Grandma Cille’s Buttermilk Biscuits

One of the most memorable times I shared with my great-grandma Lucille, was watching her make her famous biscuits. She always kept her biscuit container stocked with the best biscuits ever. She strategically kept the container on top of the ice box so that her grands couldn’t get to it and devour them without approval. Every time I walked by I would think of a way to steal one without getting caught. Then I remembered that I needed to heat the cane syrup that accompanied the biscuits. There was no way that could be done without her knowing.

There are only a couple people in my family who have attempted to recreate her recipe. I’m pretty sure my Aunt Janell, her daughter, is the only person that will come close to making them the exact same way, but I think my version is pretty awesome. These biscuits aren’t your typical pretty, perfectly risen version. She was not concerned with their appearance but rather how you felt when you ate them. The taste ruled!

The recipe is super easy but technique is key. When mixing the shortening in, do it in a freezer and with your hands. My grandma didn’t use a pastry cutter so I don’t use one either. For this reason, I start with a fork and then finish with my hands in the freezer to keep the shortening from getting soft. Yes, I stand in the freezer with the door open. ­čÖé

Make these babies for your next breakfast with some creamy grits and bacon. If you can find cane syrup, nuke it for 15 seconds and dip the biscuit in the warm syrup. Thank me later!

Ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening or 1 stick of butter
1 1/4-1/2 cups of buttermilk
Cast iron skillet

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425. Place the cast iron skillet in the oven. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Place the bowl in a freezer and cut in the shortening or butter with a fork. After the shortening is mostly incorporated, finish mixing in the shortening with your hands until all the flour and shortening is mixed together. Take the bowl out of the freezer and mix in the buttermilk. Start with a cup and increase to a cup and a half until you get the dough soft enough and it forms a ball. The consistency should be doughy but not sticky. Put the bowl back in the freezer for about 2-3 minutes. Take the dough out and place the dough on a floured surface and roll out to about an inch thick and use a biscuit cutter or a cup(this is what I use) to cut round biscuits. If you have left over dough repeat the steps to get more biscuits. Only do this once as you don’t want the dough to get warm. Take the cast iron out of the oven and put the biscuits in the skillet. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!

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Road Trip: Raleigh and DC

After an awesome time in Savannah and Charleston, we arrived in Raleigh, NC. I had already researched a great BBQ restaurant(as featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives) and was more than ready to dig my teeth in some ribs!

Raleigh Dinner: The Pit Authentic Barbecue 

We walked in to the very crowded restaurant at 9:30 after making reservations earlier that day. Its a good thing we made reservations as the wait was around 30-40 minutes. After being seated our waiter greeted us immediately. He brought waters and gave us the run down on the restaurant. He also let us know that a team of three will be servicing us for the night. After giving us some time, he took our drink orders. We ordered a pitcher of the local brew, Lonerider Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen. It was a German-style wheat beer that complimented the BBQ really well. We ordered the pumpkin cornbread as a starter. Right after we ordered the cornbread another waiter bought out a basket of biscuits and hushpuppies. Bread heaven! I tasted a bite of each and all were so good! The pumpkin cornbread came out in a skillet so the bottom was nice and crispy and the inside was nice and moist. The accompanying maple butter was a nice compliment.

We decided to share the Big Boy combo after speaking to the couple sitting next to us. The boyfriend(from Lancaster, Pa) mentioned it was more than enough to share. The combo includes a nice portion of pork chopped BBQ, beef brisket, BBQ chicken and two pieces of each kind of rib(baby back and Carolina style). For sides, we ordered fried okra, mac and cheese, and baked beans. It was more than enough! We ate until we were about to pop and still took about half of it back to the hotel with us. Our waitress started casual conversation with us and asked if we were from the area. We told her we were from Philadelphia and she demanded we take some banana pudding home with us, on the house. Southern hospitality at its best. Thanks Kristy!

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Buttermilk biscuits and hushpuppies

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Pumpkin cornbread with maple butter

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Big Boy Combo: pork chopped BBQ, beef brisket, BBQ chicken and two pieces of each kind of rib(baby back and Carolina style). Fried okra, mac and cheese, and baked beans

Banana pudding with a meringue topping (picture courtesy of Yelp)

If I am ever in the Raleigh area, I will be making it my business to visit this place again.

DC dinner: Pizzeria Paradiso

I knew I wanted food that had nothing to do with Southern cuisine after having a weekend full of it. I decided to have my favorite food of all, pizza. We walked in and got seated right away. We ordered a local brew, Atlas Brew Works Saison Des Fetes, a fruity, refreshing beer. We ordered the Insalata Paradiso(Baby Arugula, Goat Cheese, Sweet Red Pepper, Mushroom, Pine Nut, Citrus Vinaigrette) to start and small Di Mare(Paradiso Tomato, Minced Garlic, Parsley, Mussels, Parmesan) and Genovese(potato, pesto, parmesan) pizzas. This brick oven pizza delight was everything a top notch pizza should be: a thin crispy foundation with a chewy crust and yummy toppings. The mussels on the Di Mare could’ve been seasoned better, but the broth on the crust was a nice compliment to the tomatoes. The potatoes and the pesto on the Genovese were just divine!

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Insalata Paradiso

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Di Mare: Paradiso Tomato, Minced Garlic, Parsley, Mussels, Parmesan

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Genovese: Potato, Pesto, Parmesan

This road trip was everything I hoped it to be. I stepped out of my box and engaged in dialogue with people who are passionate about quality food. I met people who were proud of their cities and its food offerings. I explored 5 cities and ate some of the best food. I learned a great deal from this experience and am so thankful for it.