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October 2009

Southern Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuits gravy 

Download Southern Biscuits and Gravy Recipe


Biscuits and gravy is a popular breakfast dish in the South. It consists of buttermilk biscuits covered in thick "country" or "white" gravy made from the drippings of cooked pork sausage, white flour, milk, and often bits of real sausage, bacon, ground beef, or other meat. It’s usually served with a couple of eggs on the side. The gravy is usually flavored with black pepper, fennel and sage. In some parts of the southern United States this is also called sawmill gravy. You can try any kind of ground sausage; Whole Foods offers a great variety. Turkey sausage works very well with this recipe.


3 cups all-purpose flour  

1 tablespoon sugar  

1 tablespoon baking powder  

1/2 teaspoon baking soda  

1 teaspoon salt  

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled 

4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled 

1 1/4 cups buttermilk* (see note below)

Sausage Gravy

1/4 cup all-purpose flour  

1 teaspoon ground fennel seed  

1 teaspoon ground sage

¼ tsp. dry mustard 

1 ½ teaspoons pepper  

1 ½ pounds bulk pork sausage  

3 cups whole milk  


1. For the biscuits: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, butter, and shortening in food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in buttermilk until combined.

2. On lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth, 8 to 10 kneads. Pat dough into 9-inch circle, about 3/4 inch thick. Using 3-inch biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut out rounds of dough and arrange on prepared baking sheet. Gather remaining dough, pat into 3/4-inch-thick circle, and cut out remaining biscuits. (You should have 8 biscuits in total.)

3. Bake until biscuits begin to rise, about 5 minutes, then rotate pan and reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and let cool.

4. For the sausage gravy: Combine flour, fennel, sage, and pepper in small bowl. Cook sausage in large nonstick skillet over medium heat, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle flour mixture over sausage and cook, stirring constantly, until flour has been absorbed, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk and simmer until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Serve over split biscuits. (Biscuits can be stored in zipper-lock bag for 2 days.)

*Note – Buttermilk substitutions:

· Use Saco powdered Buttermilk – just add 5 Tablespoons of Saco powdered buttermilk into flour mixture and 1 ¼ cups water in place of fresh buttermilk)

· Whisk 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into 1 1/4 cups of milk and let it stand until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

 Saco buttermilk

Salmon Fillets with Crispy Mustard and Dill Crust

Salmon fillet plate

Salmon Fillets with Crispy Mustard and Dill Crust


Download Salmon Fillets with Crispy Mustard and Dill Crust Recipe

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

1 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

1/3 cup vegetable oil

4 6- to 7-ounce salmon fillets

1 cup fresh French breadcrumbs (made with baguette or hearty white sandwich bread)

4 ounces Kettle cooked potato chips, crushed

2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

Place vinegar, sugar and both mustards in blender. With machine running, slowly pour in oil and blend until medium-thick sauce forms. (Can be made 1 day ahead; refrigerate.) Pulse bread in mini cuisinart with dill to make fine crumbs, transfer to small bowl; mix in crushed chips and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 13 x 9-inch baking dish with olive oil. Arrange salmon in prepared dish, skin side down.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread 1 tablespoon mustard sauce over each fillet, covering completely. Press breadcrumbs onto fish. Bake salmon until cooked through and crumb topping is crisp and golden brown, about 18 minutes.

Using large spatula as aid, transfer salmon fillets to platter.

Salmon fillets mustard

Salmon fillets coated

Quick Skillet Chicken with Rice and Peas

Chicken rice peas plate

This is quick and tasty weeknight meal that comes together quickly.  Make sure to use a non stick skillet with a tight fitting lid.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 

2 tablespoons vegetable oil 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

1 medium onion, minced

3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)

 Pinch red pepper flakes 

1 1/2 cups long-grain rice 

1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 

1 cup frozen peas 

5 scallions, sliced thin

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 

1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving

1.    Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in flour to coat and shake off any excess. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the chicken well on one side, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

2.    Off the heat, add the butter to the skillet, and swirl to melt. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and return to medium-high heat until softened, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the rice thoroughly and let toast for about 30 seconds.

