So here we are the beginning of January 2020! As I think about resolutions, I’m trying tone way more mindful and intentional (which just happens to be my word for the year). So one of my resolutions is to eat breakfast more often. That also includes having quick and easy breakfast available for me and my family to grab.
The first thing I made in this new year is biscuits. Yes, I know they may not qualify as a healthy breakfast but I also believe that anything made at home with quality ingredients better than anything processed outside my kitchen. If combined with a healthy protein and some fruit or veggies, a biscuit breakfast can take you all the way to lunch, without temptation.
I started with my Great-Grandmother’s Biscuit recipe. It laid out most of the ingredients and these instructions:
“Work in enough flour to work out. Cut. Bake”
By the way flour was not listed as an ingredient. I was able to cull together some instructions and made some beautiful biscuits. I have given you a few more instructions. Enjoy!
Please go to Instagram and follow me: @whiskinthesouthern
Preheat oven to 475°
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder.
Grate butter, into flour mixture, on large hole side of grater box. Work in with hands. You want a coarse meal feel.
Put butter/flour mixture in freezer for a few minutes, here. You want everything to be cold when you start to work it.
Take bowl out of freezer and make a well in middle.
Pour buttermilk into well and start to mix together with a wooden spoon or your hands.
The dough will be sticky.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, gently, 15 times.
Add more flour if you need and start to roll out dough to 1/2" thick. Then fold in half and repeat, 5 times. This step is important because you are forming layers.
Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
Once dough is ready to cut, use a biscuit cutter and cut straight down. Do not twist when making biscuits. Twisting forms a seal and prevent steam which prevents lots of layers of flaky goodness. Place biscuits on parchment paper about 2 inches apart.
Bake at 475° for 15 minutes. Watch your biscuits. Every oven is different and you want a nice golden brown biscuit.
When biscuits come out of oven brush tops with melted butter, immediately. Let cool for just 5 minutes before serving warm biscuits.
As promised on Instagram here is the recipe for that delicious Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake. I used store bought Caramel Sauce (Mrs. Richardsons). You can easily make your own. Here is a quick recipe:
1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1/4 cup whole milk, and 1 tsp. vanilla
Stirring constantly bring all ingredients to a boil and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. You can use right away or store in an airtight jar in refrigerator.
On another note can you do me a favor? I am trying to get a book deal and need to up my Instagram followers. If you aren’t already following me, will you please go to @diaryofalostchef on Instagram and give me a follow? I really appreciate it. As soon as I have my book deal I will give away books to the first ten of you that follow me.
Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake
This is a light almost pudding like cake. It is so easy and yet impresses. It would work well with pears too.
Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 325°.
Generously butter an 18x13 rimmed baking sheet.
Melt the butter in microwave or on stovetop.
In a medium bowl whisk together sugar, cocoa, vanilla and salt. Pour the melted butter over the mixture and stir until smooth.
Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously until batter is thick, shiny and smooth. I like to use a heavy wooden spoon.
Stir in the flour until well blended then beat vigorously, another 30-40 strokes
Spread batter evenly onto baking sheet in thin, even layer. Push it all the way to the corners. It will seem too thin but the batter will rise.
Add your toppings, pressing in firmly.
I used about 1/2 cup peanut butter and swirled it through the batter and then pressing lightly with wet hands.
I also used mini marshmallows and walnuts for a rocky road as well as dried cherries and almonds. You can get as creative as you want. This is a great activity for a kids or teens party.
Bake until firm to the touch and tester comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely then cut into pieces and serve.
I did one batch and divided it into thirds to try different toppings. Have fun!
Pour yeast into warmed (110°) milk, let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.
Meanwhile cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg yolks, until well blended.
Whisk together flour and salt.
Give the yeast mixture a quick stir and pour into egg mixture. Slowly start adding flour/salt mixture into yeast/egg mixture until dough starts to form. I reserve about 1/4 cup of the flour mix.
You want the dough to be soft.
Use some of the reserved flour and turn soft dough out onto floured board. Knead slightly and add flour if necessary. Place kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for at least an hour until doubled in size.
While dough is rising you can make your fillings and streusel.
