Saturday, July 13, 2013

Buttermilk Biscuits

I've had my Southern status questioned on more than one occasion when it's revealed how much I hate sweet tea. Sorry, not my thing. But I think I have a redeeming Southern quality in making buttermilk biscuits. These are so soft and completely melt in your mouth. They are miles above any canned or frozen biscuit and actually really easy to make.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, very cold
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, and cut in the butter in small chunks. I mix it with a potato masher until it looks like a coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and mix it just until it's combined. The dough will be very wet. Turn the dough out on a floured cutting board, and pat (not roll) it down to about 1/2 inch thick. Use a round cutter to cut your biscuits. Place them on a cookie sheet. If you want soft biscuits, place them on the sheet with edges touching. If you like flaky biscuits, leave space between them. Bake them for about 10 minutes.

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

If you've spent any significant amount of time in Asheville, NC, you're probably familiar with The Hop on Merrimon Avenue. This is one of my favorite ice cream shops, second only to Annapolis Ice Cream Company. One of my favorite flavors that I have gotten there is key lime pie, and for some reason, I have been craving it this summer even though I haven't had it in at least 10 years. I found a recipe in an old Southern Living magazine and gave it a shot. Typically I prefer ice cream with some sort of chocolate in it, but this was really delicious and refreshing!

1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups milk
1 cup half & half
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup lime juice
1/2 cup coarsely crushed graham crackers

Whisk the first 3 ingredients in a heavy sauce pan. Gradually whisk in the milk and half and half. Stir constantly over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until it thickens slightly. Remove the sauce pan from the heat, and whisk in the egg yolk. Pour the mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl. Let it cool completely and then add the lime juice, lime zest, and graham crackers. Freeze in an ice cream maker, or freeze overnight in the freezer.

Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Bread

Whenever Luke heads out for any amount of time, I have the lovely task of eating what's left in the refrigerator. It usually results in dinners composed of random assortments or me trying to find recipes to use exactly what I have. This time, I had 3 boxes of blueberries that were knock knock knockin' on Heaven's door and several lemons, so this bread was my first choice. It turned out to be really moist because of the yogurt, and it made more than I could (should) finish, so I had plenty to share with friends.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup plain yogurt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup blueberries

Combine dry ingredients and then gradually add wet ingredients one at a time. Gently fold in the blueberries. Bake in a greased and floured loaf pan at 350 for 55 minutes. Yum!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lemon Fruit Dip

This is a really easy and delicious fruit dip that my mom makes. It's really good on strawberries, grapes, pineapple, and apples - probably on other fruits too!

16 oz lemon yogurt
3.4 oz vanilla instant pudding
4 oz Cool Whip

Just mix it all together and chill it! I usually use sugar free pudding and Cool Whip, but it's good with the regular kind too. I could eat this stuff with a spoon and have on many occasions. No picture because I forgot to take one.

Roasted Garlic and Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

Do you ever go on vacation, find a restaurant you love, want to eat there again, but know you should branch out and keep trying new places? No? Just my family? That place was Kona Brewing Company for my family, and I can't even pretend like I don't share the obsession. KBC has an awesome happy hour with half price appetizers, and we went twice while my parents were visiting (and they went there twice while they were on the Big Island). The pizza rolls are an obvious choice for appetizer, but we also tried the "roasted garlic" without really knowing what to expect. When it came out, there was literally a bulb of garlic, a bowl of cream, and bread. Really, how could this not be amazing? I gave it a shot at home, and it turned out great!

1 bulb of garlic
olive oil
1 1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
loaf of sour dough bread

To roast the garlic, remove some of the outer layers of the skin, but leave the skin of the individual bulbs in tact. Cut about 1/4-1/2 inch (depending on the size of the bulb) off the top of the bulb to expose the individual cloves. Put the garlic head in a muffin pan cup, and drizzle it with olive oil. Cover the garlic with aluminum foil. Bake it at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until the cloves are soft. You should be able to squeeze the top and get soft garlic to come out.

To make the cream sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan, and stir until melted and thickened. Spread some of the soft garlic on the bread and top it with the cream spread. It. Is. Amazing.

Soft Pretzels with Buffalo Cheese Dipping Sauce

Having family in town is a great reason to try out some new recipes that make things in bulk and are thus too large for just Luke and me. I LOVE soft pretzels. When I used to go to Annapolis to visit Luke, I was always bummed when I was waiting in the airport for my flight to head back home. Since retail therapy in the airport is limited to heavy hardcover books, neck pillows that make me sweat profusely, and Baltimore souvenirs, I resorted to eating my feelings, and Auntie Ann was always there for me. A hot cinnamon sugar pretzel got me through many goodbyes. This recipe is not for cinnamon sugar pretzels, but the pretzel turned out to be amazing. I am going to try this recipe again to make cinnamon sugar in the near future, and I will not require house guests to help me eat them. I found a recipe similar to this on Pinterest.

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp if you're using jarred yeast)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
non-stick spray
3 quarts water
2/3 cups baking soda
1 egg, beaten
Sea salt

Buffalo Cheese Dipping Sauce:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3 oz Neufchatel cream cheese
2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup buffalo sauce

To make the pretzels, combine the 1 1/2 cup water, sugar, yeast, and butter, in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Add the salt and flour and mix it on low speed until it's combined. Increase the speed to medium and let it knead until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Coat a big bowl with non-stick spray, and put the dough in the bowl to rise. Cover the bowl with a damp towel, and let it rise for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 425. Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil, and add the baking soda. Divide the dough into 8 equal balls and roll them into pretzels. Boil the pretzels 2 at a time for about 30 seconds, and put them on a baking sheet. Brush the tops of the pretzels with the egg and season with sea salt. Bake them for about 15 mins.

While the pretzels are baking, melt the butter for the sauce in a sauce pan over medium heat. When it is melted, add the flour and whisk together. Add the milk, and turn the heat to low. Continue stirring this until it thickens. Add the cheeses, stirring until all of the cheese melts and is smooth. Stir in the buffalo sauce, and season with salt and pepper if you want.

This was seriously so delicious. The picture is awful because I just wanted to dig into it. I really might make these again, even though I'd be eating them solo....