3.    Stir in the wine (or vermouth) and let the rice absorb it completely, about 1 minute. Stir in the broth, scraping up any browned bits. Nestle the chicken into the rice, browned side facing up, including any accumulated juices. Cover and cook over medium heat until the thickest part of the chicken registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes.

4.    Transfer the chicken to a clean plate. Gently brush off and discard any rice clinging to the chicken, then tent the chicken with foil and set aside. Return the skillet of rice to medium-low heat, cover, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 8 to 12 minutes longer.

5.    Off the heat, sprinkle the peas over the rice, cover, and let warm through, about 2 minutes. Add the scallions and lemon juice to the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with the chicken and lemon wedges.

Toast the rice slightly with the sautéed onions

Rice onions skillet 

Chicken rice peas skillet

Apple Crisp

Apple crisp plate 2


1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour   

¾ cup packed light brown sugar  

¾ cup granulated sugar  

1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon  

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled 

¾ cup old-fashioned oats  


¼- ½ cup granulated sugar

1 T flour

½ tsp. cinnamon

½  tsp nutmeg

Juice and zest of ½ lemon

5 pounds apples – mixture of Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces 

1. For the topping: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse flour, sugars, cinnamon, and butter in food processor until mixture has texture of coarse crumbs (some pea-sized pieces of butter will remain), about 12 one-second pulses. Transfer to medium bowl, stir in oats, and use fingers to pinch topping into peanut-sized clumps. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

2. For the filling: In large bowl, combine apples, sugar, four, spices, lemon juice and zest in pour into 9x13 glass baking dish placed on a rimmed baking sheet ; smooth apples evenly with spatula.

3. To assemble: Scatter topping evenly over filling and bake until juices are bubbling and topping is deep golden brown, about 40-50 minutes. (If topping is browning too quickly, loosely cover with piece of aluminum foil.) Transfer to wire rack to cool. Serve warm. Serves 8 to 10

Make Ahead Topping: While this crisp is best eaten the day it is cooked, the topping can be made ahead. After pinching the topping into small clumps in step 1, transfer the mixture to a zipper-lock bag and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 month.



Crisp baking  

Easy Tarte Tatin with Gala Apples

Tarte tatin final 

This is a very easy dessert and is made even easier with ready to use Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry. Use a cast iron skillet to ensure that butter and sugar caramelize.

 Download Tarte Tatin recipe

1 frozen puff pastry sheet (from a 17 1/4-oz package), thawed (Pepperidge Farm or Dufour)

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

7 to 9 large Gala apples (3 to 4 lb), peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored

1.    Preheat oven to 425°F.

2.    Roll pastry sheet into a 10 1/2-inch square on a floured work surface with a floured rolling pin. Brush off excess flour and cut out a 10-inch round with a sharp knife, using a plate as a guide. Transfer round to a baking sheet and chill.

3.    Spread butter thickly on bottom and side of a cast iron skillet and pour sugar evenly over bottom. Arrange as many apples as will fit vertically on sugar, packing them tightly in concentric circles. Apples will stick up above rim of skillet.

4.    Cook apples over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until juices are deep golden and bubbling, 18 to 25 minutes. (Don't worry if juices color unevenly.)

5.    Put skillet in middle of oven over a piece of foil to catch any drips. Bake 20 minutes (apples will settle slightly), then remove from oven and lay pastry round over apples.

6.    Bake tart until pastry is browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer skillet to a rack and cool at least 10 minutes.

7.    Just before serving, invert a platter with lip over skillet and, using potholders to hold skillet and plate tightly together, invert tart onto platter. Replace any apples that stick to skillet. (Don't worry if there are black spots; they won't affect the flavor of the tart.) Brush any excess caramel from skillet over apples. Serve immediately.


