Blog - biscuits and such
southern food blog
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Happy 1 year, Biscuits and Such!

So one year ago today, on what was a basic WordPress blog, I started this website.  My first post was Country Style Steak with Jasmine Rice.  It was photographed horribly in an apartment I can only now associate with bed bugs (but also had bad lighting).  The steak turned out alright, but not great, and I remember wondering first if I was making the right choice, and secondly if I thought anyone in my family would find it (or worse judge me about it).

A year later I’ve gotten an incredible amount of positive feedback about this site, and I couldn’t be happier that I decided to push through.  I am excited every time I cook something for this site and I love every minute of it.  It’s given me an outlet, a hobby, a place to put my frustration, love, and energy.

I was planning a little something for the blogoversary, but I severely underestimated how exhausted I would be after the wedding. I’ve been doing nothing all week and I still feel like I’ve been hit by a very large, opinionated bus.  I promise a wedding post is coming (accompanied by one of Beaufort Grocery’s recipes), as well as some exciting news in other areas of the b&s world.  For now, I wanted to thank you all for making this site so special for me, for giving me a reason to keep doing it.

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Charm Cake


I know that this is going to be a “duh” moment, but the big epiphany that I had about wedding planning is that you’ll spend all your time compromising.  We’ve found that everyone has an opinion and most of those opinions conflict.  A lot of what the wedding has become is a meld of ourselves and the people closest to us.  We’ve tried to insert ourselves in every nook and cranny so that it comes off as ELENA! AND! DAN!  From the invitations that I letter pressed myself to the place cards Dan designed, the wedding will be as much us as we can make it.


We’ve also tried to make the wedding as southern as possible.  Call it a theme wedding, but we really wanted to highlight the parts of the south that we love.  Dan may hail from Pennsylvania, but that boy is a sweet tea devotee.  We’ll be serving pulled pork barbeque, our tables are named after plants indigenous to North Carolina, and our first dance is to The Luckiest by Chapel Hill natives Ben Folds Five.  Along the same lines, I’ve been trying to flavor the wedding extras with southern touches.


As a thank you to my amazing bridesmaids, I planned a really special bridal luncheon.  My father took the five of us out on a sound cruise around the Beaufort/Morehead area and we sipped champagne, nibbled on fried chicken and pineapple, and finally, partook in a charm cake.


A charm cake is part of a traditional southern wedding.  Essentially the idea is that it’s a fortune telling cake.  You hide charms inside the cake attached to a ribbon, and each of your bridesmaids pulls a ribbon and finds their fortune!  Usually the charms are similar to something you would find on a charm bracelet, different charms mean different fabulous things for the receiver.  The baby carriage charm means that the bridesmaid will be having a baby soon.  The engagement ring means the bridesmaid will be getting engaged soon.  The anchor means the bridesmaid’s life will be stable.


But I didn’t want to foretell that my sisters, best friend, and cousin would be BABIED! and MARRIED!  I’m fine with stability, but I just didn’t dig the vibe of the stereotypical charms.  I may not seem it because I am, in fact, getting married, but I don’t subscribe to the whole these-are-the-things-you-must-do-in-life idea.  So I decided to make my own charms.  A little lighter, a little more fun.  So I predicted that my bridesmaids would eat the world’s most delicious taco, or finally get that Hogwarts acceptance letter.  Perhaps they will find their face on a cereal box or learn how to smile with their eyes, you know, things every twenty-something woman really desires with her whole heart.


I bought wooden nickels and a felt pen at a craft store and set to work, combining my wit and lack of drawing skills to make eight charms, two for each of my bridesmaids.  Some charm cakes are bunt cakes so the charms are just sort of draped over the middle, but I wanted to have the charms in between the layers of cake.  Instead of risking the ink leaking into an otherwise perfectly edible cake, I made each charm a vellum envelope and attached the ribbon to that.  When it was their turn, each bridesmaid pulled out a charm, snipped the envelope open, and commenced teasing me for what a dork I am.  I’m fine with it.


