Cream Biscuits Recipe or How It Took Me Three Weeks To Make A 10 Minute Recipe

The recipe is straightforward.

2 Cups Self Rising Flour

1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream or Whipping Cream
1 Tablespoon Sugar.

To large mixing bowl
Add 2 Cups Self Rising Flour.
Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon sugar on top and stir a little bit.
Pour 1 1/2 cups of Heavy Cream on top.
Stir until it begins to form a dough.
Continue to mix with your bare hands until it forms a “Play Doh” consistency.

The dough will go through phases where it is:

  • “mealy”
  • dry and lumpy
  • dry on the outside but one ball
  • slightly tacky and moist on the outside – STOP HERE!

Roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thickness, about the thickness of your thumb, palm down.

Use a 3 inch (about 8CM) drinking glass to cut into circles.

Cook the biscuits on a foil lined cookie sheet at 500F until tops are brown – about 10 minutes

Make sure that the biscuits are cooked fully, give them the time they need in the oven.

 

So my own long winded story.

I was out skating, because that is what I do.  Some of my best ideas come when my heart rate is ticking along at 173 BPM, I’m sweating like I just walked through a car wash, and I’m on eight or ten wheels.

I was thinking about getting home and having something “special” and Biscuits and Gravy came to mind.

Biscuits are one of those things that every “Good Southern Lady” has been taught how to make, and if they are successful, they do it this way because “That’s How Momma Taught Me!”

Usually it takes “cutting in ice cold butter” in pea sized chunks so that the steam from the butter will help to give it height.

I’m neither Southern, nor a Woman – not that there is anything with that, nor not that there is anything wrong with not being that.

I also tend to look for shortcuts in the kitchen.

That Southern Recipe is kind of fussy and really does take practice.

The recipe up top there?  It’s easy.  You just have to be patient in the oven.

That night when we went shopping I remembered I wanted the heavy cream to make these biscuits.

Since I was going to be left alone for a couple weeks, I also had to get some ground beef for Rack, my McNab SuperDog (TM).  I ended up getting 30 pounds of ground beef which basically ate my freezer’s extra space.

I never bake just one of something, and the biscuits would serve me a week of breakfasts.  But with Mr Dog’s food ingredients squatting on the prime real estate in my freezer, I had to wait until the freezer drained of “extra” food.

So I watched.  Every time I opened that freezer and took something out, I did a little mental Happy Dance to think I was getting closer to being able to have those biscuits.

In later shopping trips, I did manage to over fill the house, and get some jarred gravy.  If you are reading this from outside of the US, this is not brown gravy – it’s something called Red Eye Gravy, which is a white Bechamel Sauce cooked with Sausage Chunks and some black pepper to make it all savory.

This stuff is not light, it’s not healthy, and it may not be something for every day, but some people do it daily, and I have seen pictures of an English Breakfast and was amazed at just how much food was on that plate!

Having been on a training diet since 1979, nobody who regularly eats an English Breakfast (Or Irish, Or Canadian, or …) has any room to point fingers.

Once the freezer had finally been “eaten down” to creating the space for seven biscuits to go back in there, I decided it was time.

This Morning.

I made the recipe, and had the results in that picture.

I am impatient when it comes to Biscuits.  I tend to pull them too early, and this was no different.  I did not allow them to cook the full 10 minutes, and they were raw inside.

Back in the oven you go, I ended up giving them three more minutes at 500F to get them almost perfect.

Served in a bowl with 1/4 cup of steaming hot Red Eye Sausage Gravy on top, I was in heaven.

3 weeks to get them, they had better be good!

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Hotteoks Or Korean Donuts in the Park for After An Inline Skate Workout

Yeah.  I’m an Outlier.

One of those people who enjoys something you personally don’t or something you don’t expect that person should.

You know, the one person who listens to Classic Obscure Disco but not Bee Gees or Donna Summer in 2019.

Who is inline skating and regularly has workouts that burn a measured 1600 calories.

I’m the guy who prefers food from other cultures as well.

Heck, I’m driving a 16 year old Manual Transmission Jeep Wrangler because I LIKE it!

