Thursday, June 30, 2005

buttered crumpet

here in the south, people like to eat fried stuff. also, stuff made with lard. i'd like to report that, like the french, they are miraculously and mysteriously thin, however my small amount of reasearch shows that this is not the case. a trip to atlanta's stone mountain last weekend revealed a population of rather large folks.

dinner at the mountain's "mountain view restaurant" helped connect the effect to the cause: all you can eat buffet, with fried fried fried everything. it was scrumptious and nauseating all at once. i ate:

fried chicken
mashed potaters
brunswick stew (think: pork)
ice cream

this was followed by the stone mountain laser and fireworks show which featured a medley of patriotic tunes and country ballads. truly bizarre.

the best part of a georgian meal, but something not featured at the mountain view buffet, is a good ol' fashioned biscuit. the one from ria's bluebird was divine, and certainly made with shortening or animal fat or something disastrous like that. i have had a few biscuits now from the legendary flying biscuit cafe. whereas the place is unimpressive overall (despite my fond memories from 10 years ago), the biscuits are excellent. not terribly traditional, but i love them. and i just happen to have the recipe (vicked from the flying biscuit cookbook on the shelf of the house i am staying at. back in NYC i make the recipe from the new basics cookbook):

3 cups all purpose flour (pref. white lily brand--so southern!)
1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup half and half
2 tbsp half and half for brushing the tops
sugar for sprinkling on top

preheat oven to 375
mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar
cut butter into it, using two forks, a pastry cutter or your fingers, you know the deal
make a well in the center and pour in cream and half and half
mix with wooden spoon until it forms a dough ball
turn ball onto lightly floured surface and knead 2-3 times to form a cohesive mass, don't overwork
use a rolling pin to roll to 1 inch thickness
use a biscuit cutter dipped in flour and cut circles

place on a pan lined with parchment paper
brush tops with half and half and sprinkle with sugar
bake for 20 minutes
makes 8-12 biscuits which in the south may well be 1-2 servings. ha.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


here i am in atlanta, trying to keep the culinary flame alive. i have a few restraints (budget/time/geographical cluelessness) but also several nice liberties, including a car.
having a car means that when i tried for the second time to hit papi's, the cuban joint, i had a quick getaway to check out ria's bluebird instead.

amy and i are pretty sure we were in atlanta's red hook (and you know how i feel about red hook), across from oakland cemetary on memorial drive. ria's bluebird is hip in a very lowkey way and is housed in what appears to be a vintage diner. we had huevos and a breakfast burrito but are eager to return for the pancakes and a sit in the sunny back garden. i know we'll be back there--my huevos were tasty enough to trust this place, and they make a good cup of joe.

a second culinary success came in the form of tonight's dinner. i am so lucky to have amy to be my food-obsessed buddy and housemate. we ate a grocery bought roast chicken, and oh lordy! please tell me why i spent the past five years being a vegetarian, because surely i couldn't remember as i ripped skin from bone. sweet jesus. this was accompanied by a beet salad i made the other day:

(wrap scrubbed red and yellow beets in tin foil packets and roast at 400 degrees for about an hour or more until beets are tender. allow to cool a bit then slide skins off with your hands. this gets messy. slice the beets any way you like. hit with a glug or two of olive oil, some red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and some crumbled feta. save beet greens for later--sautee and eat over pasta--that's what i did. it makes you feel thrifty.)

and also by amy's fantastic fava beans a la boyce:

(don't bother parboiling these suckers. just slice them crosswise with a small paring knife and slip off the inner skins. then sautee with butter, garlic. salt and pepper, a little lemon juice, some grated aged provolone and voila!)

almost enough to help us forget our doggone crappy day.