Sep 112014

UPDATE: The original version as posted on the site resulted in biscuits that were super rich, but didn’t rise as high as traditional recipes. A reader – who has asked for no credit here, so my lips are sealed – suggested cutting back the butter from the original full stick to three-quarters of a stick. The difference in results is startling, so I have updated the recipe to include that change. Also, the Nameless Biscuit Guru also suggested letting the cut biscuits rest on the baking sheets at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking if you possibly can – you will see the biscuits fluff as they sit and you end up with an amazingly light and airy result … exactly what you would expect from legendary biscuits. Thank you, Nameless Guru, thank you.

There are two fundamental truths about buttermilk: You cant make great biscuits without it, and you almost always end up wasting some of the buttermilk. You make biscuits once, maybe twice, whip up a batch of pancakes on the weekend … and when the expiry date comes around there is some left in the carton that ends up down the drain.

Batman may not have these problems, but for lesser mortals like you and I? Definite dilemma.

If you hunt around online you will find people suggesting that you freeze your leftover buttermilk. Sadly, however, the milk separates and never seems to want to completely re-emulsify, leaving you with biscuits that may or may not taste the same but come out semi-flat and with a nasty dry crumble in their texture.

But … what if you get the biscuit structure in place first and then head to the freezer? Better yet, what if while doing that we make sure the amount of buttermilk used is always an even fraction of a whole carton? And what if we do all of that in a recipe that lets you either completely bake the biscuits for eating now or par-bake and freeze them for a quick finish later?

That would be, to put it mildly, awesome. And if we tweak that recipe so that you can make it in a food processor for super easy prep and clean-up? Then, my friends, we move from the realm of “awesome” straight through to “legendary”.

Fresh-baked BEMOBEL Biscuits

That’s right … legendary biscuits. Want some? Keep reading.

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Jan 272014

Here’s the thing: When you make mashed potatoes, you almost never make them to go alongside a sandwich or a salad or anything else that is easy and quick to put together. Mashed potatoes are inevitably going to be part of a meal that takes some time and effort to make. So the last thing you want to be doing when you are trying to carve your turkey or make your gravy or get everything to the table is the whole draining and drying and mashing and whipping process that goes along with good mashed potatoes.

Mashed potatoes are great. Sweating over that pot with the beaters and the milk and the butter when you have ten other things to do at dinner time … not so great. And while you can make traditional mashed potatoes ahead of time and then warm them up, they just aren’t the same in either body or texture when they get to the table.

So take a gander at your new secret weapon – mashed potatoes you can (and should!) make the day before and just pop in the oven for amazingly creamy and fluffy smashers that are ready when you are. They are rich and delicious and work equally well topped with either gravy or butter. And the only tools you need are a big pot, a 2 liter shallow baking dish (a gratin dish works wonders here) and an electric mixer.

Sound good? Of course it does. Keep reading!

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Jul 182012

This is a super-fast and super-easy way to put potatoes on the plate without resorting to the same-old same-old boring ideas. It’s one part boiled potatoes, one part baked, one part mashed, one part “fully loaded” and all parts delicious. It is also versatile – while it is best when cooked in a Big Green Egg, it works just fine in the oven, on the no-heat side of a two burner grill, or even directly over the coals if you keep an eye on it.

Regardless of how you cook these, however, you must have a cast-iron skillet. That part is what the kids call non-negotiable. Otherwise, all you need are a handful of ingredients, a pot of water, and a heat source. And I’m pretty sure you have all of those. Ready? Go.

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Nov 152011

Did you know that the stuff most gringos call “salsa” is actually “pico de gallo”? It’s true! If it has pieces of stuff in it that you can pick up with your thumb and forefinger (like a rooster picking up something with his beak) then it is a pico de gallo. Which, not surprisingly, means “rooster’s beak” in spanish. Salsas are generally more of a sauce. Not a chunky mix. So stop calling your pico de gallo salsa.

And on that note, we have today’s simple offering. It’s called Mango Pico De Gallo because that is what it is. A pico made with mangoes. It goes stupendously well on any meat – chicken, pork, and especially beef. The only caveat here is that you need to make it about a half hour before you want to eat it to give the vinegar time to work on the mangoes. So bust out your favourite knife, a handful of ingredients, and lets get chopping.

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Aug 102011

Let’s just get the name thing out of the way right now. I call these “Turd Rockets” because that is what they were called the first time that I was shown the basic recipe. I have seen them called lots of other things since: Pig Poppers, Atomic Buffalo Turds, and – at one hole-in-the-wall bar in Port Arthur where they made exceptionally good ones – Big Dumpers. I’m a sucker for tradition, though, so despite both the plethora of more interesting names and many tweaks to the recipe I will always call them Turd Rockets.