I could go on but I wear that Outlier tag with pride.

The thing is that I went out skating and found that while I was burning all those calories, I needed something to bring my blood sugar back to normal quickly.

So I made Korean Donuts again.  Hotteoks.  Again.

I think it is safe to say that I was probably the only person in my city plus some of the surrounding cities who makes these things.

I had “extra dough” when I was making Pizza for Memorial Day, so I thought this would be a perfect time to tame the Post Workout Blood Sugar Crash.  After all, food left in the car has to be temperature stable, won’t spoil, won’t spill, and so forth.

“Energy Bars” would work but they’re usually chock full of weird preservatives to make them “Shelf Stable”.

Hotteoks could sit on my Jeep’s passenger seat inside a plastic bag with my Skates and Pads while I go to my workout, and wait for when I need them there or inside my pack.

If you reduce it to the absolute minimum it’s a Cinnamon and Brown Sugar filling inside of a dough ball that is pressed into an oiled skillet until it is cooked, then flipped.  Two ingredients.

Sure, the dough has to be a good one.  Like almost everything here, I use my sister’s Pizza Dough recipe that is linked here.   I made that recipe on the dough cycle of my bread maker with 10 ounces of water.

The filling was a “common” teaspoon of packed Brown Sugar plus 1/2 measured Cinnamon. Cinnamon Sugar is traditional but you can use Jelly or Custard if you wish.

Consider it a way to make a Hot Pocket and stuff it with Pizza Fillings or your favorite Sandwich Fillings.   PB&J anyone?

I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Process:

  1. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Oil the cookie sheet so that the dough balls will not stick.
  3. Prepare your Pizza Dough.  Pat’s Pizza Dough works well in a Bread Machine.
  4. Divide the Pizza Dough into eight pieces.  This was 90 grams or about 3 ounces measured.
  5. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, then flatten to a palm sized disc.
  6. Spoon into the center of each dough disc One Teaspoon of Brown Sugar.
  7. Spoon on top of the Brown Sugar 1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon.
  8. Turn the Hotteok into a dumpling by pinching the sides closed and rotating.
  9. Set the Hotteok onto the oiled cookie sheet with the pinched side down.
  10. Oil a skillet generously and heat to Medium.
  11. Put the Hotteok down onto the oil and press down with an oiled spatula allowing it to spread out.
  12. Cook the Hotteok until it is golden brown, then flip and repeat until both sides are done.
  13. Re-oil the spatula and skillet as needed and repeat for the rest of the Hotteoks.

Enjoy while warm or reheat in the microwave!

Oh and have a good workout, meet me on the trails and I’ll tell you the story of when …

Skip The Stone, You Really Need a Pizza Steel For a Crispy Crust

I’m on a pizza “jag” lately.

Yesterday, Saturday, I made a pizza.  That in itself isn’t all that out of the ordinary.  It was so good that I was requested to make yet-another one.

I tell people that I make the best pizza on the island, and that is not me breaking my own arm by patting myself on the back.  Of course it is a bit of a Co-Evolutional comment – I make what I consider the best pizza because it is what I like.

But.

I have also been making this since I was a teenager and constantly refining the results.  The first meal I ever made for someone else after moving out of Mom’s House was a pizza for my then college roommate in the dorms at the university.   It’s been onward and upwards ever since.

The crust and the sauce have their own recipes here on my blog.  A proper Neapolitan pizza is simple.  Crust, a sauce made of reduced tomatoes with minimal seasoning, mozzarella cheese, and cooked in a high temperature oven until the cheese just begins to toast.

Anything else is embellishment to your own personal standards.

But that temperature is important since you have to get the heat up high enough to basically toast the bottom, even fry it, and get a crispy bottom.

I hate a soggy bottom.

I have tried Pizza Stones and they don’t stand up to my own abuse.   Since they are usually an un-glazed terracotta, the second time you use them, the water you used to clean it the last time begins to boil, expand, and it will begin it’s journey to cracking.   I get about 3 uses out of a stone.

Living in Florida, keeping anything sterile is imperative since you don’t want creatures coming in and dining off your cookware.   Ants, and worse.

