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Cast Iron Cobblers

The past few months I’ve been on a cobbler making spree. It started with a dinner party, then the 4th of July, then my birthday… it seemed like every few days I was filling up my skillets with fruit and oats. It’s the perfect thing about cobblers- one basic recipe can encompass so many colors and textures. Blueberries, strawberries, peaches, cherries, blackberries- all you need is a fresh fruit and a topping mixture and before you know it you have a simple, and delicious, dessert.

Cast Iron Cobbler

for a medium size cast iron pan

1 pint fresh fruit

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 cup steel cut oats

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 stick butter

Dash of salt

1 tsp cinnamon

Clean and slice (for non-berries) fruit and pack evenly into skillet. Squeeze lemon juice over the fruit. Melt butter in a bowl. Mix butter, oats, sugar, salt, and cinnamon together and pack on top of the fruit.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Or cook on a medium heat grill (over indirect heat) for 25 minutes.

 

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Chocolate Raspberry Mini Pies

After almost four years of writing on this blog, posting weekly (mostly) original recipes, I often find myself in a rut. I find myself thinking about what to make, weighing the pros and cons, considering the feedback, and checking the archives to make sure I haven’t already posted it. I want to continue posting recipes that are original and delicious, and a lot of the time I hem and haw over what that means. But sometimes, I get an all-encompassing urge to make something and after I’ve acted on that craving I realize that hell, I can post this on the blog.

That happened this week. I was mulling over what to bring to a dinner party and before I knew it I was halfway to the store to buy raspberries and chocolate hazelnut spread. In the kitchen, instead of feeling burdened by the idea of making dough and laboring over hand pies I was excited. It’s not often in mid-July that I’m excited to turn my oven on in an unairconditioned apartment, but I couldn’t wait to see how these suckers would turn out.

They were delicious. I made two versions- half were hand pies that got cooked all together, the other were cup pies where the crust was baked but they were filled with fresh ingredients. Both were equally tasty and, thankfully, both satisfied my craving for chocolate hazelnut and raspberries. And despite the fact that I totally wiped out getting on the light rail, both were the perfect after-dinner treat for a rainy night party.

Raspberry & Chocolate Hazelnut Mini Pies

2 pints raspberries

Chocolate hazelnut spread

pie dough

2 1/2 cups all p flour

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cold

1 1/2 stick cold butter

1/4-1 cup ice water

1 egg

whipped cream

1 pint of heavy whipping cream

1 tbsp chocolate hazelnut spread

2 tbsp sugar

Sift dry ingredients.  Add shortening and break it up with your hands as you start to coat the flour.  Add butter and work it in until it resembles coarse corn meal.  You should be able to pinch the dough together to form chunks.  Add the ice water, a little at a time, stirring in with a wooden spoon  Only add as much as it takes to make a ball.  Any more than that and you will be left with chewey crust.  However, make sure you’re using enough for your dough to hold together.  If you’re adding honey, now would be the time to whisk it into the water.  Be cautious with the amounts you chose, you don’t want it to get too sticky, I don’t recommend more than 3 tbsp.

Form a ball and divide it in half.  Cover each half with saran wrap and flatten into a disc shape.  Pop in the fridge for at least half an hour.

For the baked pies, preheat your oven to 350. Roll your dough out on a floured surface and cut into duplicates of the shape you’d like, at least 3″ in diameter. Fill one half of the dough with 1 tbsp of chocolate spread and 3-4 raspberries. Cover with the other half and crimp together the edges. Whisk together the egg and brush over top. Poke holes in the top of the pie. Repeat until you have the desired amount. Bake for 20 minutes, checking frequently.

For the fresh version, roll your dough out and press into a cupcake tin. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Fill with 1 tbsp of chocolate spread and 5-7 raspberries. Whip together cream, spread, and sugar and top each pie with a few tablespoons of whipped cream. Enjoy!

 

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Sol Food

When I was in 8th grade we received a letter in the mail from the Durham Public School System saying I’d been granted admission into the district’s art magnet school, Durham School of the Arts. I was furious. I hadn’t applied, it was my mother’s idea, and the idea of losing my friends and all the work I’d put into socializing myself the past three horrible middle school years was devastating. I tore the acceptance letter up and fumed. I had struggled to make friends when we’d moved from southern Florida back to Durham, and I couldn’t imagine starting over at a new school. Fortunately for me, the decision wasn’t mine to make and in August of 2000 I started high school at DSA.

That same year my younger brother, Reid, started 6th grade at DSA. It was over the next 7 years that he (both of us, really), fell in love with DSA, the culture, the teachers, our fellow students, and the community. It was also over these years that he formed close friendships with Ellen Duda, Dylan Hammond, and Eliza Bordley. And it was with these friends, many moons ago, that a plan was hatched to take a country wide tour in an old school bus.

Just a few weeks ago, almost twelve years after they all began their DSA journey, they started that bus tour. Their nonprofit organization, Sol Food, set off on a 6 month tour of the continental U.S. that will cover much of the states and many, many miles. They’re stopping in communities big and small throughout the country, creating square space gardens, working on farms, giving workshops, and exploring.

Their third stop was Baltimore. They came at the end of June and stayed for a whole week. The Museum hosted a few events in their honor (including a community day) and then they launched into a week of different projects. They build raised beds and decorated at the Jonestown community garden, Exeter Garden. They spent a day at Kayam Farm helping and learning and teaching. They went to the Catonsville 4th of July parade. They visited the Baltimore Free Farm and helped celebrate my birthday.

It probably goes without saying how amazing I think Sol Food is and how proud I am of their choice to do this service project. I’ve known all of them for a long time (Reid, obviously for all of his 24 years) and it makes me so happy that they’ve found a way to follow their dream and create something valuable. They’ve overcome odds, found funders, organized a massive service project and trip, and are still smiling as they do it. I strongly encourage you to check out their website, solfoodmobilefarm.org to follow their progress and if they’re coming to a town near you, check them out. You won’t regret it.

from left: ellen, dylan, eliza, reid

 

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