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Dandelion Green Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

This morning I took a nature walk with my students, living vicariously through them as they delightedly picked dandelions and blew the flowering seeds into the wind, watching them dance on the cool spring breeze. After school I circled back to the same field with a pair of scissors and trimmed myself a bunch of dandelion greens for tonight’s salad. Slightly bitter with a peppery taste, dandelion greens are one of Dan’s favorites, which means that I jump at the chance to harvest and serve them. We particularly love them with a hot bacon dressing (because everything tastes better with a hot bacon dressing), goat cheese, toasted pecans, and red onions. Happy Spring, everyone!

 

 

Dandelion Green Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
serves 2-4

1 bunch fresh dandelion greens (approximately 4 cups)

1/2 red onion

1/4 cup fresh goat cheese

1/2 lb bacon

2 tbsp diced pecans

1 tbsp butter

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp seeded German mustard

Pinch salt

 

Clean and chop dandelion greens and thinly slice the onions.

Melt butter in a pan and quickly toast the pecans over medium heat by cooking for 2-3 minutes until browned.

Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, 4-5 minutes per side. Set aside and drain all but 3 tbsp of grease out of the pan. Add vinegar, sugar, mustard, and salt to the skillet and whisk thoroughly over medium heat until completely combined (1-2 minutes).

Toss greens in hot dressing, and then transfer to serving dish. Top with onions, toasted pecans, goat cheese, and crumbled bacon. Serve warm.

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Onward

Those that regularly follow this space may have noticed that it’s been unusually silent lately. In fact, I haven’t posted anything since early November. I’ve made plenty of things (in fact, I wrote a cookbook), but I haven’t known what to write. Since the election I’ve had my fair share of opinions, mostly incredulous and angry, but this didn’t seem like the appropriate outlet for that (thanks, twitter). I knew I couldn’t turn around and come here to talk about Thanksgiving recipes like everything was fine so I just… didn’t. And every time I started to write something here, I came up blank. I eventually realized that I wouldn’t be able to go on with blogging as normal until I addressed the situation head on.

 

So here it is. This is a scary, disappointing, and frustrating time to be an American and a Southerner. We have given control of the country to an unhinged man who every day proves to be completely unfit. We have elected a congress that is prepared to wage war on women, people of color, low income Americans, and the environment. We allowed racism and sexism to get in the way of progress, and now we have to sit back and watch as our democracy is attacked in the name of lining the pockets of the super wealthy. I was hoping for something different when we voted in November, and I am having a hard time reconciling the choices made by my fellow (white) Americans.

 

Saturday I joined the Wilmington Women’s March to protest the inauguration and this administration’s attack on women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, the environment, health care, public schools (and on and on and on). I was so overwhelmingly proud of my community for the crowd of over 1200 people (women, men, children). I was even more inspired to see massive protests around the world, and it gave me a slice of hope to hear people committing to resist today and going forward. I’ve been calling my congressional representatives and senators, sending postcards, and I’ve resolved to join as many protests and marches as I can going forward. If nothing else this election has inspired me (and so many) to be more politically engaged, and I’m inspired watching Americans come together to stand up for what we want our country to be.

 

I’m planning on coming back to this space more frequently with recipes, including a recipe that has been neglected in my drafts folder since October as I processed all of this. I believe in this country, and I am hopeful that we can make this a country that serves all of its citizens equally and fairly.

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Apple Buck

Last year Dan and I were out for dinner at a local restaurant and I asked the bartender to make me a mocktail, anything he wanted to put together. I was somewhere in my first trimester and I was really missing cocktails. He came back with something delightful- a combination of spiced pickled apple juice and ginger beer. It was so good, and Dan and I immediately started brainstorming how we could liquor it right up and turn it into a cocktail.

 

pickle-buck-5

 

pickle-buck-3

 

Turns out all we really needed to do was add rye whiskey. I know! We’re brilliant. Just call me a mixologist.

 

pickle-buck-2

 

The combination of pickled apple juice (with a good amount of ceylon cinnamon), spicy ginger beer, and a smooth rye whiskey was phenomenal. Seriously, this is the best cocktail I’ve ever made/had and I can’t wait to drink it all throughout the holidays. In fact, my friend Bryce said we should call it the Survival Buck, since it’s perfect for helping you survive all these upcoming family events. Just kidding family! Can’t wait to see you!

 

pickle-buck

 

Apple Buck

 

1 part rye whiskey

1 part pickled apple juice (recipe below)

3 parts ginger beer

 

Mix whiskey and pickled apple juice. Top with ginger beer and stir. Serve chilled.

 

pickled apple juice:

 

1 red/pink apple

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1 stick ceylon cinnamon

 

Slice apple and simmer over medium/low heat for 45 minutes until apples have softened. Let cool and transfer to a container in the fridge. Allow to sit overnight (at least). Separate the apples and the juice. The pickled apple juice is fantastic for this recipe, and the apples are delicious served with pork chops.

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