So that Pizza Steel?

Yeah, that.

If you don’t have one, or have an idea what it is, you can substitute an old school cast iron skillet.  I would say a minimum of 9 inches, 22 CM or so.

If my math is right.  Bigger if you have it.

The skillet must not have anything other than bare metal and “seasoning”.  Plastic, Wood, non stick coatings are all forbidden.   You will be cooking your pizza as hot as you can get the oven, 500F/260C or more.   Even a backyard grill can be used.   Anything THAT hot will catch fire, burn, scorch.

Leave the “Teflon” and other coatings alone.   Oil your surfaces well.

But what is a Pizza Steel?

Simply put it is a cookie sheet sized sheet of cast iron that is as thick as grandma’s cast iron skillet.   It is “bigger” than the skillet and that is the benefit.   It gives you the room to grow.    Room to roam and roll out your dough.

They are flexible, this isn’t just a kitchen gadget that sits rusting in a corner until you want a pizza next month.  If they are large enough, a proper pizza steel can be used to make eggs, pancakes, and other items as a griddle.   They even benefit from the use since they need to be seasoned like any other cast iron implement with oil.

How I use mine?

First, I cheat.  I lay out aluminum foil on the steel to give me a work surface.   Removing the foil that is now marked up to size, I oil up the steel and the foil.  It’s a bit overkill but I want to make sure the bottom of my crusts are nice and crispy, like a cracker.  If I have done it right, the pizza and the foil slide off the steel when I need them out of the oven, then the foil will allow the pizza to simply slide off the oil and corn meal like a cushion.

Second I use corn meal.   I dust the oiled aluminum foil with a generous layer of corn meal to give it a nice non stick surface.  That allows the pizza to roll off the foil like it is on a bed of ball bearings.

Third, I roll the crust out to size.  This is important because since I use a yeast-risen dough I have to give it time to rise.  Once to size, I slide the foil and crust back on top of the steel, close the oven and turn on the light.   Yes, cold oven.  One or Two hours later, the yeast has risen, the oven is a warm day by the sea for them, and you get a nice thickness.

Finally to cook the thing.   Slide the risen pizza crust onto an inverted cookie sheet and build your pizza.   Sauce, Cheese Mix, and Toppings.  My cheese comes premixed but I add more freshly grated Parmesan and a little Feta for sharpness.   Typically I add only Mushrooms and some chopped Basil on top but that varies.

The Pizza is now done, waiting to cook on the cookie sheet and foil.  The oven is closed and heated as hot as I can get it.  500F is the marking on the oven, but the oven’s thermostat stopped being accurate well before we bought the house in 2006.

Allow the oven time to come to temperature, and the thermal mass of all that cast iron in the Pizza Steel will take time to warm.   Allow a little extra time since you want that steel to be “good and hot”.

When you are ready, you can put the Cookie Sheet next to the Steel and pick up the “leading edge” of the foil.  Slide that soon to be pizza onto the very hot pizza steel making very sure not to burn your hand.

At this point I have found in my own oven that 6 minutes at 500F Plus will give me the results I want – slightly caramelized and toasted cheese, a crispy bottom, and a wonderful meal.

Yes, I’m obsessed, but I do make the best pizza in town.  Yes, better than that shop.  And the one on the corner.  Oh and the sauce is better too.

So there.  Good luck.  It just takes prep work.

 

 

Thanksgiving? Why not Pot Pie Black Friday?

How do you take all the dried out pieces of the Thanksgiving feast and make them edible?

How about if all you needed was some gravy, veg, and a pie crust?

Yep, Pot Pie.

I have had enough bad turkey, overcooked beef roasts, and desiccated chicken at Thanksgiving dinner to actually look forward to this hack.

To be fair, I don’t generally eat vegetarian or vegan, but this process is so simple that the gravy and protein ingredients can be switched with alternatives if you wish.

With planning, all you have to do is make is a Pie Crust and you can even buy that in the frozen section of the supermarket.

A pot pie uses the gravy you made for the Mashed Potatoes that was leftover.  It could be even jarred.

