Suzi's Blog

Easter Dinner Ideas [Or Other Spring and Summer Feasts]

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Yes, I know, Easter was last Sunday. But there will be an Easter again, short of a meteor strike. And there are other times during the spring and summer that you may be celebrating. Here is the menu we had on Sunday. The next few days will see a post with each recipe. Suzen and I spent Easter morning shopping and Easter afternoon in the kitchen. It was a perfect holiday, complete with dinner guests and our table set for this feast.

Menu for a Special Sunday Meal

  • Chipotle and Cheddar Biscuits with Honey Butter
  • Red Pepper Hummus with Toasted Home Made Bread
  • Shoulder of Lamb with Salsa Verde
  • Potato Gratin with Cauliflower and Cheese of Your Choice

Oh, no dessert? Our guests bought a fruit tart and we had some chocolate gelato on hand. I did have in mind a very special chocolate cookie that will appear here soon. Truth is, after four hours in the kitchen, Suzen and I were low on gas. Planning on doing this meal or another feast? Then you want to space out the effort, ideally over 2-3 days. Biscuits and hummus the day before, for example. We all want quality for our dinner parties and that quality quite simply takes a bit of time.

To conclude, about that meteor strike. I was not joking. Today is Earth Day and this evening in Seattle at the incredible Museum of Flight three astronauts will present evidence about the possibility of a major meteor strike that could wipe out a city. Remember that meteor over Siberia last year? That explosion is now calibrated at a half a megaton. Tonight, the presentation will show that the chances of a major disaster are 3 to 10 times more likely than previously thought. New sensor information, originally developed to detect man-made nuclear weapons tests, confirms that we have far more collisions with large objects from space. There are lots and lots of uncharted meteors in the 100-meter range out there. Close encounters are common, actual collisions much more likely than previously thought. More and more of a growing planet population is in urban areas that sprawl. Target creep.

If I were you, I would order up my lamb soon.

 

Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

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Suzen and I are on a book tour. Not one where we travel. One where do each recipe, one by one. Biscuits by Belinda Ellis in one of the Savor the South cookbooks available from the University of North Carolina Press. It’s addictive.

Here’s our favorite recipe out of the ten [of fifty recipes in the book] we have done so far. These drop biscuits are easy and wonderfully simple. They are southern through and through so they are made with buttermilk and self-rising flour. They are not rolled out and then cut into perfect circles. Just make the batter and plop the biscuits down. Hence, Belinda calls them Lazy Biscuits although there is nothing pejorative here about the swiftness of mix and drop.

One great characteristic of these biscuits is the oven temperature: 500°F. The biscuits rise high and the top becomes firm and golden. The interior texture is soft and wonderfully pleasant to bite.

“How could you?” Suzen asked me. “These are fine by themselves.” She was eating her second one, very plain.

I was putting butter and elderberry jelly on mine. So, how could I do it: one pat of butter and one teaspoon of jam a time.

There are just three main ingredients here. Quite amazing as you will see at first bite.

Lazy Biscuits or Buttermilk Drop Biscuits

Yield: serves 8 biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups soft wheat self-rising flour
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable shortening, unsalted butter, or lard, cut into ½-inch chunks and chilled for 15 minutes
  • ¾ cup whole buttermilk, plus more if needed
  • Melted butter for brushing the tops

 

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Use a nonstick cake pan or baking sheet.

Measure the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the cold chunks of shortening, butter, or lard and toss them in the flour to coat. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, break up the chunks until they are about the size of peas.

Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the buttermilk. Staring at the sides of the bowl, use a spatula or a wooden spoon to toss the flour over the buttermilk. Continue to work in the flour from the sides of the bowl, just until the dough come together.

If the dough starts top pull away from the sides of the bowl, and sticks to your fingers, you have the right amount of buttermilk. If there are dry spots and dough isn’t sticky when you tough it, add more buttermilk.

Using an ice cream scoop or heaping tablespoon, drop the biscuits onto the cake pan or baking sheet. Since these biscuits are crisp, drop each scoop about 1/2 inch apart.

Bake the biscuits in the center of the oven until they are light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Brush the tops with melted butter.

Source: Biscuits by Bellinda Ellis

Photo Information: Canon T2i, 18-55MM Macro lens, F/2.8, 1/100th second, ISO 800

 

 

f/2.8, 1/100th second, ISO 600