Sunday, September 20, 2009

Irrigator's Breakfast: Biscuits, Jam and Cream

When the boys were young, we lived in a house that had irrigation rights.  In this part of of the country, much use is made of water from the Rio Grande.  That includes irrigating your lawn, if you live near the river.

So, once a month from March until September, slightly more during the really hot weeks, our neighborhood would have an irrigation day.  This meant making sure your ditch was clear and opened at the gate, that you didn't flood your neighbor and he didn't flood you.

Some neighborhoods were very organized, others weren't.  If somebody wasn't paying attention, there could be real fireworks.  Several fist-fights broke out among neighbors!  Nasty phone calls! A mess.  The yard was deep under water for a day, and a muddy muck for a week after.  Why, do you ask, would anyone do it that way?  Well, the river water was abundant and cheap, that's why.  Also, this got started before anyone had even thought about "sprinkler systems".

In order to make this event a little bit happier around our home, we would have Irrigator's Breakfast.  This meant that whatever manner the eggs were fixed, we also had homemade Biscuits with jam and cream.  And of course, honey and butter for my LB.

My mother, being from New Zealand, always served our biscuits at home with jam and whipped cream, in an attempt (a good one!) to recreate the scones and cream she had at home.  So here it is.  
Start with self-rising flour.  That's what I usually do, if you don't have SR flour, add a teaspoon of baking POWDER to about 2 cups of regular all purpose.
Then add a nice pinch of baking SODA.

Next, a nickel-size pile of salt gets added in. OK, maybe this is a little more than that.

 Whisk it up well.  Then add a chunk of Crisco about the size of a small orange.

Now, get your pasty blender and make it look like this.
When your pastry resembles the elusive Pea-size crumbs, or just whenever you can see that some of it is sticking together, stop. Get your buttermilk and pour a lake that looks like about 1/3 the total mass.  Stir that up.

If you don't have buttermilk, don't despair.  Add lemon juice or vinegar to your milk and let it curdle a bit.  You need the acid for the baking soda to do it's stuff and puff up in the biscuit.  You can do it without baking soda and just add regular milk, but it's not as good.  No tang, less flavor.
This didn't look quite wet enough to me, so I added a tech more buttermilk.  You need to have it enough to stick together, but just that much, not more.  If you do you'll end up with nice biscuits but not a hard outside crust.  Sniff.
Now!  That's right.

Go do something else for a minute while this rests.  I went and let the chickens out.  They were waiting for me.

Just pat it out, but yes, you can roll it a little if you must.  I always play a little game where I try to use all of it but there's usually a leeeetle bit left.

Okay, now into a very hot oven (450) for about 12 minutes.  Watch them closely after that.  Sometimes I fudge a little and turn on the broiler to brown the tops better at the end.

Everybody is waiting.   Did somebody say Biscuits?

Al-righty, then.  Now that's the way a biscuit should be.  Not soft and well,... weak,  but flakey, with a crisp crust.  A crusp, if you will.  And this is how they looked all dressed up.  Oh, my.  Almost worth irrigating for.

A good idea for doggie health.

I was noticing that Josephine and Shady were searching for grass to eat.  I think dogs need grass like we need Metamucil.  This was an easy fix.  Just don't cut the grass in a patch, leave it for the dogs to eat.  They love their grass!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Different from my mother's, still good and cheap!

My Mother used to make salmon patties.  They were actually pretty good; I think it was a recipe from the Bisquick box.  Basically salmon pancakes.  We ate them with catsup, but I think Mom didn't know about tartar sauce, being from New Zealand.  But I don't know, the subject never came up.  I think finally Dad put his foot down about the salmon patties.

Anyway, this is my version.  Here I have three different kinds of salmon; red, pink, and coho.  For a million dollars I couldn't tell you much about the difference in the three, but the red is, well, red.   The other two were about the same beigey pink.  I found these three in my pantry, and I'm pretty sure I picked them up sometime this year, thinking "I could make salmon patties!"  Just open the cans and drain well.

This is the bread that I toasted and gave a spin into crumbs.  I put another couple of slices in there after I took this shot, realizing it wasn't enough.  I was going to be feeding 4 men.
Here are the things that went together with the salmon.  Celery, onion, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, pickle relish and bread crumbs. Amounts don't really matter, except you should have about half the amount of salmon in  bread crumbs.  If you don't have bread crumbs, use crackers.  If you don't have either, use oatmeal  Yes, uncooked oatmeal.  Or Bisquick.
Oh, and EGGS.  Don't forget eggs to hold it all together. That's better.
Now, take a pair of plastic gloves and mash, squish and mix.   Make sure it's all  "married" as they say on the cooking shows.  Silly!
Then  make patties and fry over medium heat.  I serve them with tartar sauce and lemon.  Don't know how to make tartar sauce?  Just mix mayo, worcestershire, lemon juice and pickle relish.  That's it.  I think the whole batch cost less than $10.00.  A very healthy meal, don't you think?