I will say that since we’re having roast beef, my gravy will be Port Wine Beef Gravy.  Just reserve some of the gravy.

A pot pie always has vegetables.  Traditionally, at least in my own experience, it has Peas, Carrots, Potatoes, and Corn.  If you served all that, reserve it.  I was at the market Monday Night and bought a … CAN!!!!

Mind you, the Amateur Nutritionist in me says always get the can with the lowest Sodium.  You may not to need to watch your salt intake… now, and you won’t miss it.

Now, the Meat… Reserve the dried out bits, and some of the better cuts of meat.  Roast Ends, Wings, that top bit of the breast that wasn’t exactly moist… that sort of thing.

Once you have made the Pie Crust (Recipe Below) or have bought one, it’s time to assemble the meal.

This is all by preference.  Not mine, yours.  I usually add 12 ounces of Meat, 12 ounces of Veg, and enough gravy to make things appealing.

Process:

  • Add the can of vegetable medley to the Pie Crust.
  • Add the finely chopped meat to the Pie Crust.
  • Add enough gravy to the mix in the Pie Crust.
  • Mix it until everything looks “even” and “wet”
  • Bake at 350F (Medium Oven) until the crust begins to brown.
  • Slice and enjoy.

The Easy Pie Crust Recipe is as follows:

(Pretty much lifted word for word from this link so I can refer to it later)

For comparison, a traditional cold water/butter pie crust is at this link, but it would need to be doubled so you have a top for the pie.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Milk
  • 1/4 cup Boiling Water
  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour.

First, add Shortening, Salt, Milk, Boiling Water to a mixing bowl.  Whip with a fork until smooth and creamy.

Second, add 2 cups of Flour to the mixing bowl with that fork until the flour is incorporated and smooth.

Finally, This will make a crust for a double crust pie, top and bottom.

P.S.  Save the scraps from the pie, roll it thin, and put a bit of jelly in the middle.  Fold over, crimp closed, and bake with the pot pie.  Makes a nice dessert.

Espresso Brittle in about 10 Minutes

I have always said that if you don’t have a good Ethnic Market near where you live, Move.

When I lived in Philadelphia, I would shop Asian Markets heavily.  Chinese, Japanese, Thai.  That also went for the markets that specialized in Latin Groceries.

Go to the source.

As a result, I have a taste for “weird” candies.  One in particular is a small hard candy that is made in Japan that tastes like coffee.  Not too strong, not too sweet.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly easy to find this in South Florida.  I’ve found a good Asian Market that sells my Japanese Candy, as well as Durian, Porcelain, Kitchen Ware, and of course, my Oolong Tea.  I may have to go to North Miami Beach on NE 163rd street for it, but it’s worth the trip.

What does that have to do with my Espresso Brittle?

This candy tastes exactly like it.

I was making a pot of it, someone “repossessed” it and took it to his office where he reported that “The whole damn office is buzzing on this stuff”.  I have to laugh because the entire batch has about the caffeine of 1/4 cup of coffee.  If you eat an entire batch, it’s less than 1000 calories.  You’ll be sick of it before you put on weight or get buzzed on anything but the sugar.

The trick is that you use either decaf or half caff for the candy.  If you want high test, go for it there really isn’t a lot of coffee in it.  For the recipe you only use 1 tablespoon of the stuff.  One Scoop of grounds – your choice!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup (238mL) Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (5 grams by weight) Finely Ground Coffee Grounds (your choice)
  • 2 Tablespoons (1/2 ounce or 14g) of ROOM TEMPERATURE butter
  • 2 Ounces (59mL) water

Prepare Ingredients: 

  • Butter is room temperature and cut down into small pieces.
  • Coffee grounds are fine to espresso grind.
  • Grease a large cookie sheet or line with aluminium foil that has been oiled or greased.

