Flying Flour, Splashing Spices, Roomful Aromas

Monday, April 15, 2013

Almost Momma's Biscuits

Nothing harks one back to childhood better than aromas from the kitchen.  Nothing is more fitting to revive this blog than homage to Mom.  For over forty years I have tried to recreate her biscuits.  Even side by side with her in her kitchen, no go.  She had a deft hand and measured nothing with anything other than finger tips and 'eyeing' it.  After a few months of marriage, I was home to visit.  As if that wasn't strange enough, I took notes while she made biscuits noting each hand movement and addition of ingredients.  It was all about the flour, the buttermilk, a hot buttered glass pan and her magic touch.  She convinced me mine didn't turn out because I hadn't used Martha White Flour.  Tried that, no go. There was still something.  What was it?  I got  her to do it all again, after all there were more people in the house.  None would go wasted, for sure.  And she said something.  It didn't stick then or even return in my replay over the years.  But the other night, during a deep sleep, a nudge, ever so slight.  I awoke with a hankering for Mom's Biscuits and went to the kitchen.  Mizzen place~ all on deck.

Pre heat oven 425 degrees F.  2 tablespoons butter in glass baking dish (9X9)
2 cups flour, all purpose          Blend first three ingredients in large bowl.
3 tsps  baking powder
1  tsp  salt
1/4 c   butter                            Cut in butter to size of peas
1 3/4  buttermilk                      Fold in gently only until all is moist. (was that part of the nudge?)

All in the bowl.  Butter cut in.  Add the buttermilk.  FOLD, not stir.  Oh yes, there is a difference.  Deft of hand I recalled.  Mom was deft of hand.  That has been my problem all the decades.  A yeast bread baker, I even taught her how to make yeast breads, my handling of the 'stirring' utensil was heavy.  Oh, how could it take  all these years to recall such a fine detail. All the breads I have made.

The butter milk pooled in a well of dry ingredients. With a rubber spatula, I scooped the flour from the side of the bowl and FOLDED it over into the pool.  I rotated the bowl and gently repeated.  Three times.  Then I ran the spatula under the center and folded, turn and repeat.  All was MOIST.  I reigned in the desire to do more.  Onto a floured board I plopped the dough.  Again, resisting the temptation to fold and knead even once, I floured hands and patted the dough easily to a 1/2 inch thickness.  I floured the cutter, placed each in the hot glass dish after a touch and flip in the hot butter.  The biscuits all in the pan, touching, I allowed them to sit for 5 minutes.  That is when Mom washed everything up.
Five minutes over, I slid my prize into the hot oven and set the timer for 19 minutes.  The timer buzzed, I checked, they had risen to the top edge of the pan but not quite separating at seams.  I shut the door and set the time for 5 more minutes.  Timer buzzed.  I pulled the glass pan out, enveloped by heat and luscious aroma.  I removed the biscuits to a rack atop a platter to prevent steam from softening the golden crust, my favorite part.

I chose a corner biscuit.  Did I say the golden crust was my favorite part?  The jewel opened to a fluff, steaming.  Give it a second, a burned tongue is useless.  Finally, a bite.  Part crust, part inner fluff and Mom must've been in the kitchen.  So close, so close I'll claim this batch as Almost Mom's.  My closest ever and it is all in the FOLD not stir, the hot glass pan and  a nudge ever so slight in the night.  Thanks, Momma~ nudge anytime.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Salmon Patties, Easy? Oh Yes!

 We always get a large enough fillet to have seared salmon for dinner; salmon patties make a great brunch the next day.  Start with some chopped onion, celery, shredded cooked salmon, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
To this, add a large egg.

I like to add tarragon and a healthy measure of paprika.  Mix  this, squeeze in some lemon and about a cup of bread crumbs.  I prefer to run stick pretzels through the blender.  Work the pretzel or bread crumbs into the mix.  Have some pretzel crumbs for coating, too.  I place patties in a hot skillet with s smidge of oil just to keep them from sticking.  Brown on both sides and remove.  Another option is to pop them onto a baking sheet and into a 400 degree F oven for 12 min., turn and continue baking for another 6 minutes.

You get these lightly crisped, moist wonderful salmon patties that go with any favorite side:
coleslaw, tomato, basil, mozzarella,caprese, mac'n'cheese, potato salad, baked beans, tossed salad, whatever your taste buds demand.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Palm Trees, home grown lime, ice tea and sunshine
TERVIS makes a rockin' insulated tumbler in various sizes with options of a variety of logos.  Tervis is a US company providing the old fashion customer service that has nearly disappeared.  Located in Florida, I support a business in my home state, as well as MADE IN THE USA.  I LIKE that!  I am NOT affiliated with the Tervis company in any way other than a satisfied customer.  I had to make this post because this company is what AMERICA is about:  a good product, and great service.  I have had my tumblers for about ten years.  One fell from the table and came apart.  They come with a lifetime guarantee. I thought about sending it in but didn't.   A few weeks later, I noticed my tervis tumbler left a water ring.  Not supposed to happen!  Switched to a different one and alas, it had developed a leak.  Don't get me wrong, I  AM NOT complaining.  Setting the stage, though.  I use my tumblers everyday, inside, outside and on the go.  Tervis tumbler always.  So, I find a box and pack 'em up.  I go on line to learn the particulars of the return.  There is a simple form to print and fill out.  Tumbler size, why it is returned and what logo you wish in the replacement.  Allow 4-6 weeks.  Could I go that long without my Tervis?   For ten bucks of shipping I got my tumblers replaced!  But they arrived in 9 days!  Not good as new or like new but NEW! I love my TERVIS tumblers and suggest if you have not experienced these useful American made products to go online and give 'em a look.  They make great gifts with that iconic logo someone is passionate for, filled with a favorite candy or gift card.  They will soon discover what a great thing their tervis is and you will shoot to the top of the great gift idea list!  Be patriotic, give a tervis to those you love; they will love you and the tervis!
Again, I an NOT affiliated with the company in any way other than as a satisfied customer!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Finnish Pulla~ Not JUST for Christmas

The perfect accompniment is a nice cuppa tea for a perfect morning; a perfect gift.  Thanks, Ava!
Oh! The beauty of the sugar crystals, the oval sliced almonds, the nut brown crust and the alluring aroma of cardamom!  Teasing the senses and so pleasing, a gift was delivered to my door  in the beautiful form a Finnish Pulla Braid. It needs no dressing of butter or jam.  