•Tart can cool in skillet up to 30 minutes. It can also stand, uncovered, up to 5 hours, then be heated over moderately low heat 1 to 2 minutes to loosen caramel. Shake skillet gently to loosen tart before inverting.

Tarte tatin arrange apples 

Tarte tatin skillet
Tarte tatin baked



Rustic Mashed Red Bliss Potatoes with Cream Cheese and Chives

Red potatoes mashed final 

One of my favorite mashed potato recipes  - great with Glazed Turkey Meatloaf - http://tinyurl.com/yljneph

This recipe is also featured on the popular blog ONE FOR THE TABLE - check it out there at:

Check out all the great recipes on ONE FOR THE TABLE

Rustic Mashed Red Bliss Potatoes with Cream Cheese and Chives


2 pounds Red Bliss potatoes (about 2 inches in diameter), unpeeled and scrubbed

Kosher salt 

1 bay leaf 

4 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and warm

1/2 cup cream cheese (4 ounces), at room temperature

2 tablespoons sour cream

 Ground black pepper 

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (optional)


1.    Place potatoes in large saucepan and cover with 1 inch cold water; add 1 teaspoon salt and bay leaf. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until paring knife can be inserted into potatoes with no resistance, 35 to 45 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain potatoes. Return potatoes to pot, discard bay, and allow potatoes to stand in pot, uncovered, until surfaces are dry, about 5 minutes.

2.    While potatoes dry, whisk melted butter and softened cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth and fully incorporated. Stir in sour cream and  2 tablespoons of reserved cooking water, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, chives (if using), and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using rubber spatula or back of wooden spoon, smash potatoes just enough to break skins. Fold in butter/cream cheese mixture until most of liquid has been absorbed and chunks of potatoes remain. Add more cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed, until potatoes are slightly looser than desired (potatoes will thicken slightly with standing). Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper; serve immediately.

Grilled Rib Eye Steak with Spanish Rice, Black Beans, and Green Peas

Rib eye plated 

Grilled Rib Eye Steak with Spanish Rice, Black Beans, and Green Peas

 Staub enameled cast iron cookware is my favorite for indoor grilling. Watch for it on sale - http://tinyurl.com/ykzdx5v


Coarse kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper

2 rib eye steaks, left at room temperature for 30-45 minutes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1.    Mix together salt, cumin, and allspice in small bowl and set aside.

2.    Heat vegetable oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until smoking.

3.    Pat dry steaks with paper towels and season steaks with salt and pepper. Lay steaks in pan, leaving 1/4 inch between them. Cook, not moving steaks, until well browned, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip steaks and continue to cook until instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 120 degrees for rare to medium-rare, 3 to 7 minutes. Transfer steaks to large plate, top with butter, and tent loosely with foil; let rest while finishing fries.

Spanish Rice

I box Near East Spanish Rice ( http://www.neareast.com/#products/spanishricepilaf )

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup frozen tiny tender green peas

Prepare rice according to package instructions. Add beans and peas during last 5 minutes of cooking.

Spoon rice onto plates and place steak strips over rice.

Ribe eye steaks 

Rib eye steak grilled 
Staub cast iron grill pan

Fluffy Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Boursin Cheese

Eggs and salmon 

Fluffy Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Boursin Cheese

These eggs cook very quickly, so it’s important to have everything ready to eat before you start to cook them. You can use your favorite smoked salmon, but I like one that I discovered in Alaska called Silver Lining – www.salmonetc.com


8 large eggs 

1/2 teaspoon table salt 

 Ground black pepper 

1/2 cup milk 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter 

1 six ounce can Alaskan Smoked Sockeye Salmon, broken into small pieces

4 ounces Boursin Cheese, crumbled (http://www.boursin.com )

1 tablespoon chopped chives


1.    Crack eggs into a medium bowl. Add salt, pepper, and milk. Whip with a fork until streaks are gone and color is pure yellow; stop beating while the bubbles are still large.

