Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wild Animals + Shirley Corriher's Touch-of-Grace Biscuits + Sausage & Kielbasa Soup Recipes

wild animals seem to be on my radar this week. Up at Snow Mountain Ranch we encountered a pair of foxes that were nearly as friendly as grumpy dogs. Outside of my window by my computer the fat squirrel and I eye each other, both waiting for the perfect moment to gather the grapes just at the moment when they are perfect and a few nights ago Larr, laying in bed watching the news, spied an unusual sight outside of our bedroom window.

At home I am often entertained by the squirrels who use the grape arbor by my window like a highway. Sometimes I they sit on a section by the window and smirk at the cats who are swishing their tails madly and making low, guttural noises in their direction. They don't usually give me the time of day, until it is time to start watching the grapes. Even as I type out this blog entry, I can smell them. It is a delicious aroma that makes my mouth water, even though I know that if I ate them now, the skins of the grapes would cause my mouth to it. Still. We are both waiting, hoping to beat out the other once the grapes are perfect.

A few nights ago Larr experienced a very different sighting. Our bedroom is on the second floor of our house and the addition stretches out from the house. As a result of that, there is a section of roof right outside of our bedroom window. While Larr was watching the news before going to bed, he heard a noise on the roof. Looking out, he expected to see Gorham, a local cat who is very friendly. Instead, he spied a rather large raccoon sauntering the roof like he was on a walkway during a pleasure walk. Now I think we know what trips the motion sensor lights so often.

It has been a bit colder these last two days, so I am Sausage and Cabbage soup, as well as homemade biscuits for dinner. I am posting the version of the recipe I made as I changed up the recipe I posted from the Cures.

Cabbage & Kielbasa Soup

1 large Red Onion, chopped
3 TBL. Olive Oil
2 tea. Garlic, minced
1 pnd Carrots, cut into coins
2 rings Kielbasa Sausage, cut into pieces or diced
1 med. Bunch of Fingerling Potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
6 cups Chicken Stock
1 head Cabbage, chopped
1 tea. Smoked Sweet Hungarian Paprika
1 tea. Nutmeg, ground
1 tea Celery Salt
Salt and Pepper to taste
Balsamic Vinegar, served as a condiment

Saute the onion and the kielbasa in hot oil in a soup pot until the onion is softened. Add in the garlic and saute a bit longer. Add the potatoes and stock. Simmer until the spices with the potatoes until they are cooked, about 30 min. Bring the soup to a boil and add the cabbage. Stir. Turn the heat to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes or more. The longer you simmer the soup, the more the cabbage will incorporate. If you make this in a crock pot, some of the cabbage will sort of dissolve or melt and begin to thicken the soup a bit. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set out the balsamic vinegar so that it may be added for additional flavor, if desired. Serve with a nice bread, such as thick slices of French bread.

* I would have added caraway seeds, if I had any. I am also considering adding in apples.


Shirley Corriher's Touch-of-Grace Biscuits
borrowed and modified from 52Food

Note: Corriher, ever the scientist and tinkerer, published one version of this recipe in CookWise in 1997, and a fairly different one in BakeWise in 2008. We tried and loved both, the newer one edged out (she knows her tinkering).

Makes about 12-14 medium biscuits

Adapted slightly from BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking(Scribner, 2008)

Butter for greasing, or nonstick cooking spray
2 1/2 cups Flour (She actually prefers a combination of flours that I never have. You can see the less modified recipe here.)
1/6 tea Baking Soda
1 TBL Sugar
3 TBL. Shortening (I use butter flavored)
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 - 1 1/4 cup buttermilk,(I actually use 3/4 cup Buttermilk and 1/2 cup Heavy Cream) or enough for dough to resemble cottage cheese (if you are not using low-protein flour, it will take more than 1 cup)
1 cup plain all-purpose flour, for shaping
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, for brushing

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and arrange a shelf slightly below the center of the oven.

Butter an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work the shortening in with your fingers until there are no large lumps. (I do all of this in my food processor with a few quick pulses.) Gently stir in the cream, then some of the buttermilk until dough resembles wet cottage cheese. It should be a wet mess -- not soup, but cottage-cheese texture. (If you are not using a low-protein flour, this may take considerably more than 1 cup of buttermilk.) Let this sit for a few minutes, until the liquid has a chance to be absorbed.

Spread the plain all-purpose flour (not self-rising) out on a plate or pie pan. With a medium (about 2 inches, #30) ice cream scoop or spoon, place three or four scoops of dough well apart in the flour. Sprinkle flour over each. Flour your hands. Turn a dough ball in the flour to coat, pick it up, and gently shape it into a round, shaking off the excess flour as you work. Place this biscuit in the prepared pan. Coat each dough ball in the same way and place each shaped biscuit scrunched up against its neighbor so that the biscuits rise up and don't spread out. Continue scooping and shaping until all dough is used.

Place the pan on the arranged shelf in the oven. Bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Brush with the melted butter. Invert onto one plate, then back onto another. With a knife or spatula, cut quickly between biscuits to make them easy to remove. Serve immediately. "Butter 'em while they're hot." Note: Do not use self-rising flour for shaping, as the leavener will give a bitter taste to the outside of the biscuits.

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