Yep, I crossed number two off the list this weekend; I have learned to make biscuits. Not perfectly, mind you, but they were edible and honestly tasted pretty good.
The first thing to learn about cooking old southern recipes with old southern people is that evidently there are no exact measurements. She literally showed up with a bowl of flour, a can of Crisco, and a gallon of milk. No measuring cups, teaspoons, nothing. As I brought out my pad and pen to take notes I had to pull each quantity of ingrediant out like teeth.
"Well, just about a bowl full" translated in to 6 cups of sifted flour.
The first step to making grandma's quick and simple biscuits is to make a nest like shape in the bowl of flour, molding it and burrowing a hole not quite down to the bottom.
Then, take a handful of Crisco (again, she provided no measurements, but I am guessing about 2 1/2 tbsp.) and place it in to the flour "nest".
Next is the tricky part, or at least for me. As you mix the crisco in with the surrounding flour, slowly pour milk to moisten it and form the dough mixture. It is easier to tranfer the milk into a smaller vessel so the liquid is easier to handle. I poured about a cup of milk but didnt use it all.
I would love to say that I was a natural at this and allowed my southern roots to flow through my finger tips and made a dough that put Paula Dean to shame- but that didn't happen. Not at all.
I could tell my granmother was worried as she tried to pull the bowl from me as I mixed. "No, no. Not exactly like that", she said as she tried to wiggle it away from my distructive squishing. I could tell that she was taking this seriously and didnt want her baking skills ruined because of her silly granddaughter's clumsy fingers.
I think that my mistake was squeezing the mixture instead of lightly combining it. Whatever it was, my grandmother thought it was hilarious and cackled through the whole ordeal. Finally she was better at something than I was and took revenge on all the computer and cell phone lessons that I had held over her head.
After I cleaned up and she added her special touch to the the bowl, it looked more familiar instead of the paste like material I had created. We then pinched off pieces of the dough and rolled it into balls in our hands, and flatten it to create a biscuit shape.
Again, not exactly a pro at this by any means. Mine looked more like monster faces than a delicious biscuit, but hey, I just went with them.
See my grandmother's above for what they are suppose to look like. I think she was just showing off.
And about 12-15mins later- out they came! I have to admit they didn't look as bad as I thought they would, although you can tell that the ugly ones are mine :( But, ugly or not- I went for the first bite. And surprise! They were good! Actually, when smothered with butter and honey- they were amazing!
I know I will need more practice, ok ok, A LOT more practice but at least now I know and feel capable! Plus I have gotten a lot of great write-ins with many new recipes to try. So, watch out Betty Crocker here I come!
You can see what other goals to be conquered on my list here.