Melt together dark chocolate and oil. Set aside.
I like to make the milk chocolate filling in a food processor. Make sure your butter is very cold. Pulse milk chocolate and butter in processor until small pea-sized pieces. Put back in refrigerator until ready to use.
Using the same processor, pulse together brown sugar, flour, and cold butter. It should be very crumbly. Put in refrigerator until ready to use.
Putting it All Together
Cut a piece of parchment to a little bigger than 14"x18". Place it on cutting board and lightly flour it. Roll out your dough almost to the edges, in a rectangle.
Using a pastry brush, spread the melted dark chocolate all over the dough, edge to edge.
Then sprinkle the milk chocolate all over the dough. Try to get edge to edge here too.
Using the parchment paper as a guide, start rolling the dough on the long side. Press as you go to keep the roll tight.
pinch the ends closed and wrap in parchment. Place in refrigerator for 5 minutes to firm up.
While dough is refrigerator line bottom of 2 loaf pans (9X5) with parchment paper, then spray whole pan with non-stick spray.
Take roll out of refrigerator and remove from paper. Cut in half.
Take each half and, making sure the seam side is down, cut the rolls in half length wise, leaving one end in tact. Essentially you are "opening" them.
With cut sides up, start twisting pieces over each other, keep the open side up. Tuck other end under and place in loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise another hour. You should have 2 twisted loaves.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Whisk together reserved egg white and 2 Tbs. milk.
Once dough has risen, brush tops with egg wash and gently press streusel topping into dough.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Here's the trick, if it looks just slightly golden brown but not quite done, it's ok. It will continue to cook in pan and you DON'T want to overcook it or It will be dry.
Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto rack. You can serve it warm or it is certainly good at room temperature.
Place the cheese, flour, salt and cayenne in a food processor, and pulse, just enough to combine.
Add the pimentos and pulse until mixture is orange. It is important to not over pulse. With processor on low, slowly add chilled butter pieces. Quickly turn processor off and just pulse until dough is pea sized. Add in iced water and pulse just until dough starts to come together, when squeezed in your hand.
Transfer dough to a work surface that has been lightly floured and lightly flour your hands. Form into a tightly packed 2" diameter log. At this point you can sprinkle sesame seeds on surface and roll the log in them or you can press the seeds into the log. I found that a combination of both worked well.
Wrap the log (or logs, I had extra dough) in wax paper or parchment and chill for at least 4 hours, and up to 2 days, before slicing.
Preheat oven to 350° and place rack in middle of oven. Using a sharp knife, slice dough into thin rounds, I tried to get 1/8" -1/4".
Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and place cracker dough about an inch part. Prick each cracker a few times so they don't puff up.
Bake for 20-25 minutes (adjust for your oven). I rotate my pans about halfway through.
You probably will have to do multiple pans.
Let crackers cool on pan and use a fresh sheet of parchment paper and repeat.
Remember the crackers will crisp up while cooling.
Thank you readers for letting me know that I didn't put the pimentos in the ingredient list. Here is the updated recipe.
I remember when Everything Bagels first hit the scene. A New York bagel store employee was sweeping out the oven and instead of tossing the seeds and seasoning crumbs, he through them on top of a plain bagel. He thought he was being cute when he called it the “everything”. They were amazing! All the bagel flavors you love were now in one bagel. Ahh, bliss! And if you toast them, forget it, HEAVEN! So imagine how excited I was when Trader Joes created Everything but the Bagel Seasoning. I love using this flavor blend and put it on, well, everything.
The blend is made up of sesame seeds, sea salt flakes, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion, black sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Some of the great ways I’ve used this blend are: stir it into cream cheese, salad topping, stirred into scrambled eggs, a small shake on top of sour cream in soup or a baked potato.
My two favorite ways to use this blend are to stir about 1/4 cup into latke (potato pancake) batter right before frying them up. We like our latkes extra crispy and this seasoning brings out all the best flavors of the potato. If you do this adjust your salt down, or even none. This seasoning has plenty of salt. The other great recipe is to use it as a chicken coating.
