Friday Recipe Exchange: Fry Breads

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I was working on the Dinner Menu for the week and lamenting the fact that I have a difficult time finding good pita breads in my area. I decided the next time I make the Chicken Pilaf and Cool Dill Dip menu (recipes and photos here) I would try using  Fry Bread as a substitute. Then I thought that would make a good topic for tonight’s recipe exchange. (I cannot lie, what really tips the scales for the recipe exchange is which pretty, yummy photo of JeffreyW’s can I highlight)

First up, JeffreyW makes Fry Bread (pictured at top) for Fry Bread Tacos, click here for recipe and great photos.  He took the same recipe and sweetened it up with honey, cinnamon and sugar, as pictured below:

DSC_7172 (1600x1060) Not satisfied with a flat product, he decided to experiment with making it into a bowl and serving it with an awesome soup in his Bean Soup in a Fry Bread Bowl, recipe and photos here.

What’s in your bowl this weekend? Do you have any special or unique family or cultural recipes to share? Hit the comments with your ideas and recipes. I love to add new flavors to my repertoire.

For tonight’s featured recipe, I turn to friend of blog, Aji for a fry bread recipe she sent me months ago, at my request: Continue reading

Sweet Cinnamon Biscuits

What goes great with a nice beef stew? How about cinnamon biscuits for dessert with some good coffee.

Originally posted 1/2011

For something a bit different, these are lightly sweet biscuits. Go really good with a spicy or savory dish. I like it with beef stew.  Or on a cold morning with coffee.

Sweet Cinnamon Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil or butter
  • 4 tbsp buttermilk powder
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

bowl & 9” round baking pan, greased

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, & buttermilk powder in bowl, mix well. Stir in vegetable oil. Add water and stir until just blended. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll out into a 15×8” rectangle. Spread with butter, mix cinnamon & sugar and sprinkle evenly over butter. Roll up dough in jelly roll fashion. Pinch to seal seam. Cut roll into 1-½ “ slices. Arrange slices, cut side up in baking pan. Bake at 425° until lightly browned, approx. 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.

EDIT:  I keep buttermilk powder on hand in the pantry.  But if you want to use fresh buttermilk, use 3/4 cup and skip the water.

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Biscuits

JeffW's awesome biscuit photo. So beautiful I wouldn't even try to compete with my own.

I’ve been making a lot of biscuits in the last few weeks, no particular reason, it just seemed to be the perfect addition to several meals.  A while back, JeffreyW posted the photo above and I commented that my biscuits were never quite that fluffy. He promptly pointed me to the recipe he used. I’ve used a variation of it ever since. These are by far the best biscuits ever and I can’t believe how easy they are to make, and they come out great every time.

I have plenty of biscuit variations, too: Cinnamon Biscuits, Cheddar Cheesy Biscuits and Whole Wheat Biscuits

Heavenly Biscuits

Big, fluffy and moist, they easily compete with any biscuit I’ve had, even at my favorite restaurant Lucille’s. I bake them in my large cast iron skillet.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter (this really gives them a buttery flavor), softened, really, really softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk – (I use 4 tbsp buttermilk powder to 1 cup water)

mixing bowl, baking sheet or cast iron skillet

In mixing bowl whisk together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Gradually add milk. Mix together until dough pulls away from sides of the bowl. I had to add additional flour, this is a very moist dough. Turn out onto well floured surface and knead 10-15 times. I couldn’t roll this dough out it was too moist. I just flattened it by hand (about an inch thick, maybe a little less) and cut out the biscuits. With the extra flour I came up with 7 very large biscuits.

Bake at 425 degrees for 13-15 minutes, until golden brown. Put your oven rack in the middle to keep them from browning too much on the bottom. ====

Biscuits or rolls? Do you have a favorite and what’s your favorite topping? Butter, honey, apple butter? Next Week: Unusual fruits

Mmm…hush puppies

Mrs J called for fried fish for dinner today.  We  consider certain sides to be “must haves”  for a fish fry:  Slaw, baked beans, and hush puppies.  Occasionally there will be a substitution or an addition-French fries come to mind.

For years I used a box mix for my hush puppies, I would add some minced peppers and onions, maybe, and count myself as “really cooking now”.  LOL  Making them from scratch is fairly easy.  The recipe I used today could have been halved, we have plenty of leftovers.

1 c flour

1 c corn flour

1 c corn meal

2 T sugar

2 eggs

~1/8 c bacon grease

1 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1 t salt

1 c buttermilk

And you can stop there for the basic hush puppy recipe.  Drop ~1T of the batter into oil heated to about 325 and let it brown-I used a small cookie dough scoop, worked great.  Here the usual instructions add:  turn it over after a couple of minutes to cook the other side.  Hah! You might be able to get one to turn over and stay one time out of ten.  I still try, don’t know why.  I guess it’s that one time in ten.  How long does it take  to cook them?  That will depend on the size of the portion, the temperature of the oil, the number of pups you are trying to do at once, and maybe humidity and how the dog feels about the cat.  Just let one get nice and brown and take it out, cut it in two and look at the middle.  Go from there.

Of course I didn’t stop at just plain hush puppies.  I minced 2 jalapenos, 1/4 c of yellow onion, about 1/4 c of various colored bell peppers, and a good handful of green onions.  Oh, and whole corn, from a can.  You can use creamed corn if you want.  I used about 3/4 of a can.  Be aware that liquid additions may require additional amounts of meal and/or flour to keep the batter stiff enough to scoop.


