How do you celebrate the beginning of a food blog? A blog that will be dedicated to celebrating good food and drink… a blog that will reflect the far flung roots of the contributors, but respect the fact that the mid-south is their current home… a blog that delights in beautiful restaurant food, but also appreciates a good burger or hot dog… and above all else a blog that aims to elevate delicious home cooking…
Only one thing made sense – Biscuits and Champagne.
For our inaugural meeting of the 3 of us, J, E, and S, we gathered at J’s home with her sparkly new kitchen. I had never managed to make a good biscuit in almost three years in the south, and I attributed this to the fact that I was born in New York and have never lived further south than Washington, DC until I moved to Nashville in 2005. But E, a born-and-bred Kentuckian, claimed that good homemade biscuits were not the Holy Grail – they were much easier to make than I thought. Obviously, I needed to be taught. We began by working with the biscuit recipe of that Grande Dame of southern cookery, Edna Lewis. The shortening was chilled and cut up, and the buttermilk was full fat – clearly we were ready to begin.
The key – which I’d heard many times before, but apparently misunderstood – is not to work the dough too much. When the batter comes out of the bowl it looks extremely loose and wet. As such, there needs to be copious amounts of the flour on the surface to eventually be able to get a smooth expanse of dough. We had forgotten about a biscuit cutter, but the hand cut squares gave the biscuits a rustic feel. The biscuits came out golden brown and aesthetically they went perfectly with the bean stew that J had prepared.
The biscuits themselves – they were tender, tangy and tasty. We saved a few for our spousal units, but devoured the rest as we drank the pink champagne. The perfect balanced meal. Now the question will be: Can this New Yorker replicate this at home on my own? I can do the champagne part, but we’ll see about the biscuits.
So welcome to our food blog – cheers y’all.
The Best Biscuits
Scott Peacock got this delectable biscuit recipe from Edna Lewis, the legendary Southern cook and his mentor.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons single-acting baking powder or double-acting baking powder (see Note)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cold lard or vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 450°. In a bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingers, work in the lard just until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the buttermilk just until moistened.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times. Roll out or pat the dough 1/2 inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cutter, stamp out biscuits as close together as possible. Transfer the biscuits to a baking sheet. Pat the dough scraps together, reroll and cut out the remaining biscuits; do not overwork the dough.
- Pierce the top of each biscuit 3 times with a fork and brush with the butter. Bake the biscuits for 12 to 14 minutes, or until risen and golden. Serve at once.
MAKE AHEAD The unbaked biscuits can be frozen in a single layer, then kept frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Thaw before baking.