 

Process:

  1. Place 1 cup of sugar into 2 quart/liter or larger sauce pan
  2. Add to sauce pan 2 ounces (59mL) of water and stir until sugar is evenly dissolved.
  3. Turn on heat to medium high.
  4. Continue to stir or slosh the mixture while it comes to a boil.
  5. Cook the mixture until it turns an appropriate tan color.
  6. Add the butter and the coffee grounds quickly and stir the mixture until it is even.
  7. Remove the sauce pan from the heat and pour onto the cookie sheet evenly.
  8. Allow to cool and break apart before serving.

 

Resulting candy, I have found, to be quite thin and shatters into pieces for easy eating but the pieces will be sharp.

Enjoy!

Upgrading Kraft Dinner To Mac and Port Wine Cheese

If you want a TL/DR just skip to the bottom of the article.

This was where my Hurricane Prep, Bulk Shopping, and Training Diet OCD collided.

What came out of it was a truly intriguing recipe.

First, The Hurricane Prep.

Every year we’d get food that is room temp stable.   Add water, and if you are lucky, you have something edible.  Ok, we’re not talking the Cordon Bleu here, but stuff you can eat in a No Electricity And Power Down situation.

We have a grill, we have a burner, and they run off a Propane Bottle.

Therefore I can boil water and grill if I need to.  Fried Sausage and Eggs on the Lanai served with a fine dusting of storm damage!

While our own prep got more elaborate over the years to when Irma hit and we had no electricity for two weeks, I was able to count on Electricity from the generator.  At least enough electricity to power the fridge.  Run it for an hour, power off for three.   We tested that out a year ago.

Second, Who said you have to follow the recipe on the box?

A lot of mixes are excellent on their own.  There’s a specific Sourdough Bread mix that I can’t find anymore that was simply perfect.  Add water, knead, put in pan and bake.  Krusteaz Sourdough Bread Mix.

There are others that are a bit … lacking.

Kraft Mac and Cheese Dinner is one of them.  It’s also known by other names as Kraft Dinner or KD.  It isn’t bad, but it does taste a bit too salty and the Day Glow Orange powder that you add to the meal is kind of flavorless – other than salt.

So I improvised.

My own diet is 600 calories per meal plus 200 calories each meal for dessert.  I am an active and somewhat fit man, and my weight is stable.  The numbers on the box imply, if I am reading it right, that a box packaged as is is 750 Calories.

Add 100 calories for a tablespoon of butter and 30 for 2 ounces of milk, it nets to 880 as prepared.

So I took the KD, added one tablespoon of butter only.  Right there, I am cutting calories off the box.  They say As Prepared, the recipe is 1200 Calories.

Now add back.

I would have to have something else and split the KD in two to make it work with my “training diet”.

I thought that I could increase the calories to 1200 and therefore have two meals.  How to do that?

I had some small sausages and some cheese to a total of 300 calories.

Basically that did tend to grow, and I went “On the high side” when I made it last but I made it incredible.

Third:  The Port Wine Mac and Cheese.

Those wine and cheese parties are usually a red wine paired with the cheese.  If you want Port or Red Wine, you need a sharp cheese.

The Sausage was deleted.

I started adding back.

The last time I made this, I made it with an ounce of Feta, another of Parmesan, and an ounce of Jarlsberg.

The Feta and Parm are sharp.  The Jarlsberg is slightly sharp, and it gives back chewy texture I needed.

Then I added in an ounce of Port Wine.  Specifically some 10 year old aged Tawny Port that was really quite excellent on its own.

If you are counting with me, that’s 1300 calories.  Yeah I slipped by 100 calories.  I’ll keep that in mind for later.

Remember kids: 100 Calories a Day means A Pound Heavier in a Year!

The result?  Oh my that extra 50 calories per serving was worth it!  The meal tasted like a less salty version of the Port Wine spread you get at a better market.

So we will do it again and it was just as good second day.

