Thursday, January 19, 2012

Don't You Make Eyes at Me...

Any young Southerner worth their salt has heard this on occasion but if you had my grandma, you only did it once. Only once because once was when you would have to pick your switch. Making eyes is the equivalent of rolling your eyes and not a good thing. Well I just made eyes and it was over, of all things, biscuits. I have been trying to make biscuits for some time now but to no avail. I have a pan that is currently serving as paper weights, another that is on some super secret military mission and another that, well let's just say 275 years from now there will be an archeological dig and people will be blessing my heart. After questioning several biscuit aficionados, the most common response was "Baby, you have got to use lard if you want a good biscuit." This is where the making eyes comes into play as in I "made" them and thought nope- cannot, am not, will not make biscuits with lard. I am trying to make yummy southern food that will not send me to an early grave or to an early bird sale for bigger clothes. Well, umm, errr, OK- never say never because you will eat your words. You will eat them smothered in honey jelly over a lard filled biscuit with a big cheesy grin on your face as you change in to elastic waist pants.

It all started with a trip to buy short ribs. Dang short ribs! I have started the tradition of Sunday Dinner at our house. We try and eat dinner at the table every night but some times that does not happen. Sundays are a non-negotiable. Butt- chair- 5:00 p.m., or earlier if we decide to have early dinner. I stopped by our local Compare Foods, which is an ethnic grocer here in Raleigh. You can find the bits and parts that not everyone uses but that are essential in Southern cooking. (As in do not be surprised to find the piggie's snout, ears and feet wrapped in plastic in the meat section.) As I was roaming the store picking up a few things, I turned the corner and there it was giving me the stink eye- laughing at me and my paltry biscuits- a lard display. I snorted and kept a'walking down the aisle, around the corner and right back to the lard. It knew my name and was calling me like Krispy Kreme after a workout. Somehow, a tub of Lundy's lard from Clinton, NC jumped in my basket and found its way into my refrigerator. I blame my mother-in-law. She is from Clinton and that lard was just trying to give her a little taste of home.

Now here comes the fun part, oh no not the making of the biscuits although that is fun, but the explaining to Brad how something that I said I would never use was now sitting in the refrigerator conveniently covered by parsley, hidden behind milk and on the bottom shelf so you could not see it through the glass. 5 minutes in and I hear "Hey bobbie, what's this stuff?" Please oh please not the lard, do not ask about THE LARD! "You bought lard? Are you feeling ok? Do I need to call someone?" Yea- Mr. Funny Guy/Smart (Insert PG-13 word here), you are sooooo cute.

Do I even need to tell you that they were the best biscuits I have ever made? And after telling my in-laws that I was making biscuits with lard they would wind up eating dinner with us?

So below is the recipe for the infamous lard biscuits. I made 1 substitution. The original recipe calls for 2 cups All Purpose (a-p) Flour. I used 1 c a-p flour and 1 c cake flour. You do not want to use a flour with a high protein content. That will make for tough biscuits so no bread flour. Cake flour has the lowest protein content making a lighter fluffier biscuit. I also recommend chilling the lard.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

1 c a-p flour

1 c cake flour

1 c buttermilk*

2 oz lard

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

* Regular milk may be used in the place of buttermilk.

In a mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined.

Add the lard and butter. Using a pastry cutter, cut the mixture until only pea-sized lumps remain.

Pour the milk into the mixture. Using a spoon, stir until the flour is wet and clumps together.

Dust a silicon baking mat or parchment paper with flour. Form dough into a ball. Do not over work the dough, this will create a tough biscuit. Roll out the dough to the thickness you desire for your biscuits.

Using a biscuit or cookie cutter, cut your biscuits and place on a parchment or silicon mat lined cookie sheet.

Once you have cut the biscuits you can reform the leftover bits and cut those but they will be a little more dense.

Bake at 450 until golden- about 13-16 minutes depending on your oven. Set your timer and keep an eye on them.


I will be posting a healthy and delicious recipe soon that will almost counteract the biscuits. :)

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