Sunday, October 08, 2006

Buttermilk Biscuits

When it comes to breakfast, the only ones I really enjoy are fattening. So of course, I love biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak, corn beef hash, and breakfast skillets. I have tried, unsuccessfully, to make homemade biscuits and gravy for years. My first failure was the biscuits. I guess Bisquick is not my friend for biscuit making. I recently tried this recipe, and I found success!

  • 2 cups all purpose flour, stirred before measuring
  • 2 1/2 TSP baking powder
  • 1/4 TSP baking soda
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening, chilled
  • 2 TBS butter, chilled
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the chilled shortening and butter until you have pieces the size of small peas.

3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in buttermilk. With a wooden spoon (you can not use an electric mixer, you need the air mixed in to make these light and fluffy) gently blend the dry ingredients into the buttermilk, just until the mixture is clumpy - you do NOT want to over mix this!! You made need to add an additional TBS of buttermilk.

4. Transfer the dough to floured cutting board. Pat out into a circle about 8 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. If you have a biscuit cutter, cut out your biscuits. If you don't, I suggest a glass juice cup, also lightly floured (grandmother used this for years, always worked for her). Place cut biscuits on a ungreased baking sheet (if you have a cooking stone, that's even better!) Bake on center oven rack for about 10 minutes or until golden.

Makes 10-12 biscuits, depending on the size cut.

Italian Baked Cannelloni

Our days are still warm here in the desert - pleasantly warm. But the nights definitely feel like fall is around the corner. By dinner time, my family is ready for something warm and filling. This recipe is another from my grandmother. I suspect that she could have gotten it from her sister in law's mother, who was Italian, but she didn't leave any notes on this one.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 TSP dried sage
  • 1/2 TSP dried rosemary
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 12 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 TBS butter
  • 4 TBS all purpose flour

  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 cannelloni (manicotti) shells

1. Make the Cannelloni Filling first: in a large skillet, saute the ground beef with the onion, sage and rosemary; cook until the meat is evenly browned and crumbly. Add salt and 1/2 white wine; cook until the wine is evaporated. Turn heat to lowest setting and start the Bechamel Sauce.

2. Bechamel Sauce: melt 4 TBS butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir until completely blended. Slowly stir in mil and bring to a slow boil until the mixture thickens; remove from heat and stir into the meat mixture; mix well. Stir in the mozzarella and egg yolks; set aside.

3. In a medium saucepan, melt 2 TBS butter and saute onion until translucent. Add 1/2 cup white wine and let it cook until evaporated (your heat show be medium). Add tomato and salt. Mix well and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Cook the cannelloni/manicotti noodles until al dente; cool pasta in cool water when done. Drain.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

6. Spoon the filling into each shell. Place stuffed pasta shells in a 9x13 baking pan (deeper is better). Cover with tomato mix.

7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until heated through. Allow to stand 5 minutes before serving.

TIPS: Use real white wine, not cooking wine. A medium priced white wine ($10-$12) will give you the really good flavor. Cooking wine is little more than vinegar. Buy a cheap bottle of wine if you are cutting costs, rather than cooking wine.

My grandmother used to mix 1/2 lb. of pork and 1/2 lb. of sausage for the meat sometimes. Extra yummy, but also extra fattening.