was a storyteller none the less, who seemed to favor one certain saying...
"In the interest of time, I'll make this quick. You should always look at what's around you and appreciate it. Slowly turn around", he'd say- as he'd spin me in a circle- "and take it all in because the view will be different tomorrow."
In the interest of time... We hurry things along, take abbreviated versions of breaks that really just equate to 15 minutes of not looking at the emails that are unanswered on your phone. I'm very guilty of this. Or that "one last thing" you tell yourself you're going to finish then call it a night early. However, "going to bed early" is 1 am on a Wednesday night after you've been up since 3 am the night before. We fail to realize that time only moves in one direction and as you take on more projects and clock more hours (60+) a week, you're losing everything else running parallel in your peripheral vision as you climb the corporate ladder.
Like school award ceremonies and playdates, better yet, signs that you might not be in the best of health. Until you find yourself staring at the walls of a hospital room that doesn't care about your conference call, the standing Tuesday project meeting or the flight you have to catch at noon.
In the interest of time, I'll just say that I've learned a valuable lesson in the last 2 months. How much I've let Mr. Lofton down in his attempts to get me to take time and slowly take in the things around me. Let's just say, I'll make more time, work less hours and make more biscuits.
 And in the interest of time, we'll use cream and self rising flour to get the fluffy rise that we love so much. These require a lot less instructions than some of my more involved recipes, leaving more time to enjoy other things we might've missed or maybe just to sit outside with your face turned to the sun. In the interest of time, we'll sit back and appreciate it more, because it won't look the same tomorrow.

Cornmeal Cream Biscuits| Southern Soufflé

Cornmeal Cream Biscuits| Southern Soufflé

Cornmeal Cream Biscuits| Southern Soufflé

Cornmeal Cream Biscuits 
Prep Time: 20mins Cook Time- 10mins Yield- 1 dozen 


Ingredients: 
1 cup self rising flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated sugar


Directions:
Preheat oven to 425
Whisk together flour and cornmeal in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in cream stirring until flour is moistened. Add in the sugar Mix with spatula until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If there is flour remaining on the bottom of the bowl add some additional cream (about a tablespoon at a time).
Lightly sprinkle a board or other clean surface with flour. Turn dough out onto board and sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough. With floured hands, pat dough out to a ½ inch thick, fold dough in half and pat out into a ½ an inch thick for a normal size biscuit or about ¾ inch for taller biscuits. Brush off any visible flour from the tops of the biscuits. Using a biscuit cutter (or the rim of a drinking glass) cut out each biscuit. Use the scraps to make additional biscuits.
Waste not want not.
Place biscuits onto a baking pan or cast iron skillet. Bake biscuits for a total of 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve while warm. Brush biscuit tops with melted butter if that’s your thing.

3.23.2016

Comfort in Buttermilk Cake...

Buttermilk Cake | Southern Soufflé


Buttermilk Cake | Southern Soufflé

Sometimes the journey of life leads you down a path of undeniable triumph, sometimes it takes you to a place shrouded in shadows.
Like a Florida highway in the middle of the night, trying to get to a place that feels warm and the people aren't untamable demons.
The older I get, I can't help but think of the places I've been. Some of the things I've seen, people I've met. Like that same night along the side of highway 95 just outside of Jacksonville.
Watching the blue lights flash behind me, holding on to my steering wheel so tightly my nails are cutting into my skin. Using his baton, he taps on my window, which I've already halfway rolled down, so that's unnecessary.
Several things run through my head as I pass him my I.D. I wasn't speeding, my tags are legit and I'm alone.
"Do your best to avoid the police, just please try to always, just stay out of their way" was something my family told all of us growing up. It was understood at an early age to by any means avoid the police.
Which until this point, I'd always done.
"I'm gonna need you to get out," he tells me. I ask what I've done, he tells me not to ask questions and to step out of the car. Which I do, very slowly. He walks me to the back of my car and has me stand there as he searches the confines of my mother's borrowed '93 Maxima.
At this point I start to cry, thinking of how dark it is and no one knowing where I am. As I stand there, I see a black truck pull over in front of my car, causing the officer to look up from the bullshit he was doing. Honestly, the biggest white man I've ever seen in my life gets out of the truck. He's, at least, 6'4 with huge arms, just an imposing figure all around. This is surely a nightmare.
"Hey, you need some help" He ask the cop who pulled me over. But something about the way he says it seems off. The cop immediately walks over to me, throws my license on the ground at my feet and stalks off to his car. I'm so distraught at this point I don't notice the man from the truck standing next to me, telling the other office to report in.
"You alright? He's a jackass, we've had a few problems, so I' thought I'd stop" He goes on to show me his badge, as he keeps telling me it's gonna be alright. We probably stand there for an hour as he consoles me and helps me call my mom and the friend I'm on my way to visit.
"Hey, there's a place right around the corner that serve food 24 hours, why don't you go there and sit awhile"

Buttermilk Cake | Southern Soufflé

I get back in my car and do exactly as he says, finding a local meat and three that's serving breakfast. The woman smiles while placing a cup of coffee in front of me as I sit down. I don't drink coffee, so I just sit there, staring at the dark liquid. The seat next to me cracks a little as my literal saving grace sits beside me. "I just wanted to make sure you made it ok" He smiles at me again and I can't help but cry. "It’s gonna be ok. This place looks like shit, but we're about to have to best damn Buttermilk Cake you'll ever taste" he tells me
And we did.... he sat with me until the sun came up. I just talked to him yesterday as I cried again while I typed this post, he's now one of my closest friends. Over ten years have passed since that night and it still upsets me.
There are so many that didn’t have someone to stop and make sure everything was alright, I think of them every time I turn on the news. Every time I slice my fork into a warm slice of Buttermilk Cake, I think of that night on highway 95......


Buttermilk Cake | Southern Soufflé


*This cake is simple but so delicious you can seriously eat the whole thing in one sitting. One thing to note, it likes to stick to the bottom of the pan. So if you don't put down parchment, just be ready for a Hunger Games Battle of wills trying to get it out of that pan. 
May the odds be forever in your favor* 



Classic Buttermilk Cake
Prep Time: 30mins Cook Time: 20-25 mins Yields: 8-10 servings 
Adapted from: Cake Bible & The Taste Of Country Cooking 

Ingredients: 
3 cups cake flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
5 large eggs, room temp
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoon vanilla
Powdered Sugar for garnish- optional

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 *13-inch baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (you can also use a hand mixer) mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. While running the mixer on low add in the cold butter, a few pieces at a time. Continue to beat mixture until the butter is incorporated. It will look almost like cookie dough. This is good but don’t eat it yet. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition and making sure to scrape down the edges with a spatula to incorporate all the ingredients. Increase mixer speed to medium. Slowly pour in the buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until well incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Garnish with powdered sugar..