Friday, April 29, 2011

Katharyn's Baby Shower Cake

Consider this a picture post. The icing job above is not my best work. I transported many items to work for the shower, and, in the process, wasn't careful with the cake. Also, next time I will be sure to have extra icing to line the bottom.  You live and learn.  And I live and blog to remember these things.  :)

I tried a new recipe - an Ina Garten recipe, Beatty's Chocolate Cake.  With 1,062 reviews and 5 stars on the Food Network site, how can one go wrong?! 

I followed the recipe exactly except I omitted the egg yolk in the icing. (I was not about to feed a pregnant woman raw egg.  It can certainly be omitted.)  Coffee is the secret ingredient and, like in the reviews, even people who don't like coffee raved about the cake.  Super moist.  SUPER rich.

This is my cake topper.  I can thank google images for the inspiration.  The miniature clothespins are easy to find at Michaels.  I sketched out the basic designs myself.

Of course you will recognize the "Mother Daughter Tea" punch.  Katharyn's favorite.
My lovely coworker/co-hostesses surrounding the mom-to-be....
On a side note:  I often say how blessed and lucky I am.  It is true.  This week made me realize how everything can change in a matter of minutes and how quickly it all can be taken away.  Thanks to all my friends and family who checked on me and I ask you continue to keep the storm victims in your thoughts and prayers.  My heart goes out to those suffering and mourning the lost of loved ones.  No words on a blog can possibly describe how I feel....

Sunday, April 24, 2011

3 Pictures Tell So Much

1. This is how I bake without Lance and Julie.  I make a MESS. I always have.  I am not sure why.  
Note: This is only one side of my kitchen.  

2. This is a glimpse into one side of my baking cabinet (yes, that is a tub of lard).  It is official I am a baker...

3. ... not a cook!  (Don't get too worried.  I have been eating out. A LOT.) 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Southern Biscuits and Gravy (OMG)

Southern Biscuits and Gravy - Alton Brown Style

Tonight we decided to start labeling our favorite recipes.  This recipe qualifies.  Keep reading.  And try this recipe.  You won't be sorry.  It doesn't take long and is worth it.   

 We wouldn't change the recipe one bit  (but if you did have less sausage, that would work).  You start by making the biscuits.  The list of ingredients for the biscuits are below. While they are baking for 20 minutes, you can complete the sausage gravy.

Southern Biscuits


2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk, chilled
    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    Combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don't want the fats to melt.)

    Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

    Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. ("Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that's life," straight from Alton Brown.)

    Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes. 

     ....onto the Gravy.....

    Sawmill Gravy


    1 pound bulk breakfast sausage (we determined this could be less) 
    1/4 c flour 
    2 cups milk 
    Salt and pepper

    Here I am hard at work cooking sausage in a cast iron skillet. When done, remove sausage from pan and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat. We barely had 2 T so we added a little butter.


    Whisk away.  Whisk flour into the fat and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in milk a little at a time.

    Return to medium-high heat and stir occasionally while the gravy comes to a simmer and thickens. (Be sure to scrape up any brown bits that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan, that's where the flavor is.) Check seasoning, add crumbled sausage and serve over our WONDERFUL biscuits.

     Wallah - the final result.  This was the best recipe we have done in some time.  We will be doing it again!