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Spicy Pickled Okra

You know those days that just completely kick you in the ass? And then, while you’re down they kick you some more? I have had a few of those days this week. First, a predator dug into what I thought was my secure chicken coop and got my girls. And then it just kept coming, to the point where when the class fish, Car, died I had nothing left to do but laugh. It was overwhelming, how too-damn-much the situation was.

garlicy pickled okra 3

Life can sometimes feel like all you’re doing is treading water in open ocean, just trying to breathe deeply between waves hitting you in the face. I’m great at treading water, though, and when you get on the boat there is always a jar of pickled okra in the cooler. Or at least there should be.

garlicy pickled okra 1

Spicy Pickled Okra

4 pounds of fresh okra

6 pint size canning jars with lids and bands

3 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

3 1/2 cups water

6 tbsp red pepper flakes

24 cloves garlic

2 tbsp salt

6 tsps whole mustard seeds

6 tsps whole cumin seeds

2 jalapeños, sliced

1 habanero, minced

6 tbsps garlic hot sauce

Begin by sterilizing your jars.  About an hour before you want to can fill two large pots with water.  I recommend that you have some canning equipment, at the very least a large pot with a rack and a pair of tongs.  You’ll need a separate pot for sterilizing your jars and lids.  Bring both pots of water to a boil.  In one pot (the one without a lid) place your jars and the lids (not the screw bands).  Allow them to boil for at least 10 minutes, but keep them in the pot until right before you fill them.

In a non reactive sauce pan heat vinegar, water, and salt.

Clean the okra and cut off the stems.  In each sterilized jar, place two cloves of garlic, two slices of jalapeño, a pinch of fresh habanero, 1 tbsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, and as much okra as you can pack in tightly.  Whisk hot sauce into vinegar mixture and ladle into each jar, leaving about 1/4″ headspace.  Wipe the rim down, place a clean lid on each jar, and screw band on tightly.  Process in your large pot (with rack) for 10 minutes.  Remove from water, give the band another squeeze, and allow to sit.  Once the jars have sealed (you’ll know if you can’t pop the lid up and down), set them in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks.  They will stay for up to a year.

**As with any preservation process, there are risks.  If you notice anything abnormal, discard the pickles immediately.  Botulism is no fun.**

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Lovely Internet 9.12.14

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1. I love my front porch. It’s my favorite place to sit, read, take business calls, drink a coffee (or a cocktail), and watch my neighborhood. Long live porch sitting!

2. This past winter I contributed 50 recipes to a DK project- The Meat Cookbook, which came out this month!

3. It takes a lot of bravery to be totally honest like this. The past few years I have often struggled with the balance of blogging and freelance and finding a way to remember the joy when sometimes it feels like you’re just gutting through your to-do list because you have to, not because you want to. It’s a result of blogging weekly for years on end, and I completely respect John and Sherry for putting so eloquently what I have often felt (and know a lot of other fellow bloggers have felt).

4. How fake is food styling?

5. I always knew Italian women had it right.

6. How pimento cheese became an iconic Southern food.

7. I bought my first iPod in 2004, right after I graduated from high school. Its name was Chanandeler Bong and he served me faithfully until 2008, when I bought my first iPhone. Rest in peace, iPods.

8. Do you love food festivals?

9 The Evil Reign of the Red Delicious

10. I remember, very clearly, sitting in Señor Moreno’s Spanish class when one of the Beason sisters, Carrie maybe, came to tell us that a plane had flown into the WTC. Later, watching the videos of the second plane over and over again, I remember noticing just how blue the sky was that day.

For more tidbits from Elena the person, follow me on twitter (@elenabrent or @biscuitsandsuch), instagrampinterest or facebook. Subscribe to my bloglovin’ feed to make sure you never miss a post. Follow along with MissElenaeous for thoughts on everything other than Southern food.

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Muscadine Hull Pie

It’s muscadine season! That wild grape that has inspired hundreds of years of Southern jams, jellies, preserves, pies, and wines is back in the markets and ready for your kitchen.

 

hull pie 1

 

I decided to try my hand at a muscadine hull pie. Traditionally a way to use the hulls when the pulp and juice were being used in other recipes, the hull pie epitomizes the thrifty and frugal country recipe.

 

hull pie 3

hull pie 2

 

When they’re cooked down muscadines have a sweet and tart flavor that is similar to cherries. I decided to use the whole grape, pitting them first, which made for a filling that perfect complimented my buttery crust. What a treat. I think I’ll need to replicate this before the end of muscadine season!

 

hull pie 5

Muscadine Hull Pie

filling

4 cups whole muscadines

1/2 cup brown sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

Pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

crust

2 1/2 cups flour

2 sticks cold butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup cold water

1 egg

1 tbsp brown sugar

In a food processor combine flour, butter, sugar, and salt. Pulse until texture resembles cornmeal. Add in water, a few tablespoons at a time. Pulse until a dough ball forms, adding more water as needed. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill.

Remove tops from muscadines and squeeze the pulp out. Remove the seeds and combine pulp and hulls in a pot over medium-low heat. Stir in brown sugar, lemon juice, salt, and vanilla. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until filling has thickened.

Flour a work surface and roll out half your dough. Drape over a pie crust and stir in filling. Roll out remaining half and lay over top of the filling. Fold the edges of the bottom dough over the top crust and press together. Brush top with egg and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and flakey. Serve hot.

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