Chicken is the great blank canvas of food. I mean it was just made for sauces and anything that adds flavor. The recipe below is simple and quick. I make a dredge tray of seasoned flour, egg white and Everything but the Bagel seasoning. You can use your own recipe for the seasoned flour. Remember to use little or no salt.
One other little tip. Some of you struggle on knowing when chicken is done when you bake it. The best way is to use a meat thermometer to 160°. However, 20 minutes per pound at preheated 325° oven is a great rule of thumb. You can cover the chicken foil half way through if it is getting too brown.
Everything Seasoned Chicken
Juicy, baked chicken with all your favorite tastes of an everything bagel.
Preheat oven to 325°.
Combine flour and all spices, except Everything Bagel, together in a zipped plastic bag. Give it a good mix now and right before you use it. You don't want all the flavors to settle to the bottom.
Set up your dredging station (I use shallow soup bowls). You want the first one to be the seasoned flour. The second should be your egg whites and the third is the Everything seasoning.
I get my chicken good and dry with paper towels and then let it sit out about 20 minutes before starting the dredging process. I also keep one hand for dry and one for wet.
Start with dipping chicken in flour. Give it an even coat and shake off excess so you don't have clumps. Then a quick dip in egg whites and let excess drip off, then right into the everything seasoning and into a butter baking dish.
Into the preheated, hot oven and bake for 20 minutes per pound. You are probably at just about a pound with 4 chicken breasts so check at 20 minutes. It's okay to cut into one breast, if you don't have a thermometer. You want the juices to run clear.
Serve with a green vegetable and rice or potato. Enjoy!
I’ve been making it, decorating it, giving it away and eating it. So much so that I almost forgot to write about it.
Seriously, I have this great calendar that tells me what “DAY” it is each day. Apparently, July 20th was Cake Day. As I have mentioned, a lot, I love cake. So why wouldn’t I bake and write about it? The 10thAnniversary of the Hadassah group I belong to and my daughter’s best friend’s birthday also happened to be around that date, so I baked the fabulous chocolate cake written about in April 2017 and I made a wonderful Carrot Cake.
Let me tell you, Carrot Cake comes with a lot of opinions. Do you used nuts? What kind of nuts? Do you do a cream cheese frosting, and do you put butter in yours? In my house you would NEVER put fruit in something baked. In other homes you might add pineapple chunks to your carrot cake. All this to say that even though I happen to love my recipe, make it your own.
Mine is “original” after years of adapting all the family recipes and magazine recipes I’ve tried. I used to buy the pre-shredded carrots, and they work fine. Now I like to make a really fine shred in my own processor. I like the taste of fresh carrot, but I don’t want a big piece to wander into my bite of cake. I do put a stick of butter in my frosting. I think it adds a richness. If you want to add nuts, I’d go with pecans. Walnuts are also a good addition, but almonds might be nice too.
See what I’m doing here? My recipe is a great base. If you make it as is, you will love it. But make it your own and start a new tradition. Most of all ENJOY!!!!
Cake for breakfast! Yes it’s a thing and it is all over the Internet. It’s actually not a new thing. It started popping up in my feed in every blog I get, recently. So, I decided to do a little research of my own. Before I get to a really good chocolate cake recipe, that you will probably over indulge in, let me give you some of the Kisses and Nibs of it all.
The original study came out in 2011 and was conducted in the UK. It did say that eating cake for breakfast was a good thing and that you might lose some weight. However, it turns out the study was more about eating a big hearty breakfast than it was about eating cake. It also pointed out that if you’re going to eat sugary unrefined carbs, maybe you want to do it earlier in the day, rather than later. Finally, the UK study was a closed study, meaning that the participants were living and eating in a dorm facility. So the facilitators noted that perhaps the social nature of eating together might have had the participants eating less. Be more social when you eat breakfast, if you can. Talk more, eat less.
The second study was done at Tel Aviv University in 2013. This study suggested that the brain works better when it is stimulated immediately in the morning and that chocolate cake was a great conduit for that. The long and short of this is that chocolate has flavonoids and caffeine; both can act as a stimulant. Flavonoids are also a great antioxidant. Both supply energy to the brain and in my honest opinion are a great way to start your day.
