10.01.2014

Basil Red Curry Biscuits

Herbed Red Curry Biscuits 4 (1 of 1)

Herbed Red Curry Biscuits 1 (1 of 1)

Herbed Red Curry Biscuits 5 (1 of 1)

"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as you please." - Mark Twain

 At this point in our internet relationship you’ve come to understand my obsession with biscuits. Although I must confess, my grandma would think I’m a bit off my rocker with these.
Be that as it may, I’ve gotten the facts first and now I feel the need to distort them as I please..
With Red Curry.
It’s a fact that buttermilk biscuits if not prepared right will make for better door stoppers than something right for human consumption.
I’ve created a legion of these situations..
However, IF your biscuit dough resembles that of pimento cheese, your future will be bright.
On the occasion that one may add golden crispy fried chicken to the center of said biscuits, then drizzles with cane syrup, more than greatness is undoubtedly ahead.
You’re also about to enjoy a great meal.
Fried Chicken and Biscuits would be the meal I was raised on, that and a bowl of hot grits cooked with a can of salmon Q. This was a meal that could transform from a simple Sunday supper to one’s 44th annual Southern Baptist Revival celebration. Also filling the tables of every wedding, christening, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Home Going ceremony…
So one could say I’m partial to crispy crust and flaky centers..
Meaning.. I often find myself washing flour off my hands and adding ingredients not often mixed into biscuits, like red curry paste.
Far from that of the basic biscuit variety, these are giving you that chili-lemongrass-coconut milk-cilantro- garlic tasting flavor and are leaning 100% on the savory dinner biscuit side..
A side that I'm starting to favor..

Herbed Red Curry Biscuits 2 (1 of 1)

Herbed Red Curry Biscuits 3 (1 of 1)



Basil Red Curry Biscuits

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
6 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces, chilled
2 ½ tablespoons red curry paste
1 cup of buttermilk

Use this recipe for crispy fried chicken to add to these biscuits if desired.

Steen's Cane Syrup goes well with these when drizzle on a warm biscuit. 


Directions:
Preheat oven to 450
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, whisk to combine. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal.. (think feta).
In a separate small bowl, whisk the red chili paste with the buttermilk until well combined. Add buttermilk mixture and basil, stirring gently to combine If the dough appears on the dry side, add more buttermilk. You want the dough to be wet.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface, gently pat out until its about ½ thick. Fold the dough about 5 times and gently pat out to 1 inch thick.  
Old school trick- after turning the dough out, cut in 4 sections. Stack each section on top of each other, then gently pat into 1 inch thickness.
Using  biscuits cutters, cut into rounds.
Place the biscuits on cookie sheet, baking for about 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

For biscuits with soft sides, putting them touching each other on the cookie sheet. Placing them 1 inch apart will give you crispy sides

9.17.2014

Muscadine Mojitos

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Muscadine Mojitos 6 (1 of 1)

As I read things like “saying farewell to summer”, I stare at you in disbelief.
Disbelief as I wipe the sweat off my forehead, because it’s 80+ degrees today.
The joys of southern living one would say. It just makes me smile as I walk my daughter to the bus stop barefoot with a hand full of deep purple muscadines. Even as the bus pulls off I sit there on the curb, mainly because I don’t want to go to work, but more so remembering when life was slow and we weren’t so defined by the time of day or expense reports and audit findings.
And it was ok to throw grapes at each other…
Those days are long gone now, and more often than not, I find myself pouring some sort of cocktail. Ok. Just Bourbon straight is what I favor, but every now and then I get a little creative.
Like this past Sunday, I served dinner again; Just a few folks with empty stomachs and full hearts.
We talked of college football, high level colleagues whose financial compensations often far surpass their level of actual skill and argued over Obama’s foreign policy.
We also drank mojitos made of Muscadine juice and mint.

