Blog - biscuits and such
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Low Country Boil

Last week we had the pleasure of spending time at our family house in Morehead City with my some of my immediate family. This was our first family vacation with two toddlers, and the week was the most wonderful combination of big adventures, like day spent taking the boat up to Cape Lookout, and quiet family moments, like letting the kids splash in a baby pool on the back porch.

 

 

The house was built in the 1950’s by the Hillsborough Volunteer Fire Department as a seaside retreat, one that was quickly co-opted by wives and children so it became less poker lodge and more family getaway. My great uncle and great grandfather were two of the firemen, and the house remains shared by their decedents. These days my parents live just across the marsh from the house, which means that we are able to spend a good amount of time on Calico Creek, something that is undoubtably good for my soul.

 

 

We mostly cooked at home this week, grilling steaks, frying grouper bites, making pesto pasta with the basil and garlic from my brother’s garden. We kept it simple, enjoying good meals around the big table that has been the platform of generations of family dinners. One evening after a day spent on Shackleford Banks we pulled all the chairs on to the front porch and feasted on a seafood boil. With the marsh lapping the side of the house at high tide we ate corn, sausage, shrimp, clams, Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic, potatoes, and mushrooms all cooked together with hot pepper.

 

 

A seafood boil, also known as Frogmore Stew, a low country boil, or just a boil, can consist of whatever you have on hand. Corn, potatoes, shrimp, and sausage are staples, but the addition of everything from broccoli to crab can make for a delicious boil. The real trick is lining the table with newspaper, pouring out the boil in the middle and sitting together as you pick through the food. That’s the real fun of it.

 

 

Seafood Boil

 

5lbs head-on shrimp

2 dozen clams

2 lbs andouille sausage, cooked

3lbs small red potatoes

3 large yellow onions

2 heads of garlic

10 ears of corn

1 lb Brussels sprouts

2 dozen white button mushrooms

2 lemons

1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning

1/2 cup sea salt

Bottle of Texas Pete

 

Fill a very large pot (with strainer basket if you have one) halfway with water and bring to a rolling boil. Quarter the onions and add to the pot, along with peeled garlic cloves and whole potatoes. Add sea salt, Old Bay, and Texas Pete. Halve the lemons and add to the pot. Cook for 10 minutes.

 

Cut your sausage into 3” pieces and add to the pot. Break corn in half and add to the pot after the sausage has simmered for 10 minutes. At the same time add Brussels sprouts.

 

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Waffles

For Ev’s birthday we served chicken and waffles (which my friend pointed out meant we basically served pound cake two ways). The fried chicken recipe is from my most recent cookbook, The Southern Cast Iron Cookbook and the waffle recipe is from my first, The American Cookbook

 

 

We topped the chicken & waffles with honey harvested by my friend and neighbor, and served it with prosecco, because we were celebrating. It combined some of Everett’s favorite food groups (breakfast foods and food you eat with your hands), and made for a pretty sweet birthday dinner.

 

 

Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Waffles

 

marinade:

 

2 cups buttermilk

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

8-10 mixed bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and thighs

 

to fry:

 

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

4 eggs

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 cups bread crumbs

1/4 cup yellow stone ground grits

Peanut oil for frying

 

waffles: 

 

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup corn grits

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp sugar

1 1/4 cup milk

5 tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

 

 

In a large bowl mix together all ingredients for marinade. Add chicken to bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

On a counter accessible to your stove top line up three bowls. In the first bowl combine half of the flour and spices. In the second bowl whisk together eggs and apple cider vinegar. In the third bowl combine remaining flour, spices, and bread crumbs.

Heat 1” oil to 375F in a large, heavy bottom skillet.

 

Pat chicken dry and dredge first in flour mixture, then in egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumb mixture.

 

Add chicken to the hot oil and fry. White meat pieces should be fried 4-5 minutes/side and dark meat pieces should be friend 5-7 minutes/side. Keep warm on a rack in a 200F oven.

 

While your chicken is keeping warm, make your waffles. Mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, and cornmeal in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, butter, vanilla extract, and egg yolks. Whisk together.

 

Preheat the waffle iron. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs until soft peaks form. Fold into batter. Cook the waffles to the specifications of your waffle iron.

 

Serve chicken and waffles together, warm, and with honey or syrup.

 

Make this gluten free:

  • for the chicken, simply substitute flour for a 1:1 gf blend (I used King Arthur).
  • for the waffles, substitute flour for a 1:1 gf blend and add 1/3 cup milk.
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Pound Cake with Whipped Cream & Strawberries

This past week my sweet Everett turned one. ONE! This is such a cliche but it’s true because I don’t actually know where the year went. I spent more than a little time looking back at newborn pictures this week and realizing that I barely recognize the little noodle in those pictures. He bears almost no resemblance to the big, busy, hilarious toddler that tears around my house like a tornado.

 

 

We celebrated his birthday with a handful of close friends who have been our true support and saving grace this past year. It was relaxed, an occasion to open a bottle (or two) of prosecco and toast a year well lived, a year where we learned and grew so much (all three of us).

 

 

After testing a few different cake options I settled on mini pound cakes with strawberries and cream whipped with local honey from a friend and neighbor. I took my great grandmother’s pound cake recipe and made a few slight adaptations to make it a bit more baby-friendly.

 

 

It was everything I wanted his first birthday to be. Happy, relaxed, and full of cake and sparklers. It has been a transformative year, and I’m so grateful to have lived it.

 

 

Pound Cake with Strawberries & Whipped Cream

 

2 sticks butter, plus extra for greasing (room temperature)

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

6 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt

1 pint strawberries

 

whipped cream:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 350F.

 

Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixer until creamed. Add eggs, one at a time, incorporating fully before adding the next. Add in vanilla extract.

 

In a large bowl mix together flour and baking soda. Add to egg mixture, 1/3 at a time, alternating with yogurt.

 

Grease 10″ bundt pan (or mini bundt pans- this recipe makes 24 2″ cakes) and spoon batter into pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes (or 20-25 for mini cakes). Allow to cool slightly before turning onto a rack.

 

Whip together heavy cream, vanilla, and honey until stiff. Serve cakes warm with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

 

Make this gluten free:

 

  • Use a 1 for 1 gf flour blend (I used King Arthur)
  • Add 1/2 cup yogurt to the recipe
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