Recipe from Julie on THe Fresh Loaf, 2009

4 tsp yeast
2 1/2 cups milk, warm
1 Tbsp crushed cardamom (not ground)
1 stick butter, soft
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
About 7 1/2 cups flour
1 egg

Heat milk to lukewarm.  Pour milk into large bowl add yeast.
Next add the cardamom, butter, salt and sugar, mix well. Stir in three cups 
of flour, add softened butter.  Add remaining flour and knead about ten minutes. Cover and let rise about 1 1/2 hours.

Julie made buns.  I make braided loaves.  After the dough has risen, divide in half.  Cut each half into three equal parts.  Roll each third into a 14 inch rope.  Put the ends together and fold under.  Pinch smooth so they don't separate during the rise.  Now braid the three ropes, sealing the ends under.  Place the braid on the parchment covered pan.  Repeat with the next three ropes.  When both are on the parchment, cover and allow to rise about 30 minutes.  Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with sugar and almonds.  Place in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Loaves should be golden brown, not dark.  Remove from oven, place loaves on wire rack for cooling.

Julie suggests frying left over Pulla in a skillet with butter but I have never had an opportunity to do this for there has never been any left over!  Enjoy and thanks, Julie for sharing your mother-in-laws' recipe.

Scottish Morning Buns


Start with flour in the bowl.

Stir yeast into warm water and milk.

Add liquid and salt.

Stir to form a ball.

Knead a bit and place in an oiled bowl to rise.

Divide dough after the rise into ten equal pieces.

On a floured surface,

roll into an oval shape about 3.5 inches X 4.5.

Brush lightly with oil

Cover with oiled plastic film and allow to rise for half an hour and bake.

Scottish Morning Rolls
Makes 10 Rolls
4 cups unbleached plain white flour; plus extra for dusting
2tsp salt
¾ oz fresh yeast (or dry yeast equivalent)
¼ pint/ 2∕3 cup lukewarm milk
¼ pint/ 2∕3 cup lukewarm water
2Tb milk, for glazing
Butter for greasing
2 Baking Sheets
Cling Film
To Make: 
Grease 2 baking sheets. 
Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl and make a well in the center. 
Mix the yeast in with the lukewarm milk and water 
Add to the centre of the flour. Mix together to form a soft dough. 
Lightly knead or turn the dough about 5 times, then cover with lightly oiled clear film. 
Rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. 
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and fold in thirds. 
Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. 
Knead lightly and, using a rolling pin, shape each piece into a flat oval 4 x 3", or flat round about 3½". 
Transfer to the prepared baking sheets, spaced well apart, and cover with oiled cling/clear film. 
Rise in a warm place, for about 30 minutes. 
Preheat the oven on to 400 °F. 
Press each roll in the center with three fingers to equalise the air bubbles and prevent blistering. 
Brush with milk and dust with flour. 
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until lightly browned. 
Dust with more flour and cool slightly on a wire rack. 
Serve warm with butter and jam. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More on Pfeffernusse for Jack

Meet my neighbor friend,         Sgt. Jack Walker.  He harks back to the days of home in Louisville, KY where childhood came to an end at 17 when he enlisted.

Thanks to Joann Hayden for sharing her recipe from her mom's collection.  More pfeffernusse recipes to share soon!
Jack remembers tastes and flavors of his youth and I hunt them down.  That is how the Pfeffernusse Project came to be this month.  I have collected recipes from the good folks at The Fresh Loaf, a favorite online haunt for bread bakers and friends.   
More pfeffernusse is in the making, and Jack will be the one to say which is closest to his 'memories'.  There are other holiday favorites ahead as well.  Come on back and check out the Pfeffernusse Project.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

N.M. Cookies

Many years ago the Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie was the bench marker for all CCC to be measured against.  With the onset of the Internet, secrets of all sorts became public information.  Here is the 'desireable' Chocolate Chip Cookie.  My first experience was in the 80's in NYC at NM!  the cookie was the size of a desert plate and  yummy.  Here I give credit to NM for  a great recipe, a great cookie and great memory!  Dare I say I play with this recipe?  Oh, but I do.  My latest tweak was to change the oatmeal to  Bob's Red Mill 5 Grain cereal.  Oh, so crunchy and dunkable into that mug of milk.  Yes, I said mug because the cookie fits into the mug for the dunk! They don't quite fit the glass.  Besides, dunking in a mug adds to the ambiance of the experience, IMHO~
Here's the Toll House Version

N.M. Cookie
(Thanks to my niece, Christie for sharing this recipe oh so long ago!)

1 cup butter, softened                                          2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda                                                         1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups blended oatmeal                       12 oz. choc. chips
cup brown sugar                                               1/2 tsp. salt
1 4oz Hershey bar, grated                                     2 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder                                            1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups nuts

N.M. Version with Bob's Red Mill 5 Grain
instead of oatmeal! Crunchier!
Bake at 375 for 10-12 mins.