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Muscadines (or Scuppernongs) are thick skinned grapes native to my much loved South. My memories of eating these jewels that vary in color as much as they vary in taste, could fill an entire chapter of a book. From creamy vanilla flavor to something along the lines of a granny smith apple mixed with a plum, you never knew what you would get at that first bite.
They’re also quite labor intensive. One must break through the leathery outer layer that encloses the sweet nectar of this grape, being mindful of the seeds that lay in the center. As kids, this never stopped us. We often sent the seeds and the outer skin airborne, many times at each other.
Hidden in the back yard of a beautiful house that sat at the end of Granny’s street, was an arbor covered with muscadine vines that provided a shady respite to the people that lived there; And plenty of grapes to the kids brave enough to climb the fence and steal them.
So if I must truly say goodbye to summer, the only appropriate way would be some sort of toast. With a drink that reminds me of the goodness summer brings. That long awaited fruit that would hang in dark purple clusters, surrounded by serrated- edged leaves and eager hands anxious to pick them.
Won’t you join me?

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Muscadine Mojitos

Ingredients:
2 cups of muscadines (any color will do)
6 mint leaves
2 teaspoons sugar
1 lime, halved
2 oz rum

Directions:

Pour the 2 cups of muscadines in a food processor and pulsing for about 4-5 3-second pulses. Strain the grapes through a fine mesh strainer, pressing the pulp to release the juices. Divide mint leaves, lime halves and sugar between two glasses. Use a muddler to crush the mint, lime and sugar together. Fill each glass with ice.  Divide the rum and muscadine juice amoung the 2 glasses and stir to combine.
Garnish with extra mint leaves and muscadines that have been cut in half or whole ones.

Cheers!

9.10.2014

Maque Choux and Patience on the bayou….

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Pronounced “Mock-Shoe” this medley of sweet corn and cream has as many variations as a southerner has cousins. A succotash of Cajun Country that actually originated with the southeastern Native Americans..
My first taste of Maque Choux was eaten out of a cast iron skillet that was rusting around the edges. Unfortunately, the rust never deterred my beloved Ms. Mattie. She was a cagey old woman with weird ways and mystical stories that at times seemed far-fetched but are well remembered.
Perhaps, I’m morphing into my own version of her; let me tell you a story.
If you’ve read this post, you already know of Ms. Mattie. She was a little old lady I meet while living on the outskirts of Lafayette, Louisiana. A place that to me captures the true spirit of Louisiana, far from the French Quarter and powdered beignets. This particular day, I’d been sent on a journey in search of cashews. Not, so much a journey as just a trip to the store.
They were Ms. Mattie’s choice of snack, that and a package of Virginia slim ultra lights. I returned to her house with both and she gave me a spoon.
“Ca c’est bon, eh?!” She said while glaring at me over her glasses.
Doing my best to avoid the black freckle specs of iron sticking to the bottom, I embarked on my first taste of what was nothing short of creamy corn bliss.
“You gotta get the hair outta there” Is what she said, although in more of a mixture of Cajun French and broken English. My immediate thought was hair?! Is there hair in here? Gross.
It was a few weeks later that I learned what that meant exactly.

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A little back history, I was a young single mom, working 2 jobs around this time. Ms. Mattie was a Godsend when I would think all hope was lost. As I said before, she taught me a lot more than gumbo and cajun; the hardest lesson being that of patience. That 6 mile trek to get to her house turned out to be just about a mile down the road from the daycare my daughter (an infant at the time) stayed while I worked. I’d always stop by on my way home, despite her caginess, she gave me a since of home.
I asked if she needed anything in particular.
“Give me the girl and you go fix the corn” 
Fixing the corn turned out to be shucking a box of what seemed like 100 of ears of corn. Having no idea how one “fixes” the corn, I set about ripping the hell out of the husk and throwing it back in the box..
“Merde… the hair..you gotta get the hair”  
Again with the hair.. the hair being the silky strains left behind after my poor attempts at shucking. So down she sits, my baby on her lap and shows me how to properly shuck corn. While telling me of a Creek man she met long ago and the real meaning behind "God willing and the Creek don't rise" 
 “Take ya time pischouette”… she meant way more by that statement than I realized at the time. Take my time I did and we made maque choux and ate dinner at what had to be one in the morning.

