the making of things: food, wine, art, home
What you see above in this lovely photo is the result of many years of refinement. It all started a looong time ago in various parts of Alabama. I come from cotton-picking, cattle-raising, tractor-driving, porch-sittin’ good ole fashioned southern folk. Now I don’t mean to mislead and have you imagine me down on the farm. No, I grew up all over the place but I went back. As often as I got shipped off there as a kid. As often as I made it back through Alabama as a vagabond in my early years. There is a distinct comfort I draw from traveling back to the farm.
As a small child I remember being fascinated with biscuits and bacon. My grandmother Eloise would have to hide both to avoid the decimation that would occur if I got a hold of either. We would make trips to her mother’s, my great-grandmother Singleton in Centre Alabama, to visit and enjoy the company of family and great southern meals. Watching my grandmother Eloise and her mother create fried okra and biscuits in the kitchen is something that remains a very vivid memory that I draw upon often for inspiration.
On my mother’s side we have Red Hill Farms in Cropwell Alabama. This place is where I hope to spend my old age. I can remember many meals spent at the long family table, dishes filled with southern delights, from childhood on. From the time where my feet dangled from the long bench we all sat on til days when it was my turn in the kitchen to provide for my grandparents when they were in need of a helping hand.
I have always been happy to feed people. I look back to the time and energy I have watched many family members put into taking time out of there day to feed others and it has instilled in me a desire to do the same.
My recipes and interpretations of southern dishes are my heart. And I gladly give these to anyone who happens to be lucky enough to be around when I am throwing down some serious grub.
Now as for biscuits, there are many ways to do them. From the simple but effective drop biscuit to my layered savory creations. I don’t believe in secrets. I believe I could tell anyone the ways in which I create these beauties and if we sat down side by side with the same ingredients they would still be different and mine would still be better 😉
Over time I have come to have a relationship with the dough. I knew the basics from watching the amazing women in my family. But over the years I traveled a lot and took inspiration from wherever I went to alter and improve my ideas. For starters I don’t use recipes. Also, I freeze my butter. It allows for a better dispersion into the mixture and allows me to work the dough a bit more into my signature layered savory biscuits and still get the rise I want out of them. I always incorporate some type of herbed concoction either through herbed butters or herbs and spices or both. Occasionally I have been known to brush the tops of my biscuits in duck fat right before pulling them out of the oven.
The addition of many of the savory elements I employ in my biscuit making is helped by rolling out thin-ish layers of dough and layering things like prosciutto and smoked cheeses in between them and then rolling them once again and cutting them into squares for baking.
I could go on and on but alas someone needs biscuits and I must go forth and feed the people.
For a Texan twist check these out.