Category Archives: Brunch

Staying warm with Olive Oil Biscuits

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Last weekend I attended FoodBlogSouth 2014 with my friend, Helana Brigman of Clearly Delicious (also known as Dances with Lobsters.) One of the vendors who provided samples in our swag bags was California Olive Ranch.  California Olive Ranch also had a display table where they provided samples of their Gold Medal line.  In addition they were providing samples of Olive Oil Biscuits.  The recipe for the biscuits was provided by Season 1 Winner of Master Chef, Whitney Miller.  Although I had eaten a Southern Living biscuit that had been passed around at breakfast, I simply had to try one of the Olive Oil Biscuits with some fig jam.  As I was spreading the jam on top of my biscuit I noticed that recipe cards were provided so I grabbed one.  I knew that with the crusty outside and moist inside, I just had to have that biscuit again.

I returned home to a dismal weather forecast.  In case you aren’t paying attention, or reading this post long after I have set it loose on the Internet, Louisiana is currently having record cold weather.  Schools have been shut down in Baton Rouge for two days now and we were promised lots of sneaux.  We got feaux.  It sleeted most of the afternoon yesterday and the roads are covered with ice but I saw not one real snow flurry.

Several years ago my sister moved from Louisiana to Canada.  After her first Canadian winter experience she observed that Canada is better at heating structures than is Louisiana.  I can’t argue with her, as Louisiana just doesn’t have to deal with cold as much as Canada.

Regardless of the central heating situation in my house, I know that baking will warm my kitchen.  Since the kitchen is the center of the house, after it is warm, I don’t usually hear complaints.  When I awoke yesterday morning I knew immediately that Olive Oil Biscuits were the order.  The recipe card said that the recipe makes seven biscuits but I was able to make eight.  They’re baked in a cast iron skillet and that skillet holds seven biscuits so I had to bake one in a separate pan.  If you don’t have a 9-inch cast iron skillet, get one.  I use mine every day!

Not only were the biscuits easy to make, but the aroma of baking biscuits was strong enough to awaken my sixteen year-old daughter and beckon her to the kitchen from her warm bed.

The recipe may be found on Whitney Miller’s blog.  She has altered her grandmother’s biscuit recipe to include olive oil.  The recipe on her blog varies slightly from the recipe card.  On the card she directs the baker to press the dough into a circle and cut into 7 rounds.   She cautions that one should not overcook the biscuits and suggests that when the biscuits are done, if the tops are still pale the broiler should be used to brown the top of the biscuits.

This morning my daughter wanted more of the yummy biscuits we had yesterday.  I think this may become a habit.

GG

 

Shrimp and grits…for 20?

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Shrimp & Grits
Shrimp and Grits

 All day Wednesday, we were talking about supper…well, we had finally decided WHAT was for supper.  Loup Garou’s brother, the California Loup Garou (CLG) had requested shrimp and grits.  I had been just dying to make shrimp and grits, and even got my mother’s friend, Renee to give me her recipe, because it’s just about the best I have ever had.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have her recipe with me in Destin, so I had to consult the oracle known as the Internet!

By five o’clock, I said that we just had to decide on a number, because I still didn’t have the shrimp.  I told the Loup Garou Mum that I had invited my cousin and his wife (they lived in the area and I hadn’t seen him in YEARS!) for 7:00.  She said, “YOU WILL NEVER GET THAT DONE IN TIME.”  So there was the challenge.  We decided that the number was 20, because that is how many we cooked for Tuesday.  We had different people, but it sounded like a good number.

So, at 5:00, the Loup Garou, our friend, the Duke, and I set out on our grocery store adventure.  I really wanted stone ground grits, but we didn’t have time to go to multiple stores.  The Duke had lived in the area so I asked him where we could find peeled shrimp during 5:00 traffic.  He said that there was a seafood market near the grocery store, so we just decided to get everything in those two places, and just deal with whatever ingredients we found.

I did not find stone ground grits, or peeled shrimp.  I did, however find some very fresh medium shrimp and I had two strong men who were volunteered to peel them.

We made it home by around 5:45, and immediately got to work!  The Loup Garou chopped the veggies while the Duke peeled the shrimp.  I could not have finished on time without their help!

We fed twenty-three people that night — shrimp and grits, and the bread that my cousin brought to go with it!  Several people asked me to post the recipe, and I will, with a few important points:

 I will print the recipe that I prepared — it fed 23 people with a little left over.  If I had been at home there are several things that would have been done differently.  One of my biggest challenges was the size of the pots provided in the condo we were renting.  We made a note to create a travel box to bring on future trips.  I plan to perfect a smaller version of the recipe to post later.