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I’ll never shuck corn that way again. The kernels you see in those photos are the product of the microwave method. Google it!
My daughter, now a teenager, “shucked” this corn.. the memory of us that day and how things come full circle burns in my mind.
As I shared this story with her, I couldn’t help but feel some sort of pride. Pride that I remember where I was and how far I’ve come, pride that I would imagine Ms. Mattie felt every time she shared a story. 

Bon Appetite!

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*Side Note- Before the cajun culinary police arrest me, I know there are no tomatoes in this.. Ms. Mattie would add tomatoes and crawfish (when she had them), as well as adding a blond roux at times to thicken the dish. The butter was about twice the amount I used and there was always that need for bacon drippings and tasso ham. But geezus I'm an old gal now and can't eat like I used to, so I scaled back on the grease and ingredients to make this super simple. Add about 2 tomatoes chopped to give this a creamy tomato based flavor, double up on the hot sauce, or even throw in some crushed red pepper.*

Maque Choux 
Prep time- 20 mins Cook Time- 10-12 mins Yields- 6 servings 

Ingredients:

¼ stick of butter, unsalted
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
3 cups of fresh corn kernels
1 red bell pepper, chopped
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3 tablespoons fresh parsley , chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent.
Add in corn and bell peppers, cooking for about 4-5 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
Pour in cream and hot sauce. Simmer until the sauce starts to get thick (about 5 mins) then add in parsley.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve while hot. 



8.27.2014

Rosemary Stone Fruit Sangria….

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How about a drink?
Something simple and fruity with woodsy hints of fragrant rosemary that’s not complicated at all.
Cause these last few weeks have been full of complicated news media, conflicting reports and just loads of other crap that would drive anyone to “drankin”.
So let’s do so.
It started when I made this cake by Molly Yeh that was too legit to quit (so make it) which left me with a few plums and one should never waste plums. However, I have this issue with laziness. It rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times, like mostly at work.
Needless to say, I was too lazy to make another cake and decided to soak the left over plums in vodka, then added some nectarines, then said what the hell and added a couple of peaches that were feeling neglected.
Then I decided I was a genius and drank all the troubles of the week away while eating plum cake and sipping on stone fruit sangria.
It’s all gone now so you should definitely make more.
As long as you remember to invite me over.

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Rosemary Stone Fruit Sangria

Ingredients:
5 plums, pitted sliced into ½ inch wedges
3 nectarines, pitted sliced into ½ inch wedges
2 peaches, pitted sliced into ½ inch wedges
2 springs of fresh rosemary
Juice of one lemon
2/3 cup peach vodka
¼ cup sugar
1 (750) ml) bottle dry white wine

Directions:

In a large pitcher add vodka and sugar, stirring to dissolve. Add in fruit, rosemary, lemon juice and white wine.  Stir to combine and refrigerate for at least one hour (or overnight). Serve chilled.

Add a splash or champagne if your fancy.  

8.20.2014

Buttermilk Fried Green Tomatoes W/ Spicy Sweet Corn Slaw + My Thoughts On Ferguson Mo.

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“We'll walk hand in hand, we'll walk hand in hand, 
We'll walk hand in hand someday; 
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, 
We'll walk hand in hand someday.” 
                                   --- We Shall Overcome, Key Anthem of the Civil Rights Movement 


This is inherently a food blog, which I know.
However, social media is a platform- one that in this day and age is stronger than any traditional letter writing or phone calls could ever be. Food is never a respite in the matters of the day. If anything we head to the table to vent, to collectively tell the tales of the days, weeks, and months. This morning I’m feeling some type of way about the situation in Ferguson Missouri. Saddened, disheartened, or as my mother said yesterday.. Defeated.