I did the MOST official study of all in 2017. It shows that if you make a chocolate cake, somebody will eat it for breakfast!
Okay, enough with the science! Here is a great chocolate cake recipe. I put it together from several different recipes. Make a double batch of the frosting; one is just not quite enough to frost the whole cake.
Really Good Chocolate Cake
This is three full layers of cake, not one cake cut into three layers! With lots of rich milk chocolate frosting between and all around. Oh yeah!
In case you haven’t heard it’s been raining here in California, A LOT! So it was a great weekend to stay home and make all sorts of comfort food. It doesn’t get more comfortable than homemade pasta.
I love that you and I both probably have everything we need to make pasta, already, in our kitchens. Are you ready for the long list; Flour, salt, eggs, water and olive oil. I have a hand cranked pasta roller, but you really don’t need it. Pasta has been made for centuries, certainly long before standing electric mixers were adding attachments and even before my hand-cranked roller. If you have a wooden roller pin and a knife you can make your own pasta.
Keep in mind you can search for basic pasta recipes and find dozens of variations. Start with mine but if it s not a good fit, you can play around. Add more water; use just all-purpose flour, more oil (not too much). I did make mine in a standing mixer, with a dough hook; you can do everything by hand in a large bowl.
I want to say that, even not so great, homemade pasta will taste better than any pasta you will ever buy in a store. Once you get this pasta made, go over to March 1, 2015 and make the Marinara Sauce!
In a large bowl combine flours and salt. Make a well (indentation) and add eggs. If you are doing this by hand, start to fold your flour over the eggs and mix, adding water and oil, until you have a stiff dough. I used a standing electric mixer with the dough hook attachment. I used a spatula to scrape down the sides.
As you are mixing and adding water & oil, keep pinching the dough. When it starts to stick together easily, its ready. You do not want it too sticky.
I used Durum Semolina, which is traditionally Italian. It has a coarser texture, almost like corn meal, it will need more water and olive oil. The texture smooths out in rolling and cooking. All-purpose flour will NOT need nearly as much liquid.
Once the dough is all mixed. Knead for 3 - 4 minutes on a lightly floured board. Then form a disk and wrap in plastic and let rest, in refrigerator, for 30 minutes.
When ready to roll, cut disk into quarters and flatten. If you are using a pasta machine or roller, start on a zero setting and run the dough through once or twice and fold in half and lightly flour each side and run through again. Repeat this process gradually increasing setting to higher numbers and ultimately increasing to desired thinness and length. Or follow the directions provided, with your machine.
If you are hand rolling, lightly flour a board and use a rolling pin to roll dough out to desired thinness and length. I like to roll between two pieces of parchment or wax paper. Too much flour can make the pasta too chewy.
At this point you would switch to the cutting shape, you want on the machine. If you are cutting by hand use a knife or pizza cute to cut your dough.
Once your dough is cut, it is IMPORTANT to let it dry/set for a while before storing or cooking. If you don't it might be gummy. If you have something to hang your pasta over, even a towel rack will do, that's ideal. if not just let it lay straight on board or parchment lined pan. Don't let it sit bunched up, like in the picture.
Once it is a little dry you can store it, folded, in an airtight container, with a little semolina or cornmeal, to keep it separated.
To cook, bring a pot of water to a boil and salt it, liberally. Add you pasta and cook 5 - 7 minutes. Do not over cook. Serve with your favorite sauce or none at all. It's that good,
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Grease and line with wax paper a 9x5x3 loaf pan.
Melt chocolate and beat in butter with a spoon or spatula.
Beat egg whites with a hand mixer to stiff peaks; set aside. With same beaters beat egg yolks until thick and light in color.
Slowly add the sugar, beating constantly. Add the flour and beat until just combined. Stir egg yolk mixture into chocolate mixture, then fold egg whites into this mixture. You will have some egg whites still showing.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Reduce oven heat to 350°F and bake 25 minutes.
Let cool completely in pan. Cake will settle like a cheesecake. Turn out. Refrigerate for 4 hours until well chilled. Decorate with abandon!