This recipe was inspired by two different recipes:  Bobby Flay’s Shrimp and Grits recipe and the Spicy Shrimp and Grits recipe from Epicurious:

Ingredients:

Water —  24 cups

5 12-oz cans evaporated milk

5 cups quick  grits

1 lb packed coarsely grated sharp cheddar

1 stick unsalted butter

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 lb bacon, chopped

5 lbs medium shrimp peeled and deveined

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup chopped parsley

2 bunches of green onions

4 cups chopped onion

3 cups chopped bell pepper

2 14-oz cans fire-roasted tomatoes

1 T hot pepper sauce

2 T granulated garlic

 

Onions and bell pepper
Chopped onions and bell pepper

Directions for grits:

  • Bring  water and evaporated milk to a boil
  • Add salt and black pepper
  • Add grits.   Cook until water is absorbed.  Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.
  • Add cayenne.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Shrimp sauce:

  • While grits is cooking, begin cooking bacon in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat until crisp.  Transfer bacon to paper towels.
  • Saute the onion and bell pepper in the bacon drippings until the onion is translucent.
  • Add tomatoes
  • Add garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste (remember that grits has salt, and make sure the amount of salt is balanced between the two.)
  • Add shrimp.  Saute the shrimp until just opaque in center.  Be careful not to overcook the shrimp!
  • Add lemon juice
  • Add bacon, half of green onions and half of the parsley.
  • To serve, spoon hot grits on to plates.  Top with shrimp sauce.
  • Sprinkle a little parsley and green onions on top of each serving

Note:  If you find that the liquid in the shrimp sauce is evaporating too quickly and want a little more juice, you may add some low sodium chicken broth, white wine or beer while the veggies are cooking.

Shrimp sauce
Shrimp sauce

I had a wonderful visit with my cousin, and we were able to catch up after many years.  Some of the Loup Garou Mum’s family and several friends were present.  So many of our south Louisiana traditions center around meals shared by family and friends!  I realized that family and friends were the most important ingredients in our meal that night!

xoxo,

GG

Crepes with fig preserves…better than donuts

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Crepes with fig preserves
Crepes with cream cheese and fig preserves

 

 

“Will you take us to get donuts?” says the Cub this morning upon awakening.  “No,” was my reply, but I promised to cook something yummy.

 

THE GODDESS:  “What do you want for breakfast?”  (More like brunch because it’s after 10.)

CUB: “I don’t know.”

THE GODDESS:  “Pancakes, crepes,…”

CUB: “Crepes!  But do we have Nutella?”

 

It turns out that we had a tiny bit of Nutella, and he volunteered to ride his bike to the drugstore down the street and get more, and some milk too!  Turns out the drugstore lady had never HEARD of Nutella…or crepes.  He promptly came home with the milk, however, and I got right to work!

“What will we put on the crepes?” the Cub inquires.

“What about peanut butter?”

 

So, The Cub and his friend had peanut butter and powdered sugar on their crepes.

The Goddess just HAD to have some of the fig preserves that she made last week from the figs growing in her back yard.  Fig preserves, a little cream cheese, and some drizzled honey…ambrosia of the gods, maybe?

Crepes ingredients
Measure the ingredients ahead of time for convenience

Crepes Recipe:

Ingredients:

2 cups flour, sifted
3 cups milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 T melted butter
Clarified butter or spray olive oil

 

 

Other items needed:

Crepe pan or other round, flat pan.

Whisk

Directions:

  • Sift flour into a medium mixing bowl.
  • Gradually add milk until thoroughly combined.
  • Beat in eggs, salt, and melted butter and beat until well blended.
  • Let the batter rest for 20 minutes before cooking.
  • When ready to cook, pour a tablespoon of clarified butter or spray olive oil on the crepe pan and heat until very hot.
  • Ladle batter into the pan until the bottom of the pan is well covered.
  • When the first side is golden colored, flip the crepe by peeling the edges and turning with a spatula.
  • Cook the second side, then remove to a plate.  Place waxed paper between crepes.  Cook all of the batter (if there are leftovers, they may be frozen or refrigerated — leave the wax paper between the crepes.  Fold them and put them in a plastic zipper bag.

 

To eat:

Spread the crepe with the filling that you wish to use.  Some ideas are: softened cream cheese, preserves, sour cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, chocolate hazlenut spread, peanut butter, or any combination of these.

Roll the crepe into a tube.  Top with honey or powdered sugar.

Fig preserves and blueberries
Fig preserves