That said, I have to admit that I have a soft spot for “Big Dumpers”.
Anyway. These are a barbeque riff on the classic jalapeño popper. Instead of battering and deep frying, though, the stuffed pepper gets wrapped in bacon and smoked. And if you were maybe thinking that the combination of sweetened cheese and sausage and jalapeño and bacon and two hours over a smoldering wood fire was a good thing, you would be absolutely right. Keep reading to out just how right.

Mmm … Big Dumpers.

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Apr 112011

If you have ever spent any time at all in the American south, you will know that cornbread is a deadly serious subject. Every region has its own cornbread dogma, and the true believers in any particular state/county/town/swamp are not likely to welcome any suggestions or comparisons when it comes to their local product. This is both dangerous and unfortunate, since many areas of the south have what can only be categorized as nasty cornbread. In the low country of the Carolinas, for instance, they have a hard and fast rule that nothing approaching either flavour or texture should ever be found in their miserable yellow bricks of doom. If you are unfamiliar with the style of cornbread in a particular locale your best bet is to simply avoid it altogether. It saves all sorts of angst and embarrassment when your host asks you how much you love it.

This rule can be dispensed with in Alabama, however. The folk in Alabama know how to make seriously good cornbread. They like their ‘bread light and sweet, and don’t have the bizarre prohibition against sugar that you will find the Carolinas. This recipe is the real deal – I poached it from my friend Amanda who is Alabama born and bred, and while I have tweaked it specifically to be baked in a Big Green Egg or a hotter-than-average barbeque pit, it will work just fine in your kitchen oven too.
So grab yourself a hot cast iron pan and join me after the jump for some warm golden goodness.

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Apr 052011

So it’s April and it is still snowing at random and vaguely vexing times. Specifically, when I am trying to smoke the season’s first batch of ribs. The forces of light, justice, and meat prevailed, however, and at the end of the day I was rewarded with some killer racks and an absolutely sublime batch of cornbread.

What does this mean to you? Good question! It means that you will get two different techniques for ribs and a stupidly good cornbread recipe this week. Stay tuned!

Sep 042009

First things first: I can take no credit for this recipe whatsoever. I saw it done at a Big Green Egg demonstration over at the barbeque and grill store that I frequent, and the person who demoed it said that they saw it done at an “Eggfest” in Pennsylvania. Yes, Big Green Egg owners have “Eggfests” … they are that hardcore.

Second things second: I have no idea why this is called “Splattercorn”. There is no splattering involved. So your guess is as good as mine.

Having taken care of all of that, Splattercorn is a really cool and different take on the old “roasted corn on the cob” standby. You might look at the ingredient list and raise a Spockian eyebrow at one of the items, but you really should give this a try. The “non-traditional” ingredients highlight the corn, bringing the sweetness of really good fresh kernels to the forefront. The corn definitely remains the main attraction here, and the added flavour really matches well with richer foods like hamburgers or steaks.

The recipe is dead simple, and all you grillheads will be happy to hear it also works over direct heat, with one minor caveat in the instructions (watch for the “Grillhead Alert” near the bottom). Ready for something different? Then check out the full details after the jump.

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Aug 132009

Okay – first things first. I realize that “Chicken Shakeys” is a terrible name, but the problem is this: Until about a day ago, these things had no name at all. I have been making them for pretty much ever, but there was never a name beyond “those chicken wing things” and when I got around to taking pictures and getting ready to put the recipe up here, I realized that a name was probably in order. So I went with “Chicken Shakeys” because (a) you do shake them at one point, and (b) the great Jim “Shakey” Hunt could eat more chicken wings at a press box buffet than anyone else on the planet. But the name is definitely not set in stone, and if you can think of something better, I am all ears. In fact, if you do come up with a name and I adopt it, I will name another recipe down the road after you. So get your thinking bibs on and see what you can do.

In the meantime, on with the show.
This is a kind of messy (during the preparation) and somewhat fidgety (during the preparation) but generally simple (during the cooking) take on chicken wings that will really impress your guests as either a side or an appetizer. These look cool, are fun to eat, and taste like greasy heaven on a stick. And, just for extra awesomeness, there is bacon. When you are done, you get what amounts to savory chicken and bacon lollipops with all kinds of layers of sweet and smoky flavour, and if you can eat just one of these then you either have ludicrous amounts of willpower or no taste buds at all.

Sorry, grill-heads, this one needs smoke and no direct heat, so you are on the sidelines for this one. Everyone else, stand by for some serious yum.

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