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Cornbread Needs Baking Powder

Mrs J said this morning she could eat some ham and beans.  We found some ham bits in the freezer and started the beans cooking.  Most everyone will tell you to soak the beans overnight but you don’t have to, just cover them with water and start them simmering.  Takes a few hours but they will get there.  Add more water as required.  I generally toss in some diced onion along with the ham bits early in the process so they will be all but disappeared when the beans are done.  But enough about beans.  I looked for a cornbread recipe that would be fun and different.  Came across this one.

It looked pretty rich but I decided to go with it as written, save for the lack of green chilies.  I substituted a fresh jalapeno and a couple of banana peppers that had started to turn red.  And a cup of Splenda in lieu of the sugar.  I was determined to document this recipe better than those pork noodles I cooked last night, and took a picture or two at every step.  Maybe I was too focused on the picture taking.  Hah hah, “focused”..I just slay myself.  Forgot the baking powder.  Didn’t realize it until 55 minutes into a 60 minute timer the corn bread just wasn’t looking too good.  I reread the recipe and…dammit, didn’t put in the baking powder.  I think the rise the bread would have had from the powder would have helped to absorb all that butter, as it was the butter was still bubbling atop and under the bread in the skillet.  I took the pan out of the oven and let it cool a tad, cut a small piece and tasted it–this was gonna work OK.  Had a great taste, just a bit soggy.  I stuck it back in under the broiler for  while to toast the top.  It will get another try, maybe cut back on the butter some.  2 sticks?  That’s a bunch.

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Food In Fiction: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Happy birthday Vern!  This is the first of two cakes I have to make in short order for various birthdays.  Luckily it also coincides with my next Food In Fiction novel.

One for the Money is the first in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich.  Stephanie lives in Trenton, NJ and is probably the worst bounty hunter ever.  Not her fault really, unemployment and financial ruin forced her hand and it was the only job she could find.

Having held a salaried position with E.E. Martin made me as appealing as a leper.  E. E. Martin had skimped on the palm greasing this winter and as a result its mob affiliations had been made know…..I was registered with every search firm in the greater Trenton area and I religiously read the want ads.  I wasn’t being all that choosy, drawing the line at telephone soliciting and kennel attendant…

Food is very important in the Burg where Stephanie grew up.  And her mother was not above using food as a bribe when she fixed Stephanie up on a blind date:

“Pineapple upside-down cake…you’ll miss dessert if you leave now.” My mother didn’t mind playing dirty if she thought the cause worthy.  She knew she had me locked in with the pineapple cake. A Plum would suffer a lot of abuse for a good dessert.

The Stephanie Plum series is one of my favorite summer reads.  There are 16 books in the series so far, but the first 9 are the best.  If you’re looking for a beach read, I recommend these.

Now here’s that cake that would make Stephanie suffer through a hopeless blind date, whose highlight was Stephanie’s grandmother shooting the roast chicken with a  .38 special.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

  • 8 oz can sliced pineapple, in pineapple juice
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1-1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

8×8 glass baking dish and mixing bowl

Drain pineapple, reserve juice.  Melt 3 tbsp of butter and to baking dish with brown sugar and 1 tbsp of reserved pineapple juice.  Mix well.  Arrange pineapple slices over sugar and butter mixture.  In bowl, cream remaining butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla, beat until fluffy.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, add to creamed mixture.  Add water to remaining pineapple juice to make 1/2 cup and add to batter, mixing well and then pour over pineapple slices.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes and then invert on a plate.

Whole Wheat and Flax Pancakes

Thanks to the sour milk these are light and fluffy, despite having both whole wheat and flax meal mixed in.  I’m hoping to do a long ride today, so I wanted something a little heartier than Cheerios.

Whole Wheat and Flax Pancakes

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp salad oil

Add lemon juice to milk and set aside for 5 minutes.  Sift together dry ingredients.  Mix together soured milk, egg and oil, add to dry ingredients and mix until moistened, don’t over mix. Add a touch of water to reach desired consistency. Heat a skillet or griddle  (cook on medium heat) and lightly oil (I use a small piece of paper towel covered in oil.  I reapply after each batch of pancakes).  Ladle batter onto hot surface, when bubbles appear on the top, flip and finish cooking.  Makes about eight 4″ pancakes.

Busy morning tip:  Make a double batch on the weekend, store remainder in a shaker type container and pour out a quick batch of pancakes on a busy morning.  About as quick as making toast.  You may have to add a touch of water and shake vigorously before pouring.

Mmm…Biscuits and Gravy

Nice day for some biscuits.  Made these from scratch, not because I’m some kind of kitchen whiz, mostly because we were out of the box mix.  Making your own is really easy though. Check out the huge puppy there in the back.  Just stack two thinner pieces if you think they need some heft.  It’s hard for me to get the thickness of the dough right when I roll the dough out for cutting.  Not enough practice.  So that you don’t have an excuse to make ’em, here is the recipe: 2c flour, 4-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 3 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and about 1c of milk.  Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and cut in the butter. I like to drop a cold pat on top of the flour and then squish it between my fingers, rolling the little dough ball that forms back into the flour to really load it, and when it becomes crumbly pinch it into pieces and strew them about.  Do the same for the other pats of butter.  Give the dry mixture a final stir and add the milk a bit at a time while stirring.  Dump the dough on a floured board, form it into a flat lump and roll it out to 1/2″ or so.  Pop ’em into a 400 oven on a baking tray and give ’em 10-12 minutes then peek in.  Might take as long as 18-20 minutes depending on the actual temperature and the thickness of the dough.

The sausage this time was mild Italian, broken into bits while it fries, I also added red pepper flakes because I like the bite they add-without all the paprika you get when you buy the hot Italian.  Also added some fennel seeds.


Click the pics!