Monday, August 1, 2011

Time To Make The Biscuits

Something came over me the other morning. I was craving fresh flaky hot biscuits covered in oozing melty butter and a good drizzle of honey. I decided to make some, not from a mix, from scratch.  Flour, water, milk, a little sugar and baking powder. The recipe I found seemed easy enough and it was, sort of.... until it came time to scrape the batter out of the bowl.

Someone please clean up this mess
Will they be edible?

Baked, golden, not so pretty
It was a sticky gooey mess. I plowed ahead anyway. Dusted in more flour, tried not to man-handle the dough too much. Cut and on the cookie sheet, the biscuits were looking a little ragged. I baked them anyway and they were---surprise, surprise!---flaky, light and surprisingly good. Just the same, I will definitely need more practice.

Ready for eating

Flaky Biscuits
 makes about 8

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
5 tablespoons cold, good quality unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
*Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Transfer to a food processor. 
*Cut butter into pats and add to flour, then pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture resembles rough crumbs.
*Add milk and pulse until it forms a rough ball.
*Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat it down into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick. Fold it over and gently pat it down again. Repeat. 
*Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
*Gently pat out the dough some more, so that the rectangle is roughly 10 inches by 6 inches. Cut dough into biscuits using a floured glass or biscuit cutter. Do not twist cutter when cutting; this crimps the edges of the biscuit and impedes its rise.
*Place biscuits on a parchment (or silpat) covered sheet pan and bake until golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. 
*Serve warm.

Southern Biscuits Need Southern Honey

Chocolate, Ice Cream and Margaritas

There are some wonderful stores and restaurants tucked away and off the beaten path in and around Atlanta. I love shopping these places. They're special gems that I like to think only I know about. 

is a candy store sitting across the street from the Chamblee (GA) Marta station. Actually, candy store does not do Maison Robert justice. It is more a confiserie-pâtisserie, an elegant old world shop offering fine hand dipped candies and beautifully decorated pastries. 
The sweet treats are all the work of a fourth generation, French trained confectioner. Choose from a case filled with perfectly luscious little bites or make a selection from their many beautifully wrapped gift box assortments.
I fell in love with the adorable marzipan critters. (Actually, anything marzipan will send me swooning.) They tasted as good as they looked. You can also find delicate pastel macaroons, fruit tarts, black and white mousse and Sachertorte. 

For those of you who want to learn the fine art of candy making, Maison Robert also offers classes.

Maison Robert Fine Chocolates 
 5256 Peachtree Road, Suite 110, Atlanta, Georgia 30341 |
(770) 454-6442 | (800) 782-3249

When it's hot and steamy in Atlanta and I'm craving home made frozen goodness, I head for the Frosty Caboose. An old railroad caboose parked on unused track takes pride of place along Chamblee's  (GA) antique row. It also anchors a site adjacent to the summertime Saturday Farmer's Market.

The Menu:  
Floats, Malts, Shakes, Sundaes, Cups and Cones 
Frozen Doggie Treats 
Ice Cream, Sorbet, Sherbet, Frozen Yogurt, Gourmet light
The Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Green Tea,  Black Cherry, Coffee, Cookies and Cream, Pistachio, Mint Chocolate Chip, Peach, Butter Pecan, Superman, Birthday Cake, Rocky Road, Coffee Almond Fudge, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.....
The Toppings: Sprinkles, Heath Bar Pieces, Chocolate Chips, Rainbow Nerds, Chocolate Cookie Crunch, Reese's Pieces, M&M's, Peanuts, Almonds, Strawberries, Caramel, Blueberry, Marshmallow, Hot Fudge, Chocolate Syrup.....
5435 Peachtree Road ~ Chamblee, GA 30341 ~ 770-451-4556
In my neighborhood Monterrey is the place to go when any of us need a pitcher of margaritas, good food, a relaxed atmosphere and pleasant service. If the weather's good we sit outside under colorful umbrellas. As more and more friends arrive, heeding the call for an adult beverage and a bite to eat, the tables magically expand as the accommodating, smiling staff know to add chairs, add glasses and bring more pitchers of frozen limey goodness.

The food is traditional (Americanized) Mexican. Hearty, well made, unpretentious food. Generous servings of tacos, tortillas, taquitos, chalupas, empanadas, fajitas, enchiladas come by themselves or with refried beans, rice, lettuce tomato, crema, guacamole.

They make a drop-dead-best-I've-ever-eaten  home made chicken soup that arrives in a huge steamy bowl laden with large pieces of white meat chicken, rice, cilantro, carrots, celery and lime. Don't make a face. It's delicious. The other day I had chicken taquitos. Crispy, deep fried tacos wrapped around nicely seasoned chicken. I ate four doused with a little crema. I intend to go back for more.

There are combination plates and vegetarian options. Nothing is over $15 and the margaritas, by the pitcher, frozen or straight up, rock.

Go there, Relax. Hang Out. Watch the world go by. You'll eat and drink well.  "Ve allĂ­, Relax. Pasar el rato. Ver el mundo pasar. Que va a comer y beber bien."

Monterrey Mexican 5406 Buford Hwy
Doraville, GA 30340  770-458-1179

Monterey Mexican on Urbanspoon

Maison Robert Fine Chocolates on Urbanspoon

Frosty Caboose on Urbanspoon

Tomato! Tomato! Tomato!

Every year, as tomatoes reach their summer peak of perfection, my Southern friends start talking about tomato sandwiches. The right mayonnaise, the right bread, salt or no salt and include pepper? No way!

For 16 years I've listened, smiled my amusement at what I saw as silliness, and ignored the rapturous oohing and aahing over the tomato sandwich. I deigned not to take a bite.

(I bet you know where this is going).  Bill showed up the other day with 3 gorgeous tomatoes from his enviable of them as big as a grapefruit that he called a Cherokee red. "Eat this first," Bill instructed and I spent all of the next day mulling the use of this prized tomato. The bottom line? It had to be a tomato sandwich but a tomato sandwich on my terms.

Sorry all, no Dukes for me. I used Hellmans, skipped the salt, skipped the pepper and traded the white bread for a doughy soft burger bun. (Better to sop up those juices.)
Bill's tomatoes and my Hellmans
They were all right. The sandwich was heaven. I ate two. I was a fool to wait.