2.    Meanwhile, put butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet, then set the pan over high heat. When the butter foams, swirl it around and up the sides of the pan. Before foam completely subsides, pour in beaten eggs. With a wooden spatula or a nonstick-safe egg turner, push eggs from one side of the pan to the other, slowly but deliberately, lifting and folding eggs as they form into curds, until eggs are nicely clumped into a single mound, but remain shiny and wet, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle salmon, Boursin cheese, and chives over eggs and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

3.    For two eggs, season with 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1 grind of pepper, and 2 tablespoons milk. Heat only 1 1/2 teaspoons butter, use a 8-inch skillet. Cooking time is only 30 to 45 seconds.

4.    For four eggs, season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 grinds of pepper, and 1/4 cup milk. Heat 3/4 tablespoon butter and use a 10-inch skillet. Cooking time is about 1 minute.


Skillet Peach and Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberry and Peach cobbler 

Skillet Peach and Blackberry Cobbler

This is a quick cobbler that makes good use of frozen fruit. Serve with vanilla ice cream.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter  

2 pounds frozen sliced peaches

2 pounds frozen blackberries

½ cup sugar  

Pinch of salt  

1 tablespoon lemon juice  

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch  


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , plus extra for work surface 

5 tablespoons sugar  

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder  

1/4 teaspoon baking soda  

1/4 teaspoons salt  

3/4 cup buttermilk  

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon  

1 tablespoon sugar

1.    For the filling: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in large oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add two pounds of blackberries and 1 pound of peaches, sugar, and salt and cook, covered, until fruit has released its juice, about 5 minutes. Remove lid and simmer until all liquid has evaporated and peaches begin to caramelize, 15 to 20 minutes. Add remaining peaches and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Whisk lemon juice and cornstarch in small bowl, then stir into peach mixture. Cover skillet and set aside off heat.

2.    For the topping: Meanwhile, whisk flour, 5 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Stir in buttermilk and butter until dough forms. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and knead briefly until smooth, about 30 seconds.

3.    Combine remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon. Break dough into rough 1-inch pieces and space them about 1/2 inch apart on top of hot peach/blackberry mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake until topping is golden brown and filling is thickened, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.


Spaghetti and Fried Eggs with Garlic and Black Sea Salt Flakes

Spaghetti with fried eggs

Spaghetti and Fried Eggs with Garlic and Black Sea Salt Flakes

I found this recipe in Cooking for Two and thought it sounded quick and tasty. The soft yolk in the fried egg creates a savory sauce with the pasta and parmesan cheese. Read the recipe a couple of times, there are several steps and it all comes together pretty quickly, so have everything prepped and ready to go.

2 slices Hearty White Sandwich Bread

6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste

½ pound spaghetti

¼ cup parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon finely chopped chives or Italian parsley

2 large eggs, cracked into a small bowl

Black Sea salt flakes, or freshly cracked pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Pulse the bread in food processor to coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Transfer crumbs to bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Spread the crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and dry, about 20 minutes.

2. Begin to bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.

3. Meanwhile, place 2 more tablespoons of olive oil in a 10 inch non stick skillet and add garlic, pepper flakes and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Cook over low to medium low heat for 8-10 minutes, until garlic foams and is sticky and straw colored. Transfer the garlic mixture to a small bowl and set aside. Wipe out skillet with a wad of paper towel and set skillet aside.

4. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to boiling water and add pasta, cook, stirring often until al dente.

5. Just before draining pasta, return the skillet to low heat for 5 minutes (to use to fry eggs)

6. Reserve ½ cup pasta water and then drain pasta and return it to pot. Stir in ¼ cup of pasta water, garlic mixture, 2 more tablespoons of olive oil, parmesan cheese, ¼ tsp salt and herbs. Cover and set aside to keep warm while making eggs.

7. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet and swirl to coat pan. Quickly add the eggs to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook the eggs until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, 2-3 minutes. Uncover eggs and remove from heat.

8. Loosen the pasta with remaining ¼ cup of reserved pasta water and divide between 2 plates. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Carefully slide 1 egg on top of each plate and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and a few flakes of black sea salt.