Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Biscuit Recipes - Gourmet Gallery Book Signing/Biscuit Demonstration

Here are the biscuit recipes I promised.

Basic Southern Biscuits

Stir together in a bowl
2 C. all-purpose flour
3 t. baking powder
1 t. salt

Cut into flour mixture 
1/4 C. shortening
Mixture should be crumbly.

Stir in with fork - 3/4 C. milk

Stir just until mixture holds together and forms into a ball. Turn mixture onto a lightly floured cloth covered board. Roll ball of dough around 3 to 4 times. Knead quickly by gently folding, pressing, and turning 20 times to smooth up the dough.

With lilghtly floured cloth-covered rolling pin, roll out dough to 1/2 inch thickness.

Use round cutter to cut out biscuits. Dip cutter into flour before cutting each biscuit.

Use a spatula to place biscuits on ungreased baking sheet. For crusty sides, place biscuits about 1 inch a part; for soft sides, place biscuits close together in an ungreased round layer pan.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes sixteen 1 & 3/4 inch biscuits.

Recipe from Betty Crocker's New Boys and Girls Cookbook, Golden Press, 1972.

Cheddar, Bacon, and Fresh Chive Biscuits

6 thick-cut bacon slices
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 T. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/4 t. salt
1/2 C (1stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus melted butter for brushing
2 1/2 cups (packed) coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 12 ounces)
1/3 C. chopped fresh chives
1 3/4 cups chilled buttermilk
Honey (optional)

Position oven rack just above center of oven. Preheat 425 degrees. Line heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until crisp and brown. Drain, then chop coarsely.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add butter cubes. Blend until coarse meal forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer flour mixture to large bowl. Add cheddar cheese, fresh chives, and chopped backon; toss to blend. Gradually add buttermilk, stirring to moisten evenly (batter will feel sticky).

Using lightly floured hands, drop generous 1/2 cup batter for each biscuit onto prepared baking sheet, spacing batter mounds about 2 inches apart.

Bake until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Brush biscuits lightly with melted butter. Let cool 10 minutes.

Recipe by the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen.

Cream Biscuits

2 C. all-purpose flour, plus extra for the counter
2 t. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 C. heavy cream

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the cream with a wooden spoon until the dough forms, about 30 seconds. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gather into a ball. Knead the dough briefly until smooth, about 30 seconds.

Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick circle. Cut the biscuits into rounds using a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter or 8 wedges using a knive. Place the biscuits on the parchment-lined baking sheet. (The baking sheet can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigereated for up to 2 hours.) Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Recipe by the Bon Apetite Test Kitchen

I hope you enjoy the recipes. Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in my monthly ebook drawing.

Happy Eating!


Friday, February 19, 2010

A Little Ole' West Texas Romance and the Vanishing Art of Biscuit Making

This is the title of the program at the Gourmet Gallery in Waco on February 16, 2010 showcasing my novel When the Ocotillo Bloom. In this story the heroine becomes the bread cook for a summer camp in the Big Bend Country of Texas and turns out a large number of biscuits each day.

I talked about my book and the audience asked questions about the story, writing, and publishing in general. There were approximately 17 participants and a copy of my book was included in their registration fee.

Rebecca shared details about the history of biscuits.

I demonstrated the art of making basic Southern biscuits. Here I'm forming the dought before cutting them out to place on a cutting sheet. One tip, do not twist the cutter as it will make your biscuits lopsided. As I'm working, Jo Ann is sharing more baking tips.

Our audience participated with loads of questions and comments. They enjoyed the three types of biscuits demonstrated. Of course, tasting was the best part. We had basic bisuits, biscuits made with heavy cream as the fat, and Cheddar, Chive, and Bacon biscuits. Next week I'll post recipes for all three.

Jo Ann, one of Gourmet Gallery's staff prepares Cheddar, Chive, and Bacon biscuits. They were a big hit.

Rachel, another Gourmet Gallery staff member prepares her biscuits using heavy cream to replace the shortening. Delicious! The cream makes a smoother, less crumbly biscuit.

Signing books. They are available through Champagne Books, The Wild Rose Press, Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com.

My good friends Jo Ann and RaLois. We all worked at Brownwood High School together in the 1980s. Jo Ann left teaching Home Economics to become a counselor. RaLois and I both taught Home Economics, now called Family Consumer Sciences.

Thank you Gourmet Gallery of Waco for allowing me to participate in your Cook The Books program.

Readers - what is your favorite kind of biscuits. Leave a comment to be entered in my monthly ebook drawing. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading and Writing!


Monday, February 8, 2010

Bremond Library Fund Raiser

The Bremond Public Library Fund Raiser was a great success. The theme was The Orphan Train as the train stopped in Bremond and several members of the community are direct descendants of those who found a home in the small town. Before the play, we enjoyed a delicious mean of cowboy stew, cornbread, and dessert.

School Students performed in a silent play depicting what it was like for children as they traveled from city to city until they were chosen by a family. Many were selected for their ability to work on the farm and were little more than servants. Others were treated as well-loved children. Regardless, their fate was, in most cases, was better than starving on the streets of New York or living out their lives in an over-crowded orphanage.

Ciara Gold, in period dress on the right, narrated the play. Her book, Once Jilted, is one in a series of books about the orphan train available from Champagne Books. With Ciara are several library patrons and members of Bremond's community.

Here are pictures of the cowboy cooks demonstrating their skills. They prepared peach cobbler, cherry cobbler and biscuits baked in Dutch ovens over an open fire. Ciara sampled the peach and I tasted the cherry and a biscuit. They were delicious!

In my book When the Ocotillo Bloom, Lynn Devry learns to cook outside over an open flame when she accompanies the children on a trail drive.

Here is a picture of me and Ciara with big smiles. I sold 12 books and I think Ciara sold more than I did. The most rewarding aspect of the library event was meeting many wonderful people and enjoying their small town enthusiasm.

Thank you for stopping by. If you have any orphan train experiences or have enjoyed a meal cooked out on an open fire (other than hamburgers or hotdogs), please share with us. Or leave a comment on whatever comes into your mind about the post. All comments will be entered into my monthly ebook drawing.

Happy Reading and Writing!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ebook Winner for January

Autumn Shelly is the winner of an ebook of her choice. Autumn, go to my website and take a look at my books. Email me at linda@lindalaroque.com to let me know your choice. I'll send your ebook right away.

Readers, please keep the comments coming. I will be blogging about the Bremond Library Fundraiser early next week and will include pictures.

Thanks for stopping by.