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As I read article after article, watch media coverage and hear first-hand accounts from my friend as he currently nurses his eyes from the tear gas residue. Tear gas that was thrown at his camera as he reports for CNN.
“They’re throwing that shit at everyone, from the news trucks to the kids in the streets.” 
This is killing me. It has killed me since it was first reported.
The anger, I understand.. That I truly do. Every time I stare at my 3 year old son, the anger bubbles over to rage. For he is Michael Brown.
But as Gil Scott Heron told us, “The revolution will not be televised” 
We are not seeing the peaceful protest or those begging for justice, both black and white rallying in the streets in solidarity. We’re shown coverage of looters and rioters violating that of their own community. There is no justice in that.
There is no peace in robbing your local grocer of the food that is there to sustain you, my brothers and sisters. This is just perpetuating the myth that the use of “excessive force” is supposedly justified by. You can’t say “hands up don’t shoot” and in the same breath throw a brick through the window of a store front.
How is this helping the cause of our dialog?
Why would they not shoot?

Buttermilk Fried Green Tomatoes W- Spicy Sweet Corn Slaw 5 (1 of 1)

We have been here before, we will continue to exist on this precise of inequality if we do not exercise the rights that our ancestors protested, fought and died for.
Go and vote-exercise that right, you don’t like the laws of the day, well fight them, legally, peacefully. Turn the anger into a thirst for knowledge and learn that law better than those who use it against you. No, we should not go quietly into the night but we should also not create turmoil on our own front lawn. Accountability, we must take it. Look amongst ourselves and the disrespect in our own community. We are so eager to create warfare behind the injustice of this shooting but say nothing of the anarchy happening on the streets of Chicago. That is our problem also. So again, tell me why they should not shoot?
More so tell me this; would our ancestors be proud of what we’ve become?
We do not need Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson or the National Guard. We need each other.
..We will not survive without understanding.

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What’s it going to take?! To see that we are a community living together here, a community that consists of all ethnicities and that we as a community must remain vigilant. Together we must work to fight against injustice and inequality for everyone. In tandem, we must move onward upward in peace. No tear gas or rubber bullets necessary.
We MUST walk hand in hand. We must walk hand in hand someday.
Until then, I’m gonna keep cooking and praying, wishing.. For I am hopeful
That We Shall Over Come…. Someday.

To Michael Brown. Son of Lesley McSpadden. Grandson of Desuirea Harris. You’re in my thoughts and its weighing heavy on my heart. I prepared this meal with thoughts of you as I pray for justice.
Rest in Eternal Peace… and know that you will not be forgotten.



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Buttermilk Fried Green Tomatoes W- Spicy Sweet Corn Slaw 10 (1 of 1)


Fried Green Tomatoes and I go way back like red light green light. It was rare that we had them, but when we did they would always be fried after soaking in buttermilk. Then topped with this red tomato, cucumber vinegar based "salad". I thought I'd adapted that somewhat with this here simple slaw that has a kick and the sweet crunch of corn. 


Buttermilk Fried Green Tomatoes W/ Spicy Sweet Corn Slaw
Prep Time- 30 mins Cook Time- 15 mins Yields- 6 servings

Ingredients:

4 Green Tomatoes, sliced ½ inch thick
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons coarse salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Peanut Oil, for frying

For the Slaw:
2 ears fresh corn, shucked and kernels removed
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 cups green cabbage shredded
2 cups red cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, finely shredded
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon.
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper 


Directions:
Add buttermilk to a medium size bowl. In a separate bowl add the flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper.
Place each slice into the buttermilk, then dredge in flour mixture to completely coat.
In a large skillet, pour peanut oil until there is about an inch of oil in your skillet. This will vary depending on the size of the skillet you are using.  Heat oil on medium high heat. Place tomato slices in skillet, make sure they are not touching each other. (about 3-4 at a time)
When the tomatoes are golden brown, flip over and fry on the other side.
Remove from skillet and drain on paper towel lined plate.
For the slaw: In a large bowl, combine corn, jalapeno, cabbages, carrot, bell pepper, and cilantro. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.  Pour over cabbage mixture stirring to combine.

To assemble, simply place one fried tomato on a plate and top with prepared slaw.

Enjoy!