Born to Be Alive
Today I’m officially 40 (the party was on the 13th). Yes, friends and family, I greet you from somewhere near the beginning of the last part of my life while eating my birthday breakfast– three eggs, instead of two, and toast, with butter(!). Please indulge me as I consume this opportunity for cliche’d reflection along with my extra helping of cholesterol.
My dad always said he never thought he’d live past 30 (he’s still kicking around down here) and my mom always says life gets better every year, so I tend to think of each new birthday as a bonus. With every passing year, I’m more aware that while many things matter, people and for some unshakeable reason, God are the only ones I can’t seem to be happy living without. Thankfully, the older I get the more folks I know and meet. I’m so grateful for my family and friends. I wish I were better at communicating this more often.
So I want to say thanks to whoever is reading this, whether you’re a family member who’s known me since birth or someone I’ve not even met face-to-face (yet) for being a part of my life. In your honor, I’d like to give you a gift–the recipe for what I WOULD be having if I were celebrating my birthday at my mom and dad’s house–Chocolate Gravy and Biscuits (it’s fabulous-trust me on this.).
Miss Katy’s Chocolate Gravy
No other recipe I know elicits more skeptical looks when described than this one. Nearest I can tell it is most common in the Ozarks of Arkansas and the western parts of Mississippi. But if you are someone who likes a muffin or doughnuts in the morning, you’ll like this. As a kid, chocolate gravy served over biscuits was our birthday breakfast.
1 cup sugar
3 tbs. cocoa
3 tbs. flour
2 pinches of salt
1 cup water
2 tsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix dry ingredients in a medium saucepan. Add water. Cook, stirring frequently, really well over medium heat until thick, about the consistency of honey. Mixture should be hot and bubbly while cooking. If it gets to thick, add a little milk. Once thickened, turn down heat and add butter. Once melted, turn heat off and add vanilla.
(Cooks Illustrated recipe. Pillsbury Frozen Biscuits are pretty good, too. )
2 ½ cups all purpose flour (plus 1/3 cup for work surface)
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp soda
2 tbs shortening, cut inot ½ inch chunks
1 stick cold unsalted butter, lightly floured and cut into 1/8 inch slices
1 ¼ cup cold lowfat buttermilk
Adjust baking rack to lower middle position. Heat oven to 450.
Stir dry ingredients together.
Add shortening to dry ingredients. Break up chunks with finger until only pea-sized pieces remain.
Working in small batches, drop chunks of butter into flour mixture, coating with a little flour. Pick up pieces and press between floured fingers into nickel-sized pieces. Repeat until all butter is pressed, then toss to flour mixture to combine.
Freeze mixture in bowl for 15 minutes (Note: mixture can be frozen at this stage for several weeks).
Spray work surface with cooking spray, spread with paper towel until evenly coated. Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour over sprayed area, spread with palm until area is evenly coated.
Add all but 2 tablespoons of buttermilk to flour mixture and stir with fork until ingredients ball up and are no longer dry (dough will be shaggy, but should still pull away from sides of bowl). Add additional buttermilk if needed.
Transfer dough with rubber spatula onto work surface. Sprinkle flour over dough surface and use hands to bring into a ball.
Pat dough into about a 10-inch square. Roll into a 18 by 14 inch rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Dust dough and rolling pin as needed.
Use bench scaper to fold rectangle by thirds, like a business letter. Then fold short ends in by thirds as well. Give dough a quarter turn and repeat.
Roll dough into a ½ inch thick square. Turn the square over. Using a sharp-edge biscuit cutter, press straight down in dough to make 9 biscuits (dipping edges of cutter in flour after each press). Invert the biscuits and place them 1-inch apart on a (ungreased?) baking sheet. Gather scraps into a ball. Roll and fold a couple of times until smooth, then repeat above process for 3 more biscuits. Discard scraps.
Brush biscuit tops with melted butter.
Bake without opening over door for 15-17 minutes, until tops are golden brown and crisp.
Using a fork stir in enough milk to make a dough that sticks together. Roll out on a floured board, don’t handle too much or dough will get tough). Brush tops with milk. Bake on a greased baking sheet until browned.
(Note: If you haven’t replaced your baking soda and baking powder in awhile (within a few months) you may want to. I have a theory that inactive soda may cause biscuits not to rise.)Explore posts in the same categories: UncategorizedAdvertisements