As far as the cake was concerned, I wanted something light to compliment the finger sandwiches.  We had the luncheon the same day as the rehearsal dinner, so I didn’t want to be too stuffed by lunch, and thought a white cake with marshmallow icing would be perfect.  I made the cake while I was still at home the week before the wedding to save myself time and effort, and just froze the layers.  Then, the Saturday before we left, our shiny, beautiful, Carolina blue KitchenAid mixer (a gift from our friend Emily) arrived, and I just had to bake something.  So I thought, why not make another cake- a practice run, if you will.  And I’m glad that I did.  The cake part was fine, but the marshmallow icing I made was not exactly what I was hoping for.  I should preface this by pointing out that I’m not really a cake person, I like pies much more, and I really don’t like icing, especially vanilla.  This icing was fine by vanilla icing standards, but instead of adding lightness like I’d hoped, the marshmallows just added sweetness.


So when I made a second batch of icing, I decided to do so with marshmallow fluff instead of melted marshmallows.  The benefit of marshmallow fluff is that it retains the flavor of the marshmallow but has the right texture.  I found when I melted marshmallows they just became runny sugar.  They lost all of their marshmallow fluff and flavor, which is so the point of marshmallow icing.  As a result, the second icing I made with marshmallow fluff, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.  The finished product was light, fluffy, and creamy, the perfect texture and flavor.  The cake itself was all together fabulous and the charms were, well, charming.


Now wish  me luck, I’m off to get married (twice)!

Charm Cake
Source: Food Network


12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 large egg whites (3/4 cup)

3/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Set a rack at the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Combine egg whites, milk and vanilla extract. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to butter mixture then add half the milk mixture. Continue to alternate beginning and ending with flour mixture. Scrape bowl and beater often. Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and smooth top with a metal spatula. Bake cake(s) about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean. Cool in pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack, remove paper and let cool completely.


3 cups powdered sugar

4 sticks butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 jar marshmallow fluff

Cream butter and sugar. Whip in marshmallow and vanilla.

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Fried Chicken Bites


So my mother came up a few weeks ago because I had my last dress fitting.  Her coming up coincided with the judging dinner party for the And Such Recipe Contest.  Because I only received entries in the appetizer and desserts categories, I was left to come up with the main courses.  I made shish kabobs, pizza, and fried chicken bites.  When I told my mother what I was making she goes “so are you soaking the chicken in buttermilk?”  I said yes.  I don’t always soak my fried chicken in buttermilk overnight, it depends on what I’m making, but for bites or strips I like to.  She responded “well, your grandmother never did that.”  Which can be translated into “are you sure you want to make that decision?”


Fast forward to the next night, the party night, when she tells me that the fried chicken bites are the best she’s ever had.  TRIUMPH IS MINE.  So let me tell you about my fried chicken bites, the best my mother has ever had (this compliment is huge by the way.  A genuine food compliment from my mother means a lot to me, she’s an amazing chef and has been in the catering business for years.  And the eating business even longer!)  Like I said, they’re soaked in buttermilk overnight, which makes them incredibly tender.  I also soak them in my favorite spicy food combination- cayenne, red pepper flakes, paprika, garlic powder, chipotle, and s&p.  Then, when I’m ready to fry them, I bread them with the same spices, flour, and toasted bread crumbs.  Served with barbeque sauce, honey mustard, or blue cheese dressing, they’re amazing.  Spicy and crispy and juicy and THE BEST MY MOTHER HAS EVER HAD.


Fried Chicken Bites

3 chicken breasts

2 cups buttermilk

1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup flour

1/2 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp cayenne

1/2 tbsp chipotle

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tbsp pepper

1/4 tbsp salt

Peanut oil

Cut the chicken in strips or bites, your choice.  Place in a bag/bowl/container.  Pour buttermilk over and add half of the spices.  Soak overnight.

Toast the bread and then dice it.  Put in the food processor with the rest of the spices.  Blend until you have bread crumbs.  Mix with flour.

In a large skillet, heat your oil.  You’ll know when your oil is hot enough if bubbles form around a wooden spoon.

Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture.  Fry for 4-5 minutes, then turn.  Fry an additional 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown.

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