Now, Presented as a Recipe:

Ingredients at room temp to allow for proper melting in saucepan:

 

1 Box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner – or your favorite equivalent.

1 Tablespoon (1/2 ounce or 14g) – Unsalted Butter, room temp.

2 Tablespoons (1 ounce or 30mL) – Port Wine or other Red Wine, room temp.

2 Ounces (56mL) – Milk, room temp.

3 Ounces – Sharp Cheese, Grated or Cubed, room temp.  

Your Choice of Cheeses – I used:

1 ounce Feta Crumbles

1 ounce grated fresh Parmesan

1 ounce Jarlsberg grated or diced finely

Process:

  • Boil your noodles from the package for about 7 minutes or until tender.
  • Drain noodles and return them to the saucepan.
  • Add Butter and allow to begin to melt in the bottom of the pan.
  • Add Cheese Powder Package and stir to mix.
  • Add the three cheeses to the sauce pan and stir to mix.
  • When the Cheeses and the butter have melted, add milk to the pan.
  • Finally, add the Port Wine to the mix and stir until smooth.

Dog Food Recipe Fit for a Human – in a Crock Pot

Yes, I sampled my dog’s food.  The recipe is at the bottom.

For two thirds of my life I have managed what I eat closely.  I’m not a nutritionist, but that doesn’t mean anything in many places in the US – you can say you are and you are one.

If I am going to a restaurant, I will skip a meal or a part of one and “Bank” the calories.   It’s the only way to do it here or else you become a stereotype of what someone outside of the country thinks of us.

I have a nasty habit of being able to estimate calories “off the top of my head” and usually come in close since I have done it so long.

The idea of finding a recipe that is healthy is usually something I can do just by skimming it.

I rose to the challenge of getting my dog healthy when we got him.

Rack is, or was a rescue.  He had worms that needed multiple treatments to clear him out.  He still has an allergy to Chicken and he is sensitive to Grain.

All that made it difficult to find just the right food to feed him.

Add to that the rather casual attitude dog food manufacturers have towards their products and the constant dog food recalls I have been hearing about meant that eventually we stopped feeding Our Best Friend anything that came in a bag or a can.

The recipe I was using was a powder that I would add to water and ground beef but he’s now quite bored with it, and never really liked it.

I guess a dog who doesn’t like Broccoli is like most human kids.  Personally I enjoy Beef and Broccoli but my sense of smell isn’t as good as his.

We hunted around for a recipe that we liked and I was sent one that cooks in a crock pot.

Basically it’s a Beef Hash.  Since I make it with Human Grade ingredients, I had to try it.  Bland but edible.  I guess I would actually like the stuff if there was some curry or some hot sauce added to it.

When I gave it to Rack though, he devoured it.

Normally I have to give him encouragement to eat any food.  Tapping the bowl, shaking it, mixing it up, telling him it’s time to eat.  It’s tiresome.

With this stuff he started at one side of the bowl after asking for the thing by hovering very expectantly, and then finished it in one breath.

 

I guess he doesn’t need any curry added to his food.

Anyway the Recipe.

When selecting canned foods for your dog, make certain that you select the LOW SODIUM varieties since dogs have trouble digesting salt.  If you can’t find LOW SODIUM, use Fresh or Frozen.

Again: Fresh is best, Frozen is second, and Canned is third in preference but Low Salt.

The Salt Limit stated here for a 33 pound dog is 100Mg Per Day.

If anything, this exercise made me more aware or the ridiculous amounts of salt we eat on a daily basis!

 

Ingredients:

  • Ground Beef – 2 1/2 Pounds or 1.13 KG (I used 80% lean)
  • Water – 4 cups or 1 Liter
  • Brown Rice (dry) – 1.5 cups dry – 355g.
  • Kidney Beans – Canned, 15 ounces or 425g washed and drained.
  • Butternut Squash puree – Canned, 15 ounces or 425g
  • Peas (frozen) – 4 oz or 1/2 cup or 113g
  • Carrots (Raw is best or frozen) – 15 ounces or 425g

Process:

This uses a 6 quart/Liter crock pot on low for 5-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.  Food should be cooked to a temperature of 165F or 75C ‘Internally’.

  • Add the ingredients to the crock pot in any order.
  • Stir ingredients so that they are evenly mixed.
  • Cover the crock pot and turn it on low for 5-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.
  • Stir periodically, I did every half hour to an hour or so.
  • Cook to 165F or 75C to allow wholesome goodness for Puppy!
  • Allow this to cool completely before serving.